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Europes giant


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Europes giant
In January 2005 the worlds largest airliner will power down the runway at Toulouse Blagnac airport and lift into the skies above the southern French city. The A380 will be airborne, and at that moment the European civil aviation industry will at last be able to congratulate itself on having won equality with Boeing by elding an airliner to rival the 747. The design, development, manufacture and ight testing of this enormous ying machine is more than a massive engineering and industrial challenge. It also completes the Airbus product range and effectively marks the coming of age of the European group as a fully integrated company. To date, the A380 has attracted 103 orders, 17 of which are for the cargo version. While recent sales have done little to inate the orderbook, the condence Airbus has in the programme is amply demonstrated by its commitment to produce four aircraft a month by the end of 2008 and provide capacity for double that number. The creation of the new Airbus company out of the original national elements in 2001 had always been necessary for the birth of the $10.7 billion A380 programme. We would have preferred to integrate Airbus before launching the A380, but thanks to the A380 we have integrated the company a lot quicker, says the programmes executive vice-president Charles Champion. The erce differences between Airbus and Boeing over market projections for the A380-size category continue to prevail. Airbus currently sees a market for almost 1,100 aircraft carrying 500 passengers or more, while Boeing sees a demand for just 334. Champion remains undaunted. People want to travel and, at the end of the day, the A380 should allow airlines to be more protected from the effects of a crisis particularly on the big hub-to-hub routes. Champion says there are no signs of delays or anyone cancelling orders: I have more problems nding slots today than openings. He adds that the A380 business case contemplates the existence of a competitor. However, with or without a Boeing successor to its enduring 400-seat design, Champion sees the A380 taking over a large segment of the 747-400 market and above. In personal terms, Champion has no doubt as to the importance of the A380. I would have regretted all my life not to have had this job.


Contents Evolution Aerodynamics and structure Systems Flightdeck Cutaway Power Operators Production

Written by Guy Norris, Max Kingsley-Jones, David Learmount and Michael Phelan Art and production by Tim Brown, Joe Hetzel and Jackie Thompson Sub-edited by Julian Moxon Cover by Tim Brown Reed Business Information Ltd, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS RBI Ltd 2003


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The horizontal doublebubble (top left) and Boeing/Airbus VLCT (top right) concepts led to the A3XX , revealed in June 1995

The genealogy of the A380 is a contorted maze of unusual relationships, deadends and improbable possibilities
he roots of Europes largest ever civil aircraft programme reach back to the late 1980s, when Airbus began studies of 600 to 800-seat airliners to serve what it believed would be an increasingly congested global air transport market in the early decades of the 21st century. The A380 is a direct descendant of the A3XX, which led from the formation of the A3XX Integrated Team in October 1993. This effectively took over earlier Ultra High Capacity Aircraft (UHCA) studies, which were the consortiums rst serious evaluations of an aircraft to replace Boeings dominant 747. By 1991, Airbus had begun initial talks with several major carriers on potential requirements for a family of UHCAs. Driven largely by the Asia-based airlines, all the concepts were signicantly larger than the 747, and consisted of a series of 600, 800 and 1,000-seater designs. Airbus considered many options to create these behemoths including joining two A340 fuselages laterally, as well as a variety of highly unconventional ovoid, horizontal doublebubble, circular and even clover leaf cross-sections. In conjunction with a Russian technical institute it also studied a massive tail-less ying wing concept. Besides its own UHCA studies, Airbus asked the partner companies to look at their own large aircraft concepts. Throughout 1991 and 1992, Aerospatiale worked on the

Evolving a giant
ASX 500/600, Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA) Airbus studied the P502/P602 (also dubbed A2000) and British Aerospace evaluated the AC14. The results of all three concepts were to feed directly into what became the A3XX. Events then took a dramatic and unexpected turn. Asian airlines, as well as some ambitious transpacic carriers such as United Airlines, began encouraging Boeing to look at a larger aircraft than the 747. In January 1993 Boeing took the industry by surprise when it issued statements with the four Airbus consortium members announcing a year-long study to examine the feasibility of developing a Very Large Commercial Transport (VLCT). The agreements were exclusively between Boeing, Aerospatiale, BAe, CASA and DASA and not with Airbus itself. The VLCT study was to examine the market potential for a large aircraft capable of carrying between 550 and 800 passengers over ranges of 13,000 to 18,500km (7,000 to 10,000nm). Led by Boeings John Hayhurst and Jrgen Thomas of DASA, the VLCT study was viewed with suspicion by most at Airbus. Hayhurst stated that the group was established because we currently believe that such a project would be too big for any one manufacturer. However, Airbus saw it as a clever gambit to delay the UHCA and create a wedge between Airbus and its European partners. Ironically, the creation of the VLCT was to have exactly the opposite effect, and led directly to the birth of the A3XX. In response to the Boeing initiative, Airbus redirected its




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UHCA study towards a smaller large aircraft with 400 to 600 seats - lees than the VLCT study area and closer to the 747 replacement and growth market identied before. In June 1993 the three original large aircraft proposals from the Airbus partners were grouped together for the rst time. The designs took elements of the ASX, P502 and AC14 models and created a Family 1 design based on a double-deck layout. In October, Airbus created the A3XX Integrated Team, tasked with deciding between two baseline 500-600-seat options. One was the UHCA-based A3XX-H600, the double A340 fuselage concept studied earlier. The other was the A3XX-V600, a vertical ovoid cross-section based on the Family 1 concept. In January 1994 the team dropped the A3XX-H600 in favour of the double-deck design. Many factors contributed to the decision, one of the largest being the cabin evacuation problems associated with the14abreast layout of the twin hulls. The -V600 offered more exibility with a 10-abreast main deck and a seven-abreast upper deck. Meanwhile, the VLCT rumbled on and, in March 1994, Airbus was formally accepted into the study. By this time denition of the A3XX was starting to rapidly evolve, the edgling design having already achieved Status Five (or fth major iteration) by April 1994. The rate of iteration change subsequently slowed, with the nal pre-launch benchmark being Status 15 in 2000. Major changes made in 1994 included the adoption of four rather than three main landing gear legs, moving the wings further aft, a two-frame stretch of the baseline model and a target capacity of between 530 and 630 passengers. By June 1995 VLCT studies were winding down after two-and-a-half years, the joint effort being abandoned after the groups ndings that market studies do not indicate sufcient volumes to justify the launch of the programme at the moment. Around this time Airbus reached Status 6C on the A3XX and changed the cross-section to offer up to eight abreast on the upper deck. Status 7, congured four months after the abandonment of the joint US-European study, evaluated the A3XX against the VLCT study aircraft. The next year saw the formation of the Airbus Large Aircraft Division, and some more changes to the A3XX in response to airline input. We decided to put everything under one roof engines, systems and so on, to prepare for the A380, says Robert Lafontan, A380 senior vice-president engineering. By then we had frozen almost everything. The concept was basically as it is today. Major changes made in Status 6 that year included the key decision to seek new engines rather than go for derivatives. This was partially driven by rising payload and range demands, and the associated decision to raise the wing area from 725m2 to 780m2. A main driver for the change was Singapore Airlines. Our customer wanted to be able to y with 555 passengers and cargo from Singapore to London or around 1,400km. Why 555? Well we did a market survey and we saw we needed at least 30% more capacity than a 747, and that conrmed it, says Lafontan. Changes introduced in 1997 included a revised frame pitch and the relocation of the engines further outboard. This reected the growing size of the powerplants, the larger area of the wing and the need for additional wing bending moment relief, as well as protection of systems and structure from rotor burst. Status 10a in early 1998 saw a further increase in wing size to 817m2, revisions to the main gear and an improved low-drag rear fuselage. A world tour of an upper deck mock-up also prompted further cross-section improvements. It was also decided to study reduced natural stability to allow a 5% reduction in the 200m2 horizontal tailplane area and a 50 short-bodied version, now dubbed the -700, was added to the family.

We decided to put everything under one roof to prepare for the A380
1998 saw improvements to nose aerodynamics and empennage, renements of the wing structure and position, changes to the belly fairing and the addition of A320-style wingtip fences. By late 1999 the ap track fairings had been changed, and the wing dihedral angle slightly reduced. The year also saw conrmation of the extensive use of Glare, lightweight alloys and other advanced lighterweight materials. Before commercial launch was nally achieved on 23 June 2000, Airbus had one more major round of changes to make to the A380 all of them driven by the relatively late emergence of Londons stiff QC2 noise regulations. The changes were vital as they would particularly impact the late night departure and early morning arrivals of its largely Asia-based customers. To improve the aircrafts lift/drag ratio by 5%, particularly for improved take-off and climb out, the high-lift systems were modied with aileron droop for take-off along with a reduced setting. A drooped nose device was also introduced for the inboard leading edge to improve take-off. The variable position leading edge droop device was used in lieu of a Kruger ap that was not feasible with the deep root and three-dimensional curvature of the A380 wing (see Section B). Engine fan diameter was also enlarged, along with other propulsion system enhancements (see Section E), while the ight management system was optimised for improved take-off and noise abatement procedures. With all major design changes now behind it, the design team completed detailed denition in mid-2002 and is expected to reach the 90-95% detailed design release point by September 2003.


