30 June 2013

BMW interior for the A350 XWB … 7 years ago.

At the 2006 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Airbus showed a mockup of an A350 interior designed by BMW Designworks. The stylish cabin has some interesting features which are designed to relax the passengers and save space. There is also a cool mood lighting feature which can project images like the night sky or clouds onto the ceiling.

“In the entrance area there is a dome that gives us the feeling of spaciousness and openness in the cabin and configured for whatever mood you want to generate,” said engineer Dougie Hunter.

Airbus has also improved the overhead bin design to increase their volume. “The number of bags that can be accommodated in the centre bin of the business area will be two standard roller bags per passenger,” says Hunter. “The economy bins can take one standard roller bag per passenger.”


Based on the article “Airbus A350 interior by BMW Designworks” published in Diseno-art.com

29 June 2013

Automotive proven non-contact measurement system for the A350 XWB

Airbus has chosen Third Dimension to supply GapGun measurement systems for the aircraft build process throughout Europe. Third Dimension is the leading supplier of handheld precision metrology solutions and it has a long track record of supplying metrology equipment and services to the largest names in aerospace, automotive and energy sectors worldwide.

Having worked closely with Airbus since 2002 and based next to Airbus' Filton facility in Bristol, Third Dimension has developed a key partnership with Airbus which has secured the A350 XWB contract to supply GapGun measurement systems for the aircraft build process throughout Europe.

Chief Business Development Officer, John Kane commented, "We have enjoyed an increasingly close relationship with Airbus over many years. With the latest agreement we look forward to continuing our partnership with EADS as a whole and to providing innovative solutions to inspection challenges that can add real value to EADS projects throughout Europe." The agreement also includes support and management as well as plans to upgrade existing systems within Airbus to the latest technology.

GapGun MX+ is a calibrated optical geometry system that measure gaps, shapes and forms incredibly accurately, as well as a multitude of challenging surface finishes, using specialised algorithm technology. Fast, comfortable and extremely easy to use, GapGun MX+ operates with varied connectivity options, wireless mode and the ability to integrate well with Third party systems.

Based on the article “EADS signs major deal with Third Dimension for measurement system on A350 XWB” published in Industry Today.

Technical challenge versus industrial ramp-up versus delivery schedule and versus flexibility for modifications. The balance for Airbus and it´s suppliers and risk sharing partners.

Airbus said it must strike a balance in the ramp-up of its new A350 between a sales force seeking to push out planes and engineers advocating a slower approach to permit changes before too many aircraft are built.
The manufacturer wants to get production of the A350 up to 3 aircraft/month by the end of 2014 so customers can get their planes on schedule, said Didier Evrard.

“We must be able not only to deliver the first planes, but to manage the scissor effect of technical challenges that have diminished in intensity with an industrial ramp-up that grows in intensity,” Evrard said in an interview at the Paris Air Show. “It’s a challenge for our suppliers as well.”

Lifting output while maintaining the flexibility for retroactive changes on a new plane was a challenge that also haunted Boeing on its 787 Dreamliner, which had to undergo fixes in areas such as the tail cone and electrical wiring on dozens of airliners already built. John Leahy, Airbus’s sales chief, has said he would like to see output lifted on the A350 to fill additional slots, particularly for the largest variant A350-1000. By 2018, Airbus wants to more than triple production of the A350-900 to 10 units a month.

“If you have too much work in progress after entry into service, you have to change the planes and then you can’t deliver them,” Evrard, said. “Less haste, more speed.”

Based on the article “Airbus A350 Pits Eager Sales Force Against Risk-Wary Engineers” published in Bloomberg

27 June 2013

Aerolia shows an A350 XWB Nose fuselage section in Le Bourget

Aerolia and its partners are responsible for the design and the production of the 3 Nose Section sub-assemblies:
·         metal structure assemblies such as the cockpit, the nose fairing and the nose landing gear compartment with the use of aluminium, aluminium-lithium or titanium for some major frames.
·         composite elements such as the lower shell, the main components of the Section 12 including the doors for passenger boarding and the nose landing gear doors.
·         for the systems, hydraulic, oxygen, clean and waste water and vacuum piping equipping the nose section and the whole fuselage.

