31 March 2014

Cables for digital transmission in A350 are 25% lighter.

Draka Fileca is the French supplier (at Sainte-Geneviève, from the Prysmian Group) that has developed a cable for digital transmission for A350 XWB family. The cable not only had to enable high transmission rates but also had to be much lighter than the previously used KO24 type.

Star-Quad KL24 data cable is up to 25% lighter than previous types of quad cables. And this cable also complies with the requirements of EN 3375-011 for electric cables for digital data transmission in aerospace.

Charles Boullot R&D Project Leader at Draka Fileca explains: “The challenge with developing this cable was to lower the weight without reducing the diameter, because one of the customer’s specifications was compatibility with existing contacts, connectors and tools. That is why we decided to use a fluoroplastic foam type for the insulation instead of a conventional fluoroplastic.”


The type that was finally used was DuPont™ Teflon® FFR 770, which belongs to a family of new foam grades based on DuPont’s patented Airquick technology. These products are suitable for the production of lightweight high-performance cables for high-frequency signal transmission in a wide temperature range and with minimal signal distortion.

It is being initially used in the A350 XWB and there are plans to extend in the near future to other Airbus models, in order to optimize the weight, that for instance on the A380 could be lowered by up to 85kg.

Based on the article “Lightweight data cables” published in Aircraft Interiors International

30 March 2014

Why Japanese ANA has selected the 777-9x over the A350-1000?

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has selected Boeing's 777-9X (20 aircraft) over the Airbus A350-1000 to replace its 777-300ERs. This was regarded as a key contract for Boeing to win, following Japan Airlines' decision last year to order Airbus A350s for its own 777 replacement needs. Boeing likely offered ANA an extremely competitive price discount on the 777X in order to ensure that the order didn’t go to Airbus like at JAL.

ANA said the 777Xs will replace its 19 777-300ERs used on international routes, and will be delivered in fiscal 2021-27. ANA operates 54 777s, which comprise -200s, -200ERs and -300s. The airline plans to purchase 6 additional -300ERs to support international growth until the 777X deliveries begin. The -300ERs are due to arrive in fiscal 2018-19. ANA is also ordering 14 more 787-9s, which will bring its total 787 order to 80 aircraft, of which 44 will be -9s. The carrier has taken delivery of 27 of its 36 orders for the 787-8.

Airchive analyses the 777X order as “truly interesting”, especially seeing as rival JAL opted for the A350-1000 instead. ANA simply has more need for the larger seating capacity of the 777X than JAL for several reason; . ANA is the larger carrier with a larger overall network and moreover, ANA recently won the lion’s share of international slots at Tokyo’s airport, which better facilitates the use of the larger 777X.

Furthermore, ANA has had more of a challenge controlling its costs relative to JAL, which means that competitively, it needs the CASM boost of the 777X’s larger seating capacity.
Airchive presents an economic comparative analysis of the A350-1000 versus the Boeing 777X for a typical mission of 5,550 nm; despite the A350-1000′s optimized airframe, the seat-capacity advantage of the 777X in ANA’s typical 3 class configuration gives the 777X a 4.4% CASM advantage over the A350-1000. If, as in ANA’s case, you can fill the extra 45 seats, the 777X will be the better tool.

Based on the article “ANA Goes Shopping: Our Analysis of the Order” published in Airchive.

29 March 2014

A350 continues flight test program and returns to Bâsel-Mulhouse airport.

Next Monday 31/March within the flight-test program of the Airbus A350, the EuroAirport will receive the visit of a flight prototype from 8:00 in the morning to carry out around 12 landings and take offs on the main north-south runway. The French DGAC has issued the authorization and informed the air traffic control. 

Last 29/January the MSN1 prototype carried out some similar tests in the same airport with several circuits and touch&go's. That was some of the last tests of the MSN1 prototype before being upgraded with the “new” Nickel-Cadmium batteries.

Click the picture to watch a video

The Bâsel-Mulhouse-(Freiburg) airport or Euroairport(LFSB) is jointly operated by France and Switzerland. It is located in France but closest to Basel in Switzerland.

Based on the article “Airbus A350 kommt zu Testflügen nach Basel” published in aeroTELEGRAPH

28 March 2014

A350 XWB Customer Definition Centre in Hamburg

The CDC, a refurbished historic hangar in Hamburg, enables customers to test and compare the full A350 XWB product range, creating their cabin in one place. And having the program´s cabin engineering team at hand makes for a unique experience. “A collaborative strategy makes the CDC a win-win partnership for all those involved” said the CDC manager Bausor.

The centre is designed specifically to support the A350 XWB´s customization and sourcing policy. Customers will be led through purpose-built displays and zones: functional play rooms for cabin equipment testing; exhibition areas for airline product staging; and design studios for materials definition. Virtual reality technology, customer specific mock-up areas and fully equipped customer areas will make the CDC a one-stop-shop.

The first definition meetings have been a resounding success. “Our first customer saw the Centre as wonderful facility offering unparalleled opportunities to get first hand information on cabin options and run fruitful definition meetings with Airbus” said Caudron, head of A350 XWB customer and business development.

