Door Blows During 777X Pressurization Test


Boeing’s next generation 777X project suffered a setback on Thursday when a door blew off during pressurization tests. There were no injuries in the mishap, which occurred on the static test plane, an aircraft that is shrouded by protective and structural metal superstructure to put massive stress on the airframe, sometimes to the point of breakage. Boeing and the FAA are now figuring out what happened during a test in which the pressure vessel is inflated to at least 150 percent of its normal operating pressure.

Although a setback, it’s not clear if the failure will have any impact on the certification schedule because another problem has already caused it to slip. The GE-9X engine, the largest jet engine ever made, is suffering developmental problems and first flight has been delayed until sometime in 2020. 

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. The pressurized fuselage is inflated to “many times” its normal operating pressure? I though fatigue testing was done to 150 percent of certification standards, which certainly isn’t many time the normal operating pressure. Or am I wrong, which is entirely possible? Is this a test done until the fuselage ruptures?

  2. It now seems that this wan’t “a pressurization test” at all. I occurred during a wing-bending test, as part of which the fuselage was normally pressurized. At 99 percent of maximum test wing bend, the fuselage suddenly depressurized because an aft door blew off. And “blew off” probably is an exaggeration, since at first nobody seemed to know what caused the depressurization, so I wasn’t as though the door came off like a cork out of a champagne bottle. It probably “failed,” I’m guessing as a result of fuselage distortion caused by the extreme wing bending.