A Boeing 787 Dreamliner, registered N7874, performed a special flight this week from Boeing Field (King County International Airport) to … Boeing Field! The final flightpath shows the aircraft creating a drawing outlining the shape of the 787, one of Boeing’s most recent masterpieces out of Everett, Wash. Previously, Boeing has flown outlines including a number twelve for the Seattle Seahawks and the Boeing logo.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) August 3, 2017
Flight BOE 004 departed on August 2nd at 15:38 PDT from Boeing Field for a 18 hour, 1-minute flight across the continental United States. Cruising away at up to 43,000 feet the aircraft carefully carved out a 787 outline in the sky. By the time it returned on August 3rd the aircraft had crossed over 20 states.
These flights are not purely for publicity. In this particular instance a “maximum ETOPS (Extended Operations) duration flight test” was required for the Trent 1000 engines that power the aircraft. Boeing has previously flown special routings like this one for maximum-duration flight testing. In 2012, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner performed a similar endurance test for the GE engines, outlining “787” and the Boeing logo over the skies of the USA. Earlier, a 747-8i outlined “747” for the same test. Later on, the 737 MAX aircraft outlined “MAX” to demonstrate it could reach the maximum flight duration of 9 hours.
Adam Tischler, a Boeing Test & Evaluation spokesman, had previously commented that these flights demonstrate the creativity of the test teams. “We know we have the capability to blend a test that we’re absolutely going to pursue with a fun sort of side benefit,” he says.
The new Trent 1000 engine is a newer variant of the already-produced Trent 1000 engine that is present on approximately 47% of the active Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The new version, coined the “Trent 1000 TEN,” achieves reduced fuel burn via an improved intermediate pressure compressor, which spins the aft stages of the engine spin at higher speeds. Rolls-Royce claims the newly-developed engine to have a 3% fuel burn advantage over its’ predecessor.