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Airbus A380 test wing breaks just below ultimate load target
Flight International ^ | 16 February 2006 | MAX KINGSLEY-JONES

Posted on 02/16/2006 2:01:08 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham

Airbus A380 test wing breaks just below ultimate load target

The wing of the Airbus A380 static test specimen suffered a structural failure below the ultimate load target during trials in Toulouse earlier this week, but Airbus is confident that it will not need to modify production aircraft.

The airframer has been running load trials on a full scale A380 static test specimen in Toulouse since late 2004 (pictured below). After completing “limit load” tests (ie the maximum loads likely to experienced by the aircraft during normal service), progressively greater loads have been applied to the specimen towards the required 1.5 times the limit load. Engineers develop finite element models (FEM) to calculate the load requirements.

“The failure occurred last Tuesday between 1.45 and 1.5 times the limit load at a point between the inboard and outboard engines,” says Airbus executive vice president engineering Alain Garcia. “This is within 3% of the 1.5 target, which shows the accuracy of the FEM.” He adds that the ultimate load trial is an “extremely severe test during which a wing deflection of 7.4m (24.3ft) was recorded”.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says that the maximum loading conditions are defined in the A380 certification basis. “The aircraft structure is analysed and tested to demonstrate that the structure can withstand the maximum loads, including a factor of safety of 1.5. This process is ongoing and will be completed before type certification.”

However Garcia says that the failure of the wing below the 1.5 target will require “essentially no modifications” to production aircraft: “This static test airframe has the first set of wings built, and we have refined the structural design for subsequent aircraft due to increased weights etc. We will use this calibration of the FEM to prove the adequacy of the structure on production aircraft.”

EASA says that it is aware of the structural failure but "cannot make a statement about the specific failure as it has not been officially briefed by Airbus on what the cause was, and the certification process is ongoing".

Garcia says that the FEM calculations had already established that the A380’s wing had “no margin at ultimate load. We had a weight saving programme and ‘played the game’ to achieve ultimate load.” However in earlier briefings, Airbus structural engineers had stated that it planned to carry out “a residual strength and margin research test” in 2006 after completing ultimate load trials.

The results gleaned from the static testing will be extrapolated for the future aircraft developments over the next 40 to 50 years says Garcia. “It is normal to refine and strengthen the structure of new heavier or longer range variants,” he says.

MAX KINGSLEY-JONES / LONDON


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 380; a380; airbus
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Photos © Airbus

Airbus has been running load trials on a full scale A380 static test specimen in Toulouse since late 2004


Photos © Airbus

1 posted on 02/16/2006 2:01:09 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: A.A. Cunningham

No margin, eh? Stoopid froggies.


2 posted on 02/16/2006 2:02:18 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Boeing is deeply saddened.


3 posted on 02/16/2006 2:02:54 PM PST by neodad (Why does every cartoon article refer to the "Prophet" Muhammed?)
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To: neodad

No, not really. ;)


4 posted on 02/16/2006 2:03:25 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: Frank_Discussion

To be fair, yes there is margin - 47%. They just didn't get to the planned 50%. Doesn't mean I'll fly one tho, but that's an economic decision.


5 posted on 02/16/2006 2:03:52 PM PST by farlander
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To: A.A. Cunningham

As a proud American I gotta love it.


6 posted on 02/16/2006 2:04:07 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Airbus is confident that it will not need to modify production aircraft.

Their motto:

"Airbus--Nope, nothin' wrong here!"

7 posted on 02/16/2006 2:05:57 PM PST by Darkwolf377
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Is this where they actually bend a wing until it breaks? or just a model? I think I remember them actually testing/breaking a 747 and the video is really cool.


8 posted on 02/16/2006 2:06:47 PM PST by SF Republican
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To: neodad

there was a show about the 747 on Disovery once. In it, they showed the wing load testing. They flexed the wing like the A-380 pic shows. When it had reached it's breaking point, it exploded at the break. On the tube, it sounded like small arms fire. It had to be a LOT louder in the testing area. I'd prefer a Boeing product whenever possible.


9 posted on 02/16/2006 2:08:14 PM PST by NCC-1701 (RADICAL ISLAM IS A CULT. IT MUST BE ELIMINATED.)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Did anyone see the results of their ground test evacuating 600 people in 90 seconds? I have trouble believing that's possible.


10 posted on 02/16/2006 2:08:35 PM PST by RoadTest ("- - a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people." - Richard Henry Lee, 1786)
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To: farlander

"Garcia says that the FEM calculations had already established that the A380’s wing had “no margin at ultimate load. We had a weight saving programme and ‘played the game’ to achieve ultimate load.” However in earlier briefings, Airbus structural engineers had stated that it planned to carry out “a residual strength and margin research test” in 2006 after completing ultimate load trials."

They were going for Ultimate Load. They admit to not having margin in achieving that load, and they missed it. Their design was not adequate to survive *static* load test, dynamic testing will be worse.


11 posted on 02/16/2006 2:08:46 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: SF Republican

"Is this where they actually bend a wing until it breaks? or just a model? I think I remember them actually testing/breaking a 747 and the video is really cool."

