Tue, Feb 02, 2010
Dreamliner Performs Like A ... Dream ... In Stalls
It's a routine part of any aircraft evaluation, and yet you
might not think about stalling an airliner. But Boeing's 787
Dreamliner pilots conducted the program's first stall tests late
last week as part of the initial airworthiness program for the
airplane. Additional stall tests will take place throughout the
flight test period.
The testing went "very well and there were no surprises," said
787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker.
The purpose of the testing is to demonstrate that in the rare
event a pilot encounters a stall during flight, the airplane reacts
benignly and allows for a smooth recovery.
In a video on a Boeing website, Carriker said the test showed
the airplane could fly from it's stall speed to a "moderate speed",
which he defined as about mach .65 at FL300. "During the
course of initial airworthiness, we probably flew 50-60 stalls in
the airplane," Carriker said. "For stall speed, you stall the
airplane with the center of gravity forward. For flying qualities,
how well the airplane flies, you do it with the center of gravity
full aft. So we had to do both of them, and you do it every flap
setting, you get quite a few of them."
Carriker said the stall series began with slowing the airplane
down to just before it stalled to be sure it had the ability to
recover from the stall, and then progress to full stalls. "You're
putting enough in the airplane to make the airplane bounce up and
down at 1.5g's. So you're getting thrown about a lot, it's far more
than any roller coaster you'll ride. And then [from] the outside
airplane you watch the wing start to shake, and that's what's
driving the airplane to buffet so badly."
Carriker said the airplane is built in such a way that "we hope
it never gets into a stall condition," but it obviously has to be
able to recover from a stall should one occur. "We'll probably do
about another 200-some-odd tests," said Carriker. "It was great
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