#8 - Quick news -November 2015
November 2015 edition
Airbus factories prepare first fuselage structures for A350-1000
Following the recent delivery of the A350-1000’s first forward fuselage (“Section 13/14”) by the
Airbus Group subsidiary Premium Aerotec (in Nordenham, Germany), to Airbus’ Hamburg plant
for systems installation, the section was subsequently delivered to Airbus Saint-Nazaire plant to
be mated with the cockpit fuselage “Section 11/12” panels (from Aerolia). Airbus engineers have
developed various enhancements for this version of the A350 which is 3.81m longer than the
A350-900. For example, the door frames are now made of carbon fibre instead of titanium, while
the underfloor structure has been optimised. In addition, the hydraulic system has been
improved by a simplified connection to the airframe and the electrical cable bundling has been
refined. Meanwhile the first rear fuselage (Section 16/19) is currently in the final stages of
structural assembly in Hamburg and will be delivered to the Toulouse final assembly line in February.
[Link to download image 1] [Link to download image 2]
A350 cross-crew-qualification (CCQ) courses launched
Pilot courses for ‘cross-crew-qualification’ (CCQ) from the A340 to the A350 and from the A380
to the A350 are now available. The A350’s flight operational commonality of 80 percent with
A380 results in a CCQ duration of only five days and a ‘recency’ of experience requirement in
mixed-fleet-flying (MFF) operations equal to that of the A330-A340 combination. This development follows the regulatory approval last year of a ‘Common Type Rating’ for the A330 and A350 as well as CCQ from the A320 Family in 2014. These achievements come as Airbus marks 25 years of flight operational commonality between Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft.
First FAA-certified A350 XWB pilot receives Type Rating
The FAA has awarded its first A350 XWB pilot Type Rating certification to Captain John Dudley of American Airlines. The first of a soon-to-be long list of FAA-certified A350 XWB airline pilots, Dudley played a key role in the aircraft’s final design and was part of a panel of representatives from different airlines who were invited to join the programme’s airline office in Toulouse back in the year 2007. These representatives were regularly involved throughout the A350 XWB’s development, starting with the various design trades and finishing with the in-service preparation. Examples of their feedback to Airbus engineers ranged from ergonomics of the flight deck displays to systems logics, the crew rest area design and accessibility and even the dimensions of the cabin storage areas. With 22 A350 XWBs on order, American Airlines will take delivery of its first in 2017. [Link to download image]
A320neo approved for “Same Type Rating” as A320ceo
When the A320neo enters service in the near future it will be classified by the industry’s Airworthiness Authorities EASA and FAA as a variant of the A320ceo under a “single pilot licence endorsement”, otherwise known as a ‘Same Type Rating’. This is possible given that the Authorities concur that installation of the larger-sized PW1100G-JM or CFM International LEAP-1A engines does not significantly change the handling characteristics (in comparison with the CFM56 or V2500 powered A320ceo).
First Beluga ‘XL’ airframe components take shape
Machining of the first Beluga ‘XL’ fuselage frame ‘40’ for the initial “non-flyable aircraft” (NFA) has been achieved at Airbus’ plant in Nantes. The manufacture of this part paves the way for the first centre wing-box (CWB) assembly in early 2016. Other ‘first cuts’ will take place in the very near future, including that of non-Airbus Group partners such as Aernnova, headquartered in Spain, which is tasked with producing sections of the rear fuselage. In parallel, the manufacturing drawing sets for all specific parts are now being delivered from several Airbus sites, including Nantes, Saint Nazaire, Hamburg, “Clément Ader” in Toulouse, and also from various risk-sharing partners. These drawings are needed to adapt the design from the existing A330-200F to the newly developed ‘work packages’. This ongoing activity will lead to a start of final assembly in early 2017. The Beluga XL, launched in November 2014, addresses the transport capacity requirement of the A350 XWB ramp-up and other aircraft production rate increases. The fleet of five Beluga XL aircraft will provide Airbus with an additional 30 percent extra transport capacity. The first of five Beluga XLs will enter into service in 2019.
