Blog A350 XWB News

The first wing arrives to the FAL-Toulouse for ES (Static Test Aircraft)

Escrito por blogjfa 04-09-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)  

The Beluga can only transport one wing because of the large dimmensions

The 1st A350 XWB wing for ES (Static Test aircraft) has arrived to the FAL-Toulouse from Broughton. Last Friday the sub-assembly and ground test equipment installation was finished and it has been delivered during the weekend by a Beluga transport aircraft.


This is a great milestone for the A350 XWB and a significant progress for the A350 XWB wing team, after more than 3 years of hard work, effort and commitment with the Program. Especially last months have been hard solving the drilling issue that forced Airbus to shift the A350 XWB aircraft EIS- entry into service from first into second half of 2014.


This first wing, which will not fly, is destined for the A350 XWB airframe used for static structural tests on the ground that all new aircraft undergo as part of their certification process.


The A350 XWB wing covers are 32 metres long by six metres wide, making them the biggest single civil aviation parts made from carbon fibre composite material. The wings’ advanced structural design and superior aerodynamics are both significant contributors to the 25% fuel saving performance of the A350 XWB.



Based on the press release “First A350 XWB wing arrives in Toulouse for ground tests” at

September, the month of the ILA–Berlin Airshow and the month of A350 XWB.

Escrito por blogjfa 01-09-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)

A350 XWB work progress in the FAL-Toulouse update expected before the show starts.



ILA-Berlin Airshow starts on 11/Sep and before that some photos of a wing & fuselage sections being unloaded from the Beluga in Toulouse are expected.


Meantime, you can pick from the web the wallpaper of September dedicated to the A350 XWB. 

September is the month of the A350 XWB in Airbus´ wallpaper.


At ILA-Berlin Airshow there will be a A380 (flight display) and also a Beluga on the ground. But the start of the show is the possibility to watch the A400-M flying (with a delay in the first delivery due to engine problems). Boeing will have a poor presence, without any 787 and only a 747-800 on the ground. 

Boeing 787 applying a good Weight reduction learning curve

Escrito por blogjfa 30-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)

The 787-8 is starting to benefit from the early availability of redesigned 787-9 parts that help shave weight.

-  LN1 was 9.75 tonnes over target, weighing in at 109.9 tonnes in manufacturer´s empty weight (MEW)

- LN7 was 6.1 tonnes over MEW target

- LN20 is 3.99 tonnes over MEW target

- LN66 will be less than 2 tonnes over MEW target

- LN90 is on track to be the first production example meeting the original manufacturer´s empty weight (MEW) and airline-specific operating empty weight (OEW) targets.

Additionally, the weight savings that are going to be achieved on the 787-9 have bolstered Boeing´s confidence as it moves the first 787-9 example, dubbed ZB001, from LN139 to LN126 and that the 787-9 manufacturer´s empty weight (MEW) is 2% lighter than expected, although Boeing still sticks to the original MEW target.


Based on the article "Boeing 787 Dreamliner programme starts to soar" published in Aspire Aviation

Why Aircraft Are Late? Lessons Learnt need to be applied.

Escrito por blogjfa 30-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)


In an interesting article published in AirInsight that you can read here, some reasons of significant delays on new aircraft development are examined. Affecting to all OEMs; Boeing 747-8, 787, Airbus A380, A400M, A350, Mitsubishi MRJ, Comac ARJ-21, Sukhoi Superjet and probably Comac C919, Bombardier CSeries and Irkut MS-21–all late. It’s the new normal. 

What’s changed in the industry that is causing these delays?

Has the Industry Learned from Prior Failures?

Will a Manufacturer ever get “back on schedule” of delivering new technology aircraft on time?


Supply Chain integration

Each of the new technology aircraft under development had different reasons for delays, with one common thread — the complexities of supply chain integration and ensuring that multiple independent business entities were all pulling in the same direction at the same time.  All it takes is the failure of one part, or one fastener, and an aircraft can’t fly.  But aircraft have always had thousands of parts from a variety of suppliers. Why can’t the industry handle it today, especially since we have better communications than we’ve ever had?

Many delays relate to the management of complexity and the management of global supply chains, coordinating everything to come together at the right time. 


If that isn’t enough of an issue, add to that the complexities of using new materials, with new regimes for testing, new manufacturing processes, and the associated learning curves that come with each.  While the engineering software for analyzing strength of materials has advanced markedly, the designs being produced have often become more difficult to manufacture. As a result, one of the lessons learned from earlier delays is to build manufacturing mock-ups  or demonstrators, to determine whether the designed by engineers can readily be build on the assembly line without the need to hire contortionists to fasten components together. 

A380. Different software version in systems designing.

The Airbus A380 story is now well known — as one part of the company upgraded to CATIA V while the other part was still using CATIA IV, and software incompatibility resulted in the massive bundles of wires on these aircraft to be a few millimeters short, resulting in excessive labor to rework the problems and long program delays.  It seems that everyone has learned this lesson, and today software version control is an essential element for every OEM and their suppliers – you must use this version of the software and not change during the development of the project, with every software update coordinated globally at the same time.

