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Feature Story

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A fighter jet rain check

The Water Check team rolls in a large metal frame, which they affectionately call their "spray tree," over a Super Hornet inside a St. Louis hangar.

Chamila Jayaweera/Boeing

The Water Check team rolls in a large metal frame, which they affectionately call their "spray tree," over a Super Hornet inside a St. Louis hangar.

Have you ever thought about what it takes to make sure that sea-based fighter jets stay dry?

When it comes to the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing engineers in St. Louis use a special process called the Water Check Test to rule out areas where moisture could seep into the aircraft and its electronics suite.

Program experts douse the jet with simulated rain at a 15-inch-per-hour rate for about 20 minutes inside an enormous hangar in St. Louis.

"Our ultimate customers are U.S. Navy fighter pilots, and we want to ensure their safety in flight and on the ground, and water-tight integrity of the aircraft also helps increase their effectiveness," said Boeing’s Rich Baxter, F/A-18 Super Hornet final assembly manager.

To find out moreabout how the process works and watch the action unfold, click above to see the video story.

Tiny jets attached to the "spray tree" shoot water directly onto the sides of the aircraft, along with simulated rain that falls from above.

Tom Rule/Boeing

Tiny jets attached to the "spray tree" shoot water directly onto the sides of the aircraft, along with simulated rain that falls from above.