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Are composite planes like 787 safe?
Seattle P. I. ^ | September 18, 2007 | James Wallace

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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 787; aerospace; boeing; dreamliner
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1 posted on 09/18/2007 10:46:48 AM PDT by skeptoid
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To: skeptoid

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.


2 posted on 09/18/2007 10:48:46 AM PDT by wastedyears (George Orwell was a clairvoyant.)
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To: skeptoid

I think few people are even qualified to form an opinion.


3 posted on 09/18/2007 10:49:13 AM PDT by Perdogg (democrat party - the political wing of Al Qaeda.)
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To: Perdogg
Your exactly right. The complexity of a composite machine that large, they literally wrote the FEA software to match what the physical tests told them. I doubt there are more than a couple of thousand people who can actually give an opinion of this in the US.
4 posted on 09/18/2007 10:52:30 AM PDT by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
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To: skeptoid

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.


5 posted on 09/18/2007 10:52:37 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: skeptoid

dropped from a height of 15 feet

Don’t most planes fly higher than that?


6 posted on 09/18/2007 10:53:17 AM PDT by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
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To: skeptoid

Interesting analysis in The American Thinkerhttp://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/09/the_return_of_rathergate.html


7 posted on 09/18/2007 10:54:02 AM PDT by PurpleMan
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To: Rennes Templar

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.


8 posted on 09/18/2007 10:55:00 AM PDT by Tolsti
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To: skeptoid

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?


9 posted on 09/18/2007 10:55:24 AM PDT by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: Perdogg

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”.


10 posted on 09/18/2007 10:56:24 AM PDT by Big Giant Head (I should change my tagline to "Big Giant Distraction on my Head")
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To: Perdogg
I think few people are even qualified to form an opinion.

What does 'safe' mean? Certainly, based on statistics, driving a car or even taking a shower can be unsafe.

11 posted on 09/18/2007 10:58:07 AM PDT by PAR35
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To: wastedyears

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.


12 posted on 09/18/2007 10:59:44 AM PDT by Cvengr (The violence of evil is met with the violence of righteousness, justice, love and grace.)
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To: skeptoid

Fired engineer calls 787’s plastic fuselage unsafe

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/boeingaerospace/2003889663_boeing180.html


13 posted on 09/18/2007 11:00:36 AM PDT by Revel
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To: Perdogg
I think few people are even qualified to form an opinion.

Well, yes...but the rest will express the loudest opinions. ;)

14 posted on 09/18/2007 11:00:47 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: skeptoid
Is former CBS newsman and anchor Dan Rather safe? If he were suspended 15ft above a runway and dropped if he reported something that he knew wasn’t supported by facts. Would he report this story the same way?
15 posted on 09/18/2007 11:03:35 AM PDT by ThomasThomas
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To: skeptoid

Is that what happened to Dan Rather? Did someone drop him from fifteen feet???


16 posted on 09/18/2007 11:04:06 AM PDT by Brofholdonow
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To: Rennes Templar

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.


17 posted on 09/18/2007 11:04:46 AM PDT by Philistone (Your existence as a non-believer offends the Prophet(MPBUH).)
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To: Rennes Templar

dropped from a height of 15 feet

Don’t most planes fly higher than that?

= = =

INDEED!

Shoot—Shrillery’s broom flies higher than that!


18 posted on 09/18/2007 11:06:03 AM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: skeptoid

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.


19 posted on 09/18/2007 11:07:03 AM PDT by Camel Joe (liberal=socialist=royalist/imperialist pawn=enemy of Freedom)
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To: skeptoid

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.

Never mind.


20 posted on 09/18/2007 11:10:41 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: skeptoid

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...


21 posted on 09/18/2007 11:12:16 AM PDT by river rat (Semper Fi - You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: wastedyears

FARs 25.603, 25.605, 25.613.

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=ea8bb930b58f31c55eb0d812cbcbb058&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title14/14cfr25_main_02.tpl


22 posted on 09/18/2007 11:17:46 AM PDT by Dead Dog
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To: Tolsti

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.


23 posted on 09/18/2007 11:24:11 AM PDT by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Da Coyote

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.


24 posted on 09/18/2007 11:25:02 AM PDT by bigfootbob
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To: skeptoid

Absolutely unsinkable! We will go on. :-)


25 posted on 09/18/2007 11:32:07 AM PDT by showme_the_Glory (ILLEGAL: prohibited by law. ALIEN: Owing political allegiance to another country or government)
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To: ThomasThomas

Good point, I never fly on any planes that are unapproved by that well known aeronautical engineer Dan Rather.


