A350 XWB AIRBUS—MODERN MARVEL

December 8, 2013


I am constantly amazed at the complexity involved with the planning, design, testing and production of modern airliners.  If you believe “bigger is better”, you would love the A350 Airbus program.

The A350 XWB‘s airframe is designed with a considerably larger percentage of carbon-fiber-reinforced composite structures relative to other commercial jet to date: over 53 percent by weight. Carbon fiber composite leader Hexcel is supplying all of the carbon-fiber composites used in the plane’s primary structures.   According to a video made by the company, these include fuselage panels and barrel, wing upper and lower covers, wing spars, center wing box, keel beam, main landing gear door and bay, and the vertical and horizontal tail plane.

But composites are not the only story. Titanium and advanced aluminum alloys combine with carbon composites to achieve more than 70 percent of the A350 XWB airframe’s weight in non-traditional materials. This plus a new aerodynamic design are aimed at reducing fuel consumption and operating costs by 25 percent compared to other aircraft in the same category of midsized, wide-body, twin-aisle passenger jetliners.  As you might suspect,   fuel consumption is definitely influenced by the overall “wet” weight.   The real difficulty lies in reduction of weight while improving the air-worthiness of the craft itself.

Let’s take a look at the A350 to get some idea as to the aircraft itself and the complexity of the overall program.

COMPANY FOUNDER

 

The wings on the aircraft are absolutely massive as the JPEG below will show.

FIRST COMPOSITE WING DELIVERED

Wiring for the aircraft is measured in miles and certainly not feet.   The wiring diagrams read like a fairly large book.

ELECTRICAL HARNESS INSTALLATION

 

As you might hope, hours upon hours of testing precede flight testing.  It is absolutely critical the test pilots and crew remain safe during all in-flight testing.

BENCH TESTING LANDING GEAR

 

FIRST STRUCTURALLY DEVELOPEN MODEL

 

ROLLS-ROYCE ENGINES

 

The JPEG show below will indicate preliminary assembly of the flight deck itself.  As you can see, it’s a work in progress.

FLIGHT DECK

 

The design methodology was fascinating also.

RHEA

 

Now, the final product.   Ready for flight testing and modification if necessary.

FIRST ROLLOUT

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4 Responses to “A350 XWB AIRBUS—MODERN MARVEL”

  1. Victor Says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I
    would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of
    it!

    Like

    • cielotech Says:

      Hello Victor. The A350 is a “real machine” fun to write about. It represents the cutting edge of aviation technology. Thank you so much for taking a look. Take care.

      Like


  2. Can you tell us more about this? I’d love to find out some additional
    information.

    Like

    • cielotech Says:

      Hello Revetement–Thank you so much for your very kind comments. . As you can see, my subject matter is fairly narrow. Most of my writing involves STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math ) subjects. I have a pilot’s license; consequently have a real interest in aviation. I love flight and airplanes. I really appreciate you taking a look and hope you will come back soon. Also, any suggestions you have for subjects matter will be greatly appreciated. Take care. Bob

      Like


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