Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another "Wrinkle" in the Dreamliner













Pity the poor Boeing test pilots, all suited up and nowhere to go. Sitting out on the tarmac at Everett, Washington, the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner looks sleek, every inch the airliner of the future it is supposed to be. So far, though, all it has been able to do is to roll up and down the runway under low engine power. At least we know the wheels turn. As for actually leaving the ground, don't hold your breath.
That was supposed to happen at the end of July. At the last minute the first test flight was canceled--and no new date set. The 787 was grounded because of structural faults found where the wings meet the fuselage. 
The problem in Italy involves a part of the structure called stringers--stringers are also involved in the wing weakness. This time wrong-sized stringers have been found to cause the outer skin of the fuselage to wrinkle under stress, such as when the airplane lands. Boeing is keen to play down this problem, saying that a solution is already designed and will be executed swiftly.

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