The cooperation between HMC and Airbus on A350 XWB proves the dynamism of the Chinese manufacturing industry by its active involvement in innovation projects. A350 XWB is the most recent proof of that development, offering a positive sign of growth in global economy:
EADS : Harbin Composite Manufacturing Centre delivers 1st major A350 XWB part – 4-traders (press release)
Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre (HMC), a joint venture between Airbus and its Chinese partners, has started to deliver elevators for the Airbus A350 XWB programme. A ceremony was held in Harbin for the delivery of the first ship set of elevators. The elevators manufactured at HMC are delivered to Spain-based Aernnova Aerospace (ANN), who will deliver them to the Airbus plant in Getafe, Spain, where they will be integrated into the A350 XWB horizontal tail plane. ANN is a major supplier of aerostructures to Airbus. Under a contract signed by HMC and ANN in 2010, HMC is responsible for manufacturing and assembling the complete set of carbon fibre elevators (an elevator is a movable control surface in the horizontal tail plane that makes the aircraft pitch up or down to increase or reduce its flight altitude). During the initial phase the A350 elevators were solely produced at ANN. Production in China started in 2012. After a period of transition, during which the elevators are produced at both ANN and HMC, the Harbin Manufacturing Centre will become the sole supplier of A350 XWB elevators. According to an agreement signed in 2007 between Airbus and the Chinese government, Airbus agreed to allocate five percent of the A350 XWB airframe to be manufactured in China. The work packages to be carried out by HMC are a significant part of the five per cent. Rafael González-Ripoll, Airbus China Chief Operating Officer, said: “The delivery of the first ship set of A350 XWB elevators by HMC is an important milestone in our long-term partnership with the Chinese aviation industry. The A350 XWB has taken to the sky and the programme is progressing on track. The Chinese have every reason to be proud of the contribution they are making to the A350 XWB.”
Additionally, the importance that Airbus gives on the A350 XWB development and flight testing, materializes through the company’s decision to increase the number of aircraft participating in the testing program by four:
With more than 150 flight test hours performed to date for the no. 1 A350 XWB aircraft, Airbus is preparing its additional fleet of four of these next-generation widebody jetliners to join the flight test and certification campaign. The second A350 XWB to fly, designated MSN003 in Airbus’ numbering system, is scheduled to make its maiden takeoff in the coming weeks and is identically configured to the no. 1 aircraft, MSN001. To be used for the cold and hot weather campaign, MSN003 has completed outdoor ground testing, and also has been fitted with its Trent XWB engines. MSN002 will be the first A350 XWB to be equipped with a full cabin interior. It has recently been transferred to Station 30 at the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line for indoor ground testing, which will be followed by this month’s planned installation of the first cabin monuments – such as crew rests and galleys– before outdoor ground evaluations with the aircraft begin. MSN004 and MSN005 are progressing as well, with the recent join-up of MSN004’s three main fuselage sections, which will be followed by the assembly of its wings, and vertical and horizontal tail plane. MSN005 will be the second A350 XWB with a full cabin interior and is to enter the final assembly hall in the coming weeks.
Airbus officials on their part confirm that the A350 XWB testing program is going well:
A350 XWB News: “A350 XWB tests go like clockwork. Everything …
Marwan Lahoud, EADS chief strategy and marketing officer, said on the sidelines of a French defense industry event in Pau that testing for the A350, was going well. ”There have been no new problems on the A350. The flight tests are going according to plan. We are getting on with the program and we are confident of meeting our goals for certification and first delivery.” ”During a certification test campaign of a new aircraft, the aircraft flies but also spends time on the ground to be modified and updated”, he explained.”This utilization rate (the average number of hours that an aircraft is actually in flight during each 24-h period) hasnever been reached before on another plane. Everything works correctly”, he said, but Airbus remains” extremely careful: everyday you can fall on a bone “. Everything is going well on the flight test campaign and they go “like clockwork “ («marchent comme une lettre à la poste», in french) said Marwan Lahoud. During the annual meeting of politicians, military and industrial that is held at the summer-University in Pau, he insisted that Airbus is confident to deliver as expected the first aircraft to Qatar next year.
Finally, it is clear that Airbus believes and invests in innovation for aircraft building and development by challenging its main rival Boeing. Passengers are to be the final receivers of the A350 XWB services…