Did you ever see the one where they fired a frozen goose at the cockpit at 200 MPH? Now THAT was cool.


12 posted on 02/16/2006 2:09:24 PM PST by dljordan
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To: Darkwolf377
“extremely severe test during which a wing deflection of 7.4m (24.3ft) was recorded”.

You mean to tell me that the wing tip has a 24 ft. up or down travel? WOW

13 posted on 02/16/2006 2:09:41 PM PST by phil1750 (Love like you've never been hurt;Dance like nobody's watching;PRAY like it's your last prayer)
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To: Frank_Discussion
Add fatigue over a few thousand hours....poof!

Mike

14 posted on 02/16/2006 2:10:42 PM PST by MichaelP ("Opportunities multiply as they are seized." Sun Tzu)
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To: Frank_Discussion

My understanding was that the ultimate load was 1.5x the maximum use load. To me that is a 50% margin of safety in every day use.

But yea, in either case, it does look bad. Fortunately they're not likely to sell many of those monsters anyway. The 7E7's got their butts kicked.


15 posted on 02/16/2006 2:11:28 PM PST by farlander
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To: A.A. Cunningham
The airframer has been running load trials on a full scale A380 static test specimen in Toulouse since late 2004

I guess the bolt that hold the wing together were toulouse.

16 posted on 02/16/2006 2:11:37 PM PST by My2Cents ("The essence of American journalism is vulgarity divested of truth." -- Winston Churchill)
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To: Frank_Discussion
When we we're testing the C-17's wing, a similar occurred but at a slightly lower value. Structural mods included beef-ups on both forward and aft spars and a reduction in the chem-milling of the skins around the failure area. All in all, these kind of fixes are relatively easy to implement unless you have many of the parts in the production cycle already.

The real proof in the pudding is when they (and if) they do a full scale fatigue test under flight loads to find out if the wing and wing root connections will withstand the stress. My guess is that there will be some future beefing up to do - they just won't admit it publicly.
17 posted on 02/16/2006 2:12:05 PM PST by jettester (I got paid to break 'em - not fly 'em)
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To: A.A. Cunningham; Paleo Conservative
Airbus ping!

BTW: Are you the same Cunningham who posts on the Catholic threads?

18 posted on 02/16/2006 2:13:24 PM PST by Clemenza (I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

I know a guy who breaks airplane wings for a living. He says it's a great deal of fun....


19 posted on 02/16/2006 2:14:13 PM PST by r9etb
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To: dljordan

Actually, we typically shoot a four pound (MILSPEC) dead chicken at over 400 kts at the target....


20 posted on 02/16/2006 2:14:38 PM PST by jettester (I got paid to break 'em - not fly 'em)
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To: My2Cents

Argh.


21 posted on 02/16/2006 2:17:00 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Airbus has been running load trials on a full scale A380 static test
specimen in Toulouse since late 2004


And still flunks the test even though they've written the test.
Now that Euro Stuck-On-Stupid!
22 posted on 02/16/2006 2:17:14 PM PST by VOA
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To: farlander

Yes, you're quite correct, but the ULoad is meant to address non-every-day-use, and should have margin itself. The static test should give an indication of the real margin. Playing the game, as they termed it, will cause the plane damage in severe conditions, and the failure of this test insures they will have a difficult time accurately predicting the failure stress.

They have screwed La Chien with this.

7E7 - Yeah, baby!


23 posted on 02/16/2006 2:18:18 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

What is the french word for "OPPS!!"?


24 posted on 02/16/2006 2:18:55 PM PST by Howie66 ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.")
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To: Paleo Conservative

A-380 Ping!


25 posted on 02/16/2006 2:19:41 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: jettester

Mmmm... C-17! They fly one over the house every year during the airshow, monster low.

I'm not entirely surprised that C-17 did have a similar problem, but this is a passenger plane in this story. Their lack of conservatism in design is a physical and perceptual problem for their customer base.


26 posted on 02/16/2006 2:21:02 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

I take this is not a good result for Airbus.


27 posted on 02/16/2006 2:21:03 PM PST by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: Frank_Discussion

I wonder if they will quietly re-write the specs for Va, Vb, Vne, Vno?

If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going.


28 posted on 02/16/2006 2:21:38 PM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

We were flying along, nice as you please, halfway across the Atlantic Ocean, when the wing fell off. I was shocked, I tell you...shocked!


29 posted on 02/16/2006 2:22:03 PM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Blueflag

Heh. Perhaps so.


30 posted on 02/16/2006 2:22:21 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: SF Republican
Is this where they actually bend a wing until it breaks?

An entire aircraft for this test. One or two prototypes are built for testing to destruction. They simply pull up on the wings and see how much deflection occurs before the wings break. The usual goal is 150% of design limit load. Looks like they hit 147% which is still quite good.

The video I have of the Boeing 777 wing test showed they got to 154% of design limit load before the wings broke. When the wings let go, it sounds like a cannon going off.