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Aerodynamics and structure

Building to fly
he key advances seen in the A380 lie in the engineering solutions behind the sheer size of the structure, the new materials that make it light enough to be operated protably and the subtle inuences of the rst Airbus in which the airframe has been totally designed and optimised using computational uid dynamics (CFD). The vertical ovoid fuselage provided the best conguration for a high-capacity interior, and yet still tted within the 80 x 80m (260 x 260ft) box that conned its development from the start. There is no better fuselage conguration than that of a widebody on top of a widebody, says A380 programme senior vice-president engineering Robert Lafontan. If you have a narrowbody mated to the top of a widebody (an A340/A320 hybrid was considered), then it is too restrictive. There is no room for growth. If you have a wider body then the evacuation rules make it uneconomical. A widebody on top of another widebody is also capable of being a good freighter, he adds. In its 555-passenger tri-class layout, the baseline A380-800 version can seat 96 business and 103 economy passengers on the upper deck and 22 rst and 334 economy passengers on the main deck. Maximum width of the upper deck cabin is 5.9m (19ft 5in), versus 4m for the 747, while that of the main deck is 6.6m versus 6.1m for the Boeing. For the rst time on any Airbus aircraft, aerodynamic design of the fuselage was optimised in the presence of all the other airframe components using advanced CFD. Although the overall effect was more important for the wing, the process yielded a more than 2% reduction in aircraft drag. Of key importance was the design of the fuselage nose a necessarily blunt feature because

The A380 is a gigantic aircraft, but in structural and aerodynamics terms it is relatively straightforward
of the double-deck layout and the requirement to stay within the 80m box. Overall design was driven by drag, fuselage width and cabin acoustic considerations, and the result was wholly subsonic ow over the nose at around Mach 0.85, and freedom
A380 STRUCTURES SUPPLIERS Company Country Belairbus Belgium Bill-Jay Machine Tool USA COMTAS Aerospace UK EADS Ausburg Germany Fuji Heavy Industries Japan GKN Aerospace Services UK Goodrich USA Hawker de Havilland Australia Hitco Carbon Composites USA JAMCO Japan Japan Aircraft Manufacturing Japan Korea Aerospace Industries South Korea MC Gill USA McStarlite USA Mitsubushi Heavy Industries Japan Nikkiso Japan Ralee Engineering (Triumph Group) USA Ruag Switzerland Saab Aerospace Sweden SABCA Belgium Saint-Gobain Sully France ShinMaywa Industries Japan Smiths Aerospace UK Stork Netherlands TRW USA

from shock waves up to M0.89. The front fuselage is high-value real estate, and weve done a lot of work there in terms of optimisation of the ow around the cockpit door and windows, says A380 aerodynamics director Frank Ogilvie. The mid-level ightdeck position was nalised in 1998 after rst being proposed in 1994. The nose section was also slightly attened with less sharp curvature to help boost nose-up pitching moment and trim. Including the ightdeck and lower cargo hold, the nose section houses four separate decks. Laser beam welding (LBW) is used on the curved, pressurised bulkhead which seals the ightdeck oor and forward lower bulkhead from the large, unpressurised lower nose section housing the landing gear and weather radar. The massive front fairing is constructed of a quartz bre composite sandwich around the radome and aluminium. Not including Glare, composites make up 22% of the A380 by weight, says Jerome Pora, structures deputy director. Aluminium comprises 61%, Glare 3% and titanium and steel 10%, with surface protection and miscellaneous materials making up the balance. Glare (see box pX) is used for the upper fuselage shells, crown and side panels, and is being studied for possible use in later models on the empennage leading edge because of its good bird strike capability. It is used for the upper sections of the forward


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upper fuselage, and the aft upper fuselage. Advanced AL2015/2024 aluminium alloys are used for the centre upper fuselage section, where its fatigue resistance and damage tolerance make it suitable for increased residual strength and preventing crack growth. LBW replaces rivets and saves assembly time and cost, says Pora. He adds that the concept may be extended from stringer-to-skin applications to entire fuselage skins. Two small LBW skin panels are currently made for the A318, and in the future we could have welding for clip to frame, panel to clip and panel to frame in the cockpit and centre fuselage panels, says Pora. Airbus sites at Nordenham, Germany, and St Nazaire, France, are developing simple repair techniques. Weight-saving techniques have also been applied to the massive centre wing box. The top and bottom skin panels, front, centre and rear spar and upper skin panels are all composite, with aluminium used for the upper beam, oor struts, and supporting main frame structure. Most of the composites in the wing box are carbonbre reinforced plastics (CFRP), while the aluminium sections are mostly 7000 series alloys. The adjacent main landing gear bays are made from structurally reinforced machined panels with locally riveted stringers. Surrounding the entire section is a huge

belly fairing extending from frame 34 by the No 1 door to the aft main cargo door at frame 82. The fairing is made up from around 100 composite panels with a lightweight honeycomb core. The equally outsized rear pressure bulkhead is also extremely lightweight for its 5.5 x 6.2m size. It is assembled from a CFRP dome and attached to the aft fuselage by a conventional circumferential milled aluminium butt-strap joint at frame 95. Cargo deck oor beams are made from conventional aluminium AL7175T alloy, but for the main deck Airbus is nally able to incorporate the long-awaited, lightweight aluminium lithium Al-Li-C460/2196 material that is now mature, and cheap enough to use. Another structural innovation for Airbus is the use of CFRP composite (intermodulus bre) oor beams for the upper deck. We are also studying the introduction of titanium into seat rails, which some of our customers like in the 777 for corrosion reasons, says Pora, who cautions there is a weight penalty for the higher-density material. Weight savings are also employed for the enormous wings, each measuring 36.6m from root to tip. To appreciate the sheer scale of the structure it is worth noting that the chord of the A380 wing at the root (17.7m) exceeds the span of one A320 wing by 3.2m. The design itself draws on features from both the twin- and single-aisle Airbus fami-

Left: Rear wing spar manufacture at Airbus UKs Filton site, to be incorporated in the rst prototype, due to y in early 2005. Right: All the partners contributed to the A380s wing design

lies, and builds on a heritage reaching all the way back to the de Havilland Comet, SudAviation Caravelle, BAC VC10 and VFW614. Unlike every Airbus wing since the A310, the A380 wing was not competed between the partners. Instead, we decided to collaborate and chose jointly a mainstream design, says Ogilvie. Aside from the 80m box constraint, the dimensions and shape of the baseline wing were affected by several restrictions. The taper ratio was constrained by wing area and root chord, the latter itself limited to less than 18.3m to comply with current FAA rules governing the maximum distance between exits. The crucial exits in this case are the forward doors on the upper deck, and the position of the escape slides over the leading and trailing edges. The result is a large area wing of 845m2 compared to 524m2 for the 747-400. The 80m box was dened by the infrastructure, otherwise we would probably be bigger in span rather than area, says Ogilvie, who adds that the A380 is an extremely dense aircraft. Wing area is also determined by the relatively simple high-lift system consisting of single-slotted trailing edge aps, leading edge slats and two-section drooped nose device. Flaps and slats are designed to provide a surprisingly low 140kt (260km/h) approach speed, some 16kt slower than the 747. The wing is also sized to provide a



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Aerodynamics and structure

Some 17 wing planform variations were studied while 25 wind tunnel campaigns have been conducted on 11 high-speed wing designs. We have a nal test in the European Transonic Windtunnel in Cologne towards the end of this year, says Ogilvie. Over the period the lift/drag ratio has been improved by 8% and Mach exibility improved by 33%. The wing is positioned for a target centre-of-gravity range between 35% and 40%, further aft than any previous conventional airliner. Sweep angle varies from 34.46 at quarter chord to 35.73 between the engines and 33.5 for the outboard section. Our idea was to get as much sweep inboard and reduce sweep on the outboard as much as we could, he adds. Sweep angles between 30 and 35 were evaluated which is substantially less than the 747 but more than the 777. A key innovation of the A380 wing is an active load management system. Wing product engineering leader Rob Bray says the lateral fuel transfer system helps offset the long-term structural effects of the inboard loading philosophy. As soon as we are into the climb we pump fuel outboard, and keep it outboard until on approach when we pump it back inboard. As with other Airbus models, the A380 will also benet from Concorde heritage in having a longitudinal fuel transfer system to reduce cruise drag.

AIRBUS A380-800 SPECIFICATIONS Length (m) Height (m) Wingspan (m) Wing area (m2)
Weights Maximum take-off (kg) -800 -800F (standard) -800F (option) Maximum landing (kg) - 800 -800F Maximum zero fuel (kg) -800 -800F Operating weight empty (kg - typical) -800 -800F Volumetric payload (kg - typical) -800 -800F Fuel capacity (litres) Powerplant - A380-800 4 x Rolls-Royce Trent 970 or or GE/P&W Engine Alliance GP7270 (lb thrust)

72.7 24.1 79.6 845

Powerplant - A380-800 Freighter 4 x Trent 977 or GP7277 (lb thrust) Accommodation High density seating Typical 3 class seating 840 555 96B/103E 22F/334E 17-25 29-33 13 948 76,500

560,000 590,000 600,000 386,000 427,000 361,000 402,000 276,800 252,500 66,400 152,400 310,000

Upper deck Main deck -800F capacity (containers) Upper deck Main deck Lower deck -800F volume (containers + bulk - m3) Performance Normal cruise speed (Mach) Max cruise speed (Mach) Max altitude (ft) Design range (km) -800 with 555 pax

New wing structure

A major difference between the wing work on earlier Airbus projects and the A380 is the use of knowledge-based engineering techniques. These have allowed us to compress the schedule and to get the design data through to manufacturing more quickly, says wing engineering integration centre vicepresident Iain Gray, who adds that the bulk of design work for the rst aircraft is done. Other wing innovations range from the use of a completely new structural layout, and widespread use of new materials including composite ribs, to new manufacturing processes and construction principles. The ap tracks, for example, are a lowerweight hybrid of composite and aluminium. Normally ap tracks would be a closed box beam, but what would be a single aluminium structure on one aircraft turns into a signicant piece of structure on the A380, says Bray. As soon as you scale up to this size of aircraft then everything gets bigger quicker. The layout differs from earlier Airbus wings in having most ribs perpendicular to the rear spar, almost to the root. Aft of the auxiliary spar the ribs begin trending longitudinally towards the root where the inboard ribs are around 2.5m in depth. The forward spar is unusually kinked back towards the fuselage to make extra space in the cav-

0.85 0.89 43,000 14,800 10,360

Take-off length (m) at MTOW, sea level, ISA+15C 2,990 70,000 Design range (km) -800F with 150t payload

larger 1.3g buffet onset margin. We needed to go straight to 35,000ft at maximum takeoff weight without steps, so we will end up 4,000ft above the 747, adds Ogilvie. The drooped leading edge nose device was added relatively late in the design process as part of changes to meet QC2 targets in 2002, and was based on a concept used in the 1960s on the initial Hawker Siddeley Trident model. The variable position leading edge droop is located by the wing root and aids take-off performance as well as providing a more positive stall. We try and design the root end to stall rst to give the aircraft a positive nose down so it recovers quickly, Ogilvie says. The new leading edge device replaces the original 3.6m of inboard slat. The root section has inverse camber and the wing becomes gradually more aft-loaded

further outboard. We moved the loading inboard, which saved 3.5t in weight, but that caused wave drag penalties which we had to deal with but the trade is worth it, says Lafontan. A further 2% drag improvement was realised through CFD-design-based spanwise changes in camber and twist. The work also helped minimise interference drag between the engine pylons and the wing, a hard lesson learned on the original A340 wing, which required substantial reworking.

