Boeing Completes Ultimate-Load Wing Test on 787

 - March 29, 2010, 7:04 AM

Boeing yesterday completed the ultimate-load wing-bending test on the 787 Dreamliner static test unit, the company announced. The tests subjected the airframe to loads meant to replicate 150 percent of the most extreme forces the airplane would ever experience while in service. The wings flexed upward by some 25 feet during the test.

Boeing characterized the initial test results as “positive.” It noted that it would need to perform more extensive analysis and review before it can deem the test a success.

Boeing collected thousands of data points to monitor the performance of the wing during each second of the more than two-hour test. Engineers monitored “key” data points during the test, but they will evaluate all of the data in the weeks ahead.

“The test program has been more robust than any conducted on a Boeing commercial jetliner,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “We are looking forward to the technical team’s report on the details of the test results.” Fancher said the team would need “several weeks” to examine all of the data.

Similar wing-bending tests performed last May resulted in unexpected stress to the airplane’s wing-to-body joints, forcing the company to devise reinforcements for the area and delay first flight by some six months.