27 March 2014

A350 best pictures in the web

These are some of the best webs to watch pictures of the A350 flight prototypes.

AIRBUS web has a wide quantity of professional photographs.

When talking about spotters in Toulouse, there are 3 of them with very good pictures:
DN280TLS                           http://www.flickr.com/photos/8509543@N03/

Other spotters who have some pictures of different A350 flying prototypes are:
A380spotter               http://www.flickr.com/photos/a380spotter/
David Barrie              http://www.flickr.com/photos/curufinwe-xiane/
Flox Papa                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/florent_peraudeau/
Jujug spotting             http://www.flickr.com/photos/jujug/
Jérôme Vinçonneau   http://www.flickr.com/photos/mav31/
XFW spotter               http://www.flickr.com/photos/xfwspotter/

Do you know more?

Thanks to all of them for sharing with everyone the great images of the A350.

26 March 2014

Airbus should be able to deliver 4 aircraft to Qatar before end of the year as per Leeham News

Leeham News is being followed the A350s production through the assembly stations over the last two years. The time that each aircraft spends at the FAL stations gives a good picture of the production readiness of the program because any non-maturity of the sections or traveled work means more work packages have to be completed at FAL and more time spent in the troublesome stations.

These graphs shows how the FAL has performed since the first test aircraft MSN1 entered FAL in July 2012.

It can seen how gradually the FAL time has gone down from 300 days to (Leeham News´ prognosis of) 220 days for the last prototype, MSN5. 

To make the FAL time graph more readable, they have added 20 respective 10 days of cabin installation days at S30 and S20 for MSN4, which does not have a cabin nor a heavy instrumentation fit. Without this addition, it would have been difficult to see the trend for other MSN4 stations.

Conclusions drawn by Leeham News are:

 The A350 FAL shortens the assembly times in the different stations monotonously. This shows an early learning curve and the diminishing level of elaborate test instrumentation installations. It also shows a low level of FAL dramas, i.e. traveled work or parts that does not fit.

MSN5 is the first serial like aircraft with virtually no test instrumentation. Its FAL time is a good yardstick for the time MSN6, the first A350 for Qatar, will spend in FAL.

With added test time for final inspection and delivery to Qatar, the predicted time for delivery is still ahead of the communicated times of December (Airbus) and November or October (Qatar).

“From the above it is clear Airbus has built in margins for any delays in certification or delivery issues with the first EIS A350 for Qatar. One can also see that Airbus should be able to deliver an additional 3 aircraft before the year draws to a close if things run to plan.”

Based on the article “Lessons learned from A380, 787 benefit A350” published in Leeham News

25 March 2014

Airbus´ dilemma with the A330neo and A350-800

Although Airbus remains publicly ambivalent about its willingness to develop a reengined A330, a growing sector of the market is voicing support for the move.
Speaking at the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (Istat) Americas 2014 conference, CIT Transportation and International Finance President Jeff Knittel says the A330 “is at a crossroads, and we think Airbus needs to make some decisions.”

Airbus remains unmoved by the clamor, at least on the surface. Commenting on the speculation over prospects for a new engine option (neo) variant, Airbus Senior Vice President for Leasing Markets Andrew Shankland says, “There's a lot of discussion on the A330neo, but not in Toulouse”. Airbus sees “the A330 going on with new developments for a long, long time,” Shankland acknowledges. “We are always analyzing everything including re-engining —but you shouldn't take that as a sign we plan to do that.”

CIT sees the A330neo as a fundamentally viable prospect because it fits into a niche that enables profitability in the 250-300-seat market on shorter ranges where the longer-range optimized A350 and Boeing 787 families might be penalized. “The A350-800 is not as efficient as they'd like, so they need to do something,” says Steve Mason, CIT vice president for aircraft analysis. “The obvious one is to reengine the A330, and, from an Airbus perspective, it may be the biggest bang for the buck.”

Mason also says the reengined A330 and A350 markets are not necessarily the same: “We see them as segments that don't overlap too much. The important thing is that Airbus act quickly.” Failure to move swiftly and make a launch decision within the next six months or so could cause Airbus to miss the launch window. “That would damage the business case,” Mason says.

Airlines including AirAsia and Delta Air Lines have already expressed strong support for the proposed reengining. “There is a huge need for a small widebody,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson said. “We really need Airbus to step up and reengine.”

Not all lessors are in agreement over the case for the A330neo, however. Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman and CEO of Air Lease Corp., appears highly skeptical. “We don't believe it is rational for us to take the A350-800 and the A330neo. Airbus has not made that decision at a senior level and, if they do, I believe the focus going forward will be on the A350-900 and further enhancements to the A350-1000,” he said. In the mid-2000s, as head of International Lease Finance Corp., Udvar-Hazy was influential in forcing Airbus to redesign the A350 with a wider fuselage. “I don't see the A350-800 surviving if they do the A330neo,” he added.
Based on the article “Momentum Movers. Airbus is 'at crossroads' for the A330's future, says key aircraft lessor” published in Aviation Week

24 March 2014

Malaysia Airlines was studying 787 and A350 as replacements for 777 and A330 from around 2018.