Our idea was to get as much sweep inboard as possible and reduce sweep outboard


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Aerodynamics and structure

ernous leading edge section for the air conditioning packs, or as Airbus calls them, air generation units. Innovative, trussed, ribs have also been specially designed to support the huge depth of the leading edge at the wing root. Airbus UK has also introduced an inside skin milling machine at its Broughton site which replaces the current faceting process, lowers the weight of each wing panel and improves the stringer attachment to the skins themselves. The ribs are 25% made from composite CFRP as a weight-saving measure the rst use of composite ribs as primary structure on this scale. The xed leading edge is made from thermoplastics, while composite CFRP is used for the threepart ailerons, eight-panel spoiler set and outer aps. Inner aps are constructed from conventional aluminium skin and stringers, as are the two-section drooped nose devices. The rear fuselage, tail cone and empennage has also been a focus for aerodynamic and structural optimisation work. The vertical tailplane, which towers 24.1m above the ground, follows in the established Airbus tradition of being essentially all-composite. Aluminium alloy is, however, used for the Dnose leading edge. The same basic construction technique is used for the horizontal tailplane, with the exception of a large titanium centre joint between the stabiliser sections.


Glare is key
Perhaps the best known technological innovation aboard the A380 is the Glare (glassbre reinforced aluminium) composite material which will be used for much of the upper fuselage skins. Manufactured by Stork Aerospace of the Netherlands, the material is the culmination of 20 years of development work begun by Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR). Glare offers 15-30% weight savings over aluminium, and boasts excellent fatigue properties. Composed of alternating layers of four or more 0.38mm (0.015in) aluminium sheets and glassbre reinforced bond lm, the material thickness can be varied by adding sheets to match local property requirements. The glassbres function both as a load path and as a crackstopper between adjacent aluminium layers, says Maarten van Mourik, director of Glare metalbonding at Stork Aerospace. Corrosion resistance is also increased relative to aluminium, he adds, with corrosion unable to penetrate the glassbre layers. The material can be cut, drilled, formed and milled in the normal way during manufacture, says Stork, which will use a ve-axis milling machine to shape door and window cutouts. The material can be treated as aluminium by the operator for repairs, says Kees de Koning, president of Stork Aerospace. Were still dening inspection intervals, but we know were conservative if we stick to those for aluminium. Altogether the A380-800 will incorporate 27 Glare skin panels covering a total area of 469m2 (5,042ft2). Twenty-two of the panels are being manufactured by Stork at its new 40 million ($46 million), 12,000m2, facility at Papendrecht, with the remainder being fabricated under licence by Airbus at its Nordenham plant near Hamburg as a second source. De Koning says the upper front and rear fuselage makes best use of the materials tensile strength properties. The shear loads in the centre fuselage are too high for current Glare congurations, he says. However he doesnt rule out more widespread application on future A380 variants as the materials properties can be tailored to different requirements. A thickness increase of a single aluminium sheet can be accommodated internally in the panel without signicant surface effects, while additional Glare panels are bonded to the skin panels around door cutouts for more substantial reinforcing. Incorporating so much of a new uncerticated material on the aircraft required an immense amount of trust on Airbuss behalf. De Konig says condence was based largely on experience with A340-500/600 wing leading edge J-nose work, where we brought new thermoplastics to the aircraft. Stork also builds the A380s J-nose, which stands 1.5m (4.9ft) tall at its inboard edge. Testing of the Megaliner fuselage test piece at Airbuss plant in Frankenwerder near Hamburg also contributed to condence. This was a 20m-long fuselage section roughly representative of the eventual A380 cross-section which incorporated aluminium and Glare as well as Glare stringers and doublers. De Koning says Stork brings new technology to the A380, technology that Airbus doesnt have. Stork is now close to completing delivery of the full shipset of Glare panels to Airbus Deutschland for the rst ight test aircraft, and hopes to have its Papendrecht manufacturing facility fully operational by September.


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Resetting standards
Airbus has introduced a number of important developments to aircraft systems to save weight and improve performance and reliability
espite the sheer scale of everything about the A380, it is easy to be left with the impression that there is nothing radically new about the platform once you have digested its daunting dimensions and weights. Where are the technological marvels, the innovations to excite engineers? Is the A380 simply an overgrown derivative of every jet airliner since Boeing decided to hang the 707s engines from under the wing? Those who take this view will realise their mistake once the skin is peeled back to look at the systems design. From the outside, the A380 appears as conventional as any aircraft that is 30% bigger than its predecessors can be. But inside, a raft of redesigned systems reveal that Airbus is resetting the standards. The aircrafts major systems landing gear, electrical power, environmental control system (ECS), ight control system (FCS) and avionics, fuel quantity and management system (FQMS), hydraulics all incorporate new technology to varying degrees. Many of the innovations have been driven by Airbuss need to stem weight growth. When dealing with huge numbers, seemingly small margins can make a big difference. Roy Langton, group vice-president, engineering, of Parker Aerospace, which is designing the FQMS, uses an apt example: With 310,000 litres [68,200 gallons] of fuel on board, a 1% measurement error equates to the weight of about 30 passengers.

Muscle within
Of the A380s numerous systems, only the landing gear offers the external viewer a glimpse of the muscle within. Goodrichs impressively large four-post main landing gear (MLG) has been designed to bring the 560t aircraft to a halt from 174kt (322km/h) in 32s. The nose gear, made by Messier-Dowty in Velizy, France, stands 5m (16ft) tall from the ground to the top of the dragstay, and the

body-mounted main six-wheel body landing gears measure 5m from wheel base to retraction point. The bogie beam on the rearward-retracting body gear is 4m long, and the aft two wheels steer up to 16 for improved ground handling. The steering mechanism includes local hydraulic generators within the brake cavity, dispensing with hydraulic uid transfer from the main system. The braking and steering systems are supplied by Messier-Bugatti. The wing-mounted landing gear, which retracts into the belly, is an enlarged version of the A340 MLG, with a 3.07m long shock strut outer cylinder. The aircraft was originally congured with the six-wheel gears on the wing, but the arrangement was swapped to alter pavement loading and to allow greater keel structural rigidity. We have unique single-body landing gear bays that allow for a stiff longitudinal structure, and we can use the space in between them for a bit more cargo in the centre bay, or even a crew rest area, says Paul Beazley-Long, Airbuss systems leader for landing gear. The layout also provides room for a fth central MLG leg with twin wheels should Airbus develop a 650t A380-900. Goodrich says the main challenge for its MLGs is to provide a weight-optimised gear while maintaining structural durability throughout operational life. Titanium is used extensively the bogie beams are machined from a one-piece titanium forging. As on previous Airbus aircraft, 300M steel is used for the main ttings and sidestays. Goodrich is incorporating high-velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) coatings on the gear, an environmentally improved replacement for chrome. Noise reduction features include capped open-ended pins and locating dressing as close as possible to the gear. Provision for a noise-reducing fairing is also included in the baseline design. First gear deliveries are due later this year for Airbus rig tests early next year at the companys UK plant in Filton. Drop,

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endurance, environmental, fatigue and strength qualication testing are still to be conducted by the manufacturers. Flight test gears will be delivered in the rst quarter of next year. Wheels and brakes on all the gears are being provided by Dunlop Aerospace and Honeywell, which is designing and manufacturing the metal matrix composite (MMC) MLG wheels and brake piston housings. Dunlop is responsible for the MMC nose wheels, torque tubes and the 20 high-density carbon brake packs on the MLGs. Barry Ecclestone, vice-president of Honeywell Aerospace Europe, claims a 25% weight reduction against todays base technology by using the MMC wheels, and says the high-density carbon brake packs allow a 15% volume reduction for the same heatpack mass and energy absorption capability. Total [wheel and brake] system weight is around 4,000kg [8,800lb], says Ecclestone, and we reckon weve saved between 600kg and 700kg over one built using conventional technology. However, the Dunlop-Honeywell team is also pursuing a backup design using older technologies as a contingency, he adds. Carl Trustee, director of engineering and quality assurance at Dunlop Aerospace, says some major hurdles were overcome in developing the MMC wheels, adding: The breakthrough was in being able to forge MMC. He says the material contains silicon carbide (SiC) particles, with properties that do not vary with direction as they would with SiC strand reinforcement. Trustee says Airbus has increased the severity of its rejected take-off (RTO) braking requirements, with the test now to be conducted with 100%-worn brakes rather than the previous 90% limit. Airbus has also added a apless landing case. Goodrich is the largest single subcontractor on the A380 programme and, as well as the MLGs, is supplying the primary and standby air data systems, the primary and secondary FCS, the cargo mechanical system, the engine pylon aft fairing and rear secondary structure, exterior lighting and emergency evacuation system. The primary and secondary air data systems provide information for the ight controls, cockpit displays and standby instruments. The system uses SmartProbe multifunction sensing probes and processing, and Airbus will receive the rst prototype units for laboratory testing in September. The following month, Goodrich will deliver a prototype of its automatic ice-detection system, which uses a small probe vibrated at ultrasonic frequencies to detect ice buildup as small as 0.13mm. The cargo mechanical system follows from Goodrichs systems on the A340, and initial examples are due to be delivered next year. The A380 has 23

Computer generated diagram of the bodymounted main landing gear, (wingmounted gear in inset). The landing gear will stop the 560t A380 from 174kt in 32s

rior lights, either high-intensity discharge xenon or light-emitting diodes, including landing, taxi, take-off and anti-collision lights. Goodrich is also involved in the Aerolec joint venture with Thales Avionics Electrical Systems to develop the A380s variable-frequency (VF) electrical power generation system (EPGS), one of the most vaunted systems innovations.

