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Boeing 777X Fuselage Failed During Stress Test

Did Not Meet Parameters Necessary For Certification

The fuselage of Boeing's 777X test article failed "explosively" during an extreme test of its structural strength.

The Seattle Times reports that the incident occurred in September. The fuselage failed just as the test approached the stress level necessary for certification, but missed by just one percent.

While Boeing has kept exact details of the failure secret, the paper was able to obtain photos which show very extensive damage to the test airframe. The fuselage skin ripped apart just behind the wing, and a passenger door blew out and fell to the factory floor, according to the report.

With the failure coming so close to the federal requirement, Boeing may not have to build a new test article and retest the fuselage. The paper reports that the FAA will likely accept analysis that indicates that it will be sufficient to reinforce the fuselage in the area where the failure occurred.

Boeing said in a statement to the paper that a full analysis of the failure has not yet been completed, but that the company does not believe that it will have a "significant impact on the design or our preparations for first flight."

The program has already been delayed due to problems with the GE9X engine developed for the new airliner, and Boeing said that this stress test failure should not add to those delays. Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said the company still anticipates the 777X will fly for the first time in early 2020, and the first customer deliveries should happen in 2021.

(Image from file)

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