Airbus has opened the A350 XWB Landing Gear Systems Test Facility at its site in Filton in the UK, marking another important step forward in A350 XWB production.
Louis Gallois, chief executive officer of EADS, Airbus’ parent company, and Sir Peter Westmacott, the UK ambassador to France, opened the building, which is named after Sir George White, the founder of the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
“Today we are not only opening an important new building, but we are also celebrating a closer step to the reality of the A350 XWB,” said Gallois. “This facility, and the employees inside it, will play an important part in the integration of the landing gear systems on the aircraft, which will fly around the world and carry millions of passengers in its lifetime. I am proud that the Airbus employees in the UK will play such an important role in this programme.”
Construction of the €39m facility started in January 2009. Inside there is a large bay that will house the following: the landing gear systems integrated rigs (LG0); an avionics suite with test benches known as the Landing Gear Systems Functional Integration Benches (FIB); a control room from which all tests are co-ordinated; a parts store; and a dedicated viewing area for visitors.
In line with Airbus’ environmental requirements, this building uses innovative technology to reduce the environmental footprint of the building. This includes natural light and temperature monitoring systems which will ensure that just the right amount of energy is used to heat and light the building.
Approximately 30 full-time employees will work in the landing gear systems test facility when the rigs enter the initial test phase in mid-2011. The Airbus site at Filton is responsible for the specification, procurement, aircraft integration and certification of all Airbus aircraft landing gear and associated systems. The test facility will demonstrate the maturity of the landing gear system, and provide evidence for the certification of the landing gear and systems, especially the extension-retraction and braking systems.
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) Family is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three basic passenger versions seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. Scheduled for entry-into-service in 2013, the A350 Family is already one of most successful aircraft programmes ever, with a total of 558 firm orders already received from 34 customers worldwide.