NIAR completes ground vibration testing for Kansas Modification Center’s 777-300ERCF conversion


Things are shaking in Wichita with the Kansas Modification Center’s 777-300ERCF conversion program at Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). The team at NIAR WERX completed ground vibration testing last month.

The ground vibration test, completed over the course of five days, helps characterize how the aircraft structure responds when subjected to stresses associated with landing and flight.

“This was a key test for the program,” said Dave Jones, executive director of NIAR WERX. “This test will give us a baseline to assess the aircraft’s behavior now compared to when the conversion is complete.”

The test took place in the facility’s newest hangar at Air Capital Flight Line, and involved the installation of over 120 accelerometers across the aircraft fuselage, wings, engines and tails. It is the first in a series of ground and flight tests occurring over the next few weeks.

The 777 conversion program is led by the Kansas Modification Center and involves the conversion of 777-300ER passenger aircraft to a cargo aircraft to meet the growing air freight transportation market. NIAR WERX is providing the engineering and modification services for KMC, and expects the STC issuance and initial re-delivery of the 777-300ERCF converted freighter in early 2024.

NIAR WERX provides engineering, maintenance/repair/overhaul, environmental test and flight test/certification services. The NIAR WERX team supporting the 777 program consists of over 130 engineers and mechanics with more than 3,000 years of combined experience in engineering and program management, and 15 engineering and vocational students.

Wichita State University serves as the Kansas urban-based research university, enrolling more than 16,000 students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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About NIAR

Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research provides research, testing, certification and training for aviation and manufacturing technologies. Established in 1985, NIAR has a +$190 million annual budget; 1,100 employees and nearly 1.6 million square feet of laboratory and office space in six locations across the city of Wichita, the Air Capital of the World. NIAR laboratories include Additive Manufacturing, Advanced Coatings, Advanced Manufacturing, Ballistics/Impact Dynamics, Composites/Advanced Materials, Crash Dynamics, Digital Twin, Environmental/ Electromagnetic Test, Full-Scale Structural Test, Nondestructive Test, Reverse Engineering, Robotics/Automation, Virtual Engineering, WERX, eXtended Reality and the Walter H. Beech Wind Tunnel.