Print 75 comment(s) - last by Masospaghetti.. on Aug 7 at 10:02 AM

Engineers on the project say wing design flaw will prevent test flight in 2009

Boeing's 787 “Dreamliner” has been more of a nightmare for many at Boeing as the project has cost significantly more than expected and is still two-years late (and counting).

Another problem in the 787's design has been found, this time in the wings. During tests to certify the aircraft, damage to the wings and wing box of the 787 was found. The damage was delamination of the composite sheets covering the wings under stress.

The Seattle Times reports that the structural flaw in the Dreamliner was discovered in May during ground tests that bent the wings upwards to simulate stress during flight. The stress at the end of rods used to stiffen the upper wing skin panels caused the composite plastic material used in the wings to delaminate.

The damage to the wing occurred just beyond the Dreamliner's load limit, described as the maximum weight the wing is expected to bear in service. The Seattle Times mistakenly reported last week that the damage occurred just over the wing's ultimate load, which is 50% higher than the in-service limit load the wing is expected to endure. The limit load is the FAA test target and proves that the problem with the design of the wing is worse than originally believed.

The plane could have flown after the wing damage, but the test flights would reportedly have been severely restricted. The damage the wing sustained is reportedly not severe enough to have caused any sort of catastrophic failure had it happened in flight.

The design flaw and time needed to devise and implement repairs on the fleet means that the test flight will not likely happen this year according to one engineer on the project. The test flight was delayed in late 2008 to Q2 2009.

The damage to the wings extends inside the fuselage of the aircraft as well making repairs more difficult. The failure in the wing and the wing box is not the fault of Fuji Heavy Industries, who manufactures the components for Boeing. That means Boeing is solely responsible for any cost overruns and time delays because of the issue.

The fix has yet to be certified but could involve engineers creating a U-shape cutout in the end of the upper wing skin stringer and then refastening the reshaped stringer ends with new titanium fittings.

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RE: Shane can piss off
By rudolphna on 7/31/2009 12:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a fanboy. I would be defending airbus or bombardier or Lockheed if they had these problems too. You CAN pick the plane you fly in. You can pick your airline, and it tells you for each flight the planes. You can pick and choose as you want. Also, it IS a new design. This is the first time a commercial airliner, or any large aircraft has EVER used composite materials for the entire airframe construction. That means nobody truly knows what to expect, and guesses are pretty much the best that can be done.

RE: Shane can piss off
By brybir on 7/31/2009 3:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
You seem pretty frantic about this issue. Somehow you read into this article that the implication is that the Dreamliner should be trouble free, and then go on and on about how unrealistic it is that this amazing new aircraft should not have any problems.

Best I can tell from the article is that it says:

1. The project is delayed well past Boeing's own internal schedule of development
2. The delays are attributed to defects found in the design during testing
3. Repeated delays of this kind are not good in a very competitive industry.

I fail to see how any of this represents "fanboyism". I also do not see where it appears the author is advocating anything. I think its a pretty good short article about the problems Boeing is having, the context and history of other problems of the plane, and the possible implications this could have in the industry that Boeing competes in.

I didnt even know people could be "fanboys" for an airline. Seems kinda silly to me unless perhaps you work for the company or are directly impacted by it.

RE: Shane can piss off
By Belard on 7/31/2009 4:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
Geez people... both of you don't know what a fanboy is.

Rudolphna defends Boeing on equal footing as any other airplane maker.

A fan boy does this: "AIRBUS SUCK IT DOWN!! BOEING ROCKS! Say anything wrong with Boeing, I'll knife you!"

The delays in the 787 are not good, but nothing shocking. That is what the stress tests are for. Hopefully Boeing doesn't get to much problems from the Airliners... each delay costs Boeing money in not making their deliveries and the penalties by the Airliners. ie: Each plane delayed could cost Boeing thousands of dollars per day.

RE: Shane can piss off
By FPP on 8/3/2009 7:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
nonsense! With far fewer design tools, an earlier generation of engineers took less time and got a far better result, while taking far larger risks.

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