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Monday, June 16, 2014

Boeing 787-9 Clears US, Europe Certification

Woodrow Bellamy III 

[Aviation Today June 15, 2014] Boeing's newest member of the 787 Dreamliner family, the 787-9, has achieved certification in both the United States and Europe. The company received an Amended Type Certificate from the FAA and EASA, as it prepares to deliver the first 787-9 to Air New Zealand. EASA accepts FAA oversight of Boeing production certificates, as the FAA accepts European oversight for European airframe production certification. 

Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9. Photo, courtesy of Boeing.

The 787-9 has a fuselage that is 20 feet longer than the 787-8 and also has the ability to carry up to 40 additional passengers and travel an extra 300 nautical miles. Avionics configuration for the 787-9 will be similar to the 787-8, with "adjustments you'd expect for the longer airplane," a spokesperson for Boeing confirmed.  

Air New Zealand is looking to introduce the 787-9 on its Auckland to Perth route later this year. By achieving certification in June, Boeing was able to meet its schedule of delivering the first certified 787-9 to Air New Zealand by mid 2014, as originally planned. 
Two issues that arose during flight testing, related to the aircraft's Ram Air Turbine and the altitude-select dial on the Mode Control Panel (MCP), were permitted by the FAA through temporary exemptions issued to Boeing. During a recent flight test the Generator Control Unit (GCU) on the RAT failed, the cause of which has been traced to a flaw in the assembly process, as confirmed by the 787 program's chief engineer, Bob Whittington. Boeing will introduce a redesigned GCU in February 2015, which it will recommend as a retrofit for both the 787-8 and 787-9. 
"With this validation that the airplane is ready for commercial operations, Boeing along with our airline and leasing customers now looks forward to introducing the newest member of the Dreamliner family to passengers around the world," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner. 

In addition to Air New Zealand, there are a total of 26 operators worldwide with a combined backlog of 413 Boeing 787-9s on order. Boeing is expecting the 787-9 to be the highest selling version of its 787 family. 

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