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Third 787-9 takes to the skies

US airframer Boeing (NYSE: BA) said it has flown the third 787-9 Dreamliner. It is the first to be powered by General Electric GEnx (NYSE: GE) engines, Boeing said.

The third of three 787-9s dedicated to the test effort, ZB021 joined the fleet some two months from the inaugural flight of the first 787-9.

ZB021 took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 12: 15 pm local time and landed 2 hours and 44 minutes later at Seattle´sBoeing Field.

Boeing said it will use ZB021 to test engine performance as well as airplane handling characteristics such as low-speed performance and braking.

The 787-9 test programme continues to make progress. Boeing said the fleet flies regularly, with the second airplane now in Florida for climatic testing, and has accumulated more than 180 flight hours and more than 60 flights.

In addition to the three dedicated airplanes, Boeing also will conduct some testing on two production airplanes, the first of which is in final assembly in Everett. 787-10 development also is on plan.

Boeing is on track to deliver the 787-9 to launch customer Air New Zealand in mid-2014. 26 customers have ordered 396 787-9s, accounting for approximately 40 % of all 787 orders.

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