31 August 2013

Russia asks collaboration to China to develop a competitor of the A350 XWB and 787/777 families but saying that the new wide-body long-haul aircraft “must not be a blind copy of Airbus and Boeing”

Russia and China plan to collaborate on developing a wide-body long-haul passenger airliner, said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in Harbin, an aerospace-city in north China where he met with Chinese Government representatives.

The project is only financially viable as a collaboration, as Airbus and Boeing already account for 80% of Russia’s long-range passenger aircraft market, Rogozin said.

He offered no indication of the project’s current status, only saying that Russian aircraft design bureau chiefs were due to meet soon to discuss it.

The future airliner must not be a “blind copy of Airbus and Boeing,” Rogozin said.

Russia and China could also start developing and manufacturing a new heavy-lift helicopter with capacity double that of the Mi-26, the deputy prime minister said.

Based on the article “Russia and China to Develop New Airliner” published in RIA Novosti

30 August 2013

The French Government picks up 50 ambassadors to visit the A350 XWB FAL.

The French Ministry of Foreign affairs will be welcomed by Fabrice Bregier Airbus CEO on Friday afternoon. The visit to the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line will not be a “tête à tête meeting” because Laurent Fabius will be accompanied by about 50 ambassadors of France all around the world with their foreign counterparts located in Paris.

The visit enforces the support of the French Government to Airbus when the German Government is trying to get more workload to Germany and also demonstrates the importance of the “Government assistance” when orders for new aircraft are being discussed with many airlines.

The visit of the French ambassadors to Toulouse is part of the traditional "conference of ambassadors” being held in Paris this week.

The MSN2 with the white tail on the back.

Diplomacy and industry came together at Airbus’ Toulouse headquarters during the 2013 French “Ambassadors’ Conference,” with some 50 French ambassadors and foreign diplomats posted in Paris visiting the A330, A380 and A350 XWB final assembly lines. The group was led by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius

Based on the article “Laurent Fabius et une centaine d'ambassadeurs chez Airbus vendredi” published in France 3 Midi-Pyrénées

29 August 2013

Honeywell technologies and systems onboard the A350 XWB. ELT is not included in any of the work packages for the A350.

Honeywell has an important participation on the A350 XWB. Following systems are included Honeywell´s work packages:

  • Auxiliary Power Unit System
  • Engine Bleed Air System
  • Air Generation System
  • Cabin Pressure Control System
  • Ventilation and Fan System
  • Supplemental Cooling System
  • Aircraft Environment Surveillance System
  • Flight Management System.

Regarding the (ELT) Emergency Locator Transmitter, which damaged an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 on 12/July in Heathrow, it is not included in any of the work packages for the A350.

It will probably be Buyer Furnished Equipment, meaning, airlines will be free to chose any ELT they want on their aircraft, including Honeywell's.

The Honeywell RESCU 406 AFN is installed on about 6000 planes, Airbus as well as Boeing. The ELT’s power is not tied into the aircraft’s electrical system at all. It uses lithium-manganese batteries which have, until this investigation, never displayed any tendency toward overheating and fire. It is being investigated if a pinched wire in the unit could have sparked a short circuit, igniting the battery; according to sources close to the investigation the remnants of the RESCU 406AFN showed evidence of a kink in the wiring which was likely related to its original assembly rather than something that could have occurred during its installation in the airframe.

Aviation Safety Agencies have issued an airworthiness directive (AD), mandating all airlines with aircraft that carry particular types of Honeywell Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) to check the units’ wiring. Three 787s have so far been found to have damaged or pinched ELT´s wiring.

The AD covers 22 types of aircraft—all Airbus and Boeing types, as well as ATRs, MD-11s, MD-80s and MD-90s.

The UK Air Accident Investigation Branch investigation into the incident is still continuing.

Based on the article “Pinched Wire May Have Caused 787 Transmitter Fire” published in Aviation Week and based on the article “Europe follows Canada’s lead on Honeywell ELT checks” published in ATW.

28 August 2013

A350 XWB main customers invest money not only purchasing new aircraft but also on sports-sponsorship, mainly in football teams.

Sponsorship is vital in all airline marketing strategy and assists airlines in expanding brand visibility and establishing lasting and loyal relationships with their customers.

Concerning A350 XWB 2 main customers Qatar and Emirates, they have a similar marketing strategy on the sponsorship activities.

click the picture to watch the video.

