Home' Asian Aviation : AAV March 2011. Contents 36 AsianAviation | MARCH 2011
more di cult to obtain. He says the backlog of almost
600 aircra on order means prospective owners must
wait a long time and "that makes it more di cult here
Six months ago, Airbus appointed China's
CAC Commercial Aircra Company (CCAC) to
manufacture A350 wing spoilers and leading-edge
"droop" panels, largely of CFRP, an arrangement that
completed the planned work allocation to the country.
Related design work will be performed by the Airbus
(Beijing) Engineering Centre joint venture, with
Austrian composites specialist FCC charged with
de ning the industrial process. e spoiler's centre
hinge tting will be manufactured using resin transfer
moulding, a process Airbus describes as "innovative".
Goodrich has been contracted to design, test,
manufacture, and support the A350-1000's main
landing gear, while that for the smaller -800 and -900
variants is being developed by Messier-Bugatti. e
higher-weight A350-1000 will sport six-wheel main
bogies, while four-wheel units equip the other models.
e US company says the business is worth more than
US$2 billion over the life of the programme.
In addition, Goodrich is providing -- for all three
A350 variants -- engine nacelles and thrust reversers,
landing-gear wheels and brakes, air-data and ice-
detection systems, external video equipment, and
cabin-attendant seats. Last November, it announced
shipment of the rst thrust reverser for ground tests on
a Trent XWB, initially at Rolls-Royce in the UK and
later at the John C Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi.
The nacelle and thrust-reverser work, provided
under a 2005 20-year contract, is valued at US$6
billion. "We went from engineering release to shipping
hardware within 12 months," says Tom Donnelly,
Goodrich Aerostructures' vice-president for Airbus
A call by Arab carrier Emirates for improved A350-
1000 payload-range performance is seen as a possible
opportunity for General Electric to o er an engine
to compete against the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB, a
situation Airbus has said it would welcome.
Emirates, which included 20 A350-1000s in its
order for 70 aircra , would like to y the 350-passenger
model, with a near-100,000lb payload, year-round
between Dubai and Los Angeles -- a ser vice currently
operated using Boeing 777-200LRs.
e Gulf operator believes a 100,000-105,000lb-
thrust GE90, possibly a derated variant of the Boeing
777's GE90-115, would permit Airbus to meet the
airline's requirement, which other wise could be
satis ed by an upgraded 777 variant. It is thought that
enhancing the 92,000lb-thrust Trent XWB could
require a new engine core.
Ironically, GE was the original sole engine supplier
for the original A330-derived A350 but did not
compete against the UK powerplant manufacturer
when Airbus re-launched the planned aircra as a new,
wider-cabined design. Now, the US engine company
remains to be convinced of the business case for the
A350-1000 -- which accounts for only 75 of the 583
A350 orders to date -- and is reluctant to make the large
investment needed to create a new engine to power all
three A350 variants. n
GKN invests in A350 parts production
Involvement in the A350 has stimulated some suppliers and partners to invest in new manufacturing
capacity. For example, after acquiring Airbus's former UK aerostructures business at Filton and
being selected to make A350 rear spars, GKN Aerospace has committed almost US$200 million to
developing a manufacturing 'Centre of Excellence'.
Participation in the Airbus A350 programme as the rear-spar supplier has enabled GKN Aerospace to
establish itself as a manufacturer of large, fully integrated airframe sections. The contract requires GKN
to design, integrate, and supply spars and related assemblies, which it began to do early last year after
having produced prototype spars for the aircraft's centre wing box demonstrator in 2009.
GKN will manufacture the near 100ft-long rear spars in three sections, to which it will attach the
frames, rib posts, landing-gear fittings, and other accessories. Under the partnership, GKN is using
Airbus procedures and design tools to carry out stress analysis of the rear spar and trailing-edge
GKN derives the main loads being transmitted from the wing panels, landing gear, and fuel tanks
into the spar from a finite-element model of the A350 wing. Having inherited the former Airbus UK
aerostructures business, it has now set up automated "moving-line" assembly of trailing-edge and
landing-gear parts on to the spar.
Airbus has specified that it wants the supplier to use automated fibre placement (AFP) machines in
manufacturing, so GKN's first prototype parts came from such a machine before the equipment left
its manufacturer in Spain. GKN will eventually have five AFP machines in the UK, enough capacity to
provide Airbus with ten ship sets per month when A350 production is in full swing.
At the 2010 Farnborough Air Show, GKN announced two further A350 contracts to produce
composite parts for inboard and outboard flaps at its German factory. The company says the first flap
components will be delivered in the early part of this year.
Airbus has been displaying a full-scale A350 cabin mock-up at air shows.
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