787 Horizontal Stabilizer Passes Fatigue Tests

 - July 1, 2008, 9:55 AM

Alenia Aeronautica has completed destructive testing on the horizontal stabilizer of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the companies announced today. The test took place at Alenia’s Pomigliano plant in Naples, Italy, in the presence of Boeing engineers and representatives of the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Alenia manufactures the stabilizer at its plant in Foggia, Italy.

Previous tests that gauged the structure’s capability to withstand various extremes in aerodynamic pressures, such as upward and downward deflection and extreme asymmetric loads, showed that the horizontal stabilizer meets its certification requirement to withstand 150 percent of the maximum aerodynamic load it could conceivably encounter in flight. Alenia engineers then stressed the horizontal stabilizer to its failure point, which proved well in excess of the required 150 percent of limit load, according to the company. The destructive test marked the culmination of seven months of testing conducted by Alenia and Boeing.

With structural testing complete, Alenia now plans to start fatigue testing. Alenia engineers at Pomigliano will subject a complete horizontal stabilizer to repeated flexing, meant to demonstrate the stabilizer’s ability to carry repeated operational load cycles representative of its design life. To earn certification the tail needs to undergo testing to at least three times its design life. Schedules call for the testing program to conclude with a bird strike test at Boeing’s facilities in the U.S.