Airbus has opened the €39m A350 XWB Landing Gear Systems Test Facility at its site in Filton in the UK, marking another important step forward in A350 XWB production. Construction of the facility commenced in January, 2009 and it has a large bay that will house the following: the landing gear systems integrated rigs (LG0); an avionics suite with test benches known as the Landing Gear Systems Functional Integration Benches (FIB); a control room from which all tests are co-ordinated; a parts store; and a dedicated viewing area for visitors. According to the releases posted on their website, the building uses natural light and temperature monitoring systems which will ensure that just the right amount of energy is used to heat and light the building.
Opening the building were Gallois, chief executive officer of EADS, Airbus’ parent company, and Sir Peter Westmacott, the UK ambassador to France. The facility is named after Sir George White, the founder of the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
“Today we are not only opening an important new building, but we are also celebrating a closer step to the reality of the A350 XWB,” said Gallois. “This facility, and the employees inside it, will play an important part in the integration of the landing gear systems on the aircraft, which will fly around the world and carry millions of passengers in its lifetime. I am proud that the Airbus employees in the UK will play such an important role in this programme.”
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) Family is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three basic passenger versions seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The release further discloses that the new A350 is scheduled for entry-into-service in 2013. So far, a total of 558 firm orders have already been received from 34 customers worldwide which makes it one of most successful aircraft programmes ever.