[Link to download image 1] [Link to download image 2]
‘Single-engine taxiing without the APU’ modification for A320 Family
Airbus has recently achieved certification for “single engine taxiing without the APU” (SETWA) for the A320 Family. SETWA offers clear benefits both in terms of fuel savings and environmental friendliness. The solution consists of a wiring modification in the pylon and around the engine fire handle – which can be embodied during a typical night shift. Over 20 customers have already shown interest thanks to an estimated Return-on-Investment (ROI) of around one year. Currently operators use the APU while performing a single-engine taxi, and now with the modification they will be able to shut off the APU during this phase.
Airbus introduces robotic welding process at its Toulouse pylon factory
At Airbus’ dedicated pylon manufacturing facility in Saint-Eloi (in Toulouse) operations for complex welding can now be performed by a robot. The new process, called “4D Adaptive TIG welding”, is a major industry achievement because it allows for the first time complex line welds to form pieces of different thicknesses – a process which hitherto had to be carried out manually. This was because only a human welder could accurately adapt to changes in desired thickness during welding and repeatedly yield consistent results to meet the requirements of the design office.
The process, conceived in collaboration between Airbus and “l'Institut de Soudure”, benefits from a mathematical model which determines the optimum values welding intensity and speed of the filler wire. The algorithm takes into account the thicknesses of each of the parts to be joined and the welding position. Once this data is loaded into a programme, the robot moves the welding torch along the actual profile of the workpiece measured with a laser camera. In addition to significant cost savings per aircraft and reduced welding time, quality is also improved since the calibration allows for a consistent result every time. Going forward, TIG adaptive robotic welding will be used to weld the A380, A350 and A330neo ‘Lower Pan’ structure.
[Link to download image 1] [Link to download image 2] [Link to download image 3]
First A350 Service Bulletins deployed to new S1000D data standard
The production of the first A350 Service Bulletin (SB) compliant with the S1000D standard will soon commence. The S1000D is the latest state-of-the-art Technical Documentation standard published by the S1000D Steering Committee and developed in collaboration of the defence and civil aviation industries. Compared with the former ATA iSpec 2200, which is document-based, the S1000D standard supports a data-centric and modular approach of the documentation. By deploying S1000D for the A350’s SBs and making the maintenance documentation compliant with the S1000D Issue 4.2, it brings the following main benefits to end users: SBs are entirely configurable; rich semantic tagging is preserved; and access is enabled for a wide market of XML IT tools. This powerful standard will also be progressively applied to SBs for all Airbus civil aircraft programmes from 2016 to 2018.
Airbus provides dedicated iPad mount capability for A320 Family pilots
Certified in May 2015, the iPad ‘mount’ is now available for our A320 Family customers. The mount, which consists of a mechanical support installed on each window frame and a power supply connection (USB), can be used with an iPad (models 2, 3 or 4) and iPad Air (models 1 and 2). This solution enables the use of the iPad as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) during all flight phases. The first Service Bulletin (SB) is expected shortly with an entry-into service in 2016. The solution which can be embodied during a night shift has been developed following a strong customer demand for an Airbus solution.
[Link to download image 1] [Link to download image 2]
Ethiopian Airlines’ first A350 XWB takes shape
The first Airbus A350-900 for Ethiopian Airlines is taking shape on the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France. Ethiopian Airlines will be the first African A350 XWB operator when it takes delivery of the aircraft next year. Mating of the various aircraft fuselage sections has begun and the vertical stabilizer (tailfin) has been attached. Work is also underway on joining the wings and the horizontal tailplanes to the fuselage, after which its undercarriage will be fitted. Airbus’ own A350 MSN2 test aircraft recently made the type’s debut at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport on 11th November where it demonstrated the A350’s superior hot-and-high take-off capability from the local runway which is more than 7,000 feet above sea level.
