Tuesday, September 14, 2010

787 fatigue test begin and 747-8I taking shape

Photos Courtesy of Boeing

Boeing announced yesterday that it has started fatigue testing on ZY998 which is the fatigue test dedicated air frame. This airframe will undergo 3 years of testing nonstop that will simulate over 160,000 flight cycles on the 787. Boeing needs to have 3 months of testing done prior to certification thus the start is timely for the 787 certification program. Mike Mecham of Aviation Week has a great article with details of the 787 fatigue test program. Boeing also put out a video and a blog post which is linked below. Here's Boeing's press release:
Boeing Begins Testing on 787 Dreamliner Fatigue Airframe
EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has begun fatigue testing on the structural airframe of the 787 Dreamliner at the Everett, Wash., site. Fatigue testing involves placing the 787 test airframe into a test rig that simulates multiple lifecycles to test how the airplane responds over time.

"Unlike static tests, where loads are applied to the airplane structure to simulate both normal operation and extreme flight conditions, fatigue testing is a much longer process that simulates up to three times the number of flight cycles an airplane is likely to experience during a lifetime of service," said Jim Ogonowski, structures vice president, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

While the structural test program already has validated the strength of the airframe,
fatigue testing looks at long-term, continued use. This is the natural progression of testing on a new airplane and part of the process to achieve U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification.

Video of the fatigue test can be found at http://bit.ly/9zV4jM.

Moving on to other 787 related news, Flightblogger revealed in a blog post that ZA102, the 9th 787 built has received its Trent 1000 engines and is moving towards its first flight. These engines are the package A engines. Early in August a package A Trent 1000 had an uncontained failure which lead to the current delivery delay. It was that engine that was meant for ZA102.
Further, sources have told me that ZA102 is slated to make its first flight in the first week of November. Boeing wants to carry out functionality and reliability testing as well as ETOPS testing on a production standard 787. ZA101 will also be used for testing but only for ground testing. Preparation for ZA006's first flight continue with testing on going on that aircraft including leak checks with a fuel load and testing of the NGS in the fuel tanks. That airplane is still scheduled to fly on Sept. 24th.
Lastly, Boeing will resume final assembly activities on new 787s with ZA232 (LN 28) due to start final assembly on Oct. 4th.

The 747-8I program continues to move forward with the forward fuselage structure completed and moving on for sealing and testing and then onwards for systems integration and assembly with the rest of the 747 fuselage. The first 747-8I should be rolled out by the end of this year or very early next year with first flight in early 2011. Here's Boeing's Press Release:

Boeing Assembles First 747-8 Intercontinental Forward Fuselage

EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) achieved another significant milestone for the first 747-8 Intercontinental Sunday night with the assembly of the airplane's forward fuselage. The 89-foot, 2-inch (27.2 meters) fuselage section, featuring the airplane's signature upper deck, was moved from the assembly tool for sealing and testing before beginning systems installation.

The 747-8 features a stretched fuselage compared to that of the 747-400. It is 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 meters) longer than its predecessor. Much of the stretch -- 13 feet, 4 inches (4.1 meters) -- is located in the forward fuselage. The remaining additional 5 feet (1.5 meters) are located aft of the wing. The 747-8's stretched fuselage provides for 51 additional seats to accommodate 467 passengers in a typical three-class configuration and 26 percent more cargo volume.

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is the new, high-capacity 747 that offers the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane, while providing enhanced environmental performance.

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