Boeing isn’t revealing more about the destructive testing of the wing box of the 787 Dreamliner until Tuesday US time. Video highlights will be then posted. The editing process seems to be as glacial as the project itself. Earlier today we mistakenly believed there was to be a press conference on the same day. Apparently not. Accounting for the state of this program is long overdue. The Dreamliner has sold more than 900 of the medium sized twin engined jet to airlines that will have to wait two or more years longer than promised to receive them. (Qantas has 65 Dreamliners on order for itself and Jetstar). Sources in the company have identified the component that was deliberately broken on Saturday as the one that began to bend during earlier tests because efforts to save weight had seen too much of the reinforced carbon fibre plastic being used taken out of the finished product.
Unlike alloy components those using the plastic chosen for the Dreamliner involve layers of carbon fibre glued together and baked in a giant oven.
The full testing of a wing to breaking point, or at least to 150% of the designed maximum aerodynamic loading has yet to take place. Boeing says the 787 prototype and the other five Dreamliners in the flight test and certification program cannot take off until the major static testing of components has been completed.
Last week a spokesperson for Qantas said “Qantas expects the 787 to be significantly delayed beyond the total delays already announced.”