Airbus has delivered the first aft fuselage for the A350 XWB static test airframe to the final assembly line in Toulouse, in France.
The aft-fuselage section was delivered by an Airbus A300-600ST Beluga.
Airbus built five of these highly modified A300-600Fs. The Beluga was modified specifically to transport large Airbus widebody sections between its various facilities and the Toulouse final assembly line, but Airbus parent company EADS also uses Belugas to transport entire helicopters and other relatively small aircraft to customers round the world.
The aft fuselage represents the final section of the first Airbus A350 XWB fuselage to be delivered. It will be assembled with the front and center fuselage sections, which were joined up in early April.
Airbus assembles the 20-meter-long (65 feet 7 inches), carbon-fiber aft fuselage is assembled at the company’s site in Hamburg in Germany.
The aft fuselage is made up of the rear fuselage barrel, produced at Airbus’ Getafe plant in Spain; two lateral aft fuselage panels, made by Premium Aerotec in Germany; and the upper and lower aft fuselage panels, manufactured by Airbus in Stade in Germany.
This first A350 XWB airframe will be used for the static structural tests that all new aircraft undergo as part of their certification process.
The assembly of the first flying A350 XWB, MSN1, will start this summer, according to Airbus.