F-35 Horizontal Tails Pass the Structural Test
Structural testing of the F-35 horizontal tails for all three variants is now complete, proving the tails are structurally sound for up 24,000 hours of flying, the equivalent to three lifetimes of the aircraft.
Testing began in 2008 and was completed, ahead of schedule in June 2014. Two types of testing were completed, static and fatigue testing. Static testing involved applying the maximum loads the aircraft is expected to see in its life, in some instances the loads were equivalent to parking two double decker busses on the tail. Fatigue testing subjected the tails to thousands of simulated flight cycles, effectively flying the tails in a jig for 24,000 hours.
Karl Barker managed the completion of the testing and said “The tails were actually designed at Brough, starting back in 2003, so completing the testing right where it all started is a proud moment for the team. They’ve seen it right the way through from design to test.
“Add this to the fact that we manufacture the horizontal and vertical tails for the programme at Samlesbury and there’s a great British story behind F-35. Every time we see an aircraft fly, we know we helped make that happen."