The A350 XWB is an all-new design offering a step-change in lower seat mile costs requested by the market for its next-generation of twin-aisle, long-range jetliners.
Key design features driving this improvement in economic efficiency are the extensive use of lightweight composite materials for lower weight and maintenance costs; the implementation of simple, efficient and proven systems, including integrated modular avionics; the application of state-of-the-art aerodynamics; and the use of latest-generation engines with the lowest fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
Composites, titanium and advanced aluminium-alloys are applied extensively throughout the A350 XWB’s fuselage, with their use tailored to the best characteristics of these materials. The 53 per cent of composites utilised in the fuselage and wing reduces the need for fatigue-related inspections required on more traditional aluminium jetliners. The composites and titanium also diminish the requirement for corrosion-related maintenance checks on the A350 XWB. These two factors reduce the new aircraft’s overall fatigue and corrosion maintenance tasks by 60 per cent.
Construction of the A350 XWB’s fuselage sections is made by assembling four-skin panel sections – two lateral side panels, one at the crown, and another for the belly – onto carbon fibre frames. In contrast to other composite aircraft, this construction technique allows for a tailoring of composite layup thickness to each panel, based on calculations of local fuselage stresses and loads.
Simple, proven systems
The A350 XWB’s onboard systems are designed for maximum reliability, operability and simplicity. They are optimised for two primary criteria: robustness for ensured reliability and operability; and simplicity for reduced maintenance time and cost. Many of these systems are derived from Airbus’ A380, providing the advantages of operational experience with this 21st century flagship aircraft and ensuring a high level of maturity at the A350’s XWB entry into service.
Solid-state power control technology on the A350 XWB eliminates the need for individual circuit breakers in the cockpit, cabin and electronics bay – providing a modern method of power control management throughout the aircraft. The application of variable frequency generators, which were first introduced with the A380, provides more power with less weight and lower maintenance costs, along with increased reliability and time-between-removals.
Another A380-proven concept is the use of two hydraulic circuits (instead of three on other jetliners), with redundancy provided by a dual-channel electro-hydraulic backup system. In addition, A350 XWB’s hydraulics will be operated at the higher pressure level of 5,000 psi., which also is used on the A380. This increased operating pressure reduces the size of pipes, actuators and other system components while also facilitating the overall access – leading to improved reliability and maintainability, as well as reducing weight and increasing cost savings.
Highly efficient wing
The A350 XWB will be a faster, more efficient and quieter aircraft as the result of its advanced wing design – which combines aerodynamic enhancements already validated on the A380 with further improvements developed by Airbus engineers. Built primarily from carbon composite materials, the wing is optimised through extensive use of computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel testing for a fast cruise speed of Mach 0.85. This reduces trip times, improves overall efficiency, and extends the aircraft’s range.
All three A350 XWB family members share the same wing planform – with a 64.7-metre wingspan, a total area of 442 sq. metres, and high swept leading edge. In addition the internal wing structure will be scaled to meet the specific requirements of each aircraft variant.
Innovative concepts applied to the A350 XWB wing’s high-lift devices will reduce noise and drag while also improving the aircraft’s low-speed performance. One of these innovations is the stream-wise deployment of trailing-edge flaps. On a traditional swept-wing jetliner, the outboard flaps extend at an angle to the airflow. For the A350 XWB, flap deployment is along the direction of flight – resulting in better lift efficiency and improved low-speed performance, while reducing aerodynamic-generated noise.
Other A350 XWB wing enhancements include the adoption of a drop-hinge mechanism to improve the flap’s deployment kinetics, along with the introduction of a downwards movement for the upper wing spoilers to fill the gaps that occur when flaps are extended. In addition, the A350 XWB’s flight computer will perform in-flight trimming of the inboard and outboard flaps, creating a variable camber wing that adapts to different flight conditions.
Orders & deliveries
Did you know?
- The advanced wing design of the A350 XWB offers an optimized cruise speed of Mach 0.85
- The A350 XWB Crew Rest Areas are above offering secure and private space the cabin, with no impact on the cabin.
The A350 XWB will be the first Airbus to be over 50% composite