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A shakedown is a period of testing or a trial journey undergone by a ship, aircraft or other craft and its crew before being declared operational. Statistically, a proportion of the components will fail after a relatively short period of use, and those that survive this period can be expected to last for a much longer, and more importantly, predictable life-span. For example if an important bolt has a hidden flaw introduced during manufacture, it will not share the usual reliability characteristics of other bolts of the same type.

Example procedures

Racing cars

Most racing cars require a "shakedown" test before being used at a race meeting. For example, on May 3 2006, Luca Badoer performed shakedowns on all three of Ferrarimarker's Formula One cars at the Fiorano Circuitmarker. This was in preparation for the European Grand Prixmarker at the Nürburgringmarker. Badoer is a Ferrari F1 test driver. The main drivers then were Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa.


Aircraft shakedowns check avionics, flight controls, all systems, as well as the general airframe airworthiness.


A shakedown for a ship is generally referred to as a sea trial. The maiden voyage takes place after a successful shakedown.

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