Bend me, shape me

It was an exciting day in Everett on Sunday as we took the wings on the 787 static test article to their “ultimate load” condition - bending them up by approximately 25 feet (7.62 meters).

The test represents 150% of the most extreme load any Dreamliner is expected to ever see in service, and it’s meant to ensure that we have appropriate design margin to account for unexpected events.


Bend me, shape me” indeed. A remarkable photo taken during Sunday’s ultimate load test.

While the test only lasted a short period of time, as the team slowly applied the loads necessary, it took years to get to this point - and the expertise of hundreds of people. An airplane is an amazing creation, with countless design decisions that all have to come together in a machine that flies safely and reliably.

That just never gets old, if you know what I mean.

The test team is now taking a detailed look at all of the data gathered during the test. There are thousands of data points that need to be correlated to the expectations we had going into the test. That effort will take several weeks.

But, initial results are in and they’re positive.

We have test personnel in a control center during the testing. They watch displays of key data points as the testing is happening. Those folks saw nothing that indicated there was any concern. Still, we’ll go through the detailed review because that’s the level of precision required when building a commercial jetliner.

While we’ll have to wait until the final results are in to declare success, we’re certainly encouraged by what we saw on Sunday.

Comments (12)

A cessna flyer:

Intellectually I know this has to happen.

Emotionally, it pains me to see a great plane tortured so...

Thiagarajan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia):

Another superb testing contributed by Boeing staff who believe in EXCELLENCE.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Always amazing!

P.Sumantri (France):

I've just realized that the 787 wing deflection at ultimate load was in the same order of magnitude as for the 777 (around 24 ft).

In any case, the 787 has just passed another important milestone. Congratulations!

Daniel (Hong Kong):

I have noticed that all but ZA001 did not fly for the past few days.

I assume that was because the pending TIA (Type Inspection Authorization)with which Boeing can begin the certification test.

Anyway, I love the 787 very much and congratulations, Boeing~!

I really wanna fly on the 787 someday~!

Javier Herrero (Seattle):

This is one of the areas where it payed off to forget about pressures, and spend some time on a good fix for the side of body wing attachment, when it showed some nonlinearities during Limit Test.

Congratulations 787 team for a good fix at the right time!

Chris C (South Africa):

Now, that's what I'd call "some serious wing-flex"! Truly impressive and an absolute marvel of solid engineering. Congratulations Boeing on achieving this significant milestone for the super-efficient 787.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

I have not seen any wing bend test like this, The 787 looks like it can survive virtually any kind of turbulence. Congratulations to the engineers and assemblers of the 787 of the wing bend test, the 787 is not just efficient but also very safe.

Ta R. (Wellington,NZ.):

Thats a mean flex,unbelievable. Its true what Boeing has said all along, this is the plane of the future.

Efficent and reliable to say the least. Keep it up Boeing
RANDY, do u think the 787 will fly to NZ at some stage during test flight, after all AIR NZ is on the top 5 on order.

Matthew Wong (Hong Kong):

Nice job Boeing! That's is a great achievement in the process of type certification and it will be so amazing to see the wing bending at this angle. So terrible indeed. But it proof the engineering of the new wing design and new material.

Wish to see B787 delivery and start commercial flying in the global.

Do the B747-8 need to do the same test too?

Bob Matetich (Everett):

How does this wing displacement compare with the equivalent 767 test?

Ralph Caruthers (San Antonio, TX, USA):

You state, "...the test only lasted a short period of time, as the team slowly applied the loads necessary ..." Will Mother Nature be as considerate when one of these magnificent birds is thousands of miles from landfall? I am not an engineer, so I don't fully understand how this careful, slow, deliberate test fully predicts the effects of a snap movement in turbulent air.

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