Vaunted innovation
It will be the rst time VF electrical power has been available on a large commercial aircraft, and follows Goodrichs experience of using a VF system on the Bombardier Global Express. Aerolec is supplying four VF generators for the main engines, two constant frequency 400Hz generators for the APU and six generator and ground power control units (GGPCUs). The rst VF generator each of which will provide 150kVA in the 370Hz to 770Hz frequency range was delivered to Rolls-Royce in March for testing on the Trent 900 engine. Alain Marthes, Thales Avionics vice-president A380 programme, says generator endurance tests have already been completed for the generators. Total power output will be 600kVA, compared to 360kVA at a

Many innovations have been driven by Airbuss need to stem weight growth

xed 400Hz on the A340, he adds. Peter Crouchley, vice-president engineering and quality at Goodrich Power Systems, says the major advantage of the VF system is the elimination of the complex hydromechanical constant-speed drive (CSD) required by conventional systems. Crouchley says the generator main rotors are made smaller and lighter by using a hollow shaft with the windings inside. The arrangement was developed for the two-pole APU generators, which run at a constant 24,000RPM, and was carried across to the four-pole VF generators, he says. First deliveries of system components are required for Airbus iron bird testing by November, with rst-ight production versions following next year. Hamilton Sundstrands ram air turbine (RAT) also reects the scale of the A380s power requirements, delivering 90kVA at between 480Hz and 640Hz. The 62.5in [1.6m] diameter RAT is 58% bigger than anything weve done before and 25% more efcient by weight than that on the A340500/600, says David Hess, president of Hamilton Sundstrands Aerospace Power Systems. It is the rst all-electric RAT for Airbus. The rst generator is currently in test and the rst full RAT test is scheduled for the rst quarter of 2004. Honeywell is developing the secondary electrical power distribution system (SEPDS), fed by the primary system, which will be the rst to incorporate solid-state power control in place of traditional electro-


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mechanical circuit-breakers, providing load management benets and improved diagnostic health monitoring and system upgrade potential. Airbus has demanded an equally radical rethink on hydraulics. The A380 has a partially decentralised 350bar (5,000lb/in2) hydraulic system, with many of the ight controls powered by electro-hydraulic actuators using a local hydraulic reservoir the rst of its kind on a commercial transport. The system, including eight engine-driven pumps (EDPs), hydraulic lines and hoses, is being supplied by Eaton, while MessierBugatti is supplying the hydraulic uid collectors and lters, and the electrohydraulic actuators for the ght controls. All previous Airbus aircraft have used a more conventional 210bar hydraulic working pressure, and the 66% pressure increase on the A380 was driven primarily by weight requirements. John Halat, director of R&D at Eaton Aerospace, says narrower tubing and less oil volume are the chief advantages. Total weight savings realised in the system are about 2,200lb [1,000kg], he says. There is an estimated 1,000m of hydraulic piping and tubing in the A380, about one-third of which is pressurised to 350bar. Halat says the rst production conguration EDPs are scheduled to be delivered to Airbus this month, having already completed 1,000 hours of testing with Airbus and R-R. The production EDPs will have a clutch new to Eatons commercial products. Halat says Airbus asked for clutches so that EDPs could be isolated in ight if required, and to allow ight dispatch with an inoperative pump. Other new features include impellers for improved low-pressure operation and attenuators which can guarantee less than 1% pressure error, he adds. The relatively narrow hydraulic lines benet from Eatons Rynglok titanium tube ttings, 1,100 of which are used on the A380, and 150 more are used for tube assemblies on the MLGs. The ttings were designed specically for the 350bar hydraulic systems on the Boeing F-18E/F Super Hornet and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey programmes, and can be installed in-situ in the aircraft, says Eaton. To withstand the higher pressures, Eatons Aeroquip hosing, which is used on the landing gears, also has titanium ttings and Kevlar reinforcement, while traditional stainless steel-reinforced hosing is used on the lower pressure return lines. Brian Mack, Aeroquip product manager at Eaton, says the qualication of the Kevlar reinforced hosing, which includes 300,000 impulse cycles at 150% of operating pressure, should be complete by June, and Halat says rst hardware for the MLGs hydraulics will be handed over to Goodrich in September.

Hamilton Sundstrands rst full AGS test is scheduled for August this year, ahead of delivery to Airbus by year-end

Reliability requirements
A major challenge for Eaton was Airbuss increased reliability requirements for the system. Phil Galloway, engineering manager at Eatons Vickers Fluid Power, says: Traditionally, we aim for 25,000 hours mean time between failure, which sizes our bearing and rotating components. For the A380, Airbus requested 50,000 hours. We compromised at 40,000, but its still a real challenge. In its partially decentralised hydraulic system, the A380 will have only two main hydraulic circuits instead of the three previ-

ously used on Airbus aircraft. The third emergency circuit will consist of independent decentralised hydraulic generating systems located close to the actuators, allowing the third circuit to be replaced by an electrical circuit, saving a considerable amount of weight. The primary and secondary FCSs use electrically powered instead of hydraulically powered systems, resulting in the near disappearance of hydraulic circuits in the A380s wings and n. The more electric aircraft developments have led to the adoption of electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHAs) and electric backup hydraulic actuators (EBHA) in the FCS. The EHAs convert electrical power into hydraulic power locally through an electric motor and a pump which then moves the piston jack. The hydraulic circuit is constrained within the actuator and is totally independent of the aircraft hydraulic supply, saving weight and hydraulic complexity. The EBHAs, on the other hand, are more conventional in that they remain connected to the main hydraulic supply and use the supply in normal operation, transitioning to electrical power supply in backup operation. Although not cost- and weight-effective, the EBHAs improve safety by having a backup to potential hydraulic failure. A further saving in hydraulic demand comes from the use of an electrical thrust reverser actuation system (ETRAS). Developed by Honeywell and HispanoSuiza, the ETRAS also offers a reduced risk of inadvertent deployment, says Honeywell, as well as improved maintainability compared with traditional hydraulic or pneumatic solutions. Thrust reversers are tted only to the inboard engines on the A380, again to save weight. The software for the FCS, along with all the other system software on the aircraft, sits on the 32-unit Thales Avionics-supplied integrated modular avionics (IMA) suite, developed with Diehl Avionik Systeme of Germany. The IMA suite comprises standardised electronic boards and modules and uses a common Arinc 653 operating system. The


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architecture means that common module processing resources can be shared by several functions, and software and hardware can be updated independently. Thales is supplying 18 of the line-replaceable unit modules, the remaining 14 coming from Airbus.

Easy upgrades
The IMA approach will aid system upgrade potential, because new software can be loaded into the modules without physically removing and replacing the module. Several functions can be run on one module. Poweron on the rst ight-test aircraft is set for the end of 2004. Application software for various systems is coming into Thales from 15 different suppliers, each of which is working with Thales to validate the programs on the modules. The IMA modules communicate with each other and with the cockpit using Thales AFDX system bus, for which rst examples of the terminals were handed over to Airbus last June. More than 100 have now been delivered for testing, and production of the nal versions for the rst A380 is about to begin. Thales is also supplying the ight control unit (FCU) and has been contracted by Messier-Bugatti to develop the braking and steering control unit (BSCU) software, the rst time the company will provide both the module and the software for the BSCU. It is also supplying the high-lift control and monitoring equipment, which includes two slat and ap control computers (SFCCs) and the doors and slides management system (DSMS). The rst SFCCs are to be delivered to Airbuss Bremen facility in the third quarter of this year, with the DSMS due to go to Bremen by year-end. With a maximum capacity of 840 passengers in a high-density layout, the A380 also has environmental systems of an unprecedented scale compared to other aircraft. The
A380 MAIN SYSTEMS SUPPLIERS Supplier Aerolec (Goodrich-Thales JV) Dunlop Aerospace Eaton FR Hi-Temp Goodrich Landing Gear Hamilton Sundstrand Honeywell Hurel Hispano Messier-Bugatti Messier-Dowty Nord-Micro Parker Aerospace Ratier-Figeac Smiths Aerospace Thales Avionics Zodiac-Intertechnique Zodiac-ECE

Country France UK USA UK Canada, USA USA USA France France France Germany USA France UK, USA France France, Germany Germany

primary part of the ECS is the Hamilton Sundstrand-supplied air generation system (AGS). Hamiltons AGS features four air cycle machines (ACMs), each of which has four stages one more than on Hamiltons previous state-of-the-art ACMs used for the Boeing 777. The additional turbine stage incorporated in the ACMs increases their efciency, and David Hess, president of Hamilton Sundstrands aerospace power systems, says that along with overall packaging density, this feature accounts for Hamilton landing its rst Airbus AGS contract. Each of the two 2 x 2 x 1.8m air generation units will use just one heat exchanger per two ACMs, he adds. The two 235kW air-conditioning packs are 85% more powerful than any previous packs made by Hamilton, and despite the A380s huge passenger capacity, Hess claims a 5% improvement in air capacity per passenger over previous aircraft. Phil Brigham, programme manager for A380 air management systems at Hamilton, says: The rst ACM, the heart of the AGS system, is on test now at Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Well deliver the rst full system to Airbuss Finkenwerder, Hamburg, plant by the end of the year, where it will be tested on the Cabin Zero integration rig. Ratier-Figeac is providing the largest-ever trimmable horizontal stabiliser actuator (THSA) for the A380. The fail-safe 2.9m THSA is hydraulically actuated, with electrical backup. First units are to be delivered in October. Hamiltons German subsidiary, Nord-Micro, is supplying the quadruplex-synchronous cabin pressure control system, the rst of its kind to have four channels operating simultaneously rather than in backup mode. It is a much safer and more reliable system, and we can eliminate three major valves in the control system, says Hess. Nord-Micro is also supplying the avionics ventilation and ventilation control systems for all of the

A380s distinct pressurised areas. The AGSs heat exchangers are being designed and manufactured by Hamilton SundstrandNauka, a Moscow-based joint venture with NPO Nauka.

Fuel shift
The A380s wings and horizontal stabiliser trim tank can accommodate an incredible 310,000 litres of kerosene, and as on the A340-500/600, Parker Aerospace is supplying the fuel system, this time dubbed the fuel quantity and management system (FQMS). The basic functions of controlling the burn sequence, tank usage and aircraft centre-ofgravity management during ight are not new for Airbus aircraft. However, Roy Langton, group vice-president engineering at Parker Aerospace, says the lightweight exible structure of the A380s wing imposes signicant new challenges. We cant push fuel out to the wingtips when the aircraft is on the ground, so we only begin once the wheels leave it, he says. The fuel system is controlled by four IMA modules in simplex mode providing the required integrity and reliability. The system also features refuel/defuel control, jettison control, and automatic temperature and fuel density calibration. More than 100 AC capacitance probes measure fuel quantity. For fuel quantity, Airbus stipulated less than a 10-9 chance of erroneous but believable indications, a more stringent requirement rst introduced on the A340500/600, says Langton. The measurement accuracy is a nominal 0.5% on the ground and 1% in ight. The system also acquires fuel properties directly each time new fuel is uploaded onto the aircraft. Fuel density and capacitance is measured during upload and calculated on a per-tank basis, says Langton, adding that his 1% of fuel equals 30 passengers analogy conveys the sheer scale of the masses involved.


