Success for Boeing as barrel sections prove themselves

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Guy Norris, Flight International

Fin-like structure was used to test radio transmissions

Boeing says some of the composite fuselage barrel sections developed to prove the manufacturing concepts for the 787 will now be used for training mechanics following the successful completion of initial testing.

One-piece barrels (OPB) 1 and 2, which were joined after manufacture to prove composite fuselage section joining techniques, were also fitted with a mock-up vertical fin leading edge for radio transmission tests. Boeing says the work was aimed at “looking at how much metal was needed for the antenna characteristics” and that the “tests worked fine”.

Other tests are scheduled for the completed barrels that “do not require full circumferential barrel sections”, adds Boeing, which has completed eight test sections including both the structurally more complex contoured one-piece barrels such as the aft fuselage and nose (Section 41), as well as the simpler constant section OPBs.