Aerosud joins in the Airbus A350 XWB progress celebrations
Airbus is enjoying progress with its first A350 XWB ahead of the first flight which is expected later this year. And African aerostructure company Aerosud is sharing in the celebrations.
The Centurion-based South African business is a key supplier to the A350XWB programme and is responsible for manufacturing the fuselage frame clips which are used to fasten the composite skin panels to the "skeleton" of the aircraft body. Aerosud also manufactures the flap track cans. There are several flap track cans in each wing where they are used to house the drive mechanisms for the aircraft's flaps and slats (moveable wing surfaces that enable the aircraft to fly at low speed, eg. on take off or during approach to landing).
Because the wings also serve as the main fuel tanks on a jetliner, flap track cans are required to isolate the drive mechanisms from the fuel.
This week, the first of the type – MSN001 – was showing its completed wings, and was photographed moving to its next phase of ground testing, from Roger Béteille A350 XWB FAL “Station 30” to the Clément Ader area “Station 18” in Toulouse. The aircraft is structurally complete and shows the installed winglets, belly fairing panels, main landing gear doors.
The aircraft has recently completed successfully a series of indoor ground tests including stability tests on ‘movable’ elements such as rudder, elevators, ailerons and wing spoilers and landing gears extraction/retraction.
The next steps which will take place outdoors at Station 18 will include three planned families of tests: Fuel tanks testing – including levels, flows, sealing and internal fuel transfer functions; pressure testing of the fuselage; and radio equipment testing.