Spirit ships first spar component for A350 XWB

Spirit AeroSystems has shipped the first production composite leading edge spar for the Airbus A350 XWB program out of its Kinston, N.C., USA, facility.

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Spirit AeroSystems Inc. (Wichita, Kan., USA) on Dec. 10 shipped the first production composite leading edge spar component — an outer spar — for the Airbus A350 XWB program out of Spirit's Kinston, N.C., USA, facility.

A leading edge spar is a wing component, part of the fixed leading edge, and comprises six major sections: inner, mid and outer for each wing. The outer spar is the first of the group to be produced by Spirit, and makes up about 8 percent of the total spar weight. It is approximately 11.5m/37.7 ft in length. Spar components are made of carbon fiber composites, and all six combined weigh about 1,000 kg/2,200 lb.

The subsequent five spar sections will be shipped in the coming months.
"This is the first production component of any kind we've shipped out of our Kinston facility," said Tom Greenwood, Spirit's A350 XWB spar program director. "This first unit was built at our new, state-of-the-art facility using automated composite fabrication technology and the technical expertise of Spirit employees."

Each set of spars will be shipped from Spirit's Kinston facility to Spirit's European plant in Prestwick, Scotland, where it will be integrated into the fixed leading edge. From there, it will be delivered to the Airbus plant in Broughton, Wales, for integration into the wing box.

Spirit won a contract with Airbus in July 2008 to design and produce the A350 XWB's spar and fixed leading edge. Spirit is also designing and building the composite center fuselage section, Section 15, for the A350 XWB.