Blog A350 XWB News

Enjoy a video of how the centre fuselage is unloaded from the Beluga in the FAL.

Escrito por blogjfa 08-09-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)


One of the most important and also challenging big section that will arrive the FAL in September is the centre fuselage for the MSN001, that will arrive from Airbus in St Nazaire, France.

In this video filmed last 4/April/2012 (with the section for ES Static Specimen) we can watch how the centre fuselage arrives in the megacargo A300-600ST "Beluga" and is unloaded. 

Videocapture: Beluga arrives Toulouse and opens the door


In the MSN001 aircraft (and all series ones), the fuselage structure will be placed in a bay in the northwest corner of the final assembly line called Station 59. This pre-assembly position has room for two complete A350 airframes. Taking advantage of the open-ended fuselage sections, crews will install the primary interior monuments, flight and crew rests without having to worry about access after the fuselage join begins. This step was not done in the ES Static Specimen last April and the fuselage section was transported directly to the Station 50. 

Videocapture: the centre fuselage is taxied to the FAL plant


In Station 50 the full mechanical join of the fuselage is done. In the video images, the centre fuselage with the front fuselage.

Many details are shown in the video, making clear the complexity of the manufacturing and assembly of the centre fuselage section, which has the critical interfaces with the wings and with the main landing gear.

Videocapture: the centre fuselage enters the FAL. Details of the centerbox shown

Why there is not Italian partner/workshare in the A350 XWB?

Escrito por blogjfa 08-09-2012 en General. Comentarios (0) 

A380 fuselage centre section

Alenia is the largest non-Airbus European A380 partner, and as risk sharing partner, supplies the entire fuselage centre section. It also provides engine nacelles for the A380, A330 and A320 family. So Alenia is well known in Airbus and has large composite know how.


In June/2008, Airbus CEO Tom Enders said “Alenia would be good partner for A350”. But in that moment, the two wing and six fuselage major aerostructure risk-sharing packages that Airbus was "outsourcing" were already placed.

"We want to and will be able to participate, not only for fuselage but also for the empennage - the horizontal and vertical fin - because we also have the new technology of Foggia plant," said Alenia Composite chief operating officer Maurizio Rosini to Flighglobal in July/2008.

In that moment, the major outstanding A350 aerostructure allocations included the horizontal and vertical tailplanes, belly fairing, rear fuselage, tailcone, pylon components and wing movables. Finally the empennage went to Spain (Aciturri and Aernnova) and the engine nacelles to USA (Goodrich). 

Goodrich A350 XWB engine nacelle


Perhaps we have to find the reason of Airbus´ decision in the 787. Not everything is the price and risks have to be assessed.


Alenia produces the horizontal stabilizer, the central and aft sections of the fuselage (using one-piece barrel technology), that is 14% of the 787’s structure


But the problems that Alenia has suffered in the 787 (contributing to the extended delays in the program) forced Boeing to make decisions . 

Alenia manufactures and assembles the 787-8 Horizontal Stabilizers

Quality issues in the Horizontal Stabilizer:

In the 787-8 Horizontal Stabilizers Alenia was struggled with quality “issues”, forcing Boeing to inspect 23 aircraft for workmanship deficiencies. The problem centered on the brackets that attach the stabilizer to the fuselage, where they found improperly installed shims used to close the gap between the structures and excessive torque of associated fasteners.

In an effort to resolve the aforementioned “issues,” Boeing conducted an assessment of Alenia’s manufacturing processes, which resulted in the need for still more inspections of 787s. “We had an issue with the horizontal stabilizer with our Alenia partner and found some additional things that we need to go in and verify,” said Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh.

Immediately, Alenia lost sole-source status on 787-9 horizontal stabilizer and moved primary responsibility for the component to Boeing’s Advanced Development Center in Seattle, and after the industrialization, the manufacturing & assembly will be done at Boeing Salt Lake City, Utah facility. 

Central and aft sections of the 787 fuselage manufactured by Alenia

Quality issues in the fuselage sections:

Alenia also impacted the 787 with issues caused by a stringer trim machine at the fuselage barrel production site in Grottaglie in Italy, forcing Boeing to reinforce #25 aircraft with patches and to add extra plies to future production barrels. The production of barrels was stopped following the discovery of “wrinkles” in the skin close to the join area between the Alenia-built Sections 44 and 46. The problem was linked to the improper size of the stringer edge steps, which are integrally bonded into the skin during the assembly process. These edges are slightly too large, causing undulations or wrinkles to appear in the skin plies around the fuselage adjacent to the passenger door close to the wing trailing edge.

