Airbus A350 XWB Landing Gear Test Bench Ready For Service


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Airbus A350 XWB Landing Gear Test Bench Ready For Service

By Eddy Metcalf

March 5, 2012 - The A350 XWB’s main and nose landing gear test bench is ready for service at Airbus’ site in Filton, UK. This latest step in the A350 XWB’s progress is achieved more than one year before the aircraft’s first flight and two years before its entry into service.  

Extensive testing campaigns are being carried out for all A350 XWBs systems and components well ahead of first flight. This will ensure the aircraft has a high level of performance, reliability and maturity built-in from day one.  

The defining characteristics of the A350 XWB landing gear are simplicity and robustness with particular attention paid to corrosion prevention. These factors will bring a significant contribution to the A350 XWB’s high operational reliability and lower maintenance costs.

The Airbus A350 is a family of long-range, wide-body jet airliners under development by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The A350 will be the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer. It will carry 270 to 350 passengers in three-class seating, depending on variant. 

The A350 was born as an A330-derived minimum-changed competitor to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the larger Boeing 777, but was unanimously rejected by prospective customers. Airbus was forced to redesign the initial proposal, but airlines voiced for a complete overhaul. The eventual proposal incorporates major changes, which Airbus says that will be more fuel-efficient, with up to 8% lower operating cost than the Boeing 787.  

The redesigned A350 was marketed by Airbus as the A350 XWB, where the XWB stands for Extra Wide Body. The launch customer for the A350 is Qatar Airways, which ordered 80 aircraft across the three variants. Development costs are projected to be US $15 billion. The airliner is scheduled to enter airline service during the first half of 2014. As of 20 January 2012, 561 orders had been placed for the new aircraft.  

The new XWB fuselage will have a constant width from door 1 to door 4, unlike previous Airbus aircraft, to provide maximum usable volume. The double-lobe (ovoid) fuselage cross-section will have a maximum outer diameter of 19.6 ft, compared to 18.5 ft for the A330/A340. The cabin's internal diameter will be 18.4 ft wide at armrest level compared with 18.0 ft of the Boeing 787 19.2 ft of the Boeing 777.

It allows eight-abreast 2–4–2 arrangement in premium economy layout, with the seats being 19.5 in wide between 2.0 in wide arm rests. Airbus says that the seat width will be 0.5 in greater than a 787 seat in the equivalent configuration. In the nine-abreast, 3–3–3 standard layout, the XWB's seat width will be 18 in which will be 0.5 in wider than the proposed equivalent seat layout for the Boeing 787. A ten-abreast high-density configuration is also available.

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