Aviation news analysis
50 SKY SHADES - World aviation news

The Crazy Tests New Planes Go Through Before Flying

Download: Printable PDF Date: 29 Mar 2016 23:54 category:
Publisher:
The Crazy Tests New Planes Go Through Before Flying - Manufacturer publisher
Tatjana Obrazcova
Country: United States Aircraft: Airplanes

We guarantee you’ve never taken an exam this tough. Or long. Or involving quite so many dead chickens. (Seriously.)

Before passengers set foot on a new jet, each plane must ace tens of thousands of safety tests, enduring everything from simulated lightning bolts and hailstorms to bird strikes and mid-air stalling. “Let’s just say that if there’s a new coffee maker on a plane, we’ve tested it,” says Frank Rasor, Director of Boeing’s Northwest Flight Test Operations.

Jet engines are put through the ringer first bymanufacturers such as GE, where, in addition to computerized tests, they swallow golf-ball-sized chunks of ice, 800 gallons of gushing water a minute, and yep, dead chickens, to check the resiliency of running engine blades. (The threat of bumping into a flock of geese is still a major headache for manufacturers, because it can be not only dangerous—paging Captain Sully!—but also expensive to repair.)

At jetliner giants like Boeing, pieces of the plane are brought to a lightning lab where they’re zapped with high voltage currents to check the effects of lightning strikes. Wings, meanwhile, are put under tension in “static tests” to determine their breaking point. (Historically this was done until they snapped, but digital systems can test a 787’s wing now without breaking it in half.) Fatigue tests, which measure how a plane will respond to stress over time, are run by hooking a plane up with electronic sensors and then pulling and twisting the body with various loads of pressure. The plane can be ‘aged’ a decade in just a few weeks, and the engineers step in to address any problems that pop up.

And that’s just a fraction of what’s done on the ground. “Our simulation tests have gotten so much better over time, but we still fly the planes to verify that modeling is accurate,” says Rasor. Testing teams fly to destinations like Russia, Alaska, and Iceland in search of extreme crosswinds, altitudes, and ice accumulation, sometimes trucking new planes through temps as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. All in all, it’s a multi-year process and unparalleled system of vetting—one even the car you drive daily doesn't get. So the next time you see a wing wobble or hear a loud noise in flight and wonder if that's supposed to happen, the answer is almost unequivocally yes.  

 

 



Loading comments for The Crazy Tests New Planes Go Through Before Flying...


Recommended

Boeing, FedEx Express Announce Order for 24 Medium and Large Freighters

World's largest air cargo carrier modernizes its fleet with more 767 Freighters and 777 Freighters New order reflects confidence in growing air cargo market and Boeing's freighter famil...

Asesa Selects Able as Exclusive Repair and Overhaul Provider

Mexico-based Aeroservicios Especializados S.A. de C.V. and Able Aerospace Services, a Textron Inc.company, have signed an agreement making Able the exclusive provider of component repairs, overha...

AAG and London Biggin Hill bring US and UK closer together with New York Heli Shuttle

London Biggin Hill and Associated Aircraft Group (AAG), the premier executive helicopter company, are announcing the launch of the New York Heli Shuttle, establishing even closer links between the US...

ADVENTURE AVIATION CHOOSES ALSIM AL250 SIMULATOR

ALSIM is pleased to announce the sale of an AL250 simulator to Adventure Aviation in Alberta, Canada. The AL250 will include a real Garmin GTN 650. It will complement the schools fleet of Cessna 172&r...

Piaggio Aerospace to exhibit at Farnborough 2018

Piaggio Aerospace will participate in the 2018 edition of Farnborough International Airshow (FIA2018) staged in Hampshire, UK, at the Farnborough Airport between 16th and 22nd July, 2018.   Th...