Boeing 787. Assembly tolerances and shortage of fasteners.

Boeing suffered multiple issues with its 787, ranging from tolerances of fuselage sections that didn’t fit well to a shortage of fasteners in the supply chain.  Boeing’s problems primarily flowed from the lack of experience in managing an international supply chain, compounded by the issues related to manufacturing learning curves with new technology composite primary structures.  The results were tremendous rework, and multiple delays to the program that cost it the strategic advantage it would have obtained if its planned Y1 new narrow-body development had followed an on-time 787 program. 


Technological complexity and automation: advanced materials and software.

Software, rather than hardware, has become the major sticking points in the development of new aircraft. Program management is improving, with iron birds for testing and fully integrated communication systems with international suppliers.

Advanced Materials
While Airbus has experience with high technology materials, the use of composites for primary structures is much more extensive for A350 than other Airbus products, and the system of skin on structure, while more traditional, requires new techniques and tolerances for composites that are more complex than for simply tail structures used on older programs. 

The good news is that the industry is working well down the learning curve for advanced composites, just in time for the next generation of composite technologies to be introduced and re-start a new learning curve.  Second generation CRFP materials will be even lighter and stronger than first generation materials, but will introduce new wrinkles for manufacturing. 

The latest potential delay for A350 relates to software at a manufacturing plant for wings in Broughton, as this software is needed to control the robot that will drill holes in the wing.  This is an example of how information technology has become a critical path element in aircraft development programs. 


The Bottom Line
While the time frame for the development of a new aircraft appears to be stabilizing, it looks like five to six years (If not longer) will be the new normal from launch to entry into service.  Each of the major companies have learned the lessons from failures to communicate and coordinate supply chains, and the importance of providing specifications to suppliers with enough lead time for them to produce their products. 

Based on the article “Why New Technology Airliners are Late” published in AirInsight

In the first year from the EIS, the 787 has substantially improved in the production

Escrito por blogjfa 29-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)

One year ago, the Boeing 787 received the Type Certificate (August/2011) and the launch customer Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) took delivery of its first 787 (September/2011).  After 3 years of agonizing delays and billions of dollars in cost. But things are changing and the program appears to be on an upward trajectory at last. Here it is a brief summary of the current status of the 787 program and next challenges.


Smooth Entry Into Service:

-relatively smooth entry into service (EIS)

-positive passengers response

-better-than-expected dispatch reliability: 98%

-better-than-expected fuel burn performance.( 21% fuel burn improvement over the 767 on long-haul flights)


While significant challenges still remain:

-on the production ramp-up to 10 units per month by the end of 2013

-an early-2014 787-9 entry into service (EIS)

-achieving the 2012 year-end 35-42 delivery targets

-launch of the 787-10.



Substantial improvement in production process. Maturity.

The first clean production aircraft LN66 completing final assembly and rolling out to the flight line without undergoing post-production rework in the Everett Modification Centre (EMC) on June.


“Condition of assembly and out-of-sequence work within the 787 production system has improved significantly, and airplanes are now flowing off out of final assembly in Everett without a stop in our modification centre,” Boeing chairman, president and chief executive Jim McNerney said.


The reduction in the number of travelled work is remarkable, as the mid-fuselage section of LN67 only has 5 incomplete tasks out of a total of 4,000 and that LN46, the first 787 built in Charleston, South Carolina earmarked for Air India, has less than 100 incomplete tasks


Standardizing the 787 production process is crucial in reducing costs, improving efficiency of the production system as well as meeting the target of ramping up the 787 production rate from 3.5 per month to 5 per month by the end of this year and to 10 per month by the end of 2013.


“We see a nice improvement in learning curve with estimated intangible 787 unit costs declining to US$118M in Q2 (from US$133M in Q1).” Credit Suisse said in the research note.


The US$236 million cash unit cost at the end of 2012 second-quarter is a staggering 41% reduction from the first 787 being delivered.


Supply Chain

“We believe the large structural suppliers are now roughly in line with Boeing’s current final assembly rate at 3.5/month.” UBS said in its August Dreamlifter monthly tracker.


With the progress demonstrated so far and the increased confidence in its program execution, all eyes are now turning to this fall’s production rate increase to 5 aircraft per month as an early barometer to the feasibility in achieving an ambitious production ramp-up to 10 per month by the end of 2013, which remains challenging at best and has a razor-thin margin of error.


“The three Japanese suppliers, Kawasaki (KHI), Mitsubishi (MHI) and Fuji (FHI) are all on schedule for all shipsets in the production process, Spirit is on schedule and Alenia, surprisingly to us, also appears in good shape (a few minor issues),” Bernstein added

Based on the article “Boeing 787 Dreamliner programme starts to soar” published in Aspire Aviation