F-35C test plane wing spar crack

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A small crack has been found in one of the wing spars of an F-35C carrier variant test plane, said the US Department of Defense’s F35 Joint Program Office. Current F-35 flying operations are not impacted by the discovery.

The test plane is being used in durability ground testing, a test program in which cyclic loads are applied to the airframe to simulate operational flying. Running many cycles helps identify any potential problems.

Discoveries such as this are expected during a developmental test program. Durability testing, which is extended to 16,000 flight hours, is designed to ensure the F-35 will meet the requirement for a lifetime of 8,000 flight hours.

The crack occurred on a test aircraft which had more than 13,700 test hours, equal to about 6,850 flight hours – over 20 years of operational flying.

The Joint Program Office says the government and industry teams are working on an engineering solution; one possible fix would be a modification adding about 0.5 lb (0.23kg) to the aircraft.

November 20, 2015

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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