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The criteria and procedures used to develop and maintain commercial transport aircraft have produced long-life structure with credible service records. These criteria have evolved over time and address a multitude of regulatory and manufacturer-specific requirements to ensure long-term structural integrity of these aircraft. Structure designed to meet these requirements must balance detail design, manufacturing processes, and ease of maintenance, and must be expected to operate at high stresses because of weight objectives. Static strength requirements ensure that any failure due to static overload is unlikely. Operator service period expectations are met with durability requirements, while detection of damage prior to compromising structural safety is ensured by damage tolerance and fail-safety criteria.
The evolution of structures design criteria is briefly reviewed with major focus on current guidelines for structural durability and damage tolerance.
fail-safe, durability, damage tolerance, detectability, inspection program, airworthiness initiatives
Manager, Structural Damage Technology, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, Seattle, WA
Structures engineer, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, Seattle, WA