26 posted on 09/18/2007 11:39:42 AM PDT by Notary Sojac ("If it ain't broken, fix it 'till it is" - Congress)
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To: skeptoid
Dan will likely do as good a job with structural engineering as he does with his assault weapon reports.

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.

27 posted on 09/18/2007 11:47:07 AM PDT by Tarpon
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To: Big Giant Head

Are not F1 and Indy type race cars made from composites?


28 posted on 09/18/2007 11:51:13 AM PDT by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: wastedyears

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.


29 posted on 09/18/2007 11:52:17 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: skeptoid

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.


30 posted on 09/18/2007 11:54:18 AM PDT by July 4th (A vacant lot cancelled out my vote for Bush.)
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To: Westlander

The answer is yes.


31 posted on 09/18/2007 11:56:22 AM PDT by bmwcyle (BOMB, BOMB, BOMB,.......BOMB, BOMB IRAN)
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To: skeptoid
But according to a summary of OSHA's findings, Boeing told investigators Weldon was fired for threatening a supervisor, specifically for stating he wanted to hang the African-American executive "on a meat hook" and that he "wouldn't mind" seeing a noose around the executive's neck.

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.

32 posted on 09/18/2007 11:57:56 AM PDT by sr4402
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To: Rennes Templar

They are just testing to see if it makes it to the ground. Apparently it did. :-)


33 posted on 09/18/2007 11:59:40 AM PDT by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: ThomasThomas

Rather doesn’t even know the frequency.


34 posted on 09/18/2007 12:04:11 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: Abathar

I’m sure that won’t stop Dan Rather.


35 posted on 09/18/2007 12:05:04 PM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom! Non-Sequitur = Pee Wee Herman.)
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To: skeptoid

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.


36 posted on 09/18/2007 12:07:28 PM PDT by damondonion
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To: skeptoid

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.


37 posted on 09/18/2007 12:07:47 PM PDT by BfloGuy (It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect . . .)
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To: Rennes Templar

That ain’t even a HARD landing!


38 posted on 09/18/2007 12:08:18 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: wastedyears
Test everything to failure, no matter what computer models say.

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.

39 posted on 09/18/2007 12:17:58 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: antiRepublicrat

I’ve seen video of stress tests on aircraft wings, and when they go, they go with quite a loud bang.


40 posted on 09/18/2007 12:19:18 PM PDT by wastedyears (George Orwell was a clairvoyant.)
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To: Rennes Templar

“Don’t most planes fly higher than that?’

Well, at some point before it crashes, every plane will be at fifteen feet...


41 posted on 09/18/2007 12:20:12 PM PDT by gcruse (...now I have to feed the dog as if nothing has happened.)
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To: antiRepublicrat

Here ya go:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=6Uo0C01Fwb8


42 posted on 09/18/2007 12:24:43 PM PDT by wastedyears (George Orwell was a clairvoyant.)
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To: HamiltonJay

“As far as I’m concerned the FAA should be requiring complete physical testing to gain certification of airworthiness.”

See FAR Part 25.


43 posted on 09/18/2007 12:38:12 PM PDT by cannonball
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To: damondonion

“Today’s 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.


44 posted on 09/18/2007 12:40:53 PM PDT by wolfcreek (tagline on holiday)
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To: skeptoid

45 posted on 09/18/2007 12:41:58 PM PDT by jaydubya2
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To: wastedyears

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.


46 posted on 09/18/2007 12:42:20 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: Elsie

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.


47 posted on 09/18/2007 12:43:18 PM PDT by Camel Joe (liberal=socialist=royalist/imperialist pawn=enemy of Freedom)
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To: BfloGuy

Is it just me or do they now shatter into bits during an accident?


48 posted on 09/18/2007 12:45:53 PM PDT by Camel Joe (liberal=socialist=royalist/imperialist pawn=enemy of Freedom)
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To: wastedyears

They couldn’t test the wings to failure. The bending machine ran out of its range of motion before the wings broke. :p


49 posted on 09/18/2007 12:48:00 PM PDT by Constantine XIII (DO A BARREL ROLL)
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To: skeptoid

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.


50 posted on 09/18/2007 12:55:39 PM PDT by NY.SS-Bar9 (DR #1692)
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