Build-up of the third A350 XWB has started at Toulouse final assembly line 2 months later than announced, where the aircraft’s 3 fuselage sections were transferred following their arrival aboard a Beluga transporter.
Designated MSN3, this aircraft will be deployed for a variety of fight testing – including performance at high and medium altitudes, in cold weather and hot temperatures and on long-range flights.
Initial assembly steps for MSN3 included installation of the jetliner’s 50-metre-long electrical harness for flight test measurements, which – along a complement of electrical cabinets – forms an advanced “supercomputer” called METRO. This was followed by the fuselage sections’ successful moulding at the final assembly line’s Station 50.
There are two such Station 50 locations for fuselage join-up on the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line: the first, which is designated Station 50A, and another called 50B. MSN3 was the first aircraft joined on Station 50B, which had a higher readiness level thanks to debugging that followed the initial two jetliners’ assembly on Station 50A.
In coming days the FAL team will keep on drilling the fuselage join-up with around 10.000 holes and a fuselage sections overlap of only 8 cm.
“The whole process also is quicker thanks to high maturity of the sections and great efficiency of the teams who have already trained on the first two aircraft,” explained Airbus’ Loic Perrin, who in charge of Station 50.