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Mid-level location of the A380 cockpit has provided far more real estate than is available on the Boeing 747 ight deck, which is located at the top of the fuselage

Pilots perspective
The A380 cockpit is directly related to the rest of the Airbus fly-by-wire family, but incorporates significant advances
lthough it contains many new or upgraded features, the A380 will present no major surprises to pilots familiar with existing Airbus y-bywire (FBW) types. The A380 will be the rst Airbus to have a completely integrated avionics system in which modular avionics are fully networked with the ight management system (FMS). Any input of data will alter related information on affected system displays. Apart from the primary ight display (PFD) and the engine display, the liquid crystal displays (LCD) are all interactive. Manipulation of the navigation display (ND), for example, can change the ight prole via the FMS. Some changes introduce conceptual simplicity: for example, pilots may now control the engine output simply by selecting the thrust, displayed as a percentage of maximum thrust. This may sound an obvious solution, but today pilots control the engine by selecting either N1 (compressor rpm) or EGT (exhaust gas temperature) to achieve the engine output they want. There will be eight LCDs on the main panel and forward centre pedestal, all rec-


tangular in the portrait sense rather than square like those in existing Airbuses. The additional panel height gives space at the base of the ND for a vertical display (VD) of the ight trajectory in climb, cruise, descent or on nal approach. This shows a side prole of the A380 on its actual ight path relative to its planned trajectory and to the terrain prole. Minimum safe altitude or minimum descent heights are shown graphically on the VD, and it will also show the vertical prole of weather radar returns when selected. At the base of the PFD, reminder conguration data critical to the ight phase or airspeed like slat/ap and airbrake selection - can be shown graphically if desired. Airbus is still working on the best way to present this information, which will continue to be shown also on the electronic centralised aircraft monitor (ECAM) as it is on existing Airbus FBW types. When the aircraft is on the ground the ND will display a moving map of the airport layout with the aircraft symbol in the centre. Trials of the system known as Taxi Driver in its existing prototype form begin on the testbed A340 later this year.


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Despite its new internal architecture and capabilities, the A380 display and controls layout is designed to be as close to the standard Airbus cockpit as possible, to enable an A340 pilot to complete the A380 conversion course in seven or eight days training. In common with existing Airbus types, the electronic ight instrument systems, comprising the PFD and ND, are located in front of the pilots, while the ECAM, comprising the engine/warning display (E/WD) and systems display is placed centrally on the main panel. Either side of the power levers are the pilots keyboard cursor control units (KCCU), and above each is a linked multi-function display (MFD). The KCCU/MFD is comparable with the multi-function control and display units on existing aircraft, which are the primary interfaces with the FMS, and can interface with any of the displays except the PFD and E/WD. The palm-rest of each KCCU incorporates a cursor control track ball and selector that enables the pilots to select menu items on the MFD or to make ight plan alterations by selecting new waypoints on the ND, including the VD. Honeywells Phoenix, Arizona, operation is supplying the A380s next generation FMS, developing it from the Pegasus system on the A320 and A340. It has a new graphical, rather than purely text-based, pilot interface on the KCCUs which is aimed at making it more user-friendly and intuitive, reducing pilot workload. The traditional standby instruments have been replaced by a standby navigation system (SNS). Instead of one screen this system will have two one primary and one for navigation, explains Alain Marthes, Thales Avionics vice-president, A380 programme. The pilots will be able to swap displays between the two screens, and will be able to include information like waypoints and standby ight plans.

An A340 pilot will be able to convert to the A380 in seven or eight days training
Checklists can be called up on the ECAM and items change colour as actions are completed. Systems status information is shown graphically on the ECAM, as it is on existing Airbus FBW types. More detailed information can be demanded simply by clicking on more at the top left of the display. For example, if the ECAM noties the pilot of a component failure in a system, the pilots can effectively zoom in on the part of the system affected and see graphically whether standby components have begun operating to compensate, and what effects this may have on the system as a whole.

New view
At rst glance, the most noticeable layout change is that, adjacent to each end of the main instrument panel where chart boards and clips are placed on classic aircraft are two large displays that present information retrieved from the onboard information system (OIS). This displays whatever the pilot calls up from the OIS effectively the aircraft library - which contains everything from the aircrafts operating manual to charts and aeronautical information. OIS information is accessed and controlled using a keyboard on each pilots pull-out table. The table-top keyboard does not interface directly with anything except the OIS, but using it the crew can enter aircraft, airport and weather data so that the system can calculate the take-off or landing performance gures. These can then be passed direct to the FMS

so speed bugs are set on the PFD. Thales Avionics is supplying the eight 150 x 200mm (6 x 8in) cockpit displays, in conjunction with Diehl Avionik Systeme of Germany, as well as the two KCCUs developed specically for the A380. Marthes explains: The KCCU reduces pilot workload and task time. All the screens can be controlled through this system, with the exception of some of the primary ight display functions. The rst complete set of cockpit systems were delivered on time to Airbus in March. The standard for integrated lab tests will be delivered in mid-July, followed by the ight-test version. The nal production standard is required by the rst half of 2005. Marthes says that a new digital signal processing system for the altimeter, being introduced by Thales Communications and Diehl, will be certicated rst on the A380, but that it may then be retrotted to the A330/A340 eet. Honeywells integrated aircraft environment surveillance system combines the features of a terrain awareness warning system what Honeywell calls an enhanced ground proximity warning system with a next generation trafc alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) and next generation weather radar. The TCAS provides warnings out to 160km (85nm) compared to the current 65km, says Honeywell. The company is also supplying the air data inertial reference unit, as it did for the A320 and A330/A340. The system developed for the A380 will be retrottable to the earlier aircraft and incorporates ring laser gyroscopes and high-integrity GPS. Sensitive about recent late delivery of some of its new systems on other Airbus types, Barry Ecclestone, vice-president Honeywell Aerospace Europe, says: Weve learned from past delays, and the A380 work is currently on track.


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All three engine manufacturers have found a home on the A380 and two have formed an unprecedented alliance

Thrust advance
hen the rst A380 begins its take-off roll along the runway at Toulouse Blagnac, its four engines will be producing a total of 280,000lb (1,250kN) of thrust more than any previous commercial airliner and 100,000lb more than the rst Boeing 747 in 1969. The story of the A380s engines goes back to mid-1994, when the consortium envisaged a 480t aircraft powered by simple derivatives of the powerplants developed for the A330. This suited the engine manufacturers, who were in the middle of a hugely expensive development programme for the Boeing 777 powerplants. As it transpired, the subsequent growth of the A3XX during its transformation into the A380 moved the power requirement away from that of the A330 range. All-new designs were therefore mooted, one of which was to emerge from an unprecedented Engine Alliance teaming deal between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. Originally drawn up around the thrust requirements of the Boeing 747-500X/600X, the Trent 900 was conceived as a combination of the 2.9m diameter Trent 800 (Boeing 777) fan and the core of the Trent 500 (Airbus A340-500/600). With growing uncertainty over the growth 747, the Trent 900 joined the A3XX programme in October 1996 when a memorandum of understanding was signed between R-R and Airbus. Over time, the thrust requirement grew from 67,000lb to 70,000lb, culminating in the changes for the London airports stringent QC2 noise regulations evoked after the Airbus customer symposium in January 2000. We had to change the LP system within only a few months, but our design people had lots of options under their belt, says R-R marketing vice-president Robert Nuttall. The most dramatic and immediate change was the adoption of a much larger 3m diameter fan based around the advanced Trent 8104 design. This three-dimensional fan, parts of which are forward swept, had been originally aimed at the 777-200X/300X, but had ended up as a technology demonstrator following the subsequent weight growth requirement of the Boeing long-range twins. The thrust growth associated with the QC2 noise and weight changes provided RR with an ideal opportunity to introduce the fan into the Trent 900, the technology having been judged too early for the preceding Trent 500. The intermediate pressure (IP) compressor aft of the fan in the Trent 900 is also a scaled version of the larger unit developed for the Trent 8104. The LP system changes also extended aft, resulting in a scaling-up of the LP and IP turbines, while the fan case also grew to t the larger bypass requirements. The LP turbine is approximately the same diameter as the fan on the RB211-535, and measured in terms of fan diameter, the Trent 900 is the largest engine ever made by R-R. As with the Trent 500/800, the Trent 900 consists of a single fan stage, an eight-stage IP compressor, six-stage HP compressor, single-stage HP and IP turbines and a vestage LP Turbine. The Trent 900 also marks the rst use by R-R of a counter-rotating HP turbine which, in tests, has demonstrated up to a 2% improvement in overall efciency. Like the advanced fan, the concept was also mooted for the Trent 500 but was not considered sufciently mature for implementation until now. The HP turbine rotates counterclockwise to optimise the ow as it enters the IP turbine, requiring fewer nozzle guide vanes. The existing vanes are also subjected to much lower stress so have a smaller cross-section and are therefore lighter. Tests will focus on the performance of the revised ow regime, and particularly on oil system temperatures resulting from the related bearing changes in the area. The Trent 900 ran for the rst time at

Family milestone
For its rst ight in January 2005, the A380 will be powered by Rolls-Royces Trent 900. The A380 marks the fourth milestone in the UK engine manufacturers successful Trent family development strategy as well as its third Airbus application after the Trent 700 on the A330 and the Trent 500 on the A340500/600.