"More than 2,700 drawings for the primary structure and 3,200 drawings for fixed brackets have been released by the Design Office of Aerolia in Toulouse for the design of this nose section, as well as 2,500 drawings for the design of the systems facilities (hydraulic, interior fitting) equipping the whole fuselage and for their installation by the Design Office.

On sites, “220 million euros have been invested in these industrial sites", pointed out Alain Tropis, COO Development since last February. He is responsible for engineering and A350 XWB (with Nathalie Chieusse, Head of Aerolia A350 XWB) as well as the Group R&D. Alain Tropis, 51 years old, comes from Airbus where he was Senior Vice President in charge of the Structure Centre of Competence.

Technological advances
A third of this nose section is composed of composite materials. About one third of the aluminium metal elements is made of Aluminium-Lithium, whereas some complex structural parts, such as door passenger frames, are made of titanium. This nose section is equipped with:
·         a metal front Section with large double-curvature window frames and 9 mechanically machined panels.
·         a door frame upper shell and a lower shell, both of them made of composite with titanium fittings that benefit from the solutions adapted to the requirements of this type of structure in order to optimize the weight and in-service operating conditions.
·         a metal nose landing gear compartment and the aircraft composite lower shell are two elements that are highly subjected to stresses upon taking-off and landing.
·         piping designed and manufactured by Aerolia Design Office and the Systems production site in Saint-Nazaire. These pipes equipping all the fuselage sections represent 1.5 km per aircraft.

To support the industrial approach, Aerolia also delivers 14,500 elementary parts per aircraft in addition to the 6,500 required for the nose section.
Aerolia CEO Christian Cornille defines his Company as “Super Tier One in aerostructures and systems at international level”. "Aerolia has fulfilled its commitments and has thereby shown its ability to meet the requirements of its Customer Airbus for this new aircraft combining composites and metals. Beyond this exceptional performance to which we pay tribute today, the A350 XWB proves that the international market can trust Aerolia in its full ability to establish a high-performing industry open to the world...", concluded Christian Cornille.


26 June 2013

Scandinavian carrier SAS signs a MOU for 8 A350-900 XWB the week after Paris Air Show.


Scandinavian carrier SAS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 8 A350 XWBs (with options for another 6 aircraft) and 4 A330s, as part of its strategy to modernize its fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft. The agreement was signed in the Nowegian capital, Oslo. The new A350-900s and A330-300s will join the airline’s existing fleet of 30 Airbus aircraft.

“The great technological improvements of this extensive fleet renewal plan give SAS a long haul fleet that will be top of class in the industry. It will truly increase our competitiveness and strengthen our customer offering – both with regard to comfort, service and efficiency. We look forward to welcoming our passengers on board these fuel efficient aircraft with extremely comfortable and quiet cabins,” said Rickard Gustafson, SAS Group President & CEO.

“We are delighted that SAS has underscored their confidence in Airbus by selecting our A330, which offers unbeatable economics and the highest level of operational reliability alongside the A350 XWB, the world’s most technologically advanced and efficient aircraft,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.’’  

With the announcement today, SAS initiates important measures to secure a modern and efficient long haul fleet with state of the art aircraft technology from Airbus.

“I look back at an extremely eventful year for SAS with tangible results. We have introduced, delivered and will continue to deliver on our important plan for a profitable SAS. We have launched more than 50 new routes and a completely new customer offer. And now we present a highly competitive long haul plan which will allow SAS to continue our proactive efforts,” said Rickard Gustafson.

The A350 will be delivered to SAS starting 2018 and meanwhile the 4 A330-300 Enhanced will be delivered to SAS starting 2015.

Based on the press release “SAS selects eight A350 XWBs and four A330s”

25 June 2013

4 out of 5 787-10 Launch-Customers are also A350 XWB customers. None of the Persian Gulf carriers is part of the launch group.

As Airbus moves closer to introducing the A350, Boeing is further broadening its widebody offering in the medium-large twin segment. The long-anticipated 787-10 launch comes on the heels of 102 orders from 5 customers. Scott Fancher, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager for airplane development, said at Paris Air Show that launch of the proposed 777X is also “rapidly approaching,” perhaps by year-end. The first 787-10, the largest of the three 787 versions, is to be delivered in 2018.

