Joining The First A350 XWB Front Fuselage
By Bill Goldston
December 11, 2011 - Airbus has started joining the first
21-metre long front fuselage section for the A350 XWB in
Saint-Nazaire (France). This phase will continue over
the coming weeks and once completed, the front fuselage
will be transported by Beluga to the A350 XWB Final
Assembly Line in Toulouse. This will be the first major
section of the A350 XWB to enter the Final Assembly
The front fuselage is made up of the forward fuselage,
manufactured by Premium AEROTEC in Germany and the nose
section, already assembled at Airbus in Saint-Nazaire
from components produced by Aerolia in France.
This front fuselage is destined for the A350 XWB static test airframe, the first A350 XWB to be assembled. It will be followed closely by the first ?flyable? airframe for MSN1, one of the five flight test aircraft Airbus will build.
The static airframe is used solely for ground tests that will demonstrate the aircraft?s ability to sustain certification loads and provide key data ahead of the first flight in the first half of 2013.
The Airbus A350 is a family of
long-range, wide-body jet airliners 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 (?12 billion or ?10 billion). The
airliner is scheduled to enter airline service during the first
half of 2014. As of 30 November 2011, 567 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 5.97 m (19.6
ft), compared to 5.64 m (18.5 ft) for the A330/A340. The cabin's
internal diameter will be 5.61 m (18.4 ft) wide at armrest level
compared with 5.49 m (18.0 ft) of the Boeing 787 and 5.86 m
(19.2 ft) of the Boeing 777.
|blog comments powered by Disqus|
|?AvStop Online Magazine Contact Us Return To News|