While the MH370 flight search keeps on going, last June/2013 was published that Malaysia Airlines was studying both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 as potential replacements for its existing medium and long-haul fleet of aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines operates a total of 14 Boeing 777-200s and 14 Airbus A330-300s, and it eventually wanted to fly only one type of aircraft in this segment to simplify operations and reduce costs, Germal Singh, the airline's senior vice president of government and international affairs, told reporters on the sidelines of an airline conference in Capetown.

It may begin to replace these aircraft from around 2018, he added.

Malaysia Airlines also operates 6 A380s and 61 Boeing 737s.

Based on the article “Malaysia Airlines considers Airbus A350 or Boeing 787” published in The Star

23 March 2014

MSN2 prototype returns to Toulouse after 10 days in Hamburg.

MSN2 prototype returns to Toulouse after 10 days in Hamburg.

Click the picture to watch a video

This cabin equipped prototype has made 5 flights of more than 8 hours each while based on Finkenwerder with a total of more than 44 test flights to check different cabin systems as air conditioning, power supply of seats and kitchens and the consumer electronics.

The longest flight was on 14/March with more than 9hours and a half.

22 March 2014

A350 MSN1 prototype´s second First-Flight.

A350 MSN1 has resumed the flight testing again since being grounded last 31/January for a planned upgrade in order to install the production-standard electrical power center and system.

F-WXWB registered aircraft will fly with the “new” nickel-cadmium batteries and other Flight test instrumetation as artificial ice shapes.

The MSN1 has taken off from Toulouse today in the morning.

Pictures from  http://www.flickr.com/photos/aircrafts/

21 March 2014

JAL CFO: “We ordered the A350 because Airbus was just «the better choice»”.

After Airbus won a tense battle against Boeing for the business of Japan's 2nd largest airline last year, the firm's chief financial officer told CNBC Airbus was just "better."

Japan Airlines announced its first jet order for Airbus in October for 31 A350 aircraft worth $9.5 billion, breaking into an aviation market which had been dominated by rival Boeing.

"We needed a successor to our largest aircraft, the 777. When we compared what both Boeing and Airbus had to offer, Airbus was better," managing executive officer of finance & accounting Norikazu Saito told CNBC. "It may have been a disappointment to Boeing, but they of course understand that business is business."

Saito told CNBC that the biggest payoff from working with Airbus would be increased economic efficiency, although there would be some complications with owning two different brands of aircraft.

"Pilots need to have different licenses; you need to have spare parts for both manufacturers. But even taking all those things into account, Airbus was the better choice," he said.

JAL faced some negative publicity earlier in the year when it temporarily grounded one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners at Tokyo's Narita International Airport in mid-January, after white smoke was spotted outside the plane and a battery cell showed clear signs of leaking.

Saito told CNBC the incident was still under investigation. "Fortunately, compared to last year - when the batteries heated up so much that it was virtually impossible to look inside them - this time the batteries are intact. That allows us to conduct a very detailed investigation," he told CNBC.

Based on the article “Japan Airlines CFO: Airbus was just 'better'” published in CNBC

20 March 2014

ATK American supplier ramps-up the manufacturing rate

ATK employees marked a milestone in manufacturing of composite parts and they celebrated the fabrication of the 20,000th composite part for the Airbus A350 XWB Program.

Rep. Rob Bishop and executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development Spencer Eccles were on hand at the ATK´s Aircraft Commercial Center of Excellence (ACCE) facility in Clearfield, Utah to honor the company and its employees.

ATK supplies stringers and frames to Aerolia and Premium Aerotec for A350-900 and last January/2014 ATK extended the contract for composite stringers and frames manufacturing on the A350-1000 model. 

Based on the article “ATK assembles 20,000th Airbus composite part“ published in Deseret News

19 March 2014

A350 batteries manufacturing process. Video

Saft is the French supplier in charge of the manufacturing of batteries for the A350 XWB. In this video, there are shown the differences between traditional nickel-cadmium batteries and next-generation lithium-ion.

Click the picture to watch the video

Currently the lithium-ion batteries are more present in military aviation but their use is being generalized with replacement of certain hydraulic functions by electrical functions on the new aircraft requiring more energy on board.

The Airbus A350 is going to be certified with nickel-cadmium batteries and in 2015 it will be re-certified with lighter lithium-ion batteries.

Based on the article “Nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion : dans le secret des batteries pour l'aéronautique” published in Aeronews

18 March 2014

A350 delivery to Qatar before end of 2014; "Can't say if it's one or two" said Enders

Airbus executives confirmed again last week that the first A350 would be delivered before the end of the year to Qatar Airways, although they didn't nail down the time frame more precisely.

"The current plan is to deliver the first aircraft before the end of the year," Enders told a dozen reporters at a breakfast meeting. "Can't say if it's one or two."

The test program with 4 planes is running "at very high speed," with the 4th plane used to train pilots. The anticipated 5th version will be the production representative and will fly from May, Enders said.

"We are in really high gear over the certification preparation, which we should have in the fall," Enders said.

Based on the article “Airbus plans to deliver A350 by end of year” published in USA Today