December 9, 2013

Boeing 777X wind tunnel testing under way

Boeing released that low-speed wind tunnel tests have begun for the Boeing 777X, a major milestone in airplane development. Testing started on Dec. 5 at QinetiQ’s test facility in Farnborough, U.K. Wind tunnel models allow experts to test many different configurations for the airplane. Low-speed tests measure airplane performance with a variety of high-lift surface settings to simulate takeoff and landing conditions. The low-speed model currently being tested is a 0.05 percent scale model of the baseline 777X, measuring about 4.22 meters (166 inches) long with a wing span of 3.92 meters (154 inches). Hundreds of sensors are embedded in the model to measure pressure to determine the in-flight loads as well as provide valuable diagnostics of the aerodynamic performance of a given design. Low-speed testing at the QinetiQ facility is expected to last approximately five months. Testing also will be conducted next year at the Boeing Transonic Wind Tunnel in Seattle to further validate 777X high-speed performance projections.

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