The first set of wings for the first A400M military transport aircraft - MSN001 - passed a major milestone when the first whole wing was removed from its state-of-the-art assembly jig at Airbus' Filton, Bristol, UK site. The wing is the first-ever wing for an Airbus-built aircraft constructed largely from composite materials (carbon fibre reinforced plastic, CFRP) and is believed to be the largest composite wing ever made.
The 23 metre long by four metre wide port (left side) wingbox, weighing around three tonnes, was removed from its assembly jig by overhead crane. This was the first time the removal procedure had been carried out and it involved a team of ten workers.
Final assembly of the first wing components began just four months ago, on 20th July. On 21st September the wing featured in the formal opening of the new Â£70 million (100 million Euro) A400M Wing Manufacturing Centre by the UK's Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Drayson.
In the next few weeks the port wing will be joined in the equipping phase by the first starboard (right-side) wing. After equipping and full testing, the wings will be delivered from Filton to the A400M aircraft final assembly line in Seville, Spain by Beluga.