Skip to comments.Are composite planes like 787 safe?
Posted on 09/18/2007 10:46:46 AM PDT by skeptoid
Former CBS newsman and anchor Dan Rather, now with HDNet, will have a special report on the 787 that airs Tuesday, Sept. 18. The subject is whether new composite jets like the 787 are safe.
Boeing recently completed a test in which a section of the 787 composite fuselage was dropped from a height of 15 feet to simulate a crash landing. Boeing has said the test was a success.
This is part of the Associated Press story the P-I ran about that test:
The Boeing Co. said Thursday that results from a recent test on a 787 fuselage section matched computer predictions, eliminating the need for some physical tests.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com ...
Test everything in every way until it breaks. If I was in charge of research, design, testing, the CEO or whatever, that’s what I would tell everybody. Test everything to failure, no matter what computer models say.
I think few people are even qualified to form an opinion.
Taking a cue from one of Boeing’s larger customers, they’ll be “field tested” with several hundred passengers aboard as a cost reduction program.
dropped from a height of 15 feet
Don’t most planes fly higher than that?
Interesting analysis in The American Thinkerhttp://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/09/the_return_of_rathergate.html
If you free fall from much more than that, and a lot of times even just that much, it won’t matter. The interior will fall apart and you’ll die.
Did anyone ask this question about the possibility of the tail on an Airbus just falling off in flight?
Before they field tested the possibilty in NYC, I mean?
I don’t know about the larger assemblies, but I’ve read stories where the smaller GA aircraft are so much stronger than aluminum that small crashes that would have killed the pilot were walk-aways. The aluminum would have crushed and bent while the composites were far sturdier. I would think that would translate into safer fuselages for the big “iron”.
What does 'safe' mean? Certainly, based on statistics, driving a car or even taking a shower can be unsafe.
In the past, those in charge of aircraft QC and QA/testing were well educated in the art of experimental design. I don’t know if those skills have been trashed in the past two decades by incompetent, middle managers seeking more authority, but if they have, then even more failures will result than if one simply catastrophically tested all components and assemblies.
Those who have become more intuitive in experimental design and systems engineering tend to design more functional and cleaner designed aircraft. The Art of Design so to speak.
Fired engineer calls 787’s plastic fuselage unsafe
Well, yes...but the rest will express the loudest opinions. ;)
Is that what happened to Dan Rather? Did someone drop him from fifteen feet???
It’s FAA SOP of “pushing the envelope”. All planes get drop-tested from 15 feet. The object is not so much to simulate a crash as it is to simulate a rough landing. I know because my cousin is building planes and has to go through the same process.
dropped from a height of 15 feet
Dont most planes fly higher than that?
= = =
Shoot—Shrillery’s broom flies higher than that!
Smells like Reardon Metal to me, imagine building a better material for both strength and weight in aeronautics just to drive a nail in the coffin of Airbus. The socialists will be outraged as is Dan Rather I’m sure.
Both Boeing and the FAA will make sure that the airframe is safe. Actual scientists/engineers work for both.
Then, I observed that the claim was brought up by Dan Rather.
Folks, Dan Rather doesn’t know type fonts. He knows about as much about structural engineering (which requires -—math-—gasp!) as Al Gore knows about climate.
The next thing, someone will be claiming that Hillary knows about medicine.
Dan Rather, just can’t help himself..
Exactly like his socialist mentor — Conkite, BOTH are returning to the public arena to take their swings at America and the American economy..
These bastards NEVER quit!
We are far too tolerant and kind to the enemies of the Republic..
NOTHING is a convenient coincidence to a Leftist...
FARs 25.603, 25.605, 25.613.
Also there’s the element of how much force/ impulse/ acceleration the human body can withstand. Imagine how violent a fall from 15 feet would be for the human body. Just becasue the strucutre of the aircraft doesn’t fail, that doesn’t mean the human body can withstand the crach intact. This is why cars hav crush zones.
Failed landings, so called “crash landings and water landings are one (or three) issues, but aircraft crashes— uncontrolled flight into the ground, particularly large jets which stop flying at 120 MPH, simply are rarely survivable— regardless of the strength of the aluminum.
Thanks, you beat me to it. Boeing’s been building things that fly for a long time, since the days they used canvas as a wing component. Me thinks they know what they’re doing.
I expect Boeing knows how composites will function, I think their UAV’s are composites.
Absolutely unsinkable! We will go on. :-)
Good point, I never fly on any planes that are unapproved by that well known aeronautical engineer Dan Rather.
My opinion, with new materials and construction techniques, you should test more not less. Too many unknowns can slip by. A well written and executed test program will find the weaknesses without excess expenses.
Computers do a lot of the automobile tests these days and results agree very close with actual tests, but ... there are always some things that weren’t thought about before hand.
Thoroughly test and verify, it’s the best way.
Are not F1 and Indy type race cars made from composites?
That would be the wise move.. but not the most cost effective up front.... which if their computer models turn out to be wrong because they didn’t test it all in the real world.. will cost them far far far more down the road.
As far as I’m concerned the FAA should be requiring complete physical testing to gain certification of airworthiness.
I have been following the 787 from day one, and I have every confidence in the Boeing engineers. There really is nothing to worry about. That said, I really would like to see them crash one just to put speculation to rest. Build a stripped down frame, set up 1,000 cameras in the desert, and put one into the ground - just to make sure.
The answer is yes.
The Engineer saying composites are unsafe seems he has a problem. Maybe he is trying to get attention for himself and has attracted the gadfly Rather to his nest.
They are just testing to see if it makes it to the ground. Apparently it did. :-)
Rather doesn’t even know the frequency.
I’m sure that won’t stop Dan Rather.
Today’s composites include some pretty astounding stuff; Most notable to my thinking are the HCA arrows, i.e. 250-gr arrows which can be fired from safari bows into hard targets without harm to the bow or the arrow. No material from 1970 or thereabouts could produce anything like that.
Well, call me naive but I can’t picture Boeing making a plane that will shatter into bits during an accident. Just wouldn’t seem to be a good business decision.
That ain’t even a HARD landing!
They tested the wings towards failure, but went past the required test load and they were still going strong. They were thinking of testing them to breaking just for the entertainment value -- but I wouldn't want to be the one to sweep up all that exploded carbon fiber.
I’ve seen video of stress tests on aircraft wings, and when they go, they go with quite a loud bang.
“Dont most planes fly higher than that?’
Well, at some point before it crashes, every plane will be at fifteen feet...
Here ya go:
“As far as Im concerned the FAA should be requiring complete physical testing to gain certification of airworthiness.”
See FAR Part 25.
“Todays composites include some pretty astounding stuff”
And some of the most expensive. I saw a composite paddle at the kayak shop for $365 as opposed to my $49.95 plastic model.
Pretty cool. 150% is what they’re required to survive. They were speculating that the 787’s carbon wings might actually touch at top and never break (strong, but flexible). But if they did, the explosion would be pretty impressive as carbon fiber particles shoot everywhere.
Really? F=MA, 15 feet is a long way to accelerate when its 32.2 ft/sec^2. Falling from 15 feet is more than enough to kill ya man.
Is it just me or do they now shatter into bits during an accident?
They couldn’t test the wings to failure. The bending machine ran out of its range of motion before the wings broke. :p
I know nothing of composites, but I do know aluminum and rivets. Sloppy, high maintenance and prone to corrosion in places you can’t see.
It is well past time for new technology in airframe manufacture.