Among the customers launching the program are Air Lease Corp. (30 aircraft), Singapore Airlines (30), United Airlines (20), British Airways (12) and GE Capital Aviation Services –Gecas- (10). These are all new commitments, except 10 of the 20 United aircraft, rolled over from a previous 787 order and converted into the larger version.

The 787-10 is a 18-ft. stretch of the -9, allowing room for 40 more seats; Boeing says it will accommodate 300-330 passengers and have a range of 7,000 nm. Final assembly and flight tests are both to begin in 2017, with first delivery scheduled for 2018.

There have been concerns that, as a double-stretch of the original design, the -10's range might be insufficient for many carriers. And interestingly, none of the otherwise eagerly investing Persian Gulf carriers is part of the launch group—many of their routes are too long for the aircraft. But the increased range and slightly higher maximum takeoff weight of 553,000 lb. seem to have assuaged concerns. Reinforcements in the wing-to-body attachment area and on the landing gear were needed to accommodate the increased weight. Engine thrust will also be slightly higher than originally planned. “The range covers 97% of the widebody city pairs of the world,” Air Lease Corp. (ALC) Chairman/CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy points out. Its range will be 1,500 nm less than the -9's.

All of the 787-10 customers so far except Gecas have also ordered a version of the A350. United has 25 A350-900s on firm order; BA is taking 18 A350-1000s (plus options for 18 more); Singapore Airlines has firm orders for 40 A350-900s; and ALC has committed to taking 20 A350-900s and five -1000s. “That is a comment about the size of that market segment,” says Jeff Knittel, president of lessor CIT Transportation Finance. “The yields are still better and it is growing faster than short-haul.” Therefore “there is a demand for both aircraft.”

Based on the article “Boeing Launches 787-10 As A350 Enters Flight Tests” published in Aviation Week.

Air France-KLM finally signs the order for 25 A350-900 announced 2 years ago and includes further 25 options after reaching an agreement with Rolls Royce.

Airbus sealed a long-awaited order for 25 A350-900 aircraft from Air France-KLM worth $7.2 billion at list prices after Rolls-Royce and the airline reached a deal over engine maintenance.
The airline also took a further 25 options on the planes, the companies said at the Paris AirShow.

Air France-KLM has been at loggerheads with suppliers over issues mainly including maintenance of the plane's Rolls-Royce engines ever since the deal was first mooted in 2011. Air France and Rolls had clashed over conflicting ideas for engine supply deals.
The airline said in Le Bourget, however, that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce to equip the A350s with Trent XWB engines, including their maintenance by Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance. Rolls said the deal to power the 25 A350s was worth $1.1 billion at list prices.

Air France traditionally orders engines from Rolls' U.S. rival General Electric, but the A350 is powered exclusively by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
Air France-KLM is seeking to lower costs by cutting jobs and restructuring its network as it aims to return to profit and cut debt by 2 billion euros by the end of next year. It faces soaring fuel costs, a worsening cargo business and tough competition from Gulf and low-cost carriers.

"This shows that despite some difficulties Air France-KLM is facing, we are in sufficiently good shape to be able to plan the renewal of our long-haul fleet," said Alexandre de Juniac, who is due to become Air France-KLM chief executive from July 1.
Air France-KLM currently operates a fleet of just over 190 Airbus aircraft.

Based on the article “Airbus wins A350 order from Air France-KLM” published in Reuters

24 June 2013

Rotating the test crew in the 2nd flight and increasing the confidence in the 3rd long-flight test.