[Link to download image]
Construction of the new Airbus Asia Training Centre advances in Singapore
The new Airbus Asia Training Centre (AATC) in Singapore, a joint venture between Airbus (55%) and Singapore Airlines (SIA) (45%), is now at an advanced stage of construction, with the main building structures finalised. On target for completion in the first quarter of 2016, the 9,250 square metre facility will offer type rating and recurrent training courses for all in-production Airbus types. When fully operational, the Singapore centre will feature eight ‘full-flight simulators’ (FFS), including three A350 XWBs, one A380, two A330s and two A320s. The centre will also have six Airbus Pilot Transition (APT) fixed cockpit training devices and extensive classroom facilities, with the capacity to offer courses for more than 10,000 trainees per year. Prior to the opening of the new centre, AATC has already been offering Airbus training courses out of temporary facilities at the SIA Training Centre near Changi Airport since April this year, with two A330 and one A380 FFS. These have now been joined by the first A350 FFS to become operational in Asia, with first courses now underway since the end of October. AATC’s instructors are initially being drawn from Airbus and Singapore Airlines, with additional recruitment ongoing. Trainees will be inducted from airlines based across the Asia-Pacific region and all the courses offered are identical to those at the manufacturer’s flight training centres in Toulouse, Miami and Beijing. . [Link to download image]
Airbus strengthens presence in Malaysia with Customer Services Centre
Airbus is strengthening its presence in Malaysia with the recent opening of its new Airbus Customer Services Centre in Sepang. The Malaysian centre offers a portfolio of servicesencompassing the complete range of Airbus products with a significant focus on the A380 and the new A350 XWB. Among the major repair activities undertaken by Airbus Customer Services in Malaysia are retrofits, modifications and complex repairs involving specialties in aircraft structures, systems and avionics. The facility also provides structural repair engineering support to customer queries.
Chinese airlines and MROs prepare for Sharklet in-service retrofits
Sharklet in-service retrofit embodiment workshops have recently been held in Beijing by Airbus’ retrofit team, where participants included maintenance and engineering experts from Chinese airlines and MROs in China. Airbus launched the Sharklet Retrofit programme in 2011 following the success of Sharklet and confirmed customer demand. Initially, the retrofit was limited to recently-built aircraft delivered with wings already strengthened for Sharklet. And now Airbus is ready to deliver an in-service retrofit solution for more than 3,500 older aircraft. The preparation for first in-service retrofit embodiment on a customer’s aircraft is underway and the entry into service is expected before the end of 2015.
Airbus’ training venture in China first multi-crew pilot license graduation
The first group of Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL) cadets have graduated from Airbus flightcrew training venture in China, jointly implemented with the Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC) and Hua-Ou Aviation Training (Hua-Ou) for Air China. The graduation took place on 29th October under the auspices of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The MPL training course represents the outcome of common efforts among CAAC, flight universities, airlines, the training company and Airbus.
The advantages of MPL are that an airline environment is built into the training at a very early stage. It uses Airline Standard Operating Procedures, modern Human Factor methods and the target aircraft, such as the Airbus A320, at a very early stage of the training. This way the ab-initio student pilots not only achieve all the competencies to become proficient operators of an A320, but they are also familiar with airline operations.
Tigerair chooses Airbus’ component support and A320 fleet management
Tigerair Singapore has signed a Flight Hour Services - Tailored Support Package (FHS-TSP) contract with Airbus to provide full component support, and fleet technical management services for its A320-family aircraft. This 10-year FHS-TSP contract, commencing early 2016, guarantees spare parts availability through an extensive scope of A320 Line Replaceable Units (LRUs), components repair, transportation and expendables provisioning together with Fleet Technical Management (FTM) services where Tigerair will benefit from Airbus’ experience and expertise to optimize their aircraft maintenance and engineering operations. Airbus FHS contracts have now been selected to cover more than 200 aircraft from operators of A320, A330, A380 and A350 XWB.
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