Boeing has completed the first of three major tests for the 787 static airframe before the programme can be cleared for first flight.

Static tests are continuing despite a three-week-old machinists strike that has stopped work at the final assembly centre in Everett, Washington. First flight is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. Boeing previously predicted a labour strike would cause a day-for-day delay for the 787 schedule.

The high-pressure test conducted on 27 September in Everett validated that the airframe can survive a massive spike in cabin pressure.

Boeing slowly raised pressure within the cabin over a two-hour period to 1.05kg per square centimetre, or 14.9lbs per square inch, or 150% of the maximum service load.

"It's very rewarding to see a whole airplane being tested and having the results we expected," said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager for the 787.

No schedule was provided for the remaining two tests, which are intended to validate the leading edges and trailing edges of the wings.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news