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Sat, Aug 25, 2007

Boeing Conducts Crash Testing On Dreamliner Composite Material

Results Unknown... As Information Is Proprietary

In this case, we're really hoping that no news IS good news. In its third and final such test, Boeing conducted crucial crash testing Thursday on the new 787 Dreamliner to test how its composite barrel fuselage would hold up in a crash situation.

The test was carried out Boeing's Apache helicopter manufacturing plant in Mesa, AZ by dropping a 10-foot-long fuselage section from about 15 feet onto an inch-thick steel plate. The purpose was to determine how the carbon-fiber composite would hold up against the vertical impact of an emergency landing on flat terrain, according to the Associated Press.

It's unknown if the test can be termed a success or failure... as the company won't release a detailed report, since it is proprietary information, said Boeing spokesman Adam Morgan.

The Federal Aviation Administration had specialists on hand for the testing. The agency told Boeing in June to prove the composite material had similar crashworthy characteristics as aluminum, as carbon fiber reinforced plastic is not as shock absorbent or as tough.

The first of the three tests ordered involved crushing a section of fuselage between steel plates and was performed last year. The second involved a steel plate being shoved through a section of inverted fuselage on the ground and it was conducted earlier this year.

Those first two tests' results matched Boeing's computational analysis, which showed the material to be crashworthy in such test conditions, Morgan said.

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.faa.gov

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