Airbus begins production of A350 horizontal tail structure

The Airbus center of excellence in Puerto Real, Spain, is making the horizontal tail plane's lateral box, comprised primarily of carbon fiber composites, titanium alloys and aluminum.

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Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on July 25 that it has begun production of a key component in the A350 XWB’s initial horizontal tail plane, marking a new industrial milestone for Airbus’ new-generation widebody jetliner family.

The work is being performed at Airbus’ center of excellence in Puerto Real, Spain, and involves build-up of the horizontal tail plane’s lateral box in a combined effort with primary partner company Aernova.

Measuring 9.7m/31.8 ft long and from 1.5m to 3.6m (4.9 ft and 11.8 ft) wide, the A350 XWB horizontal tail plane’s lateral box is composed primarily of carbon fiber – with its few metal components made of titanium alloys and aluminium.

After assembly is complete, the lateral boxes will be sent to Airbus’ facility in Getafe, Spain, where production of additional A350 XWB components is underway, for joining with the elevators and completion of the horizontal tail plane. The finished element then is to be transferred to the jetliner’s final assembly line in Toulouse, France.

Airbus’ Puerto Real facility is used for the automated assembly of movable surfaces, final equipment processes and delivery of large structural components to the final assembly line in Toulouse. Its own assembly capabilities consist of a mobile line spread across five interlinked stations: main structure and trailing edge assembly; structural assembly of lateral boxes; automated drilling and riveting; trailing edge equipment; and final operations.