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Derby in the UK on 18 March 2003, achieving its certication thrust level of 81,000lb on 2 April and passing the 88,000lb thrust level around seven days later. The higher thrust level was not for bravado. It was literally to push the engine for data on extreme operating conditions, says Nuttall. The second and third test engines are scheduled to re up in June. Test engines four and ve will be complete by August, and will be allocated to performance and the 150h block endurance tests as well as some birdstrike work. Engine number six, after some initial performance cross calibration tests, will be used for the 3,000 cycle initial maintenance interval tests. The nal dedicated test engine, number seven, will be used for the fan blade off test. Testing also includes some productionstandard engines, with the rst number 91000 being allocated to the Airbus A340300 ying testbed. This is expected to make its rst ight on the aircraft at Toulouse around mid-May 2004. A further set of build one Trent 900s will follow to support the actual A380 ight test programme. The test effort, which is being conducted to ETOPS standards despite the four-engined conguration of the A380, is expected to culminate in October 2005 with European JAA certication, with US FAA certication due around a month later. The initial Trent 970 version will be rated at 70,000lb thrust for entry-intoservice on the A380-800 passenger version with launch customer Singapore Airlines in early 2006. Provision is being made for certication to the higher thrust levels required for the -800 Freighter and growth versions, and the Trent 900 has baseline growth capability to 84,000lb. R-R remains condent that its past experience with the Trent family as a whole, and the Trent 500 in particular, stands it in good stead for the A380 ight test and service entry. Nuttall says: Its derivative and lowrisk. When it ies for the rst time it will have 20 million hours of experience behind it, some of which is from the Trent 500, which has had the most reliable entry-into-service of any engine.

Measured in terms of fan diameter, the Trent 900 is the largest commercial engine ever built by Rolls-Royce

The mid-1990s also saw the birth of Boeings proposed 747-500X/600X, another large aircraft that would require new or highly derived engines. Although aimed exclusively at Boeings proposal, GE and P&W declared their intention to team up in August 1996 to

The 50:50 GE/PW partnership was hatched in a radical cost-saving move

develop, manufacture, sell and support a family of modern technology engines for high-capacity, long-rage aircraft. The 50:50 GE/PW partnership, hatched the previous February in a radical cost-saving move, was focused on the GP7000 a baseline design that combined P&Ws lowpressure (LP) PW4000-based expertise with GEs GE90-derived high-pressure (HP) core technology. Less than four months after the birth of the Alliance, however, the stretched 747 plan was abandoned, and in 1997 the GP7000 was refocused squarely on the A3XX. Although a proposed GP7100 version was later aimed at the 747-400X and 767-400ERX models studied by Boeing, the main focus remained on the GP7200 dened for the A3XX. As congured by 1999, the GP7200 was designed with a 2.8m (110in) diameter fan (versus 2.6m for the Boeing applications), a four-stage LP compressor, nine-stage HP

compressor, a single annular combustor, two-stage HP turbine, and ve-stage LP turbine. The engine was rated at between 67,000 and 80,000lb thrust, and was designed around an initial A3XX-100 range requirement of 14,230km (7,690nm). The following year brought signicant changes, however, as A3XX customer review meetings revealed the need to bring the aircraft in line with QC2 requirements. To play its part, the Engine Alliance extended the fan diameter to 2.9m, raising the bypass (fan pressure) ratio from 8:1 to 9:1. The changes added stages to the LP compressor and LP turbine, and were accompanied by several specic noise reduction features. These included sweeping the hollow widechord fan, increasing the axial spacing between the fan blades and the associated (contoured) exit guide vanes, and optimising blade and vane counts in the LP compressor and turbine.



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The PW980 is the worlds largest auxiliary power unit ever built
Tests of a 42%-scale GP7200 fan on Pratt & Whitney Canadas (P&WC) advanced technology fan integrator veried a predicted performance benet of around 1% from the swept fan over a conventional design. Testing of a larger 94% scale hollow titanium swept fan on a PW4098 started in Florida in 2003, and will focus on performance and aeromechanical work, while preparations continue for the start of rig tests on the rst full-scale versions. These include a series of bird strike tests in a spin rig in the second quarter. Blades used in the 1.1kg (2.5lb) and 2.5kg strike tests will then be tted to a development engine to check performance in a damaged condition. The main objective is to leave 2003 with a fully validated blade, says GP7200 chief engineer Bob Saia. The rst full GP7200 engine is expected to run on 15 February 2004, two months earlier than planned, building extra contingency time into the schedule. In all, the certication plan will accumulate over 23,000 endurance cycles and 7,000h of test time on seven engines. The Alliance says this represents the most extensive testing prior to service entry of any commercial engine, and represents 5,000 more cycles than the GE90 or PW4084 certication programmes. The engine is also due to y on GEs 747 ying testbed by the end of 2004, while the crucial nal blade-out containment test is set for mid-September 2004. This test will also provide a valuable evalings of 76,500 and 81,500lb, the latter to accommodate A380 growth plans. The baseline engine will be certicated as the GP7270 at 70,000lb thrust for the 560t passenger version, and as the GP7277 rated at 76,500lb for the 590t A380-800 freighter. Both ratings are at rated to 30C at sea level.

Auxiliary power
P&WC plans to make the rst run of the newly assembled PW980 auxiliary power unit (APU) for the A380 by June. Not surprisingly for the worlds largest airliner, the PW980 is the biggest commercial APU ever made and is rated at the equivalent of 1,270kW (1,700shp). The two-spool design is based on the PW901 used on the 747400, which is itself derived from the P&W JT15D-5, but is scaled up thermodynamically by around 10% for the A380. To accommodate the higher mass ow requirements of the Airbus application, the design is slightly enlarged over the 901 and incorporates some new materials such as single crystal nickel alloy PW8-1484 in the turbine to help retain similar durability levels The GP7200 as the 747 APU. Design of the PW980 is merges headed by Hamilton Sundstrand Power PW4000 low- Systems Divisions San Diego, Californiapressure based unit, while manufacturing, assembly technology and test is being led by P&WC in Montreal, with highCanada. pressure The APU consists of centrifugal HP and experience LP compressors driven by single-stage HP from the GE90 and LP turbines. The LP spool drives a gearbox with two 120KVa oil-cooled generators attached to it. Unlike some other large aircraft APUs, the PW980 does not need additional features such as oil heaters. Because of the two-spool design we dont have the starting loads you get with a single-shaft design, says P&WC APU programme manager Mark Badger, who adds the design is simpler and easier to maintain as a result. As well as a focus on reliability and durability, the programme includes a huge focus on reducing noise and other emissions. We have a new effusion-cooled combustor design which allows us to control the ow through the combustor, and helps us put a nger on noise, says Badger, who adds that P&WCs the resulting 3dBA improvement is our PW980 biggest success on the programme so far. auxiliary A mock-up of the APU is currently being power unit installed into the aft section 19.1 by the is a growth Airbus Espaa division, after which the comversion of bination will be sent for tests in San Diego. the twoThe mock-up APU will be replaced by a real spool PW980 in the last quarter of 2003 and design used tested in a new test cell at Montgomery on the Field, California. A further four APUs will be Boeing 747delivered for durability and ight tests in 400 2004, while Technical Standing Order certication is scheduled for March 2005.

uation of the frangible bearing support (FBS), a new technology introduced to reduce peak vibratory imbalance loads transmitted to the engine in the event of a blade separation in-ight. Derived from the PW6000 programme, the FBS consists of a specially designed bolted ange integral with the fan rotor static support structure. Fuse bolts connecting the FBS bolt ange are sized to separate under the enormous loads that would follow the loss of a blade. Fuse bolt separation transfers the fan radial imbalance load path to a fan stub shaft and number two bearing support structure, reducing the loads transmitted to the engine mounts and wing pylon. In 2005 the Alliance plans to certicate the engine concurrently at take-off thrust rat-



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Preparations for introducing the A380 are providing a major challenge for airlines, airports and maintenance companies

Working life
hen the A380 starts earning money for its operators in three years time, its sheer size will provide unique opportunities for airline marketeers as they take advantage of numerous options such as aircraft conguration and passenger handling. Virgin Atlantic will be the second airline to inaugurate A380 services after launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA), and is due to receive the rst two of six aircraft on order in July 2006. Two more will follow in 2007 and the nal pair in 2008. The A380s will be based at Virgins London Heathrow hub. Willy Boulter, Virgins director of commercial planning and strategy, says the airline has acquired the A380 more for its high capacity at slot-constrained airports and promised low seat/km costs than for its range. Our initial destinations are likely to be New York Kennedy and Los Angeles, he says, with Washington Dulles and San Francisco following in year two. Well also look to Asia in the second year, which has slot-constrained airports such as Tokyo Narita. South Africa is a potential destination in year three, he adds. Boulter says that Virgins A380s will be equipped with with upwards of 500 seats. Airbus quotes 555-seats as the standard three-class conguration, but says it expects most A380 operators will install between 520 and 540 seats. To ensure a smooth introduction of the aircraft, Virgin formed a dedicated A380 project management team a year ago headed by one of its marketing executives, Rachel

Upper and main deck air bridges willl speed passenger ow and keep turnaround times similar to those of the Boeing 747

Elson. Representatives from every area of the company airport planning, cabin safety, commercial, engineering, ight crew, interior design, operations and product marketing meet with the project team on a weekly and monthly basis and provide input to Airbus through the customer focus groups. Airbus and suppliers have set aggressive schedules on decision milestones. If Airbus had its way we would be choosing the seats now, says Virgins head of product Dee Cooper, adding that the nal decision on conguration and any innovations that Virgin wants must be made within the next 12 months. While Airbus has promoted various novel ideas for the A380, such as a duty-free shopping area, library and showers, Virgins head of design Joe Ferry says that the choice of on-board innovations ultimately all comes down to money. We only have six aircraft so we have to look at costs and the possibility of

sharing them with other customers. Another constraint is that any new products introduced on the A380 must be applicable across the whole Virgin eet, comprising Airbus A340s and Boeing 747-400s. Ground-handling is another area where the A380 potentially provides a major challenge. Airbus has been leading the initiative with the airports and has held regular dialogue with them since it rst began serious ultra-large aircraft studies in 1994. The A380 was designed from the start to t within the much vaunted 80m (262ft) box, which meets airport compatibility recommendations. Discussions began with certain airports about accommodating the A380 immediately after the rst orders were signed. Charles Champion, A380 programme executive vice-president, says the key areas considered were: the effect of the A380s 79.6m wingspan, which is 15m more than the 747, the airports previously quoted maximum; separation distances between runways and taxiways; the effect of weight on bridges; and the impact on terminals of the A380s passenger capacity and size. A joint team, the A380 Airport Compatibility Group (AACG) comprising Airbus, Airports Council International, IATA and several airport authorities and regulatory authorities is working together to ensure a smooth service entry. Airbus has surveyed 84 airports worldwide and has identied likely early airports for A380 operations. It has prioritised these according to estimates of when they will handle their rst A380s.



