Boeing Validates 787 Mod Analysis, Completes Gauntlet Test

 - December 11, 2009, 6:50 AM

Boeing announced yesterday that it completed the review and analysis of the static test that it conducted November 30 to validate the side-of-body modification made to the 787 Dreamliner and reported that the 787 team has finished final gauntlet testing on the first airplane.

“I am happy to report that the program has validated the airplane structure for the 787 Dreamliner,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

Gauntlet testing lasted just two days because only improvements made earlier this year during previous testing had to be examined, said Boeing. “We are very pleased with the results of this final functional testing,” added Fancher. “With the successful completion of static testing and this functional testing, our focus now moves to first flight.”

Testing on the static test airframe subjected the wing and trailing edges of the airframe to their limit load, the highest loads expected to occur in service. The airplane had to pass the limit-load test to gain clearance for first flight. Boeing plans to conduct all limit-load tests and analyze data before conducting next year the ultimate load series needed for certification.

Boeing announced on June 23 that it needed 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 attaches to the fuselage. The 787 team has completed modifications on the first three flight-test airplanes and the full-scale static test airplane.

Boeing plans to fly the 787 Dreamliner next week after final flight readiness reviews, receipt of documentation from the FAA and taxi testing, which is subject to weather conditions.