31 October 2014

Biomimetics: the nature as a source of inspiration for A350 XWB design.

In an interview to Denis Darracq, there are some examples on how the nature remains a source of inspiration to Airbus to reduce fuel consumption, develop new materials or design the wing surface.

For instance, with regard to the external forms of the aircraft, the laws of aerodynamics "are acquired from the nature".

In a macroscopic axis, the A350 XWB considers the actively deformation of the surfaces to provide the best aerodynamic performance and control of load for each flight conditions; takeoff, climb, cruise, approach, landing, maneuver, turbulence-encounters, etc.

This is what birds, fish and marine mammals perform beautifully, called "morphing".  The idea is to move from a 'rigid' world to flexibility and adaptation technologies.

In another more microscopic axis, concerns the new surfaces and new materials that have, for example, self-cleaning properties, healing properties, very low adhesion properties (against icing of the wings) or low aerodynamic friction.

More examples of the aeronautical biomimicry applied in the A350 XWB:

Evolved birds have developed a mechanism of local active control of the air-flow over the wing. This same principle is applied to the wing of the A350 through the extension of spoilers on the wing which ensures the bearing pressure checking the meeting of wind gusts.

Deployment and retraction of hypersustentations (flaps, slats) in low-speed systems allow to control simultaneously the braking (aerodynamic drag) and elevation (lift).

The almost vertical (or winglets) fins wing end improve the effectiveness of the flight for a given scale are directly inspired by the shape of the wings of the Steppes-Eagle.

Airbus has developed, tested and validated new morphing technologies inspired by birds.

"In the field of new materials, marine animal-world can teach us a lot. The skin of sharks is not smooth but rather composed of microscopic structures in the form of grooves. Detailed studies have shown that these structures reduce the friction of flow on the shark thus improving its efficiency and speed. Flight tests have confirmed that such surfaces reduce effectively aerodynamic friction, so the consumption and the CO2 emissions from aircraft. About 70% of the surface of the aircraft could be covered. The reduction in drag and thus fuel consumption would be significant, with a single-digit percentage gain, what remains a performance for highly optimized products from an aerodynamic perspective as our aircraft."

However, it remains challenging to solve issues like manufacturing and maintenance (resistance to erosion) of fuselage panels. Several technical options are under analysis: adhesive surfaces, special paints or a particular surface-treatments.

Based on the article "La nature reste-t-elle toujours une source d’inspiration pour les avionneurs?" published in Usine Nouvelle.

30 October 2014

Finnair wants the A350 for cargo & passenger transfer between Europe and Asia.

“We get 4 aircraft next year, 4 in 2016 and 3 in 2017” said Pekka Vauramo Finnair CEO. The aircraft will initially be deployed on existing routes to Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing.

“This is very important in our strategy. We have a strategy to double our Asian revenues (from 2010 levels) by 2020. We are tracking that very well, but we need this aircraft to fulfill our targets. For us it is one of the main drivers to improve our profitability in the next 3 years” he said.

Source: Airbus

This stems from lower operating costs for the type, compared with the Airbus A340s it will replace. “The A350 gives us more passenger capacity and more belly cargo capacity”, added Vauramo. “Between 15-20% of our revenue comes from belly cargo. This will give us 50% more cargo capacity”.

Source: Airbus

The airline has positioned itself as a transfer hub between Europe and Asia, and while it has not added long-haul capacity this year because it had aircraft out of the fleet for cabin upgrades, it is planning further expansion in Asia. “To grow Asian revenues we need to add one more long-haul destination every year, then we need to build more feeder traffic. We seem to have outgrown the market (in Finland), so we will need more passengers from Europe and Asia”, he said.

Based on the article “Costs key to Finnish lines” published in Airline Business.

29 October 2014

In-cockpit Wi-Fi connectivity on A350.

After gaining 370-minute ETOPS certification for the A350-900, Airbus continues preparations for entry into service with additional approvals like in-cockpit Wi-Fi.


Source: Airbus


In the cockpit, A350 pilots will have access to Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing them to retrieve weather information from the Internet in real time on a tablet, for instance.