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At the top of the list is London Heathrow, which is Virgins hub. During the rst year of operations this airport will also handle A380s of at least three other airlines Emirates, Qantas and SIA. Airbus predicts that Heathrow will be second only to Japans Tokyo Narita in the number of A380s it handles through to 2019. Although Heathrows new Terminal 5 (T5) development will have 10 A380-compatible stands with two-level jetties, and four remote parking spaces, this is not due to open until two years after the A380 enters service. To ensure that it is ready when A380 operations start, the airports operator BAA is investing 400 million ($640 million) on modications to aireld and terminal infrastructure over the next ve years. The existing long-haul terminals, T3 and T4, will be modied to allow them to handle the A380 from 2006. To cope with the increased passenger ow, T3 will also have a new check-in area and larger arrivals hall with bigger baggage reclaim belts. A larger customs hall is due to open at the end of 2006. T3, where Virgin is based along with Emirates and SIA, will receive the bulk of the work. One of the existing piers (number six) is being redeveloped to give it four A380 stands, each with two jetties, one of which will be capable of docking to either the main or upper deck, with provision for a third jetty. T3 will also have a remote parking stand, and by 2008 it should have up to four more jetty stands. BAA says that plans for T4, from which Qantas operates, have not been nalised. Flight International understands T4 will initially have one A380 stand. Florian Preuss, Virgins A380 project manager airport and route liaison, says Virgin has been working closely with Heathrow on introducing the A380. He says the airline is aiming to keep turnaround times in line with the 2.5h it allows for its 747-400s. Full analysis of passenger ows during boarding and de-boarding is about to begin, but Preuss says that it is clear that two-level loading will be quicker: Ideally, we dont want to have 200 people trudging up and down stairs. Reconstruction of Heathrows main south taxiways to widen and reposition them has already begun to ensure that there is sufcient separation for A380s to manoeuvre between stands and the southern runway, 27L/09R. However work to allow A380 operations on the northern runway, 27R/09L, will not be completed until 2008. Preuss says that it is a concern that

Sliding to safety
USA-based slide manufacturer Goodrich says it is assuming the need for emergency evacuation of up to 900 passengers from the A380 in the design of its escape systems. Certication requirements remain the same as for for much smaller aircraft - evacuation complete within 90s. Goodrich won a two-way bidding contest to supply the 10 main deck, six upper-deck and two off-wing escape slides. All the slides are two-lane devices, tested to be able to cope with 70 people per lane per minute, and they are tapered toward the toe end. Goodrich claims that if the equipment and materials employed in the A380 slides were used on existing escape systems they would be 10% lighter. Although the basic material, as before, is urethane-coated nylon, the fabric weave is new, says Goodrich, and its new Tribrid ination system is lighter, working partly with compressed air but also embodying a gas generator using solid chemicals. The slides have to work in 25kt wind from the most critical direction. Testing is carried out in Goodrichs new test centre, which contains fuselage section mockups complete with operating A380 doors. The upper deck slides are stowed in the oor below the doors, whereas main deck slides are stowed in the doors and the off-wing devices in the upper wing/fuselage fairing. The worst-case scenario, says Goodrich, is a situation in which the slides still have to be able to provide safe exit for passengers, and where the main gear is deployed, but the aircraft has tipped back on to its tail. In this case the No 1 upper deck doors (the farthest forward) have to be able to cope with a 10m drop, and they do this by inating a toe-end extension that is not normally triggered. The trigger for the extension is automatic, set off by a sensor that measures the aircraft attitude.

Ideally we dont want to have 200 people trudging up and down the stairs

Heathrow will initially have only one A380compatible runway, but BAA says that there are continguency plans to use the northern runway for the A380 if an emergency closes the southern one. Preuss says that the nearest A380-compatible alternatives are East Midlands or Manchester. The A380 is classed as a Code F aircraft in terms of runway compatibility, which lays out detailed criteria on runway/taxi way separation, runway exit sizes and load bearing rating. As a result, reconstruction of the taxiway access to Heathrows north 27R/09L

runway, which is physically too tight for the A380, will be needed before it is approved for use. Code F requires a taxiway width of 25m with 17.5m wide shoulders. The AACG has an agreement to enable some airports to circumnavigate the Code F requirement through waivers, which allows the existing Code E/747 compatible 23m wide taxiway width to be maintained, with increased shoulder width (see diagram pXVIII). New York Kennedy has nalised its A380 master plan and has submitted its


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First and business class passengers will board directly from the lounges to the upper deck
Modication of Standards (MoS) package for review by the US Federal Aviation Administration. We are quite condent Kennedy will be well prepared, says Preuss. Los Angeles International Airport is set to be another early A380 destination for Virgin, Qantas, SIA and possibly Emirates. It has only just nalised its MoS package, however, and there are currently some concerns about whether its runways and terminals will be adequately prepared in time. By contrast, the other early US A380 airports, San Francisco International and Miami International, have submitted their MoS packages for FAA evaluation. Airbus says that of the remaining early A380 airports, Sydney Kingsford-Smith has updated its master plan to include more gates and upper deck jetties. The airside upgrade of Paris Charles de Gaulle has already begun and the requirements for terminal work are being studied. According to Champion, the other early A380 airports Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo Narita and Singapore Changi - are preparing for the arrival of the giant without major issue. Dubai International Airport, home to the largest A380 customer Emirates, is undergoing a $2.5 billion expansion programme, which will see it fully prepared to handle the new Airbus from 2006. A new terminal, for Emirates exclusive use, is being built with two concourses that will open in 2006 and 2007. These will have 23 A380-compatible stands, all equipped with two-level jetties. Emirates chief director (airline) Tim Clark says the carrier has taken advantage of the all-new facilities to come up with a novel plan to utilise the A380s unique conguration for its premium products. The upper deck will be congured entirely with premium [business and rst class] cabins, he says. The new concourses will have all their premium lounges on the top oor, enabling rst and business passengers to board directly to the upper deck of the aircraft, says Clark. Efforts are already under way to ensure there is a co-ordinated approach to maintenance and support of the A380 from the moment it enters service. Jean-Daniel Leroy, vice-president of Airbus customer support and services, says now is the time to start planning for the A380s future needs and the manufacturer is taking the opportunity to look at its whole customer support structure and policy. Leroy says Airbus will meet with each of the A380 launch customers individually in the coming months to understand their individual needs, By August, it is planning to hold a meeting of all the launch customers senior management to encourage dialogue on the aircrafts support requirements. Various synergies will be examined such as spares pooling and maintenance joint ventures. Details of our plans will become available next year, when we have got feedback from our customers, vendors, maintenance providers, etc., says Leroy. access to the waste tank, section 19 (rear fuselage), radar and air generation units. The sheer size of the A380 means special safety harness connections have to be provided for maintenance staff. The radome, for example, sits 8m above the ground while the top of the n reaches to 24m. As most airport cherry pickers only reach to 15m, Airbus has put all major inspection areas on the n at heights below this. Overall planning for the A380s upkeep is being undertaken by a joint Maintenance Review Board (MRB) which involves industry, customers and regulatory bodies. Overall targets for base maintenance (A check) intervals are 750 ight hours per 1.5 month, light maintenance (C check) 24 months, and intermediate/major heavy maintenance (D check) intervals at 72 and 144 months respectively. Right now were targeting an interval of six and 12 years compared with ve and 10 years up to now, says Herault. The MRB process will last from 2003 to 2005, with most activity taking place in 2005 towards the run-up to entry-into-service in 2006. Estimated direct maintenance costs will be just under $1,400/h, or around $50/h more than the 747-400. But the overhaul costs will still be 24%/seat lower than the 747, adds Herault.

Airbus is targeting a dispatch reliability level of 99% for the A380 at entry-into-service, and has developed a rigorous analytical approach to improving maintainability in the run-up to operations. The ultimate goal is to make sure we meet 100% of customer expectations, says head of maturity and maintenance Thierry Herault. Procedures for the removal of the body-mounted main landing gear, for instance, have been developed by Airbus in conjunction with the airline customer focus group. The complete cycle, using one minilift, will take 18h. The group also had critical inuences on areas such as improving

A380 CUSTOMERS Customers Air France Emirates FedEx ILFC Lufthansa Malaysia Airlines Qantas Qatar Airways Singapore Airlines Virgin Atlantic Total

Orders 10 *22 **10 ***10 15 6 12 2 10 6 103

Options 10 10 10 10 15 12 2 15 6 90

Total 20 32 20 20 30 6 24 4 25 12 193


First delivery Nov 2006 Oct 2006 Aug 2008 June 2007 Sept 2007 2007 Nov 2006 2008 March 2006 July 2006

Notes: *including two freighters **all freighters ***including ve freighters Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways orders not subject to rm contract


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The Toulouse assembly line will be geared to produce up to four A380s a month initially, with provision for double that number if required

Towards Toulouse
fter a long-running debate in which six possible nal assembly sites were studied across Europe, Toulouse was chosen as the location for the nal assembly line (FAL) in 2000. In reality, there was little prospect of any location other than Airbuss home town being chosen to house the assembly line of its agship model. To move the huge subassemblies comprising the aircraft to the Toulouse FAL, a major rethink of the whole Airbus production system was undertaken. Eventually the decision was taken to drop the existing air transportation system after it became clear that the sheer size of the components favoured surface transport using ships, barges and trucks. Construction of the enormous A380 FAL plant on the new Aeroconstellation complex on a greeneld site adjacent to the Airbus facilities in Toulouse is now well under way. The roof of the huge 500 x 250m (1,639 x 820ft) FAL assembly hall was raised into position in February. In June Airbus will start installing the production jigs and stations. Close to the building, two new A380-size hangars are nearing completion which will house the static test airframe and rst ight aircraft. Although it missed out on the trophy of

A380 components will travel by air, land and sea to the Toulouse assembly line
housing the assembly line, Airbus Deutschland is undertaking a major share of A380 production across its plants in Bremen, Dresden, Finkenwerder, Laupheim, Nordenham and Varel. 650 million ($740 million) has been invested by Airbus Deutschland for A380 production at the Hamburg-Finkenwerder plant, says the divisions chief executive Gerhard Puttfarcken. We employ 8,900 people and this will increase by up to 2,000 for the A380 through to 2007, if production is on target for a rate of four per month, he adds. The German division has responsibility for the manufacture and assembly of the forward and aft fuselage components, as well as the manufacture of the wings trailing edge aps (in Bremen); cabin furnishing and painting; and deliveries for European and

Middle East customers. Stade, near Hamburg, continues to be the companys centre of excellence for composites production, with responsibility for the A380s carbonbre reinforced plastic vertical tailplane (VTP). The Finkenwerder plant is undertaking the nal assembly of the fuselage subassemblies and is being treated by Airbus as a second FAL. After overcoming local environmental opposition, a large part of the Mhlenberger Loch adjacent to the plant was reclaimed from the River Elbe, with funding by the city of Hamburg, which owns the land, to the tune of 660 million. This area will eventually house ve A380 buildings: the 228 x 120m, 22,800m2 (245,425ft2) Major Component Assembly (MCA) hall, the fourbay interior furnishing hanger, two-bay paint shop, two-bay pre-ight hanger and delivery centre, as well as the roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) quay and ramp for the ship transportation system. The rst forward and aft fuselage subassemblies are due to start coming together in the MCA hall by August. The remainder of the buildings are due to be completed by mid-2005. There is already provision to double the size of each building to enable a production rate of eight A380s a month.



