Airbus’ A350 XWB static test airframe has moved into the facility where it will undergo testing to validate the structural design of this next-generation jetliner. The airframe rolled out of the A350 XWB final assembly line at Toulouse, Blagnac Airport earlier this week and was transferred to the L34 static test hall situated across the airport in the Lagardère industrial zone – home to the A380 final assembly line.
The move clears the way for the A350 XWB airframe to be integrated into a test rig for a campaign that will submit it to nearly a year of evaluations, including limit load and ultimate load validations, along with residual strength and margin research. The L34 static test hall covers an area of 10,000 square meters, and is supported by 200 workers during peak testing activity. It houses a rig that incorporates 2,500 tons of steel and 240 jacks/loading lines, which are used to induce structural loads. The testing is recorded by some 12,000 sensors.
The static test airframe was the first to be built on the A350 XWB’s new Roger Béteille final assembly line in Toulouse, and was the “star” during Airbus’ inauguration ceremony for this production facility in October. The airframe is sized to represent the A350-900 version of Airbus’ newest jetliner family, which is the intermediate aircraft of the three fuselage-length versions: the A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000.
At the same time, the planemaker has widened the flight test program for its Sharklets-equipped A320 Family with the maiden flight Monday of the initial A319 incorporating these fuel-saving, performance-enhancing wingtip devices. The A319 joins A320 and A321 aircraft that have been validating the Sharklets’ efficiency, with their evaluations already demonstrating fuel consumption savings better than the original target.