Apr. 21--The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday granted Boeing expanded "type inspection authorization" for the 787 Dreamliner.
This approval, a milestone in the flight test process that was initially expected several weeks ago, clears the way for FAA personnel to fly aboard the test airplanes and collect flight-test data alongside Boeing technicians.
Scott Fancher, head of the 787 program, called the authorization "another significant step toward delivering airplanes.
"We remain on track to deliver the first airplane to ANA this year," Fancher said.
In addition, Boeing said it has finalized the aerodynamic configuration of the 787.
"We have completed sufficient testing to decide that no additional changes to the external lines or shape of the airplane are required," said Fancher. "Having an airplane match its expected performance with so few changes is rare and speaks to the maturity of the design."