Qatar Airways has become the main sponsor of Barcelona Football Club. Qatar Airways and the football team of Barcelona has signed an agreement until 30/June/2016 of 96 million euro. If “Barça” team wins the European Champion League, they will receive additional 5 million euro.

The CEO of the airline, Akbar Al Baker, said that the sponsorship agreement includes “activities that will benefit fans and passengers, by offering tangible rewards to both entities.”

Qatar Airways has made a significant commitment to Barcelona-El Prat Airport, and from December will increase its offer from 7 to 10 weekly flights between Barcelona and the Gulf Emirate.

Qatar Airways “seek sponsorships that link Qatar Airways brand attributes and values with our customers, reinforce brand position efforts (including advertising and promotions), and provide a platform to deliver credibility for our brand.”

On the other hand, Emirates has an impressive portfolio of sponsorships at European club level with partnerships including Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiacos, and Hamburger SV.

The sponsorship is not limited to football; Emirates also sponsors Rugby, Tennis, F1, Horse Racing, Golf, Cricket, Sailing, Australian Rules Football and several arts, culture and music events all around the world.

“We believe sponsorships are one of the best ways to connect with our passengers. They allow us to share and support their interests and to build a closer relationship with them,” said Emirates CEO and Chairman.

Singapore Airlines sponsorship strategy on sports is limited to the annual Singapore Airlines International Cup horse race. Cathay Pacific sponsors the world-famous Hong Kong Sevens Rugby team.

Airlines avoid association with or sponsorship of activities related to politics, religious affairs, extreme sports (e.g. wrestling and boxing), unfair competition, content with nudity, explicit images, negative behavior and short lead time (i.e less than 12 weeks prior to the event).

27 August 2013

A 3-day briefing course is enough for cabin crew to get familiar with the new A350 XWB cabin equipment, systems and procedures.

Cathay Pacific cabin crew participated in the ‘CVFF’ cabin virtual first flight last 25/July in the A350 XWB Cabin Integration and Test Centre.

“We thought this was the right time to put Cabin Zero to the test in a real operational environment with real cabin crew,” says Michel Treillet, Customer Programme Director for the A350 XWB.

“Cabin Zero was developed as an engineering platform but we wanted to take it further “and use it as if it were a real aircraft.”

"For that we needed real cabin crew and so we called on Cathay Pacific for help, based on our experience with them in the past and also because Cathay is a big customer for the A350.”

9 crew were recruited for the exercise, all of them going through 3-days of intensive training prior to the day of the trial.

“I wanted to get accurate information to our crew in advance of the exercise because I knew it would be a big challenge for them, working in a brand new environment with new galley arrangements and standards, and with different types of service equipment” explains Cathay Pacific Inflight Technical Operations Manager Inez Mok, who coordinated with the project team to get a full understanding of the whole process.

The 3-day briefing course included a thorough introduction to Cabin Zero, followed by familiarization procedures for cabin checks, the passenger doors, the flight attendant panel and cabin intercommunication data system.

The day didn’t end when the flight came in for its virtual landing. Passengers were asked to sit down and complete detailed questionnaires about their entire experience on the virtual flight.

The cabin crew went through individual debriefings to give Airbus invaluable feedback on the cabin and its workings, from galley equipment to the layout of crew rest areas.

“What the Cathay crew have given us is valuable input to prepare for the A350’s entry into service,” said Mr. Treillet Customer Programme Director for the A350 XWB, adding that first test aircraft to be fitted with a cabin, MSN002, is now being assembled in Toulouse.

“We will gather all the feedback and take a close look at what things need to be changed or modified. It’s always a challenge to match an engineering platform with the final cabin but I think CVFF has been an invaluable intermediate step in terms of the cabin development.”

Based on the article “Airbus A350 makes its first 'virtual flight'” published in Australian Business Traveler.

26 August 2013

Not aircraft competition in the long-haul market but aircraft families competing between Boeing and Airbus. Competitive line up focused on 300 seats.

Airbus and Boeing are both offering two aircraft families for the bulk of the long-haul market, the A330 and the A350 as well as the 777 and the 787. One interesting aspect of the competition is that Airbus is building an all-new aircraft for the larger-capacity segment of that market, while Boeing has decided to initially focus its innovation on the smaller-capacity end of it.

But the new initiatives —the 787-10, the A350-900 regional and even the A330-300 regional— are all targeted at around the 300-seat segment, the main difference being in weight and range.

