Under pressure

About 10 days ago, we performed the ultimate load wing and fuselage bending test for the 787 Dreamliner.

As you might recall, we flexed the wings on the 787 static test article, bending them up by about 25 feet (7.62 meters). In addition, the fuselage was pressurized to 150% of its maximum normal operating condition.

Initial results monitored by the test team looked promising. But, of course, you can’t certify commercial airplanes on promises.

Today, we have the results, and they’re very good - all test requirements have been successfully met. The team has completed the detailed analysis of the results - reviewing thousands of data points - and they’ve confirmed our expectations.

The 787 has passed this critical test.

If the photo I shared with you last week - showing the dramatic wing flex - piqued your interest in the test, you’ll really want to take a look at a new video we’ve released today that shows a time lapse of the 787 test.


The 787 wings at 150%. Click the image above to go to the 787 ultimate load wing test video on the 787 Dreamliner Flight Test site.

And while it’s exciting to see those long, thin composite 787 wings bend that high, we shouldn’t forget that when we performed this test back in 1995 on the 777 wings, they also bent nearly as high.

In both cases it’s what I truly would call success - under pressure.

Comments (10)

Mike (USA):

That is is so awesome...congratulations...not only that, but fuselage pressurized to 150% AND wings at 150%....absolutely amazing. This is one amazing airplane!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

With a product that can survive 50% more stress on what it's goal is intended to be, you have a tough product that is going to get you where you need to go when the going is tough.

Gordon Werner (Seattle, WA):

Why didn't the engineers bend them to the breaking point? wouldn't that be a valuable metric?

Thiagarajan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia):

The results looks promising..but delivering it is more promising i.e. FANTASTIC!

Congrats Boeing!

Barun Majumdar (Seattle, WA, USA):

I'm inclined to quote a popular adage "Necessity is the mother of invention." We need to use optimally the properties of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the success of this program in the long haul.

"We are embarked as pioneers upon a new science and industry in which our problems are so new and unusual that it behooves no one to dismiss any novel idea with the statement that 'it can't be done!'"
-William E. Boeing, founder, The Boeing Company

W. Ron Bobby (Mesa, AZ, USA):

That is a fantastic video!! Just curious if any of these recent testing further validate the side of body modifications?

Randy Tinseth:

Yes, Ron, this test does put the structure - all of it - under extreme loads.

It validates the entire design, including the side-of-body modification.

Vero Venia (;-):

The mention about the 777 wing deflection at ultimate load being similar to 787 draws my attention.

I have the strange feeling the aeroelastic behavior of the wing is a more a important criteria than its resistance to rupture. I may be wrong.

I suspect the 787's wings can sustain much more load than the ultimate load without breaking apart. But, perhaps at the point of rupture the shape of the wing would have been irrelevant.

My blog: http: //verovenia.wordpress.com

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

That is beautiful science - amazing.. Such huge step in validating this Plastic Fantastic. Congrats!

Scott Putnam (Redding, CA):

Congratulations Boeing! I'm glad you didn't destroy the wing. 150% is sufficient proof of its flexibility.

1. What is the plan for this 787 post testing? Will it be dismantled, sent to a museum or other?

2. What will happen to the other test 787 planes?

Thanks again Randy for all your contributions!

Post a comment

We welcome your comments. However all comments are moderated and may not post immediately. Offensive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not treat any comments you submit as confidential information. Please do not submit comments that contain any confidential information belonging to anyone else.

By submitting a comment to Randy's Journal, you agree to our site terms and privacy policy, and to having your name displayed with your comment. All or part of your comment may be posted or cited in the blog. Your name and personal information will not be used for any other purpose, and we will not publish your e-mail address.


More posts