Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on Feb. 19 that it has begun assembly of the third A350 XWB at the company's Toulouse final assembly line as preparations continue for the next-generation jetliner’s upcoming flight and certification campaign.
Designated MSN3, this aircraft will be deployed for a variety of A350 XWB testing, including performance at high and medium altitudes, in cold weather and hot temperatures and on long-range flights.
Build-up activity for the no. 3 A350 XWB commenced during February on the final assembly line, where the aircraft’s three fuselage sections were transferred following their arrival in Toulouse aboard a Beluga transporter. It joins the MSN5000 aircraft at Toulouse, currently undergoing preparations for static testing in another hangar, and MSN1, which is completing indoor ground evaluations.
Initial assembly steps for MSN3 included installation of the jetliner’s 50m/164-ft-long electrical harness for flight test measurements, which – along a complement of electrical cabinets – forms an advanced “supercomputer” called METRO.
This was followed by the fuselage sections’ successful molding at the final assembly line’s Station 50. The fuselage sections overlap by only 8 cm/3.1 inches; about 10,000 holes are drilled in total for the fuselage join-up.
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