What is cooler than flying on a new Boeing 747-8F? Fly in it with no gravity. It brings up reminders of the ‘ol vomit comet.

Although this looks like fun, it is all about serious testing. Taking the aircraft to her limits to make sure she is ready to start flying cargo around the world. Although watching the test crew go weightless is pretty awesome, I think seeing the wing bend is unreal. Learn more from Boeing’s website about this test.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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4 Comments

Thanks. That is fun and hilarious, rolled into one. And yes, it is also very serious business! If a major structure is going to break, due an over-limit weight or stress condition, this is where it is going to happen. Let’s remember that for this series of tests, the airplane is configured and loaded at MTOW – an extremely heavy airplane. That she gently rides through the climbs, dives, turns and banks, some rather extreme, is quiet testimony about the worthy structure of this airplane. So what do these Vomit Comit tests really mean? They mean – and have proved – that the fully loaded airframe CAN safely withstand x+G loads and x-G loads, without breaking herself apart. Sure!!! After experiencing such extreme stress, the airframe will be subjected to a thorough examination. (I suspect that everything will pass; Boeing’s structural engineers simply *do not* make that kind of error.) Once this bird enters revenue service, the pilot’s little (OK, $&#ing Huge)operating manual will tell them about the limits of ‘normal’ manuvers as well as the proven limits for extreme manuvers. In a different expression, it might be something like, “We’ve proven that this loaded aircraft will easily take (?+1g?or whatever) in normal operations. What Boeing is implying and what every 747-8F driver really wants to know, is, “If the byproducts hit the proverbial fan (but not one of my engine’s fans), exactly how far can I push this monster, to same my life, before the fucking wings are ripped off? Smart pilots do not fly any where near those extremes – unless they are trying to save their own butts – or perhaps – 450+ souls behind that secure door. This is NOT the operating standard, but the driver should have a fair idea of the outside limits, just in case ever hits the fan.
The test engineers on this flight were semi-brave souls.
-C.

What an interesting video! I am not sure many of us pilots know exactly what the aircraft goes through prior to us flying it, and this certainly explains a lot.

Man, that wing sure bends!

Looks nice.
Would love to try that out some time 🙂

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