Airbus has begun fabricating the first carbon fiber barrel for the A350 XWB fuselage at its Advanced Composites Center in Illescas, Spain, the company announced today. Airbus said it expects to finish the carbon fiber placement process used for producing the 18-foot-long fuselage barrel, known as section 19, “in the coming weeks.”
Although plans call for Airbus to make the majority of the A350 XWB fuselage from long carbon fiber panels, the company determined that a barrel-shaped structure works best for the tapered rear part of the fuselage.
The achievement follows the start of production of the first flyable lower wing cover for the A350 XWB on November 29 at Illescas. Other recent industrial firsts for the A350 XWB include the start of production of the upper wing cover at Stade, Germany, the start of assembly of the first center wing box and keel beam in Nantes, France. In the UK, Airbus opened its Landing Gear Systems Test Facility at its Filton site. Meanwhile, program partner Spirit Aerosystems has completed the first 65-foot-long crown panel for the center fuselage in Kinston, N.C. and Premium Aerotech successfully cured the crown panel for the forward fuselage section in Nordenham, Germany.