Boeing declares 787 structural tests successful

Washington DC
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Boeing has concluded structural tests to validate the strength of the 787's wings and fuselage.

After completing wing ultimate load testing on 28 March that saw the aircraft's composite wings flexed to a height of 7.6m (25ft), Boeing analysed its test data and has determined that the "airframe performed as designed and retained the required structural integrity," says Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 programme.

During the test on its static test airframe - dubbed ZY997 - the fuselage was also pressurized to 150% of its maximum normal operating condition while applying loads of 150% to the wings, 1.5 times what will ever be seen in service.

Additionally, the test validates the modification made to the 787's side-of-body join that prompted a further six month delay in June 2009, after it was found that the wing's composite stringers were separating from the upper skin of the wing.

Fancher called the successful completion of these tests a "critical step" on the road toward certifying the 787 in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by first delivery to Japan's All Nippon Airways.