The final assembly process has begun for Malaysia Airlines’ initial A380 jetliner, which is now taking shape at the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France. The overall process is made up of five primary phases – beginning with assembly of the front, central and aft fuselages, wings, and horizontal and vertical tail plane. This is to be followed by electric/hydraulic tests, engine installation and further ground and engine tests. The A380 will then fly to Hamburg, Germany, where the aircraft will receive its cabin and undergo painting.
News in brief
Final production begins for the no. 1 Malaysia Airlines A380
A330 MRTT deliveries begin with the initial aircraft’s handover to Australia
The no. 1 Airbus Military A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport has been provided to a customer with this milestone aircraft’s delivery to Australia on 1 June for operation by the Royal Australian Air Force. In its role as an aerial tanker, the Australian A330 MRTTs are equipped with Airbus Military’s fly-by-wire Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and two underwing refuelling pods. The aircraft’s widebody fuselage also enables it to be utilised as a transport aircraft, with the capacity to carry 300 troops or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb.
Airbus Military's initial A330 MRTT for Australia departs for its delivery
The first A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) today began its ferry flight to ready this aircraft for its upcoming delivery to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Departing from Airbus Military’s Madrid, Spain facility, the milestone A330 MRTT is scheduled to land at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland on 30 May, with formal handover to occur in the following days. This A330 MRTT was converted by Qantas Defense Services in Brisbane, Australia – subsequently returning to Madrid for painting and finishing – and is to be joined by a second aircraft in June, with two additional deliveries planned for later this year. Australia’s fifth and final A330 MRTT arrived in Brisbane for its conversion a few days ago, and will be delivered next year.
Korean Air’s first A380 enters its final round of evaluations
The final phase of testing has begun for Korean Air’s initial A380, which is scheduled to enter commercial service with the Seoul-based carrier next month. Carried out from Airbus’ facilities in Hamburg, Germany, these tests are validating the double-deck jetliner’s cabin systems and general performance before its upcoming flight to Toulouse, France for pre-delivery preparations.
The A350 XWB’s first main landing gear set is delivered to Airbus
Airbus has received the initial main landing gear set for its A350 XWB, which is to be installed on the next-generation jetliner’s system test rig – along with the first nose landing gear received last month – in Filton, UK. This upcoming industrial milestone will clear the way for testing to demonstrate the system’s reliability and maturity, and also provide data for certification – particularly in the areas of extension-retraction, braking and steering.
A successful first flight for the United Arab Emirates’ initial A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport
Airbus Military’s A330-based aerial refueling programme has marked a new milestone with the maiden flight of the United Arab Emirates Air Force’s no. 1 A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) – which was completed on 9 April. As this aircraft features certain avionics differences from A330 MRTTs ordered by other nations – and is the first to be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines – the certification and qualification phase now begins for these new elements.
A new milestone with the first nose landing gear for Airbus A350 XWB programme
The first nose landing gear for Airbus’ next-generation A350 XWB has successfully been installed at the jetliner’s landing gear integration test facility in Filton, UK. This milestone will be followed by incorporation of the aircraft’s main landing gear, clearing the way for testing to demonstrate the system’s reliability and maturity, as well as providing data for certification.
The A400M undergoes low-speed take-off trials
Marking a new step in its testing, Airbus Military’s A400M has completed a series of trials to validate the lowest speed at which this new-generation airlifter can take off. The operations were performed in Istres, France, and are standard for the development of military and civil aircraft. During these tests, the A400M’s nose was raised until a special bumper fitted to the rear fuselage contacted the ground, as planned, at the maximum pitch-up angle of 13 degrees.
Airbus Military’s first tanker for the UK Royal Air Force displays its refuelling system
The “three-point” refuelling system for the UK Royal Air Force’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) has been demonstrated during handling qualities flight testing. Built by Airbus Military, these aerial tankers are outfitted with hose and drogue units contained in pods below each wing, as well as another installed under the aft fuselage. The FSTAs will be utilised for the in-flight refuelling of probe-equipped combat and transport aircraft. Delivery of the UK’s initial tanker is planned later this year.
The largest composite fuselage panel for Airbus' A350 XWB completes its curing process
The A350 XWB programme has reached a new industrial milestone with the successful curing of this new-generation jetliner’s largest composite fuselage panel. The 93-square metre component was completed by Airbus partner Premium AEROTEC at its Nordenham, Germany site – where the panel is now ready for its ultrasonic inspection, trimming and drilling.