Eurocopter delivers first A350 XWB passenger door

The door, manufactured from carbon fiber, is the first for a commercial aircraft to be made entirely of composites. Seven door shipsets will be delivered to Airbus in 2012.

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Eurocopter (Donauwörth, Germany) reported on May 23 that it has delivered the first Airbus A350 XWB jetliner composite passenger door, highlighting its capabilities in composite technology.

As prime contractor and system supplier, Eurocopter is providing a full set of door systems that will equip this latest widebody member of Airbus’ jetliner family. In a ceremony in Donauwörth’s C4 production building, Dr. Wolfgang Schoder, Eurocopter executive vice president - Programs, and Dr. Michael Rehmet, vice president - Airplane Door Systems, marked this delivery milestone with Didier Evrard, Airbus executive vice president and A350 program head.

“The development and manufacture of aircraft components is another mainstay of Eurocopter’s activities in Germany, which complements our helicopter production,” Schoder says. “The A350 XWB’s door systems demonstrate our innovative strength and international competitiveness in the field of carbon fiber technology.”

The A350 XWB passenger doors are the first for a commercial aircraft to be made entirely of carbon fiber composites, Eurocopter reports. Benefits of Eurocopter’s technical innovation in the A350 XWB aircraft doors include a reduction in parts, the application of advanced mechanical systems and equipment that are easier to maintain and additional safety features. Series production is handled at the company’s Donauwörth site in a new building designed to meet therequirements of automated production methods and quality control at high production rates.

“Assembly of the A350 XWB is progressing well and all the teams and suppliers, like Eurocopter, are strongly focused on working together to deliver a best-in-class aircraft at entry into service,” says Didier Evrard, executive vice president – head of A350 XWB Programme, Airbus. “The A350 XWB brings together the latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies from Airbus and our partners to provide a 25 percent step-change in fuel efficiency compared to the competition.”

Eurocopter currently has approximately 250 employees working on the A350 XWB passenger door program’s design, development and production. Series production eventually will involve more than 400 employees. Total value of the A350 XWB door systems to be provided by Eurocopter is nearly  €1.5 billion, which includes the cargo doors subcontracted to program partners in South Korea.

In addition to the passenger door presented to Airbus, five cargo doors already have been delivered. A total of seven door shipsets for the A350 XWB are slated for delivery in 2012 – each composed of four pairs of passenger doors, two cargo doors and one baggage door.

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