Exactly 196 weeks or 3 years and 9 months after the first flight of ZA001 on December 15, 2009, Boeing successfully flew the next member of the 787 family, the 787-9.
Just a few days after the first 787-9 took to the air, the aircraft is packing on flight hours just a few days after taking its maiden flight. Boeing is leveraging off the flight tests of ZB001's smaller sibling, the 787-8, to aggressively e 787-9's flight test envelope. Because the aircraft is a stretch of the 787-8 with the same wing and many of the same systems. There are differences beyond the stretch of the airframe and these will be tested but given that Boeing has a ton of data already on the aircraft from the 787-8 testing they can pursue a higher flight rate. It is still Boeing's plan to have a 6 month flight test/certification program.
There are still 2 more 787-9 in production. The next one, ZB002, is almost complete. ZB001 took 110 days from the start of final assembly on May 30 to first flight on September 17th. If ZB002 takes the same amount of time (110 days) and using the July 12th date as the start of final assembly, this aircraft can possibly fly around October 30th. However, I do expect that Boeing will apply lessons learned during the run up to ZB001's first flight to shorten that time. It is entirely possible that ZB002 can fly around mid October. Of course this is all dependent on finishing assembly activities and successful completion on ground testing. ZB002 should roll out sometime in the first week of October if not earlier.
ZB021, the test aircraft that will be equipped with GE engines started final assembly on August 21st should roll out to the flightline around mid November and should fly by around early to mid December.
In the meantime Boeing is increasing the tempo of production flights has increased in the last few days as Boeing attempts to deliver around 10-12 787s this month. So far 1 has been delivered. We should see a good number of deliveries next week including 787s from the Charleston facility.
Lastly, I am attempting to document the 787-9 flight test program on a spreadsheet which is linked below.
Full 787 List
Current 787 Production List
Delivered 787 List
787 Monthly Delivery Tracking
787 Customer Delivery
787-9 Flight Test Hours