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September 2011 - Airbus A 350 XWB Wings

Written by Administrator
Saturday, 23 July 2011 19:17

One of us, invited by the French COSAC(1) to the 49th International Paris Air Show Le Bourget, which was held on June 20-26, 2011, had the opportunity to be very close to and to marvel at the seeing of aircraft during their world première, such as the Airbus A 400 M, Boeing B 747-8 Intercontinental, etc.

This month, we are to give you some pieces of information dealing neither with PT nor MT, as the topic is the future Airbus A 350 XWB.

The purpose is to make people outside the aerospace industry (and many they are among our readers!) know the impressive dimensions of some parts of aircraft.

We reproduce a paper(2), published in the Sept 1, 2010 issue of Aviation Industry News, a part of UBM AVIATION group.

A 350 production begins in Germany

Production of the A350 XWB has begun in Germany. The first component produced will be the upper wing shell, and at almost 32 metres by six metres, it is the largest integrated component ever to be built by Airbus from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). The shells will be built using advanced production processes at the 30,000 m2 production hangars in Stade. For the first time automated tape-laying technology will be used not only for the carbon fibre but also for the lightning strike protection and fibreglass components. The wing shell will then undergo polymerisation in the autoclave. This high-tech oven is one of the largest facilities of its kind worldwide and can accommodate two wing shells simultaneously.

Metal-cutting is more and more often replaced by composites polymerization.
NDT methods are developed for such huge parts; further wings and other composite areas comprise acoustic emission sensors, and other sensors, able to detect water intrusion in the composites, delamination, etc. while the craft is flying. Just to help reduce AOG (aircraft on ground) time, or to be able to find another plane if the one arriving is known not to be able to fly again without a thorough maintenance/repair process.


(1) The COSAC is the Aerospace Industry Certification Committee of the French Confederation for Non-Destructive Testing (COFREND).

(2) Reproduced with permission, Aviation Industry News - Wednesday 1st September 2010, UBM Information Ltd.: Ludgate House 245 Blackfriars Road London SE1 9UY, United Kingdom.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 July 2011 20:19 )