Paris Air Show

A350 XWB Suppliers Join First Flight Celebrations

 - June 19, 2013, 9:20 AM
Test pilots review elements of the flight plan before a test hop in the Airbus A350 XWB. The teams of suppliers that contributed to the program are closely watching the trials.

The successful first flight of the Airbus A350 XWB in Toulouse last Friday was a major milestone in the program and one to be celebrated by the manufacturer and its major suppliers. Rolls-Royce (Chalet B89), in particular, was pleased to see its Trent XWB engines power the aircraft from Runway 32L at Blagnac airfield for its 4hr 05min maiden flight.

Such a complex program as the A350 XWB brings together a large team of suppliers that have worked together to create the new airliner. Thales (Chalet B253, Hall Concorde 51) supplies no fewer than 1,529 items in the aircraft, including the inflight entertainment and cabin lighting systems. More importantly, it is the provider of the aircraft’s integrated modular avionics, air data and inertial reference units and the interactive control and display system through which the pilots communicate with the aircraft. The display system comprises six 15-inch screens and a head-up display.

Rockwell Collins (Chalet B19, Hall 2b D108) also provides a large number of items in the A350 XWB, including avionics and communications. The company was selected to provide the information management system that monitors the health of aircraft systems to support maintenance and that hosts electronic flight bag data. Rockwell Collins also provides the system that manages voice and data communications within the aircraft and with the ground. The company also supplies several landing and navigation aids and other components.

Honeywell (Chalet B67) is providing the flight management system and the environment surveillance system that integrates eight safety units into just two boxes. Honeywell is also responsible for the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit, which provides the high-pressure bleed air for pneumatic energy. Cabin pressure control, supplemental cooling, ventilation and air-conditioning are also Honeywell responsibilities.

Of course, there are many other suppliers, all of which contributed to the first flight success. Liebherr-Aerospace (Chalet B277, Hall 2a AB275), for instance, builds the nose landing gear and slat/flap actuation components. The main undercarriage is from Messier-Bugatti-Dowty (Safran Group, Hall 2a A232), as are the braking and steering systems.