Airbus notched up firm orders for a further 55 examples of its now-flying A350 XWB airliner yesterday here in Paris, with Air France-KLM and Singapore Airlines signing major deals. The European airframer now has 668 firm orders for the A350. And, for good measure, Airbus also managed yesterday to close a major fleet-upgrade MoU with Sri Lankan Airlines.
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.
Airbus has awarded Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) a contract to supply composite rudders for the A330-200 and A330-300 long-range commercial jets. Under the terms of the deal, signed Monday at the Paris Air Show, TAI (Hall 4 E75) will serve as a single-source supplier through the life of the A330. Plans call for rudder manufacture to take place at TAI’s Ankara Kazan facilities in Turkey, from where the company already supplies Airbus A350 XWB ailerons and control surfaces for a number of commercial/military aircraft platforms.
Following the first flight on June 14 of the Airbus A350 XWB, AIN had an opportunity to interview John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers, about the historic event.
What can you say about today’s flight?
Rolls-Royce (R-R) is developing continuous improvements for mature Trent engines, with new technology flowing from later models into established variants, according to program director John Hogarth. Since the original Trent–the Series700–entered service on a Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 in 1985, successive variants have been introduced to constitute a “tailored family” enjoying common architecture, but with each model dedicated to specific airframes.
Aluminum specialist Constellium’s new foundry in Issoire, France, is up and running–a key step in a strategy aimed at regaining some of the ground lost to composite materials in aircraft construction. The casting house focuses on a new family of alloys, dubbed Airware, which are lighter than the previous generation made of aluminum-lithium.
Airbus began the 2,500-hour flight-test program for the A350 XWB when the new long-range widebody took off for the first time at almost exactly 10 a.m. local time in Toulouse, France, on Friday. The eagerly awaited first flight over southwestern France lasted slightly more than four hours and the twinjet, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, touched down safely back in Toulouse at 2:05 p.m.
Smac Aero, a Toulon, France-based company specializing in elastomers for soundproofing and vibration dampening, is here at the Paris Air Show (Hall 2B Stand C140-158) exhibiting Smacpreg, a combination of pre-impregnated (prepreg) carbon fibers with a layer of rubber. As CEO Philippe Robert emphasized during a visit to the company’s development and production facilities, the new product is suited to fiber placement robots.
GE Aviation, best known for its civil and military jet engines and integrated aircraft systems, plans to establish itself as a Tier 1 aerostructures supplier by the second half of the next decade. Ultimately, the company has a long-term vision to develop integrated propulsion systems (IPS) for future single-aisle airliners and regional aircraft, bringing together GE Aviation’s aerostructures capabilities in advanced wing and flying-control surface design with its turboprop engine and propeller activities in other divisions.
Airbus has introduced a central configuration software tool for the A350 XWB program that promises to make cabin layout and cabin configuration more efficient, thanks to software engineering specialist PACE.