Impacted by fasteners´issue:

With the origin in an problem with the clarity of the specifications and the confusion of the instructions for fastening titanium to composite in the inside fuselage sections, required  replacing up to 8,000 of the fasteners on each of the first dozen planes that were in various stages of completion. Alenia´s manufactured fuselage sections were impacted in the rework.

Ramp up risk mitigation in Alenia:

And now, Boeing has nominated a new vice president of supply-chain management and operations for Italy, formerly vice president and general manager of final assembly and delivery at the North Charleston plant. Marco Cavazzoni’s primary responsibility will be to work closely with Alenia, “ensuring the supply-chain health as Boeing increase the production rate to 10 per month”. Mr. Cavazzoni is a well-regarded problem-solver within the Boeing organization, “so apparently there are some maintenance and supply-chain issues that he’s going to resolve”


Based on article “Alenia pushes for A350 work as Spirit lands wing deal” published in FlighGlobal and also based on article “Boeing S.C. executive to oversee supply chain in Italy” published in The Post and Courier.

First MSN001 wing leaves Broughton in the Beluga towards Bremen

Escrito por blogjfa 06-09-2012 en General. Comentarios (0) 


After the first wing delivered to the FAL Toulouse for the ES Static Specimen aircraft (above photo), the first wing that will be install in the MSN001, first flight aircraft, has been shipped from Broughton to Bremen. It will be equipped with the moveable surfaces, the wing tip and undergo installation of flight operations systems.


The second important milestone for the wing-team in a week.


In August, the MSN001 wings have been moved by AGV to a bolting station where the previously tacked covers were removed, deburred, sealed then fastened to the structure. Following this stage, wings were moved again to a equipping station that is shared with the A330, where the fuel system and limited hydraulics were installed. After painting, each wing is loaded onto one Beluga for shipping to Bremen-Germany for complete outfitting of the electrics, pneumatics, remaining hydraulics, external systems and control surfaces before making the trip to final assembly line in Toulouse. 

And next week during the ILA-Berlin Airshow, next wings delivery will be the way Airbus demonstrates that the A350 XWB is going forward and that the drilling issue has been recovered in Broughton.


And more important, that the target to watch it flying next year over Le Bourget Airshow in June is not an impossible dream but a goal, aggressive but achievable.



Based on article “First A350 XWB wing for flight departs Airbus’ Broughton plant” published on Flintshire Chronicle

After an Olympian effort in Broughton, the wings start to be shipped to the FAL

Escrito por blogjfa 06-09-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)

Wing manufacturing: relay race from one plant to the next one, but running in the same team

Although in the wing manufacturing and assembly many Airbus plants, risk sharing partners and suppliers are involved, the “Olympian” effort done during August has been especially challenging. But it was worth.

And this wing is not as any other legacy wing.  There are many “firsts” with this wing that makes it radically different from anything Airbus has done before. A real “revolution”; a new product, manufactured with a new process (the first horizontally built wing) by a new team with new material. The biggest wing covers ever manufactured in one piece.

Wing manufacturing process

Effort, commitment, energy, pride, passion, achievement, challenge, dedication, professionalism, teamwork, excellence…  Good job!

Premium Aerotec will show a section from the A350 XWB fuselage at ILA-Berlin.

Escrito por blogjfa 06-09-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)


The ILA Berlin Airshow (starting on 11/Sep) will be a good chance to watch a 4 x 2.3 meter section from a fuselage shell of the A350 XWB. Manufactured using the prepreg process, in which CFC laminates pre-impregnated with epoxy resin are precisely built up layer by layer with a AFP equipments.In the stand of Premium Aerotec at Hall 2, Booth 2405. 


Additionally there will be another #3 “black” technology demostrators on display at ILA, made with Carbon Fiber composites but using the infusion-based Vacuum Assisted Process (VAP®). Here, the multiaxial carbon composite laminates are bonded to create components with complex geometries using an infiltration process.

- 2 x 3.5 meter outer skin section of the A400M cargo door

-1 x 3.5 meter skin section reinforced using stringers

-2,5 x 0,6 x 0,4 meter sinusoidal wing spar 

Premium Aerotec (100%-owned subsidiary of Airbus) was created on 1/January/2009 after the  deal to spin off Airbus' Germany-based aerostructures factories (based on Power8 restructuring plan) failed. Aerolia is the French counterpart to Premium Aerotec.

For the A350 XWB, Premium Aerotec has responsibilities in the manufacturing of some elements of fuselage sections 13/14; side shells, upper and lower shells, floor grid and door frames and barrel assembly.

It is also making sections 16/18, including the side shells, floor grid and aft pressure bulkhead. 

The company at present is a supplier to the Boeing 787, Eurofighter, A400M, Tornado and the Airbus single and double-aisle ranges.