Third Airbus A350 XWB Takes Shape

Build-up of the third A350 XWB is now underway at Airbus’ Toulouse, France, final assembly line as preparations continue for the composite jetliner’s upcoming flight and certification campaign.

Designated MSN3, this aircraft will be deployed for a variety of A350 XWB testing – including performance at high and medium altitudes, in cold weather and hot temperatures and on long-range flights.

Build-up activity for the third A350 XWB commenced during February on the final assembly line, where the aircraft’s three fuselage sections were transferred following their arrival in Toulouse aboard a Beluga transporter. It joins the MSN5000 aircraft at Toulouse, currently undergoing preparations for static testing in another hangar, and MSN1, which is completing indoor ground evaluations.

Initial assembly steps for MSN3 included installation of the jetliner’s 50-metre-long electrical harness for flight test measurements, which – along a complement of electrical cabinets – forms an advanced “supercomputer” called METRO. This was followed by the fuselage sections’ successful moulding at the final assembly line’s Station 50.

There are two such Station 50 locations for fuselage join-up on the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line: the first, which is designated Station 50A, and another called 50B. MSN3 was the first aircraft joined on Station 50B, which had a higher readiness level thanks to debugging that followed the initial two jetliners’ assembly on Station 50A.

Loic Perrin, who in charge of Station 50 explains;

The whole process also is quicker thanks to high maturity of the sections and great efficiency of the teams who have already trained on the first two aircraft

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