Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on Feb. 10 that it has started final assembly of the first A350-1000 at the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse. This A350-1000, one of three flight test aircraft to be built, will make its maiden flight before the end of 2016. A350-1000 deliveries will start in mid-2017. The A350-1000, like the A350-900, features carbon fiber composites in more than 50% of its structure.
To ensure the smooth integration of the A350-1000 into the FAL while A350-900 production is ramping-up, Airbus has added three additional final assembly stations. For maximum flexibility, all stations in the A350 XWB FAL can be used for both models.
Currently in Station 50 for fuselage join-up and nose landing gear installation, the first A350-1000 will next move to Station 40 where the wings, main landing gear, pylons and tail planes will be installed. To save time and optimise the A350 assembly process, Airbus starts the cabin furnishing and first electrical power-on in parallel to the structural assembly work. After this stage is completed, the aircraft continues through the FAL process, with final structural activities, ground tests, painting, cabin and cockpit completion and engines installation before being transferred to the flight test center.
The A350-1000, measuring about 74m from nose to tail, is the longest fuselage version of Airbus’ all-new family of wide body jetliners and will be powered by Rolls Royce Trent XWB-97 engines. The A350-1000 seats 366 passengers in a typical three-class configuration and flies on routes of up to almost 8,000 nautical miles. Airbus has won 181 A350-1000 orders from 10 customers.
Editor PickGardner Business Index at 54.1 in January
The US composites industry looks as strong as it has since early 2015, with expectations the highest in years.