Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on Dec. 7 that it has begun fabricating the first carbon fiber barrel for the A350 XWB fuselage at its Advanced Composites Center in Illescas, Spain. Airbus is using a MAG (Hebron, Ky., USA) automated fiber placement (AFP) system to manufacture the 18-ft/5.5m rear fuselage section 19.
Airbus is making most of the A350 fuselage using carbon fiber composites fabricated in assembled panel sections. Section 19, however, is located at the rear of the plane and thus tapers to a smaller diameter, making it best suited for AFP, says Airbus.
The section 19 work follows the start of production of the first lower wing cover for the A350, also at the Illescas facility; start of production of the upper wing cover at Stade, Germany; start of assembly of the first center wing box and keel beam in Nantes, France; completion of the first 65-ft/19.8m crown panel for the center fuselage at program partner Spirit Aerosystems' facility in Kinston, N.C.; and cure of the crown panel at Premium Aerotech in Nordenham, Germany.