Airbus demonstrated compliance of the A350 with the RTCA DO-307 standard for tolerance to electromagnetic interference.

Another claimed benefit includes the combined use and intercommunication of a pilot-attached device (e.g. a tablet) with the aircraft-attached electronic flight bag.

The airline would still carry responsibility for implementing the actual technical solution and obtaining a local approval, Airbus said.

Based on the article “Airbus Gears Up for A350-900 Service entry” published in AinOnline.

28 October 2014

Ejectable black-boxes for A350 under analysis 2/2

One of the Airbus suppliers, Honeywell vice-president of aerospace regulatory affairs Chris Benich, also briefed the forum and described how a deployable recorder would work.

The system first senses the start of a crash and releases the deployable recorder from the aircraft. In a previous patent filling, Airbus described the installation as a lower panel in the aft fuselage near the tail cone. If the system lands on water, it is designed to float indefinitely, with a locator beacon to alert search crews of its presence.

Upon immersion of the aircraft in water, an ejection device automatically ejects the beacon out of the aircraft. The ejection device includes a piston system that generates an opening in the aircraft and expels the beacon accordingly.

The most appropriate installation area is the rear upper part of the aircraft, just after the bulging wall (strong wall) delimiting the end of the pressurized area, as shown on figure above showing the tail 46 of the aircraft AC, provided with the stabilizer 47 and the horizontal tails 48

This rear extreme area is generally the least damaged after a crash and offers, in nearly all the aircraft, a free space being sufficient for the installation of the device according to the invention. Moreover, the access to this area is easy, for the installation of the device and for possible maintenance operations. In this area is also housed the digital flight data recorder, of the DFDR type, being the flight recorder recording the flight parameters, the other flight recorder being, most often, located before the bulging wall in the pressurized cargo area.

Furthermore, this area has the particularity, on the aircraft with a mobile horizontal plane, to become filled quickly in the case of an immersion, because of the opening present in the rear fuselage for the mobility of the rear plane, allowing the immersion condition to be detected or confirmed.

Patent available here.

Based on the article “Deployable beacons for A350/A380s” published in FlightGlobal.

27 October 2014

Ejectable black-boxes for A350 under analysis 1/2

Airbus is to install a deployable data and voice recorder with locator beacon on future A350s after completing additional studies.

Source: Airbus

Speaking on 7/Oct at the US National Transportation Sfety Board forum on emerging flight data and locator technology, Airbus head of security operations Pascal Andrei said that Airbus has been working with sippliers on deployable recorders and technology will be available “very quickly”.

Source: Airbus

“I don´t have any roadmap to give you”, Andrei told the forum. “But we have found the location on the aircraft to integrate such deployable recorders. This is something which will come very soon after some more studies”.

Source: Airbus

Voluntarily adding a deployable recorder would represent Airbus´ most visible response to the high-profile disappearances of Air France flight 447 in 2009 and Malaysia Airlines flight 370 last March. The wreckage of flight 447 was eventually discovered two years later, but the location of MH370 remains unknown.

Source: Airbus

Based on the article “Deployable beacons for A350/A380s” published in FlightGlobal.

26 October 2014

Kaman Aerosystems joins A350 program manufacturing engine fairings.

Kaman Aerosystems has been awarded a long term supply-agreement by Rolls-Royce to manufacture the composite A-frame fairings for the Trent XWB engine that will power the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.

Source: Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce and Kaman have entered into a multi-year contract for these parts, with a projected value in excess of USD5 million. The fairings will be manufactured at Kaman´s facility in Bennington, Vermont.

Source: Rami khanna-Prade

Kaman is a leading supplier of integrated aerostructures, including metallic and composite structural assemblies and metallic parts for OEM. It was awarded by Boeing as Supplier of the Year for 2012 and Silver Supplier for 2013.

Based on the press release “Kaman Aerosystems awarded composite A-frame fairings contract”

25 October 2014

The A350 ten years ago.

How was the first A350 planned 10 years ago?. Let´s have a look on this brochure to watch the schedule, range, capacity … and the engine. Ten years later, the A350 XWB that is certified is “smoothly” different.

Master Schedule