Trials Performed Ahead of Schedule
Boeing last week completed loads calibration testing of the
first P-8A Poseidon test aircraft, two weeks ahead of schedule.
Loads calibration is one of the prerequisites for the US Navy
flight clearance process.
During the tests, up to 80 percent of the highest expected
flight loads were applied to the aircraft's fuselage, horizontal
stabilizers, vertical fin and wing structures. Completion of loads
calibration ensures that test aircraft T-1 is ready for
airworthiness testing, which will commence later this year.
"One of the reasons we were able to complete the tests ahead of
schedule is that the team incorporated some new technologies which
enabled us to capture more accurate and more usable data faster,"
said Mark Magnuson, Boeing P-8A Structural Development and
Certification director. "We also completed a number of independent
reviews of the test plan prior to the start of testing, in order to
One of the new technologies, optical photogrammetry, entailed
installing small video cameras on the P-8A's leading and trailing
edges and underneath the fuselage. The measurement system provided
three-dimensional, real-time data.
The team now will restore T-1 to its flight configuration and
perform additional systems tests prior to first flight.
The P-8A is built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes
CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems
and GE Aviation. The team currently is assembling and testing the
first five P-8As, based off Boeing's 737-800 commercial
The Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8A long-range maritime
reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to replace its
fleet of P-3C Orions. Initial operational capability is slated for
As ANN reported, last week the US State
Department approved the sale of three P-8I derivatives to the
Indian navy -- the first of what Boeing hopes will be more
international orders for the surveillance plane.