The 2nd flight test was made on 19/June and was the first time the A350 XWB flight over open-sea in the Atlantic coast at La Rochelle. The A350 MSN001 cleared the full envelope on a mission that lasted more than 5 hr. The aircraft climbed to 42,000 ft. and reached Mach 0.89, its maximum cruise speed, as well as its maximum angle of attack in normal law

click on the picture to watch the video

There were 2 changes to the flight crew:
  • Fernando Alonso was replaced by Didier Ronceray (who was on the telemetry room on the first flight). 
  • Guy Magrin was replaced by Frank Chapman (who was the commenter in the live transmission of the first flight) 

Airbus is rotating their test pilots&engineers around even from second flight. The team that will fly the A350 flight test aircraft fleet (5 planes) is composed by more than 20 members.
click on the picture to watch the video

There were 3 take offs; 
  • 1st long and high flight over sea (up to FL430)
  • 2nd take off, right hand circuit and landing
  • 3rd take off, tight left hand circuit and landing

"I think the way this [flight-test campaign] has started is tremendous." said Fernando Alonso

The 3rd flight test lasted for 8 hours and 44 minutes (from 10:49h  to 19:33h) and it was flying over Le Bourget Air Show on 21/June at 13:32h (just before starting the flight display with the French Acrobatic Patrol)   

The confidence of the test crew is increasing as the parachutes, helmets and orange flightsuits were not worn for the 3rd flight.

Once again, the crew was changed for this flight; Guy Magrin came back, joining Peter Chandler and Pascal Verneau in the flight deck. The flight test engineers consisted of Emanuele Costanzo (engine test engineer who also flew on the 1st and 2nd flights), Didier Ronceray (who flew on the second flight) and Tuan Do.


Flight AIB03WB on FR24 

23 June 2013

China and Russia launch a study for alternative aircraft that will compete against the 787 and the A350 XWB.

When the wide-body aircraft market is a shared duopoly between Boeing (787 & 777 families) and Airbus (A350 family), it seems that China and Russia have launched pre-feasibility studies for a jointly developed wide-body aircraft project.

China and Russia will work together to carry out market, conceptual design, key technologies, basic comprehensive, business and other five areas demonstration and research work. By 2015 it is scheduled to complete the preliminary joint evaluation work after identifying key technologies, conducting research studies, defining the Sino-Russian cooperation, the economic feasibility and airworthiness certification requirements.

The Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Yuri Slusar said that the wide-body aircraft project will be funded by the Russian side to provide technical and commercial fund, although the joint venture will be located in China.

The range-target for the new wide-body aircraft will be 18.500 km, bigger than ranges of 787 and A350.

Based on the article “Challenges B787 and A350: Russian wide-body aircraft project surfaced” published in Financial News

22 June 2013

Airbus has announced in Paris Air Show the agreement reached with United Airlines for 35 A350-1000 aircraft

United Airlines and Airbus have announced that the airline will add 35 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to its future fleet. The agreement between the companies represents a conversion of the U.S. carrier's previous order for 25 A350-900s to the -1000 model, as well as the addition of 10 more orders for A350-1000 aircraft. The announcement was made during the Paris Air Show.

The A350-1000 is capable of flying 8,400 nautical miles non-stop and will be operated by United on higher density routes, including non-stop flights between the United States and the Asia/Pacific region.

“We look forward to taking delivery of the A350-1000,” said Jeff Smisek, United’s Chairman, President and CEO. “This is a modern, fuel-efficient and advanced-technology aircraft that our customers and co-workers will enjoy flying.  It will be a great addition to our fleet and will allow us to meet demand on larger, long-haul markets in our world-leading network.”
“The latest announcement from United Airlines is yet another endorsement for the A350-1000,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and CEO. “Less than a week after the success of the A350 XWB’s first flight, we see that demand for the new aircraft continues to grow, especially for the larger -1000 model. Airbus is proud to have United Airlines on board the exciting A350 program in such a significant way. 

21 June 2013

The A350 XWB debuts in the París Air Show

In the3rd flight, the MSN001 is over-flying the 50 th edition of the París Air Show. French President Hollande is attending today, the first public day of the show and he will be the witness of this milestone.

In TLS on 14 june 2013

Great surprise.

20 June 2013

A350 XWB Centre fuselage section for Fatigue Test shipped to the Test-house.

The centre fuselage for the fatigue test specimen -which must survive 86.400 simulated flights- has arrived at IABG in Erding. Two semiwings are scheduled to arrive at Erding by the end of June to start the join-up in July. First tests are planned for early 2014.