31 posted on 02/16/2006 2:23:16 PM PST by COEXERJ145 (Pat Buchanan lost a family member in the holocaust. The man fell out of a guard tower.)
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To: VOA

"And still flunks the test even though they've written the test."

Exactly. Much more succinctly put than I was saying.


32 posted on 02/16/2006 2:24:06 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: jettester

Wouldn't beefing up equal higher fuel consumption? As I recall from reading a while back, they already had a problem meeting the fuel consumption standards they advertised to their customers.


33 posted on 02/16/2006 2:24:49 PM PST by CdMGuy
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To: A.A. Cunningham

I've had several British cars. I've had one French car. None of them were worth a darn, although the British cars were cute.

I'll not be flying this aircraft, thanks very much. One Pugeot was more than enough for me to understand French engineering excellence.


34 posted on 02/16/2006 2:25:39 PM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: farlander
Actually, that 1.5 is the Saftey Factor...not Margin. Failing at 1.5 Factor of Safety is zero Margin of Safety. They will either have to modify the wing, or accept a lower Gross Weight.

§ 25.303 Factor of safety. Unless otherwise specified, a factor of safety of 1.5 must be applied to the prescribed limit load which are considered external loads on the structure. When a loading condition is prescribed in terms of ultimate loads, a factor of safety need not be applied unless otherwise specified.

Federal law, ours and EASA, says they are screwed

35 posted on 02/16/2006 2:26:45 PM PST by Dead Dog
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To: A.A. Cunningham

The Boeing 777 went 157% of wing load before it broke ... I saw it in a video during a tour at the Everett plant ....


36 posted on 02/16/2006 2:31:51 PM PST by SkyDancer ("I'd Rather Go Hunting With Cheney Than Ride With Ted Kennedy Over A Bridge")
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To: Darkwolf377

Aren't these the people who's tail fin broke off in NYC in 2001 killing like 280 people???


37 posted on 02/16/2006 2:33:01 PM PST by SkyDancer ("I'd Rather Go Hunting With Cheney Than Ride With Ted Kennedy Over A Bridge")
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To: Darkwolf377

Airbus: We've got it Close Enough


38 posted on 02/16/2006 2:34:47 PM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: jettester

Regular, or extra crispy?


39 posted on 02/16/2006 2:36:26 PM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: COEXERJ145

At the Boeing plant in Everett they have a 767 that they never were able to break the wing. We saw it during a tour. The whole fuselage twisted but the wing never broke ...


40 posted on 02/16/2006 2:36:51 PM PST by SkyDancer ("I'd Rather Go Hunting With Cheney Than Ride With Ted Kennedy Over A Bridge")
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To: NCC-1701
>>>I'd prefer a Boeing product whenever possible.<<<

If it ain't Boeing, I'm not 'goin!

41 posted on 02/16/2006 2:37:50 PM PST by HardStarboard
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To: NCC-1701
I'd prefer a Boeing product whenever possible.

You know what they say: "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going."

42 posted on 02/16/2006 2:38:09 PM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: HardStarboard

Nineteen seconds.


I hate you.


43 posted on 02/16/2006 2:38:37 PM PST by Petronski (I love Cyborg!)
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To: MineralMan
One Pugeot was more than enough for me to understand French engineering excellence.

If anyone challenges your opinion...just tell them to watch a documentary
on the whole history of building the Panama Canal!

That episode is enough explanation for why too many French had
lots of disdain for Americans.
Besides our saving their chestnuts in two World Wars.
44 posted on 02/16/2006 2:38:48 PM PST by VOA
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To: r9etb
I know a guy who breaks airplane wings for a living. He says it's a great deal of fun....

I'll bet he pulled 'em off of flies as a kid.

< ]B^)

45 posted on 02/16/2006 2:39:25 PM PST by Erasmus (One fine day, sad to say, we'll all be Democrat voters.)
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To: Petronski; HardStarboard

Great minds think alike. :)


46 posted on 02/16/2006 2:41:58 PM PST by NCC-1701 (RADICAL ISLAM IS A CULT. IT MUST BE ELIMINATED.)
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Airbus A380 test wing breaks just below ultimate load target
...due to 'Good Old Boy' in-house-engineering meeting unreasonable deadlines. "Ship it Anyway!".....ie. 'any-way'....$$$$
47 posted on 02/16/2006 2:41:59 PM PST by maestro
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To: A.A. Cunningham

I always thought they did this kind of stuff before they built the friggin thing and flew one.


48 posted on 02/16/2006 2:42:29 PM PST by sgtbono2002
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To: RoadTest

Maybe they're just going to have really athletic passengers.


49 posted on 02/16/2006 2:43:13 PM PST by pepperdog
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To: Dead Dog; Frank_Discussion

Thank you for that clarification. Now I won't be flying them under *any* circumstances. I guess they are screwed. That's too bad.

As I said, it's not like they were going to sell any/much of those anyway, but this, pretty much puts the nail in that (flying) coffin.


50 posted on 02/16/2006 2:45:06 PM PST by farlander
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