Sunday, May 27, 2012


Srinivas Rao | 11:01 PM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

Airbus has always been at the forefront of pushing technical boundaries in aviation and excelling in aircraft design and technology. Airbus says efforts to lower the weight of the world's largest airliner lay behind recent A380 wing cracks and pledged to learn from mistakes that lay dormant for a decade, as repair costs looked set to climb towards 500 million euros ($A642 million).

Airbus reported the cracks in January, leading to checks on the worldwide fleet of A380s, which authorities say are safe to fly. The manufacturer has delayed repairs to the wing cracks until  early next year in order to allow time to ensure the fixes are final.

"The critical point is that we only want to go and do this one time," said Airbus Executive Vice President Tom Williams."The permanent solution will be applied in the early part of next year and will be for aircraft that are in service," he said. He also said the discovery inside the superjumbo's wings, where new lightweight carbon-composite materials and traditional metal meet, showed the difficulty of pushing technical boundaries in the ultra-competitive industry.
"Certainly when it was designed some 10 years ago, it was an innovation. We thought it was a great idea to make wings lighter with a hybrid (of) carbon-fiber ribs and metal ribs. It was supposed to bring a lot of weight reduction, and to a certain extent it did," Enders told a group of aviation journalists.

The A380 was designed in the early part of the last decade. At the time, the aircraft needed to lose weight, in part because of efforts to make it quieter, which required larger and heavier engine fans. To drive down weight, a decision was made to mix metal and lightweight carbon components inside the wings, but engineers could not tell how this would stand up to extreme temperatures.

The A380 cracks were found in L-shaped components called rib feet, which connect the wing's skeleton to the outer skin. Airbus said it had decided to change the type of aluminium alloy used for the parts to one less brittle.
It takes a year for completely fresh wings to work though the production system, and it will not be before 2014 that entirely fresh aircraft will start rolling off assembly lines.(Courtesy Reuters)

Technological advancement always is a big challenge and Airbus is taking it head on. With the composite materials being stepped by the whole aviation industry in optimizing the weight of the aircraft, this endeavor by the airbus shall benefit the aviation industry as a whole. Kindly send in your views on this.

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