Boeing has said it does not expect an incident involving one of its two 777X static test aircraft will further delay the airliner’s development or entry into service.
The manufacturer confirmed that, on September 5, the airframe was undergoing final load testing, which involves “bending the wings of the airplane up to a level far beyond anything expected in commercial service”.
During the trials, the aft fuselage depressurised and the rear cargo door ‘blew out’ at what the Seattle company states was “approximately 99% of the final test loads”.
In the same September 10 press release, the manufacturer added: “While our root cause assessment continues, at this time we do not expect that this will have a significant impact on aircraft design or on our overall test program schedule. We remain fully focused on safety as our highest priority, as we subject the 777X to a rigorous test program prior to first flight.”
In order for an airliner to be certified, its wings are required to withstand around 150% of the typical load without failing.
Boeing has previously postponed the type’s maiden flight until 2020 citing operational issues with the type’s General Electric GE9X powerplant. It has since delayed the development of the smaller 777-8 variant indefinitely.
The lion’s share of the 344 777X orders comprise Emirates’ 150 aircraft deal signed at the 2013 Dubai Airshow. However, in June, The Seattle Times reported that Emirates was renegotiating its commitment for 115 777-9s and 35 777-8s. A revised agreement would likely mean spreading deliveries over a longer timeframe. In the same article, the Dubai carrier’s CEO Sir Tim Clark stated that its 2017 Letter of Intent (LoI) for 40 787-10 Dreamliners is no longer valid.