The Beluga brought the centre fuselage from St.Nazaire to the Munich airport and from there, a special heavy truck shipped the fuselage section to Erding.

According to IABG, the objective of structural testing is "to proof the strength, fatigue and damage tolerance of aircraft primary structure, which is almost completely made by composite materials". In the test, all loads occurring in the flight operations are simulated. 86.400 flights are 3 times of the intended service-life.

Based on the article “New Airbus will be tested in Erding” published in Süddeustche


19 June 2013

The fuselage join of the MSN2 progresses as scheduled in the FAL.

In Toulouse Final Assembly Line, work continues on MSN2 on which cabin modules have been delivered the first week of June. After the fuselage sections arrival, join-up started last week and the test installation of the Cockpit Door Module and of a zone 1 galley (next to the cockpit) was also successfully conducted.

This is the first time fit-checks have been done so early, thanks to a very good work upstream with Cabin 0 and PMU (Physical Mock Up) teams in Hamburg and with interior suppliers.

Indeed, if cabin activity is just starting on the test aircraft, a lot of work has already been done on scale 1 mockups in Toulouse and Hamburg, as well as on other cabin pre-validation tools developed by Airbus and its suppliers.

18 June 2013

A350 First-Flight Sequence: destination New York.

Only 2 days from the first-flight milestone on its A350 program, Airbus flight-test center head Fernando Alonso said one of his challenges is “not to be overconfident.”
He described last week’s first flight as being “totally uneventful” and “a little bit boring,” when he presented the first details on the opening day of the Paris Air Show.
The maiden voyage actually took five minutes longer than planned (4h. + 5min), but that was because French air traffic control sent the aircraft into a holding pattern before it was handed over from the Bordeaux to the Toulouse-Blagnac ATC center.

The aircraft initially climbed to 10,000 ft. in 8 min. and remained in the 10,000-15,000 ft. range for 2 hours and 48 minutes. During that time, the crew tested various configurations of the aircraft initially in the most basic version of direct control law, but eventually switched to normal law.
“We went through sweeps to see how the structure reacts before we went to normal law,” Alonso said. “It is time-consuming, but straightforward.”
Similar tests were performed in normal law after around 90 minutes with data being checked against calculated models through telemetry. “2 hours after take-off we were in normal law with all configurations cleared”.

The only glitch during the first flight involved pressurization, but it only happened because of a programming mistake. Cabin pressure started to go down because the computer was assuming the aircraft was landing after 45 minutes as initially programmed. “We then entered New York as a destination and the pressure came back up again,” Alonso said.

The crew took the aircraft to 25,000 ft. in normal law and cleared several configurations in normal and direct law before engaging the autopilot for the last 5 minutes of the cruise flight. The descent was also initiated in autopilot and autothrust mode and the crew tested buffeting effects.
Back at 10,000 ft., an approach was simulated in full landing configuration, including a flare. Chandler and Magrin also went through a go-around procedure and decelerated down to a stall warning. While the 2 had built in some margin on take-off speed, they took out that margin on landing and used brakes, reversers and spoilers as they would in routine operations.  
According to Alonso, performance and fuel-burn tests only start in earnest in the coming weeks; first-flight data is not meaningful because of all the configuration changes and the protracted flight time with the landing gear extended.

Based on the article “Airbus Details A350 First-Flight Sequence” published in Aviation Week


17 June 2013

EADS restructures Premium Aerotec to force an “intensive” cost review by 2015 in order to revisit the plans for a sale. No effect on the A350 XWB output.

EADS plans to accelerate cost cuts at one of its main in-house suppliers with the help of new management. Premium Aerotec, which Airbus and EADS created in 2009 from German factories that they failed to sell, will seek new leadership after Chief Executive Officer Kai Horten and Chief Financial Officer Helmut Kretschmer were dismissed, according to a statement. The unit will also review the number of external workers and reduce its network of suppliers, it said.

“Regaining the company’s productivity is essential,” said Gunter Butschek, the Airbus chief operating officer and Premium Aerotec chairman. The aim for Premium Aerotec is to reach positive free cash flow as it undergoes an “intensive” cost review by 2015, according to the release.

