Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on Nov. 23 that its A350 XWB static test airframe had been moved into the facility where it will undergo testing to validate the structural design of the composites-intensive, midsized, twin-aisle passenger jet.
In mid-November the airframe rolled out of the A350 XWB final assembly line at Blagnac Airport in Toulouse and was transferred to the L34 static test hall situated across the airport in the Lagardère industrial zone — also home to the A380 final assembly line. This cleared the way for the A350 XWB airframe to be integrated into a test rig for a testing campaign that will submit the airframe to nearly a year of evaluations, including limit load and ultimate load validations, along with residual strength and margin research.
The L34 static test hall covers an area of 10,000m2 (107,639 ft2) and is supported by 200 workers during peak testing activity. It houses a massive test rig that incorporates 2,500 metric tonnes (5.5 million lb) of steel framing and 240 jacks/loading lines that are used to induce structural loads. The testing is recorded by 12,000 sensors. The static test airframe was the first to be built on the A350 XWB’s new Roger Béteille final assembly line in Toulouse, and it was the focus during Airbus’ inauguration ceremony for this production facility in October. The airframe is sized to represent the A350-900 version of Airbus’ newest jetliner family, which is the intermediate aircraft of the three fuselage-length versions: the A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000.