Last Thursday, Aug. 23, Boeing performed a crash test on the new compositely constructed 787 Dreamliner in Mesa, AZ. In a closely monitored environment, Boeing dropped a cutaway section of the fuselage, without its top, onto a test platform.
Boeing conducted this test as the third of three physical drop tests for the 787 structure to validate the analytical tool that will be used to demonstrate compliance with the Special Condition published by the FAA (on the Federal Register) to cover the crashworthiness of Boeing’s composite structure, according to Adam Morgan, spokesperson for 787 communications.
The test is to appease the Special Condition in the Federal Register issued by the FAA in regard to the 787 being constructed mainly out of composites. Since this is a new feature in airplane design, Boeing has to prove the plane’s safety as compared to traditional planes, mainly constructed of aluminum.
“To account for the missing top structure (called the crown), additional braces, supports and ballast were added to simulate the mass of the airplane and match internal loads,” Morgan said about the test. “The half barrel and the platform were instrumented so we could measure the results.”
Morgan said he wasn’t able to comment on how the composites held up compared to aluminum, nor was he able to comment on the results of the test or how they tested.
“We're still analyzing our results, but initial indications show the test was successful and achieved many of the goals intended,” he says.
The integrity of the test set up was verified by the FAA.
Boeing is still on schedule to deliver the 787 Dreamliner to its first customer, All-Nippon Airways in May of 2008.