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Apparently Boeing Doors Are Exploding?

Apparently Boeing Doors Are Exploding?
Joe Cortez

Problems could be mounting for Boeing on the ground after a pressure test resulted in a blown door for the 777X program. According to employees at the Everett, Washington factory, a stress test of the upgraded airframe resulted in a cargo door malfunction.

The latest problem at Boeing could involve an airframe that won’t take to the skies until 2020. First reported by the Seattle Times, a grounded Boeing 777X airframe experienced a stress test failure after a cargo door exploded outward.

The stress test was performed on a “static test airplane;” an airframe built for testing on the ground but not built for flight. The test consisted of pulling the wings upward while increasing pressure on the skin panels of the wings and fuselage.

During the test, an employee at the Boeing Everett facility speaking to the Seattle Times reported: “a loud boom and the ground shook.” The result is attributed to a cargo door that exploded outwards during the stress test, conducted as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process.

According to a statement provided to, Boeing categorized the situation as “an event…that forced the test team to halt testing.” The manufacturer confirmed there were no injuries resulting from the failure and would not comment on whether FAA officials were present. While the building was safely evacuated after the test, the next day employees say all doors to the affected hangar were blocked off with caution tape and nobody could enter.

Speaking to, former Boeing engineer and head of Dr. Todd Curtis said that the situation was unusual. Although it’s not out of the realm of possibility, Dr. Curtis said that he never heard of it happening.

“It’s unlikely this will speed up certification,” Dr. Curtis told “It’s more likely it will make the certification team, whoever’s involved with Boeing and the FAA, do extra work to figure out what happened.”

In the Boeing statement, the Chicago-based manufacturer noted: “The event is under review and the team is working to understand root cause.” They also said that the test was an extreme situation “…well beyond any load expected in commercial service,” and the static test airplane would never fly or see passenger exposure.


[Featured Image: Wikimedia/Dan Nevill]

View Comments (9)


  1. jrpallante

    September 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    I’m no engineer, but isn’t this exactly why they perform tests? If every plane were expected to pass every test, then what would be the point of testing?

  2. nearlysober

    September 11, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    That’s a pretty click-baity title.

    A door, not doors, exploded – in a TEST, designed to see if the door would explode.

    This is why they run tests.

  3. Boggie Dog

    September 12, 2019 at 11:26 am

    All doors and hatches are designed to not fail. In this test at the pressure the airframe was subjected to the door should not have failed. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been an “event”. This failure indicates a structural weakness of the airplane.

  4. pmiranda

    September 13, 2019 at 5:13 am

    Good thing they tested it… at greater stress than it would ever see in operation. They can find and fix the issue and it will be the last thing I worry about on a 777X.
    If you want to worry, worry about the things they haven’t tested :)

  5. ulxima

    September 13, 2019 at 6:51 am

    The real questions are “has this test ever failed before? When was it the last time that such a failure occurred during a test?”

  6. jayer

    September 13, 2019 at 10:54 am

    I’m more interested in if this is a new door design or location for the door. Meaning, if it is somehow new the test was designed to see if it would fail and the redesign started the next day. Now if it was same door design in the same location as prior 777 models we really do have a problem.

  7. BC Shelby

    September 13, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    …well there was the early DC-10s which had this issue due to a flaw in the cargo door locking mechanism. Whether this was tested for or not is uncertain. This prompted a redesign of the latching mechanism along with a small window added to the door so the ground crew could determine that the door was properly secured.

    Also aircraft go through multiple pressurisation cycles. and in humid salty ones (such as along the Pacific) corrosion of frame members can be a more prevalent threat (Aloha 243). Good this happened on the “torture rack” and not at cruise altitude.

  8. CPRich

    September 18, 2019 at 3:31 am

    “All doors and hatches are designed to not fail. In this test at the pressure the airframe was subjected to the door should not have failed. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been an “event”. This failure indicates a structural weakness of the airplane.”

    Which is exactly why they test. Design, test, analyze, remediate… repeat until the design meets acceptance criteria.

    I guarantee that every airplane designed in the last 50 years has failed a test during development. Watch the A380 development video. They had a fuselage failure during high speed testing, short of what was supposed to be max speed. They redesigned, retested, and went to production.

    The actual result is interesting in terms of tracking development of this new model. The article title is pure, false, click-bait.

  9. IanFromHKG

    September 18, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    This is what tests are designed to discover. Unfortunate that MCAS wasn’t (apparently) properly tested in this way, but in this particular case the test did what it was designed to do – discover a potential problem (even if the situation was unlikely to occur in real life).

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