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Puttfarcken says this expansion would take two to three years to complete from the decision to go ahead. A 363m extension of Finkenwerders single 2,321m runway will be completed next year to enable it to cater for the baseline A380-800. Planning permission is now being sought for a further 587m extension to enable the heavier A380F to be handled. Both Airbus UK plants Broughton in North Wales and Filton near Bristol are heavily involved in the A380s production programme, with 389 million ($447 million) having been invested for expansion. An allnew 85,000m2 building the West Factory has been built at Broughton, which is manufacturing about 25% of the wing, the remainder coming from Filton and sub-contract suppliers such as Saab, which is producing the mid and outer xed leading edges. Final wing equipping is being undertaken in Toulouse with components supplied through Belairbus (leading edge), Airbus Deutschland (aps) and Airbus France (spoilers/ailerons). The new West Factory is due to come on line later this year and will assemble the skins, stringers, ribs and spars to form the wingbox. It will also eventually be used for wingbox assembly of other Airbus models when required. The East Factory now includes a 12,000m2 A380 Skin Manufacturing Centre which produces 18 of the 20 aluminium alloy wing skins. It also comprises a new 22,000m2 Stringer Manufacturing Centre that will produce the bottom skin stringers for the A380 and other Airbus models. Broughtons wing production work for the rst A380 wings is well under way, with enormous 35m wing skin sections already visible on the East Factory oor. The rst Airbus UK wing rib was cut at Filton in August last year, and the rst wing skin was cut in December at Broughton on A340-500/600 milling machines. Filton is manufacturing 40 metallic wing ribs per shipset as well as assembling the xed trailing edge, while Broughton is machining eight skin panels per wing and all the bottom skin stringers, assembling the wing box and equipping it with non-moveables. Airbus Espaa is manufacturing 48 composite ribs per shipset, with the remaining 36 split 50:50 between suppliers Aerospace Dynamics International and SPS Aerostructures. The rst A380 wing skin to be cut on the new 40m oor-level Henri-Lin milling machines was produced in March. The largest, the Bottom 3 panel, is 35m in length. The skins are machined using a strip surface method of material removal, rather than the traditional facet machining, which helps optimise material distribution. The 7 x 3m Top 5 panel is signicant in that it is machined with integrated stringers by an Ingersoll cutter, saving weight and manufacturing complexity. Once cut, the top skin panels are creep-formed to add the curvature required for the assembly process. A giant 42m-long, 6m diameter, 5.4 megawatt autoclave, one of the largest of its type in the world, heats the panels to 150 C (300 F) at a pressure of 7.5bar (109lb/in2). During the 24-hour process, the panels are wrapped in a sealing bag and formed into the desired shape using a system of vacA380-800 MILESTONES Jan 2000 Authorisation to offer Mid-2000 Concept selection Dec 2000 Programme launch Early 2001 Critical industrial commitments Mar 2001 First rm order (Qantas) Q2 2001 End of concept phase Mid-2001 Structure/systems specication completed Jan 2002 First metal cut Nov 2002 Denition phase completed End 2002 First aircraft denition Early 2003 Main component assembly starts May 2004 Final assembly of prototype begins Mid-2004 Power on Jan 2005 First ight (R-R version) Jan 2006 Type certication (R-R version) Mar 2006 First delivery (Singapore Airlines)

uum pads. The panels are overformed during the process, but spring back up to 80% once released from the forming xture, retaining curvature to an accuracy of 2mm (0.08in). Bottom skin panels, being more ductile, do not need to be formed, but are shotpeened on-site by specialist company Metal Improvement, which has expanded its Broughton facilities to cater for the A380 work. Overall cycle time for panel production is three to seven days. Australia's Hawker de Havilland, which is responsible for production of wingtips and fences, will deliver the rst set to Broughton in September. The rst complete wing shipset is due to be delivered to Toulouse in April for the A380 prototype. The production rate should reach two a month by the end of next year and ramp up to four by 2006.


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As with all the Airbus types, Airbus Espaa is producing the A380s composite horizontal tailplane (HTP) and its Illescas plant, a centre of excellence for composites, is employing bre placement technology for the rst time for the production of large fuselage sections. The Puerto Real plant near Cadiz in southern Spain is undertaking HTP nal assembly, while the Getafe plant near Madrid is producing lateral HTP boxes. Airbus Espaa is also responsible for the aft fuselage, main gear doors and dorsal n, which are assembled at Getafe, as well as the composite rudder and three section belly fairing, built at Puerto Real. The aft fuselage sections are own from Getafe by A300 Beluga to Finkenwerder for attachment to the rear fuselage, while the rudder is taken by road from Puerto Real to Stade for attachment to the n. Airbus Frances plant at Meaulte supplies fuselage shells to St Nazaire, which builds the nose and centre fuselage subassemblies, the latter comprising the Nantes-built centre wingbox. St Nazaire also undertakes the attachment of the German-built forward fuselage to the locally built nose section.

Production flow
After assembly and equipment installation in the MCA in Finkenwerder, the forward and rear fuselage sections are taken by RoRo vessel to the French port of Bordeaux for the next stages of the transit. The ve-day sea journey includes a stop at Mostyn docks on the Irish Sea near the Broughton plant where the wings join the ship, and at St Nazaire, where one forward fuselage is removed for attachment of a St Nazaire-built nose section, and replaced by a completed forward/ nose assembly. On arrival in Bordeaux the components are transferred to purpose-built RoRo barges for the 12h journey along the River Garonne to Langon. The purpose-built barges have a variable ballast system to enable them to pass under the Garonnes bridges even during ood periods. The assemblies leave Langon on purpose-built trucks for the journey by road across the French countryside and through 13 villages and towns to the Toulouse FAL. This journey will be undertaken over three nights, and four parking areas and several city bypasses are being constructed along the route. The HTP from Puerto Real starts its journey by road to the Spanish port of Cadiz, where it is loaded on to a RoRo vessel for transportation to Bordeaux. Here it joins the other components on the barge/road transport system. The Stade-built VTP travels by barge to Finkenwerder, and then by A300 Beluga to Toulouse. Airbus vice-president, A380 programme, Charles Champion says that completion of

the surface transport system is on target. We are due to undertake a pilot run of the system in October, he says, although the RoRo vessel is not due to be delivered until March next year. First parts for the static test airframe will begin arriving at the Toulouse FAL in April 2004, with assembly of the ying prototype starting the following month. The fatigue aircraft will be assembled separately at the EADS plant in Dresden in October 2004. The FAL site houses eight main assembly bays, but only one side is expected to be used to maintain a maximum planned production rate of 4.4 per month by the end of 2008. In the following year we will be able to deliver 40 to 48 aircraft per year, says head of industrial and transport, A380 FAL, GuyNoel Dufour. The remaining four bays will be used initially for refurbishing and modifying test aircraft, and will ultimately be available for future production rate increases and assembly of new derivatives like the 650seat -900. For the rst time on any programme, Airbus is studying nal assembly of the aircraft in one main station, rather than the two

currently used on the A330/A340. We want to avoid too much handling of such big subassemblies, so the target today is to deliver all these components to one place and perform assembly in one shot. The size of the subassemblies is therefore a major challenge. The centre fuselage/wing assembly, for example, weighs around 100t. Station 40/41 is designated as the main assembly point for the FAL, with fuselage, wings, empennage, gear and pylons all coming together in one move. Upstream stations cover the equipping of the VTP HTP fuse, , lage and wing respectively. Following assembly, the airframe moves to Station 31/30 for completion and engine installation before moving outside for pressurisation and fuel tests. Production ights then take place before the aircraft is ferried to Finkenwerder, where Airbus Deutschland will carry out furnishing, painting and cabin production test ights. Aircraft destined for European and Middle East customers will then be processed at Finkenwerder, while aircraft destined for the rest of the world will return to Toulouse for delivery.

Risk-sharing partners
When Airbus set about turning the A3XX into reality as the A380, it set itself the target of raising up to 40% of the 98.1 billion ($10.7 billion) development costs through risk-sharing partners. It was also vital that the government-funded part of the programme complied with the 1992 US/European Commission large aircraft agreement on launch aid that it did not exceed 33% of the total development costs. Airbus says $3.1 billion of the programme will be covered by risk-sharing partners and equipment suppliers. The latter includes participants that are assuming non-recurring infrastructure and tooling costs but are not full revenue-sharing partners. A further $2.5 billion is being loaned from the French, German, UK and Spanish governments. The remaining $5.1 billion is being nanced by Airbus. We have framework agreements in place with 10 leading industrial companies acting as risk-sharing partners, says A380 programme executive vice-president Charles Champion, adding that 98% of suppliers have been selected, representing over $2 billion of the $2.1 billion target. Airbus has sourced 96% of the A380s equipment, with vendors split equally between Europe and the USA excluding the engines. Airbuss publicly stated break-even target is 250 aircraft. The company is cagey about its expected total output, saying only that it expects to capture around 50% of its forecast market for 1,300 aircraft over the next 20 years. GKN, which is building aptrack beams, has assumed that 600 aircraft will be built. Subcontractor EADS Military Aircraft says its contract with Airbus assumes a total output of 768 A380s through to 2022.