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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First Static Wing For Airbus A350 Arrives in Toulouse

This 32 metres long by six metres wide wing with missing chunks is the first static test wing to arrive at the final assembly line for the medium sized Airbus A350 which is due to enter service in the second half of 2014.

The caption doesn’t make it clear if that is the rest of the static test assembly A350 in the background, and the gaudy structure near the end of whatever it is in the background doesn’t appear in all the photos on the Airbus site and appears to be part of the assembly cage rather than the vertical stabiliser.

Nor is it clear if this is also the wing that will tested to destruction or stressed to a point where it bears 150% of the designed maximum load without breaking or delaminating.

The twin engined A350 family is substantially constructed from reinforced carbon fibre panels and other composite components and while it is often described as the Airbus equivalent to Boeing’s 787 line, it offers slightly wider cabins and higher seating capacities, and is constructed in a more conventional manner than the Dreamliners in which a mandril is used in building up layers of woven composite tape to create the fuselage sections of those jets.

In this market, Singapore Airlines will be operating both A350-900s and 787-9s, while its Asia hemisphere rival Cathay Pacific has opted for both A350-900s and the larger and longer ranged A350-1000s and AirAsiaX intends taking A350-900s from late 2015, and flying them between Australia and European and Asia cities via Kuala Lumpur. Qatar Airways has like Singapore Airlines, bought both brands of plastic airliners, but has not given any clear indication as when it will deploy either type on its Australia services.

The main operators of Dreamliners that the public will likely bracket as A350 competitors are, apart from Singapore Airlines flying both types, set to be Jetstar (787-8s), Air New Zealand (787-9 launch customer) and China Southern, which is currently taking delivery of 787-8s and has said it is planning to use them on flights to Australian cities in the near future, and sooner than anyone else, with transfers to its A380s at Guangzhou for flights to London.

Whatever way the information is cut, the A350s and 787s are going to play a growing role for foreign carriers active in the Australian market, with Qantas no longer holding firm orders for the 787-9 but saying it remains able to access well priced options or purchase rights for the Boeings as the dates for converting them fall due.

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Live to love and love to live. The motto that I held on my entire life. Just a regular guy who loves what I am passionate in life. A song writer and producer. Living life on the move. From Malaysia to The States, New Zealand to Singapore. With the companion of great people in life. In and out from the music industry. Taking everything one step at a time. 
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