Fri, Feb 17, 2006
Airbus Expects "No Impact" On Cert, Deliveries
Is a 3.3 percent margin of error good enough? That is the
question being asked after Airbus officials revealed Thursday an
A380 wing failed during stress testing earlier this week.
Those questions aren't being asked -- at least publicly -- by
those in Toulouse, however. Airbus maintains despite the unexpected
structural failure, the company anticipates no delay in plans to
bring the whalejet to market.
"It should have no impact on the certification and delivery,"
Airbus spokeswoman Barbara Kracht told the Associated Press,
although she acknowledged the wing design may need "refinements at
certain points" as a result of the failure.
One of those points will be the wing section between the two
engine pylons, where the fracture occurred Tuesday during ground
tests. At the time, the wing's tip was bent upward by over 24 feet
at the tip, the result of having a load equivalent to 1.45 times
the wing's rated limit load placed upon it. That is 3.3 percent
short of the targeted load Airbus had anticipated.
New aircraft are required to resist loads of 1.5 times the
limit, Kracht said.
Pending inquiries into the incident from the European Aviation
Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA, Airbus engineers will determine
if modifications are required to the aircraft's 262-foot wing.
"We will need to find out from the data what is really needed,"
Kracht added, "but it's certainly not a redesign of the wing."
Such a redesign would be potentially disastrous to the A380
program, which has already been hit by production and
delivery delays stemming from a production-line shutdown last
As it stands, the A380 is scheduled to enter service with
Singapore Airlines by the end of 2006.
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