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Boeing goes live with 787 flight test Web site

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Jan. 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
January 29, 2010 2:15 pm

For aviation enthusiasts who want to follow the progress of the 787 Dreamliner flight testing program, Boeing today rolled out a public Web site with updates of that flight test progress.

The site at www.787flighttest.com tracks hours in the air for each aircraft and includes videos of significant events such as the first test aircraft’s first flight and significant flight milestones.

One new video on the site, for instance, talks about Boeing first stall tests for the Dreamliner with an interview with chief test pilot Mike Carriker and inflight videos from chase aircraft.

“Stall” used to describe an aircraft’s performance has an entirely different meaning than it does in autodom.

When a report of an accident such as the Bombardier Q400 accident early last year near Buffalo, N.Y. says the plane “stalled,” it doesn’t mean the engines quit. It means that the plane’s speed slowed so much that the airflow over the wings was not sufficient to keep the plane flying.

Stalls happen almost never during normal flights, but when they do, aircraft manufacturers want to know that they are controllable and predictable and easy to recover from. Before a stall, most aircraft would shudder as the wings lose lift.

The cure in most cases is to increase speed by lowering the nose and increasing power to improve the airflow across the wings improving the aircraft’s controlability

Carriker said the initial 787 stall test went extremely well with no unexpected findings.

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