GE Aviation has started manufacturing the novel wing fixed trailing edge package for the Airbus' A350-1000 commercial aircraft at its Aerostructures division plant in Hamble-le-Rice, England, a specialty machining operation. It called the start of production “a milestone” in that supply program, the largest design and manufacture contract awarded in the history of its Aerostructures business.
The A350-1000 is the largest version of that new passenger jet, positioned to compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, and the first Airbus aircraft with fuselage and wing structures fabricated mainly of carbon-fiber composite.
The wings of the A350 are among the CFRP design elements, with a 213-fit wingspan that is the largest ever produced for a single-deck widebody aircraft. The wing tips curve upward into a saber-tip shape for the last 14 ft, with a a 31.9° sweep angle that is intended to increase cruising speed to Mach 0.85 and maximum operating speed to Mach 0.89.
The first component of the wing being produced is a spoiler hinge bracket. The design of the wing includes a new, trailing-edge high-lift system with dropped-hinge flap that makes it possible for the gap between the trailing edge and the flap to be closed with the spoiler.
GE Aviation, Hamble has full design/build responsibility for the wing fixed trailing edge packages on the new A350-1000 variant and A350-900 now in production for the twin-engine aircraft, including complex machined parts, structural composite panels and assemblies.
The Hamble operation uses “fully integrated” product development teams, visual management techniques, configuration and risk management processes, along with IT tool suites to meet the lead times and delivery schedules for the A350-1000 program.
GE Aviation is expanding the Hamble machining and assembly capacity and refining efficiencies there to achieve the program’s objectives. This includes a new, 9,000-sq.m. composites production center, part of a site investment of an over $50-million program to support future manufacturing and new technology developments. The composites facility is targeted for a Q3 2015 start.