Assembly of the first A350 XWB’s 32-metre-long carbon fibre wings has begun at Airbus’ recently-opened North Factory in Broughton, UK. Pre-assembly of ribs, upper and lower covers and fixed leading and trailing edges already has taken place. These components will be moved into the main assembly jigs for full wing box integration. Most of the A350 XWB wing is made of lightweight carbon composites, including the upper and lower wing covers, stringers, front and rear spars. The advanced structural design and superior wing aerodynamics are significant contributors to the aircraft’s 25 per cent fuel-saving performance.
News in brief
Airbus starts making the wings for first A350 XWB
A320 fitted with fuel-saving Sharklets prepares for flight-tests
Airbus has completed installation of the first set of Sharklet wing-tip devices on the company’s A320 development aircraft (MSN 001), preparing for the flight-test campaign in the coming weeks. Sharklets, which have been specially designed for the Airbus A320 Family, will reduce fuel burn by up to 3.5 percent, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes per aircraft. These new wingtip devices are around 2.5 metres tall and will replace the aircraft’s current wingtip fence. Offered as an option on new-build aircraft, as well as being standard on the A320neo Family, Sharklets also will enhance the aircraft’s payload-range and take-off performance.
MASkargo takes delivery of second A330-200F at Dubai Air Show
MASkargo, the freight subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, took delivery of its second A330-200F at the Dubai Air Show today. The A330-200F is the world’s most modern mid-size freighter and can carry 70 tonnes of payload, with a range capability of up to 4,000nm. For MASkargo, the aircraft’s performance and flexibility enable direct freight services from its Kuala Lumpur base to destinations across Asia, with onward capability to Australasia, Europe or the US. Altogether, MASkargo has ordered four A330-200F aircraft for operation across its international network.
Completion of production marks new chapter in the A340 success story
Twenty years after its maiden flight, Airbus has completed production for the A340 jetliner, reflecting changing market dynamics. While new aircraft are no longer to be built, Airbus will continue to fully support the current global fleet of A340s – which are providing reliable ultra long-haul flight services with customers around the world – as long as they are in operation. Four versions of the A340 were produced by Airbus: the A340-200, A340-300, A340-500 and A340-600. Providing extended operating ranges of up to 9,000 nautical miles, this product line allows operators to eliminate unproductive stops, open new routes and match service standards to targeted market needs on very long-haul segments.
Deliveries continue for the new-generation A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)
Airbus Military has formally handed over the third A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which is to receive a total of five of these advanced air-to-air tanker aircraft. Designated the KC-30A in RAAF service, Australia’s newest A330 MRTT was converted from an Airbus A330 jetliner airframe by Qantas Defence Services in Brisbane. The country’s no. 4 A330 MRTT will be delivered in December, with handover of the fifth aircraft scheduled for next year.
Tail section for Thai Airways International’s first A380 rolls out of paint shop
The vertical tail section for the first Thai Airways International (THAI) A380 has been painted with the airline’s orchid logo at Airbus facilities in Hamburg, Germany. The painting was completed over the weekend, and the section is now being prepared for shipment to Toulouse, France – where assembly of the aircraft is set to begin later this month. THAI will become the ninth A380 operator when it takes delivery of its first jetliner in the third quarter of 2012.
The Airbus Military A400M performs water ingestion tests
Airbus Military has successfully completed testing to demonstrate the new-generation A400M airlifter’s ability to operate on wet runways and taxiways without ingesting water into the engines. During these tests at Istres, France, the aircraft travelled through troughs containing 2-6 cm of water at speeds of up to 90kt in take-off and landing configurations, including operations with reverse thrust.
The Royal Saudi Air Force begins flight training on the A330 MRTT
Royal Saudi Air Force crews have started flight training on their first A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) with Airbus Military instructors in Spain, which will allow them to qualify for air logistic transport and air-to-air refueling with pods and boom. Handover of the first A330 MRTT to the Royal Saudi Air Force will take place mid-November 2011, with additional deliveries scheduled during 2012.
Celebrating four years of “love at first flight”
Four years ago today, Airbus’ 21st century flagship A380 entered commercial revenue service in the fleet of Singapore Airlines. Since that time, the double-deck aircraft has been winning over business and leisure passengers alike – leading many travelers to specifically request flights on the A380, which currently is operated by seven airlines to 26 destinations worldwide and has flown more than 16 million passengers to date.
Assembly begins for the A350 XWB "MSN1" horizontal tailplane
Airbus has started the assembly of the first A350 XWB’s horizontal tailplane (HTP) in Getafe, Spain. Joining of the two lateral boxes will produce the 17-metre span primary structure of the HTP. Structural assembly will continue over the coming weeks, followed by installation of the unit’s electric and hydraulic systems. Once the assembly and equipping work is finished, the HTP will be flown by Airbus’ Beluga transport aircraft to the final assembly line in Toulouse, France.