Aviation Week reports that Boeing has made 1200 test flights with five aircraft to meet 1700 FAA certification requirements. This is for a new version of the venerable 747, which has been flying passengers for nearly 40 years.
1200 flights is one hell of a lot of flying. My old Air Force fighter squadron needed a year to rack up that many sorties. And this is a minor modification of a well proven and highly reliable aircraft with a magnificent safety record.
Could this be yet another case of government desk weenies making a company jump thru expensive hoops just because they can?
Each test flight burns up $40,000 worth of jet fuel. To say nothing of paying the flight crew, and the maintenance effect.