Boeing's 777X was originally scheduled to take off on its first flight this summer Photo: AFP/File
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Boeing suspends testing of long-haul 777X aircraft

9 Comments
By ERIC PIERMONT

Boeing has suspended testing on its new long-haul 777X aircraft, the company said, a setback that comes as it battles to rebound from the crisis surrounding the 737 MAX.

The so-called "final load" tests are part of the aircraft certification process, overseen by inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and meant to subject the plane to "loads and stresses well beyond normal operational loads," a Boeing spokesman told AFP in an email.

"During final load testing on the 777X static test airplane, the team encountered an issue that required suspension of the test," the spokesman said. "The testing conditions were well beyond any load expected in commercial service. The event is under review and the team is working to understand root cause."

A source close to the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity said a door of the plane blew out during the test.

Such an occurrence is rare during final load testing, an industry source said.

The FAA investigates issues that come up during structural testing of aircraft, the agency said.

The suspension of testing comes as Boeing is in the process of completing changes required by regulators to lift a flight ban on the 737 MAX after two crashes that resulted in 346 deaths.

It's also a new blow for the 777X, which was originally scheduled to take off on its first flight this summer. That date has been postponed until early 2020 by Boeing, due to problems with its General Electric engine.

The aircraft, which can carry 400 to 425 passengers, has already been ordered by eight airlines, including Emirates.

It is meant to compete with the A350 of European manufacturer Airbus.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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ANA has an order for 10 of the 777-X due for delivery in 2021. They also have 30 737-Max8 on order which they haven’t yet cancelled in the wake of the crashes. I have been a loyal flyer of ANA as they are an amazing airline, but if they choose to continue to put these types of issue filled planes into service, it will be at the expense of safety and calls into question their integrity. I would definitely consider switching to Japan airlines who currently favors airbus and have no Max on orders. I have nothing against previous Boeing planes. Actually prefer to fly on them, but when an plane manufacturer starts putting profit way way before safety it’s a big big problem.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Trump's gutting of the FAA, intended to be a business friendly gesture, has had the opposite effect. The world has lost confidence in Boeing, and the company may never recover from the MAGA presidency.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

People shouldn't comment with zero knowledge of aircraft or any other associated industries or government regulating agencies. Nonetheless they mouth off with strong assertions..

Make no mistake about it: Boeing is NOT a Nissan and is feverishly cleaning house. They will be back stronger than ever. This is about the right time to buy their shares as it has only one way to go.

Nor should anyone foolishly think that entrusting their lives on an Airbus machine is inherently safer than a Boeing. If you doubt me just look at something called statistics over the decades. Data cannot lie.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

People shouldn't comment with zero knowledge of aircraft

Come on then Mr-know-it-all, give us some sources. Educate us and forgive us our ignorance.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

A source close to the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity said a door of the plane blew out during the test.

This is definitely a good reason to stop the testing. Further investigation is needed to understand why the problem occurred and should not be a FAA mandated. Testing usually takes longer than planned if the production team is sincere. They need to find the issue and take whatever time it takes. (and not think software can fix a design fault!)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Nor should anyone foolishly think that entrusting their lives on an Airbus machine is inherently safer than a Boeing. If you doubt me just look at something called statistics over the decades. Data cannot lie.

yes true Boeing and Airbus have an almost identical safety record , in the number of fatalities to km traveled. Airbus & Boeing will never fail, their national governments would never allow that to happen.

Having said that Boeing record for producing airworth aircraft has taken a big hit in recent years , this recent test with a door blowout is very serious and shows another design floor in their aircraft.

It could also be argued that this may also be one of the reasons that Airbus has out sold Boeing for the last 15yrs. Airbus profits have continued to be healthy over this period while Boeing has struggled, it may also become a huge loss after all the litigation is finalised over the MAX fiasco. 

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Nor should anyone foolishly think that entrusting their lives on an Airbus machine is inherently safer than a Boeing.

That may have been true a couple of years ago. Since then, Boeing has shifted much production to South Carolina, because it's cheaper than Washington, and reports of shoddy qualify are coming in. Workers don't even bother to clean up the metal shavings after drilling, leaving them and other industrial debris inside the aircraft. Yikes.

About 10 years ago, I recall reading a report about how Boeing was planning to "radicalize" its production and engineering models. Now the results are in, and the program seems to have been a horrendous miscalculation.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

1glenn:

Trump's gutting of the FAA, intended to be a business friendly gesture

When did Trump "gut the FAA", and in what way did whatever he did impact the 730Max plane? Can you explain what you mean, or was this just more stereotypical orange man bad obsession?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A news story like this makes me less confident in flying in a Boeing produced Aircraft. How can I choose which type of Aircraft I can fly within from Japan ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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