Load Test Incident Won’t Delay 777X

An incident involving one of two 777X static test aircraft is not expected to further delay the airliner’s development or its entry into service, says Boeing.

The manufacturer confirmed that on September 5 the airframe underwent final load testing, which involved “bending the wings of the aircraft up to a level far beyond anything expected in commercial service”. During the trials, the aft fuselage depressurised and the rear cargo door ‘blew out’ at what the company states was “approximately 99% of the final test loads”. In order for an airliner to be certified, its wings are required to withstand around 150% of the typical load without failing.

In the same September 10 media release, the manufacturer added: “While our root cause assessment continues, at this time we do not expect that this will have a significant impact on aircraft design or on our overall test programme schedule. We remain fully focused on safety as our highest priority, as we subject the 777X to a rigorous test programme prior to first flight.” Boeing has previously postponed the type’s maiden flight until early next year citing operational issues with the type’s General Electric GE9X powerplant. It has since delayed the development of the smaller 777-8 variant indefinitely.