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Feature Story

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The second Boeing 787 test airplane, known as ZA002, is headed to Japan for one of its last major tests. During a week-long event, 787 launch customer ANA will get a chance to operate the Dreamliner on actual routes to several domestic airports to make sure it is fully ready for commercial service.

Boeing to fly 787 to Japan for readiness test (Video)

It is the aviation industry's equivalent of a dress rehearsal.

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Boeing/Bernard Choi

Boeing maintenance technicians work on ZA002, the second 787 test airplane and the only one painted in the livery of launch customer ANA.

Boeing announced it plans to fly the new 787 Dreamliner to the home of its launch customer ANA in early July to simulate in-service operations across several airports in Japan.

"ANA is eager to introduce the innovative 787 Dreamliner to Japan," said Shinichiro Ito, ANA president and chief executive officer. "Giving our employees the opportunity to gain experience with the airplane will help ensure a smoother entry into service later this year."

The week-long test, called "Service Readiness Operational Validation" (SROV), allows ANA to operate the 787 on actual routes in Japan.

"Lots of people are thrilled, lots of goose bumps here. We're very excited to see the real airplane flying over the Pacific Ocean to Japan." Akio Ito, ANA IT manager

ANA's maintenance crews will be able to perform maintenance and servicing scenarios, such as typical ground-servicing practices, fit checks of airplane jacks and maintenance hangar stands, towing and refueling the airplane, and other routine maintenance operations.

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Boeing/Bernard Choi

Boeing and ANA have been planning for years to conduct what's called, "Service Ready Operational Validation" or SROV. At a recent planning meeting, both sides went through the agenda one line at a time. The week-long test is scripted down to the half hour.

The second flight test 787 airplane, known as ZA002, will be used to conduct the test. ZA002 will depart Seattle and fly to Tokyo Haneda Airport. From there, the airplane is expected to fly to airports in Osaka (Itami and Kansai), Okayama and Hiroshima.

"ANA wants to see what the airplane is going to be like at their airports, with their crews, their pilots," said Kyle Ryan, a Boeing ground operations engineer for ZA002. "The goal is to get it as close to an airline configuration as possible."

Similar tests to validate a new airplane's readiness were conducted on previous Boeing programs, including the 777, Next-Generation 737 and 757-300.

The trip will be the 787 Dreamliner's first to Asia and marks one of the last major tests for the 787 as it gets closer to first delivery.

"Lots of people are thrilled, lots of goose bumps here," said ANA manager of information technology Akio Ito. "We're very excited to see the real airplane flying over the Pacific Ocean to Japan."

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Boeing

ANA's maintenance crews will get a chance to carry out maintenance and servicing scenarios with the 787. Boeing technicians will be on hand to offer any help and advice. Activities will include typical ground servicing practices, fit checks of airplane jacks and maintenance hangar stands, towing and refueling the airplane, and other routine maintenance operations.

The trip will be the 787 Dreamliner's first to Asia and marks one of the last major tests for the 787 as it gets closer to first delivery.

During a recent planning meeting, the ANA and Boeing teams went through the agenda, line by line. The week-long event is scripted down to the half hour and the teams discussed every test condition that will be performed. The review went on for seven hours a day for five days.

"Pretty much every detail you can think about, we've talked about from flight planning ... catering, airplane movement," said Lincon Rawlings, the SROV project manager from the Boeing side.

Boeing flight test director Ingrid Abendroth explained, "we'll have people up on the tail working, people inside doing test conditions, people working down at the landing gear, so we have to have it organized."

"ANA wants to see what the airplane is going to be like at their airports, with their crews, their pilots. The goal is to get it as close to an airline configuration as possible." Kyle Ryan, Boeing ground operations engineer

Steve Gregg, a Boeing airplane maintenance engineer, will accompany ZA002 to Japan. He and the Boeing team will work alongside ANA mechanics to perform ground procedures and nightly inspections.

"It's going to be great to have the interaction with the customer, be able to help introduce them to the new airplane."

Boeing plans to deliver the first 787 to ANA in the August to September, 2011 timeframe.