787 goes to extremes

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 23, 2010
ZA003 is cold soaked. (Boeing)
ZA003 is cold soaked. (Boeing)

Boeing 787 test aircraft ZA003 has begun its nearly two week long period of extreme weather testing at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, with the commencement of “cold soak” testing.

During the cold soak test the hangar’s temperature is lowered to as low as -43 degrees Celcius for a period of several hours, “after which flight test technicians will follow the 787 Airplane Maintenance Manual to perform the steps required to prepare the airplane for flight release and operate under these conditions,” according to the manufacturer. “Sensors and monitors will allow the test team to determine if all systems hardware and software operate as expected.”

After the cold soak the 787 will then similarly be tested in extreme heat conditions of up to +46 deg C.


“This is really the only place in the world we could go in April that would give us the kind of cold temperatures that we need,” said Tom Sanderson, flight test director for ZA003, of the McKinley facility, the world’s largest refrigerated hangar. “We have a lot of new systems on this aircraft and we want to make sure it’s all functioning properly in extreme situations.”

Boeing says additional extreme weather testing will be completed later in the aircraft’s flight test program.

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Inside The Archive: F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet Comment

  • Bill


    It was mentiond earlier in this piece by, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, that the FA-18 Hornet replaced the Mirage fighters. I thought the F-111 ‘Ardvark’ replaced the Mirage jets around 1967 till 1999 such as the Raaf 6th squadron. If my memory serves me correct the aircraft served our country well until they were superseded by the Hornets, which by the way are an exceptional fighter also.

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