The Boeing 787 Dreamliner undergoing extreme weather testing in Florida. (Picture © Boeing.)
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner undergoing extreme weather testing in Florida. (Picture © Boeing.)

A special hangar at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base at Valparaiso, Florida, allows the aircraft to experience temperatures as high as 115°F (46°C) and as low as -45°F (-43°C).

Boeing says that after the aircraft is stabilised at either the hot or cold temperatures, technicians will follow the Airplane Maintenance Manual to perform the steps required to prepare the aircraft for flight release and operation under these conditions. Sensors and monitors will allow the test team to determine if all systems hardware and software operate as expected.

Cold weather testing is being conducted first, with preliminary hot weather testing to follow. Additional extreme weather testing will be conducted later in the flight test programme.

"We have Dreamliner customers who will operate the 787 in a wide variety of environments throughout the world," explains Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 programme for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This testing is about ensuring that the airplane meets the expectations of our customers."

The tests are being carried out on ZA003, the third 787 aircraft to be built.

The McKinley Climatic Laboratory is the second remote testing location for the 787 Dreamliner. The second aircraft in the fleet, ZA002, underwent a variety of tests in Victorville, California, last month. The testing in Florida is expected to last nearly two weeks.

Boeing reports that 57 customers have ordered 866 787 aircraft since the programme was launched in April 2004. Delivery of the first 787 is planned for the fourth quarter of 2010.