Damaged B-1 returned to service after handcrafting a new backbone

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Damaged B-1 returned to service after handcrafting a new backbone

A USAF B-1B bomber returned to flight last week after a Boeing team replaced its catastrophically damaged upper-center boron longeron – the aircraft's "backbone."

Who would have thought that each B-1 had individually crafted parts in today's computer manufactured world.

The B-1, Swift Justice, was damaged during a routine training mission in December 2007. An engine-bleed air duct rupture triggered a temperature warning light, forcing the crew to land the aircraft at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

Replacing the upper-center boron longeron, which is essential for stability in flight, is not a simple task because the part is unique to each aircraft, with no spares available.
... Quote:
The boron backbone of the B-1 is an aggressive composite design, even by today’s standards. In order to perform the repair, we worked with the Air Force and industry partners to remanufacture the entire part.
said Mahesh Reddy, B-1 program director for Boeing Global Services & Support.

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems and Boeing Commercial Airplanes employees from sites across the company worked together with the Air Force and material vendors to re-create the damaged part.

Specialty Materials Inc. in Lowell, Mass., the original boron/epoxy supplier, provided 14,000 feet of 4-inch-wide unidirectional tape to fabricate the longeron. Cytec Engineered Materials Inc., in Tempe, Ariz., supplied the adhesive film and adhesive primer.

Due to the part's complexity and 47.5-foot length, the Boeing Composite Fabrication & Assembly Center in Seattle was selected to perform the layup and cure the part in its 90-foot-deep autoclave.

 http://www.aero-news.net/in...

b1-bomber-repair.jpg - 21.67kb
By netchicken: posted on 3-6-2009

I wonder how much of our tax dollars went to repair that one piece? Millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions?
By mg.mikael: posted on 6-6-2009

Good point, but maybe it was cheaper than having to replace an entire plane :)

Afterall I don't think they have many of them ...
By netchicken: posted on 6-6-2009








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