We revealed earlier that Boeing is planning a lighter weight 777-8, reducing the planned 9,400nm range to 8,500nm to more closely match the A350-900’s weight and specification. While the 777-8 “Lite” has substantially longer range and weight than the “A350-900R,” the concepts bring airplanes to the market that are more closely aligned with airline realities than with maximum performance.

Airbus views the competitive line up thusly:
• A330-200 vs 787-8
• A330-300 vs 787-9
• A350-900 vs 787-10

Because Airbus is focused on the A350-900 at this point, the spokesman said he has no information about offering a Regional aircraft for the A350-800 and -1000 sub-types.

The spokesman says the economics shape up this way:

• The economics of the A330-200 at standard max MTOW is 4% lower than 788 per trip;
• The A330-300 has 6.5% DOC vs 789; and
• The A350-900 has 4% COC per trip vs 781.

Note the distinction between Direct Operating Costs (DOC) and Cash Operating Costs (COC) Airbus claims.

Airbus is emphasizing the greater passenger seat comfort in coach in its airplanes vs the narrower 787: 18 inches vs 17 inches in nine abreast.

Based on the article “Full Circle” published in Aviation Week.

25 August 2013

Rolls Royce Trent XWB achieved 10.000 flight cycles

The engine of the Airbus A350 XWB has reached the milestone of 10.000 simulated flight cycles to the test. Currently there are running endurance tests of the Trent XWB in Spain and the United States.

In total, 12 engines have completed more than 5,000 hours in the past 3 years on various test rigs and in the air.

In parallel, the preparations for the tests of a demonstrator for the stronger version Trent XWB-97 (for A350-1000) are ongoing.

Based on the article “Rolls-Royce Trent XWB erreicht 10.000 Flugzyklen” published in Flug Revue

24 August 2013

Abaris completes customized on-site training at the Airbus Broughton with hands-on exercises in advanced composite repair techniques for 42 best operators in the A350 wing team

Abaris has completed customized on-site classes at the Airbus Broughton, UK production facility: Home of the Wings! Over 6,000 people in the Broughton facility assemble the wings for all Airbus civil aircraft, producing over 1,000 wings a year, including for the new A350 XWB.

Three, 5 day classes were conducted to support A350 manufacturing, including informative classroom lectures and hands-on exercises in advanced composite repair techniques for possible light manufacturing rework and repair to foreign object damage. “We routinely customize training to meet specific customer needs and conduct classes on-site at customer facilities worldwide,” notes Abaris President, Mike Hoke.

Technical instructor Corrie Volinkaty explained that 42 Airbus A350 employees were selected to receive the customized training and described them as “the best of the best!!” The training was overseen by Airbus A350 Quality Assurance representatives and additional weeks of training are being planned for later this year.

Since 2005, US headquartered Abaris Training has offered classes in advanced composite manufacturing, repair and engineering in the UK through Heatcon-Abaris Training, a partnership with Heatcon, Seattle, Washington, USA, a supplier of hot bonder equipment.

Based on the article “Abaris completes composites training for British Airways and Airbus UK” published in Reinforced Plastics

23 August 2013

Lufthansa will order some A350-1000 next month, the week before the German federal election.

Deutsche Lufthansa's board of directors and supervisory board are expected to approve in mid-September an order for about 50 wide-body jets worth more than $10 billion at list prices, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The German airline previously said it expected to place such an order in the second half of 2013. Lufthansa is evaluating 787 Dreamliner, 777X, and A350 XWB.

Final approval of the order is expected at Lufthansa's Sept. 18 supervisory board meeting, after the airline's executive board makes a preliminary decision, the sources said.

Since most delivery slots for the new planes are booked years in advance, Lufthansa is expected to buy the latest versions of the planes, such as the recently launched 787-10, the 777X-9 and the A350-1000, one of the sources said.

The order could be a mix of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, or Lufthansa could choose to buy only one aircraft type or order entirely from one plane maker, the sources said. The new wide-body planes would replace 22 Boeing 747-400s and more than 20 Airbus A340s currently in Lufthansa's fleet.

Based on the article “Lufthansa to place $10 billion plane order next month” published in Reuters

22 August 2013

She will be the first woman flying the A350 XWB.

Marie-Pierre Delaveau-Marot is a woman who has turned her passion into her profession.

Ms Delaveau-Marot is a quiet person who does not seek the limelight. So it is all the more surprising to learn that not only is she a test pilot for Airbus, she is the only woman in France holding such a position.

