Spectacular Transport of the 728 from Fairchild Dornier to IABG

On Saturday, 30. March the firm of Fairchild Dornier had the prototype of its 728 aircraft transported from Oberpfaffenhofen to Ottobrunn, so that it could be subjected to static load tests in the IABG Test Centre which are a pre-requisite for the aircraft's certification qualification.

The transporting of the 10 ton heavy and 26.3 meter long test airframe of the twin jet passenger aircraft was only permitted by the traffic authorities for the low-traffic night from Good Friday to Easter Saturday. According to the police, this very wide special transporter was the most extreme ever to have driven through Munich. Traffic signs, barriers and lamp standards were dismantled and parking bans issued. Even so, 40 parking offenders had to be towed away along the route.

When the convoy arrived at the IABG South Entrance at dawn, the barrier over the Einsteinstraße had to be overcome with the assistance of a special crane and the test airframe then had to be reloaded on the other side onto the low loader again. Due to the very wide test fuselage, the way from there to the Test Centre was similarly very difficult. Smaller trees and bushes had to be removed. The last obstacle – a narrowing down of the approach road in front of the Test Centre – could only be overcome again with the assistance of the special crane. Around 12:00 finally the body of the aircraft was moved into the hall. The fitting into the test scaffold and the assembly of the wings continued until well into the late afternoon.

From June of this year until the beginning of 2003, the test airframe of the 728 will be subjected to static load tests, which for the first time, with the exception of the horizontal tail unit, comprises the parts testing of all rudder and flaps in the test series. To a large extent, all other parts testing can thus be waived. The airframe is loaded in the static tests up to the calculatory load limit – and beyond it- in order to ensure that all components will withstand the loads which can occur in later flight operations of the aircraft without a failure occurring.

For the dynamic fatigue test, which will run until the end of 2004, a second test airframe will be necessary which will be delivered by Fairchild Dornier in July of this year. The aircraft is intended to be qualified by the dynamic test for up to 80 000 flights.

Both for the static tests and also for the dynamic tests, the test structure consists of a test scaffold, which holds the 26.3 meter long fuselage with rudder unit and the wings with a width of 26.7 meters. Both hydraulic and pneumatic load facilities have been integrated into this. For this, about 70 hydraulic cylinders are available for load introduction and about 3 000 measurement channels for data acquisition.

A selection of the pictures of the 728 test airframe can be found at press/downloads.