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First Airbus A350 XWB Tail Gets Insignia Painted With Environmentally Friendly Paint
By Bill Goldston

October 23, 2012 - The vertical tail plane of the first flyable A350 XWB (MSN1) has just come out of the paint hall in Toulouse, France sporting the well known Airbus blue and white insignia. This is the first A350 XWB component to be painted with the Airbus insignia. 

The 10 meter tall, composite vertical tail plane is produced, as for all Airbus aircraft, at Airbus’ Stade site in Germany. The vertical tail plane is joined to the fuselage using an innovative, lighter connection that is also more aerodynamic. 

The external insignia of the A350 XWB, including the vertical tail plane, is painted with an environmentally friendly, chromate free primer paint. In addition, following best practice from the car industry, Airbus will use a new base coat/clear coat system which requires less paint and less solvent.


This eco-efficient painting process also means that less detergent will be needed when washing the aircraft. Inside, Airbus will use a water-based paint wherever possible, one of the most environmentally friendly types of paint available. 

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 fiber-reinforced polymer. It will carry 250 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 support for a complete overhaul. The eventual proposal incorporates major changes, which Airbus says 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 second half of 2014.


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