The surprise and admiration grows when her husband whispers she's also an aerobatics champion. "She'll never tell you herself," he says. "Too modest."

She is modest, but it's obvious that to do her job she also must have steely nerves and total confidence in her abilities. Her complex character is reflected at home where ultra-modern brushed-metal decor overlooks a natural swimming pool brimming with pond life and the chicken run at the end of the garden.

click the picture to watch the video

The inevitable question is whether she has encountered sexism in her job. "Never," she says. "I have always been treated the same as my male colleagues."

Based on the video “Working Lives Toulouse: Test pilot “ published in the BBC

21 August 2013

A350 XWB is the first Airbus aircraft with cargo fire protection as combination of Halon1301 and Nitrogen Enriched Air (NEA).

The lower half of the cross section is designed around the cargo compartments and the loading system. The A350-900 has three compartments, i.e.: the forward, aft and bulk compartments and can load up to 36 LD3 containers or 11 standard pallets of 96 inches. Special equipment is available for the transport of live animals, perishable goods, heavy pallets and vehicles.

To minimize the aircraft turn around time, the A350 XWB offers a high level of cargo hold capability and flexibility; 2 wide cargo doors and a Cargo Loading System (CLS) compatible with most lower deck cargo containers and pallet standards, allowing interlining operations, ease the loading.

In frame of the A350XWB development, the current flow-metered Halon 1301 fire extinguishing bottle for cargo bay long term fire suppression has been deleted, and Nitrogen Enriched Air (NEA) produced by the Inert Gas Generating System (IGGS) -as part of the Fuel Tank Inerting System (FTIS)- is used instead.

This evolution has different benefits because is the first step to halon-free aircraft –the A350 is “green-aircraft” (less halon). Other benefits is a 20-45 kg weight saving allowing an unlimited ETOPS and an aircraft level architecture synergy.
The weight reduction with respect to the conventional system depends on the ETOPS configuration: up to 20 kg are envisaged for 195 min diversion time and up to 45 kg are envisaged for 360 min diversion time.

Effectiveness of a combined Halon1301 / NEA system has been shown.

Based on the presentation “A350XWB Cargo Inerting Function” done within the International Aircraft Systems Fire Protection Working Group by Airbus.

20 August 2013

Airbus will monitor all A350 XWB delivered to customers “around the clock”.

AiRTHM, Airbus’ Real-Time Health Monitoring which falls into Customer Services function. AiRTHM provides real-time troubleshooting, which monitors system health to anticipate failures and enables customer spares provisioning.

This system was available at the A380′s EIS and it is part of the A380 Flight-Hour-Services for customers. The solution is also on the A350XWB. The following chart lays out how this system works.

The A350 has more communications capabilities than the A380; this is necessary because the A350 XWB has over 400.000 parameters measured for aircraft in service. That is a 60% increase between generations over about 5 years.

Moreover, by using ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System), Airbus is now able to collect those parameters and analyze the system data from a remote location.

Thanks to this technological evolution, AiRTHM will be available to provide a new and innovative ‘real time health monitoring’ for A350 XWB aircraft. It is based on new processes developed by the Airbus AIRTAC-MIT (Maintenance Innovation Team) with the objective to improve the A350 customers’ Operational Reliability and maintenance scheduling, whilst reducing the associated costs

Boeing has similar capabilities with the 787; Boeing is monitoring them around the clock.

There are tens of thousands of things that can be measured and tracked on 787, and that's just what they're doing inside the company's 787 Operations Control Center in Everett, Wash.

Boeing has 2 giant maps showing the location of each 787 currently in flight. The maps also show the planes' speed and altitude.
Equipped with highly sophisticated onboard monitoring systems, the planes send back massive amounts of information while in the air. Computer software sifts through the data, and anomalies or potential problems pop up in yellow or red on giant computer screens.

"So a red item ... [means] there is a maintenance action that needs to go out and be cleared on the airplane before you have it depart," Boeing explains.

With real-time monitoring, Boeing and the airlines are more likely to have replacement parts on hand even before the plane lands.
Boeing says it can offer a level of customer support it couldn't deliver before. In an extreme case Boeing experts talked directly to pilots who had questions while in flight.

Monitoring an airplane while in flight is nothing new, but the sophistication here — and the amount of data being reviewed — is. United Airlines is pleased; "Boeing created the aircraft, they designed it [and] they know it from the inside out, so it helps to have both of us monitoring it at the same time," says United Airlines spokeswoman Christen David.