EADS CEO Tom Enders, who previously ran Airbus, has pushed for savings at subsidiaries including the Cassidian defense unit, as he seeks to bring profitability in line with output. Premium Aerotec, with sales of 1.5 billion euros in 2012, makes metal and carbon-fiber structures and equipment for Airbus, and Enders has said suppliers’ health is key to help Airbus lift production.
click in the picture to see a presentation-video of Premium Aerotec activities

The restructuring will have no effect on the A350 program or on EADS’s financial performance, spokesman Rainer Ohler said.

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier announced an overhaul at Airbus last year under Butschek’s supervision, entrusting middle management at the planemaker with more authority to make investment decisions without needing approval from headquarters.

When Premium Aerotec was created in 2009, EADS had sought to separate the business from the parent and prepare it for an eventual sale as Airbus aimed to trim risk by sharing it with suppliers. EADS has said it would revisit the plans for a sale once it has made certain a change of ownership won’t disrupt output of the A350.
Premium Aerotec Also manufactures the pressure bulkhead of the Boeing 787.

Based on the article “EADS to Revamp Premium Aerotec Supplier With Management Overhaul” published in Bloomberg

16 June 2013

Boeing schedules impressive 787 flight-display at Paris Air Show.

Boeing will try to avoid talking about the 111 days grounding of all 50 787 aircraft delivered to many airlines and for that purpose, they have prepared an spectacular flight-display for professional-days of the Air Show.
Click in the picture to watch the impressive flight-display of last´s years Farnborough Show

There will be not 1 Dreamliner in Le Bourget but there will be 2 787s; one 787 (Air India) will perform daily flying displays from Monday through Friday, while the other – a Qatar Airways 787 – will be on static display.

Click in the picture to watch the impressive flight-display of last´s years Farnborough Show

Boeing will highlight its air show activities via a special website, www.boeing.com/paris2013, and through its Twitter feeds: @Boeing and @BoeingAirplanes

Additionaly, on Monday 17/June and Tuesday 18/June there will be two press conferences at 10:00 in the morning.
·         Monday, June 17.  Boeing Commercial Airplanes Update
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner will assess current industry and market conditions and provide an update on Boeing commercial airplane products and services, development programs and product investments.

·         Tuesday, June 18. Twin-aisle Development Briefing
Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Airplane Development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, will provide an overview of Boeing's twin-aisle strategy to meet future market requirements as well as an update of development progress on the 787-9, 787-10X and 777X.

Based on the press release “Boeing Schedules 787 Dreamliner Pair for Paris Air Show”

15 June 2013

Airbus, Rolls Royce and Air France negotiating an agreement concerning the long waited order for 25 A350´s the week before Le Bourget.

French national carrier Air France said it is still in negotiations with Rolls Royce over the terms of a maintenance contract for the engines on the 25 A350 XWB airliners that it plans to buy.

Air France, signed a memorandum of understanding for the airplanes worth more than EUR7 billion at list price two years ago.

But the signature of the firm contract with Airbus has been held up pending the conclusion of the negotiations with Rolls-Royce. Air France, which has a growing maintenance activity, wants approval from Rolls Royce to carry out overhaul and maintenance on the Rolls Royce XWB engines on its aircraft as well as those of customers of its Air France Services maintenance subsidiary.

Although an Air France spokesman said that "The contract will only be signed when the negotiations are concluded." It is seem that next week in Le Bourget the final agreement between 3 parties (Air France – Airbus – Rolls Royce) will be presented, with the signature of the firm order, after a week of negotiations in Paris.

For the time being, Air France-KLM´s priority –due to cash problems- is to delay as long as possible the payment of a deposit. Before committing, Air France has asked to Airbus more details regarding A350-1000, including free slots available. Air France could convert part of its A350-1000 options into A350-900s.

Based on the article “Air France-KLM finaliserait sa commande d’A350 au salon du Bourget” published in Les Echos.

First Flight video; the full 5:45 hours live webcast of the A350 XWB

Click the picture to watch the video of the full 5:45 hours live webcast

And an interesting summary of 4 minutes available here:

Click the picture to watch the video