Robust Processes Produce Safe Products
Safety is the primary consideration when Boeing engineers design an airplane.
In addition to meeting regulatory requirements before certification, each airplane model must meet Boeing's time-proven design standards. Often these standards are more stringent than regulatory requirements.
Part of the regulatory requirements includes redundancy in all critical systems. Every system vital to the safe operation of an airplane has a backup, and in some cases two backups.
For example, twin-engine jets are designed to safely take off, fly and land even if one engine fails.
Boeing designs damage tolerant airplanes.
The airplane structure is designed to withstand 150 percent of the greatest load an airplane might encounter in commercial service.
Engineers build in this extra margin of protection to allow a pilot to safely exceed the flight envelope (or design capabilities) in case of an extraordinary emergency.
Boeing ensures its airplanes meet rigorous design standards and certification requirements through equally rigorous validation testing.
For example, engineers test the structural strength of an airplane during static and fatigue tests. Static tests apply maximum loads or pressure to an airplane to determine its ability to carry loads. These maximum loads are often far greater than any load that would be expected to be encountered in flight.
During fatigue tests, technicians subject the airplane to the equivalent of up to three lifetimes of wear and tear to help determine its durability. The tests also help establish operator maintenance and repair schedules.
Validation tests can span many months or years during the development of a new airplane design.
Boeing engineers and technicians conduct these tests in laboratories, wind tunnels, icing tunnels, on the ground and during flight tests.
Boeing tests its airplanes to find problems and fix them before the airplane ever enters service.
In addition to validation tests of brand new airplane designs, each airplane that rolls off the production line is tested before delivery.