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WarpSpeed
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Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:25 pm

I saw the Legends of Flight IMAX movie over the weekend. In one scene, Boeing Chief Pilot Mike Carriker is seen walking amongst old static and fatigue test frames. Part of his narration said that Boeing keeps the old frames in a lot behind the testing facility. I looked on GoogleEarth and think I found the site (see link below, zoom in to the left of the Powder Mill Gulch Retention Basin).

Why would Boeing keep the frames around; especially for models that may have been flying for decades?

Also, is this the location for the 787 fatigue testing?



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roseflyer
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:10 pm

The biggest reason I can think of is accident or incident investigations. Boeing has an extensive investigation unit that will deal with failures from in service and production. Everything from test stands on many different components to static frames are kept and used in the future. The items that are very costly to recreate are often kept.
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413X3
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:45 pm

probably a little bit of nostalgia too?
 
MrFord
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:50 pm

Did you see it at Cradle of Aviation on Long Island?
It was very well done in my opinion, even if it's a PR stunt for Boeing.


I was surprised about the remaining static tests airframes back there.
One of the 747 was painted, but I couldn't make out the livery. Did you notice?
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tdscanuck
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:15 am

Quoting WarpSpeed (Thread starter):
Why would Boeing keep the frames around; especially for models that may have been flying for decades?

1) What else can you do with them? They're huge, expensive to move/dismantle, and it costs Boeing essentially zero to just let them sit there.
2) You never know when an investigation will want to see something; having an easily accessible structure can be handy.

Quoting WarpSpeed (Thread starter):
Also, is this the location for the 787 fatigue testing?

Yes. The big blue girder structure just to the west of the old airplane bits is the 787 fatigue test fixture.

Tom.
 
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Faro
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:32 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 4):
1) What else can you do with them? They're huge, expensive to move/dismantle, and it costs Boeing essentially zero to just let them sit there.
2) You never know when an investigation will want to see something; having an easily accessible structure can be handy.

1) If it costs zero to let them just sit there, wouldn't it be better to scrap? The money would cover the transport costs and you'd free up some space.

2) Is a structure that is umpteen years old still relevant for an investigation? Wouldn't weathering and the fact that it has not been recently subjected to meaningful loading render the structure unsuitable for that aim?

Faro
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Northwest727
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:57 pm

Quoting MrFord (Reply 3):

I was surprised about the remaining static tests airframes back there.
One of the 747 was painted, but I couldn't make out the livery. Did you notice?

There used to be a Japan Airlines 747 (SR, I believe) that Boeing had in its "collection." A good-size section of the nose was cut off and was placed near the "rest" of the frame. But I don't know if it is even there anymore, but if it is, than that may be it.

In fact, I believe that the small "sliver" of 747 fuselage that Boeing has (or at least, used to) on display for the public tours of the facility came from this airframe.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:48 pm

Quoting faro (Reply 5):
1) If it costs zero to let them just sit there, wouldn't it be better to scrap? The money would cover the transport costs and you'd free up some space.

That's only cost-effective if you need the space for something else. Scrapping costs money, doing nothing is "free". If you look around the Everett site on Google Earth, especially in that area, you realize they have no shortage of space.

Quoting faro (Reply 5):
2) Is a structure that is umpteen years old still relevant for an investigation?

Yes. If it's not going through flight cycles, nothing really happens except surface weathering.

Quoting faro (Reply 5):
Wouldn't weathering and the fact that it has not been recently subjected to meaningful loading render the structure unsuitable for that aim?

Structure has no memory of time, just cycles, so the fact that it hasn't been loaded in a while doesn't mean much. Weathering can be managed...I have no idea if Boeing is doing so, but there's no particular reason that anything should be bad if they don't want it to be.

Tom.
 
WarpSpeed
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:46 pm

Quoting 413X3 (Reply 2):
probably a little bit of nostalgia too?

kind of like my Dad's basement....

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 1):
The items that are very costly to recreate are often kept.

makes a lot of sense (and cents).....

Another thought that occurred to me was that before a design change/update makes it into production (or in the field for installation), these frames could be used as platforms for pre-production testing....

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 4):
it costs Boeing essentially zero to just let them sit there.

Some cost would need to be allocated for securing, insuring, guarding, pest control and monitoring. There has to be some utility to justify having the frames around. If there were no further utility, Boeing is big enough that it could remove and sell the frames for the scrap aluminum if even for a slight cost just to eliminate the hassle (however slight) of keeping them on site.
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474218
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RE: Old Fatigue Test Frames - Why Kept?

Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:12 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 7):
Structure has no memory of time, just cycles, so the fact that it hasn't been loaded in a while doesn't mean much.

However, corrosion is not cycle related.

Additionally, the OEM I worked for had to buy a used airframe for use in the Wide Spread Fatigue Damage program. A fatigue test airframe would have been excellent candidate if we had not scrapped ours years earlier.

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