On 6 December 2011, ZA006, Boeing's sixth 787 flight test aircraft, departed Boeing Field, Seattle, US, on the way for Dhaka, Bangladesh. The new twinjet was fitted with General Electric GEnx-1B engines, and it weighted 212t (467,375lb), including 103t of fuel.
ZA006 landed in Dhaka after flying 10,710nm (19,814km), with 13.6t of fuel remaining. The aircraft beat the distance record for the 200-250t weight class held by an Airbus A330 that flew 9,127nm in 2002.
The aircraft stopped for refuelling in Dhaka and about 200 people toured the plane. After taking 86t of fuel, the aircraft left Dhaka headed east for the second leg of the journey.
The vertical and lateral navigation modes (VNAV and LNAV) of the 787 were used to fly most of the record-breaking flight. NAA regulations prohibit cutting a waypoint corner short because the LNAV optimizes routing. As a result, the 787 was required to switch to heading select mode, overflying predetermined turn points in New York, Luxor, Egypt, and southern India before proceeding on course.
On its return journey to Seattle, the aircraft arrived with 9.08t of fuel remaining, even though it accelerated to Mach 0.88 for the final six hours of the flight. The global circumnavigation lasted 42 hours and 26 minutes.
Onboard the aircraft were two NAA observers and six pilots on rotating 4-hour shifts during the flight.