Monday, November 30, 2009

787 passes static wing load test

Future of Flight Picture

This evening several sources reported that the 787 static test air frame had passed the static wing load tests. This was later confirmed this evening in a Boeing press release which is below:

Boeing Completes 787 Dreamliner Static Test

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today completed the static test necessary to validate the side-of-body modification made to the 787 Dreamliner. The company expects a full analysis of the test results to be concluded in approximately 10 days. A successful test result is needed to clear the airplane for its planned first flight next month.

During today's test on the 787 Dreamliner static test airframe, the wing and trailing edges of the airframe were subjected to its limit load -- the highest loads expected to be seen in service. The load is about the same as 2.5 times the force of gravity for the wing.

Boeing announced on June 23 that it was necessary to reinforce an area of structure at the side-of-body section of the 787. The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage. The modifications were completed on the first two flight-test airplanes and the full-scale static test airplane earlier this month.

"Today's test was an important milestone for the program. We will confirm the test results after the completion of our detailed analysis," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

Boeing engineers still needs to finish detailed analysis of the test data but it's looking very good. ZA001 and ZA002 are both back out on the flightline and it's expected that ZA002 will perform additional taxi tests this week. The detailed analysis should take about 10 days to complete but I expect that during this time Boeing will carry out the additional and needed gauntlet testing as well as taxi tests on the 787 in advance of the 787 first flight.

Now according to Matt Cawby's blog, both 787 ZA001 and 747-8F RC501 will attempt their first flights (B1 flight) on December 22nd. While this date is expected for the 787 this is a surprise for the 747-8F and is an attempt to take advantage of maximum exposure on both these aircraft and to show that these programs are back on track.

Matt Cawby's Nov. 30th Blog Post

Earlier both the Seattle Times and Flightblogger reported that the 787 had passed the crucial wing load test to 100% of design loads (the ultimate or 150% design load test will come in 2010 and is not needed for first flight but needed for FAA certification). The passing of the design load limit test means that the side of body fix designed by Boeing engineers works according to their computer models.

Seattle Times


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