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Dreamliner testing moves to next phase

The Boeing Co. on Wednesday began its formal testing aimed at earning commercial flight certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for its 787 Dreamliner after the aircraft passed basic flutter and ground effects testing.

Under Boeing’s testing program, the airplanes had to prove their basic safety and reliability before moving on to the second phase of testing with government inspectors overseeing.

To complete the first phase of testing, Boeing test pilots probed the limits of the plane’s flight envelope taking it up to its 43,000-foot ceiling and diving it at near the speed of sound to discover whether the plane’s structure damped the natural vibrations caused by the high speed airflow. A second test plane also successfully completed testing in Southern California of the plane’s handling in landing and takeoff configurations.

The testing program with six test planes is due to conclude this fall with the first delivery of the twin jet to launch customer All Nippon Airways.

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