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Originally published April 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Page modified April 23, 2010 at 6:31 AM

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Boeing 787 test plane is chilling in Florida

Boeing's third flight test airplane is in Florida this week for "cold soak" tests.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing Corporate Video

Boeing's third flight test airplane is in Florida this week soaking up the cold.

Dreamliner No. 3 is inside a special climate-controlled hangar at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base near Valparaiso, Fla., for "cold soak" tests.

The airplane will be left overnight in temperatures as low as -45 F, Boeing said. Then pilots will start the engines and move the control surfaces on the wings and tail to ensure that everything works in such extreme conditions.

Sensors and monitors will tell flight test technicians whether all systems hardware and software operate as expected.

After that, the hangar will switch from a freezer to an oven, and the flight test team will repeat those checks while the jet bakes in heat as high as 115 degrees.

Boeing sent a crew of approximately 100 people from Seattle to support the Florida test operation, which is expected to last nearly two weeks.

Later in the flight test program, the Dreamliner will also be tested taking off and landing at extreme weather destinations — both cold and hot — elsewhere on the globe.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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