What's more, since Boeing can track data from every flight simultaneously in real time, the airplane maker can spot trends or problems across the entire fleet much sooner.

That is especially important when a new plane like the 787 or the A350 goes into service.

Based on the article “Airbus communications technology evolves” published in AirInsight, and based on the article “Dreamliner Returns, And Boeing Is Watching Its Every Move” published in npr.

19 August 2013

British Government supports aerospace careers for young students at Airbus Broughton A350 wing plant

Business Minister Michael Fallon praised Airbus’ dedication to the future of the aerospace industry during a visit to the Broughton plant this week. He was in North Wales to announce the first intake of students in a £6m Airbus-sponsored graduate scheme that will support more careers in aerospace.

Mark Stewart, general manager Airbus UK, with Conroy Iwhiwhu, EDS Innovation Works Aerospace MSc, Michael Fallon and Gareth Davies, head of A350 wing assembly

The government has awarded 100 bursaries to employees and graduates at the plant to study Masters (MSc) level degrees in aerospace engineering, which will help the sector develop the high-level skills it needs to compete globally.

The bursaries will cover the cost of tuition fees up to £9,500 and will encourage participating students to forge relationships with UK aerospace companies through project work and placements.

Based on the article “Business minister praises Airbus graduates scheme” published in The Chester Chornicle

18 August 2013

Spanish tooling supplier Aritex will develop and manufacture the assembly line for the Keel Beam at Airbus site in Nantes.

The company, with 160 engineers onboard, has been awarded with a contract to develop, design, manufacture and set-up the assembly line for the keel beam of the A350 XWB in Nantes.

This is an important contract for Aritex because of the criticality of the structure; The keel beam provides structural continuity to the fuselage at the landing gear compartment. The A350 XWB program is the first time in which the keel beam and the aft lower shell have been combined to form a single major component. This immense part, made out of 70% composites, is 16.5m long and 4.3m wide and weighs 1.2 tonnes. Its assembly in the Nantes factory required the use of 10,000 fasteners to join 2000 parts.

Aritex has the headquarters in Badalona (close to Barcelona) and it is already working in Airbus´ site in Nantes since 2012 with other tooling projects for the A320Neo.

For the A350 XWB program, Aritex has developed and manufactured the assembly lines of the Horizontal stabilizers (in Puerto Real) and of the Vertical Stabilizers (in Stade). Identified as Tier1 by Airbus, currently is the second supplier with more workload in the category of “jigs and tools” since it started in 2000 to work with.

David López is the CEO of Aritex

Currently Aritex is part of the Comsa Emte Group (more than 10.000 people) and it has recently open a new production facility of 7.000 sqr meters in Shanghai, mainly working for the C-919 with COMAC on the assembly lines of the horizontal stabilizers and the wing box. There is another production facility in Puebla (Mexico) focused in the automotive industry and a commercial delegation in Sao Paulo (Brazil) close to Embraer.

Based on the article “Aritex crece con Airbus” published in La Vanguardia

16 August 2013

The tail-skid ready in the MSN1 for starting VMU tests in coming days.

Externally the MSN001 has hardly changed after her return, only a tail skid under the structurally reinforced & prepared rear fuselage S.19 has been installed.

This specific tail bumper is added to protect the tail from any damage during the VMU tests (Velocity Minimum Unstick).

Airbus needs to know the VMU because the computed take off speeds incorporate some margin above VMU, just as they also do for VS (Stall speed), VMCG (Minimum control speed on the ground) and VMCA (Minimum control speed in the air). These “V” speeds therefore form the basic building blocks of take-off performance.

Many videocameras and other FTI devices (specially in the wing) have been installed.

For crew members, these are one of the most stressful tests, as the risk of damage to the aircraft is rather high, although the section 19 is structurally-reinforced to sustain a force up to more than 150 tons. Few pilots can say that they have performed VMU tests on several programs without damaging anything! The VMU tests are difficult to carry out, mainly because it has to perform a soft touch down of the tail bumper, as the structure is not designed for a strong impact.

Perfect weather conditions are needed, with no turbulence and wind less than 5 kts, to insure the precision of the measurements. The tests will be performed at Istres Air Force Base (South of France) where there is a 5 km runway and no houses or other obstacles on the runway axis for several kilometers.

On A380, a total of 22 VMU tests were executed including both development and certification.

Based on the article “Airbus A350 nimmt Testflüge wieder auf” published in Flug Revue