You are on page 1of 31

Third European

Flight Test Safety Conference
Vienna, Austria
November11 – 12, 2009

Boeing 777
First Flight
And the Days Before

John Cashman
Boeing Commercial
Airplanes (Retired)

First Takeoff
June 12, 1994


First Takeoff

June 12, 1994


as – it was in Tex’s day. even those developed with – sophisticated technical tools. 4 . 707 – This simple statement is as true today. • Modern jet transports.Philosophizing • “One test flight is worth a thousand theories” – Tex Johnston – Boeing Airplane Company ~ 1952 – First flights – B52. 57 years later. • First flights present ample possibilities to test a – number of theories and generally provide – opportunities for all concerned to excel. still need a disciplined – first flight ground and flight test plan to minimize risk – to the program and crew.

political. or public relations goals intermixed • The Basics • Have a safe flight • Demonstrate readiness of airframe and engine to start the test program • Provide a positive media event • To get the team focused on the remainder of the test program. not just one flight 5 . schedule.First Flight Goal Setting First flight goals are not just technical – they may have elements of financial.

cont’d Additional 777 Goals • Demonstrate to our customers that the airplane is ready to test and that the aggressive schedule is achievable and will result in an on time delivery • Demonstrate to the certification authorities that the airplane program is “mature” and has the potential to receive over water approval from the time of initial certification rather than after 250.000 engine hours in fleet service • Demonstrate confidence to the public as well as organizations representing airline labor and the public press 6 .First Flight Goal Setting .

Not anticipating these factors had: • slid schedule – flight test. additional training) 7 . delivery. and full up system testing than earlier mechanical or analog systems. planning. crew training • cost money – us and our customers • given our customers not quite service ready products (airplane. support products.Insuring Success – First Flight and Beyond • Why the worry? • Previous experience with our 747-400 in the late 1980’s pointed out that large scale integrated digital system design and flight testing required more preparation.

Insuring Success – First Flight and Beyond • Led certification authorities to question our design and manufacturing test processes and to add many hours of additional testing • * “Normal” flight testing of the 747-400 had failed to find many problems that occurred in daily“real world” airline operations • commercial aircraft power cart variability • power interrupts • maintenance manual errors and outdated training for fixing faults 8 .

prior to full flight training simulator • Flight test engineering sequence tests.000 sq. including engineering run through of first flight and first two months of testing 9 . ft) which included • A) Fixed base simulators (2) • Flight deck engineering development • Flight control law definition • Initial cadre training of FAA.Elements of the Plan • 1) Co-located Integration Lab (500. customer pilots.

Elements of the Plan – cont’d A) Simulators – cont’ * Checkout of changes to flight controls airplane information management systems (devices used for real aircraft parts) * First up 3 years before first flight 1 .

Remember.houses get smaller.houses get bigger. push forward . 1 . pull back .

Elements of the Plan – cont’d • B) System Integration Laboratory » Cockpit with simulated aero data » Systems using real production » hardware » Ships generators and wiring » Digital bus simulated outside » parameters to real boxes 1 .

Elements of the Plan – cont’d B) System Integration Laboratory – cont’ • Included flight test wiring bundles and data • systems • Full test plans. DR&O validation. flight test • pilots and engineers. FAA and other • certification agencies 1 . • “what if” scenarios • Supported by design engineering.

flying profile and concurrent with first flight. available by radio • 24 hours/day. 7 days a week.Elements of the Plan – cont’d • B) System Integration Laboratory – cont’ • “Discoveries” written and tracked as flight squawks (before first flight) • Used as a shadow for first flight . 3-4 pilots/day for six months leading up to first flight (2493 hours out of 4477 hours total using 34 different pilots) • Key element for solving problems early and avoiding surprises 1 .program test pilot.

(Total flight and engineering items 7400 before first flight) 1 . hydraulics. computers wiring.Elements of the Plan – cont’d C) Flight Control Test Rig (Iron Bird) • • • • • • • • • ½ of the primary flight controls. flight test instrumentation Simulator cab for control input System familiarization – flight test and engineering as well as Instrumentation checkout Flight test procedure used “Flight” squawks written and tracked – also reviewed by FAA for program status.

Elements of the Plan – cont’d 2) Fly-By-Wire Test Bed • Modified 757 aircraft • F/O controls FBW • Disconnected from aircraft mechanics • Worked through autopilot flight control computers when engaged (some single channel and some dual) • Critical to basic control law validation of C*U control law (ie. blend of Θ and Nz command and speed off reference) • 1 .

Elements of the Plan – cont’d 2) Fly-By-Wire Test Bed » New feature validation for engine out control. and pilot organizations. ground effects. certification authorities. » Flew 250 hours. as well as a variety of our own internal pilot cords. 1 – 1½ years before first flight 1 . customers. turn and configuration compensation » Demonstrated concepts to company management.

757 Test Bed 1 .

Elements of the Plan – cont’d 3) Flying Engine Test Bed • #1 747-100 airframe for 2 engine companies • #16 747-100 used by other • Initially resisted by two of the three engine • companies • Boeing Propulsion staff due to • belief that ground testing is adequate 1 .

in fact. • would have had significant impact on engine • operability and restart capability • Initial testing done 7 months before first flight • for first engine 2 . and public relations Plan on early over water approval Many “discoveries” were made that. certification.Elements of the Plan – cont’d 3) Flying Engine Test Bed • • • • FTB was insurance policy for program Schedule.

747 Engine Test Bed 2 .

747 Engine Test Bed 2 .

(this includes engines) • Flew numerous profiles including full • production flight test factory first flight profiles. as well as actual first flight profiles 2 .Elements of the Plan – cont’d • 4) Flight Emulation Test System (FETS Van) • Ground base simulation of flight data and • airplane aero data • Can “fly” the airplane with all systems running as if in flight.

/GW Leave APU running for takeoff Fuel to reach Edwards from end of flight Practice loss of all signaling capability to primary controls (have 2 roll spoilers. • high speed taxi/shimmy tests several days before first flight • • • • • • Load nominal to forward c.g. engineering.Contingency Planning for First Flight • Perform all production system checks. stabilizer available on cable) 2 .

Contingency Planning – cont’d • Hand held radio and GPS • Proof pressure test hydraulic system with • instrumentation installed to 3900 PSI (3000 normal) to build confidence for handling surge spikes • • • • • Bailout door aft of wing Concern over fuel gaging system Chase/photo (2 T33. all other data transmitted to ground • Radio room staffed with experienced system experts 2 . 1 T38) Shadow flight in system integration 2 pilots on board.

First Flight Readiness Indicators Indicators – number of events 1) “I thought you should know…” 2) Test limitations and advisories 3) “Just this week we found…” 4) Media briefs 5) “Just in case the ___ doesn’t work remember…” 6) Engine ground runs (if new engine) 7) “Did you know that…” 2 .

Outcome So. How Did It Go? 2 .

flutter kicks.Outcome • Just Fine! • Flew 3+48 • Completed production flight test systems tests with no surprises (including engine shutdowns) • Initial HQ. FBW reversion modes • Tailwind takeoff of 12 knots (Engine TB went to over 20 TW) • Instrumentation worked extremely well • Multiple chase worked reasonably well 2 .

2 .

Summary • Integration lab paid off in discoveries. and in training the testers early • Flying test beds were invaluable in avoiding basic development work during validation/certification • We spent a lot of money • Next time we can do it for less (Delete) • An empowered and motivated work force can achieve miracles • First airplane entered commercial service in under one year from first flight (Five airplanes. safety. 3700 hours) 3 . flight test planning.

Boeing 777 First Flight And the Days Before Any Questions?? 3 .