Boeing has begun preparing their static test 777X for fatigue testing by setting the aircraft up in its “cage”, indicating major structural tests are just around the corner.
The aircraft, a 777-9 with designation WY987, was transferred from the 40-51 apron at Paine Field to the west parking lot on Sunday May 11th before heading down Perimeter Road to the 40-41 fatigue test structure.
What looks to be the skeleton of a large hangar is actually a complex steel structure weighing around 680t (1,500,000lb) that will tie itself to the aircraft and simulate different loads on all major components, imitating everyday operations in a worst case environment.
A large collection of pulleys, steel cable and hydraulic actuators will twist, pull, push and vibrate the aircraft, with sensors gathering data for engineers to analyse.
The last time Boeing used a full-scale fatigue test structure was 10 years ago with the 787 Dreamliner.
You can watch the official Boeing video on 787 fatigue testing here:
If we rewind to the days of the original 777 when they completed major structural testing of the wings, we can bring up this fantastic snippet of the wing load testing:
Although the 777X structure outside looks similar to the one in the video above, it won’t be ripping any wings apart!
Boeing has already come a long way with the test program for the 777X, and although the company has been hit repetitively by the media over the 737 MAX, Boeing assures the test program is on track.
Only a matter of time before we see this enormous aircraft soaring through the skies on its first flight!
777X Fatigue Structure/Rigging photos by Matt Cawby (Paine Airport) – Twitter