A fuselage section of Boeing's new 787 jet has passed a series of stress tests that had to be done before the plane can begin flight testing, the company said.
The Chicago-based aircraft maker put a composite fuselage barrel through tests that simulated the most extreme conditions the airplane is expected to experience over its lifetime.
Engineers also subjected the fuselage section to 150 per cent of its so-called "limit load," then pushed it to the point of destruction.
Boeing, which assembles its commercial planes in the Seattle area, said the fuselage did not suffer as much damage during that test as engineers had anticipated.
The company will have to run some other static tests on a fully assembled airplane before its maiden flight. Boeing said it will run additional tests beyond what the Federal Aviation Administration requires for certification.
Various production problems with the first plane have forced a series of delays. The company has said the 787 is on track to begin flight testing by the late June and that delivery to its first customer, All Nippon Airways, is set for early 2009.
The 787 will be the world's first commercial jet made mostly of light, sturdy carbon-fiber composites instead of aluminum, which Boeing has promised will make the plane more fuel-efficient, cheaper to maintain and more comfortable for passengers than comparable models flying today. (AP)
Boeing wraps up crucial fuselage stress tests on 787