A gigantic Russian Antonov An-124 aircraft carried the first Airbus A350 XWB composite fuselage section panels from Spirit AeroSystems’ plant in Kinston, N.C., where they were manufactured, to its plant in St. Nazaire, France. The shipment left Saturday afternoon.
The upper shell panels are for the first production center fuselage for the A350. Spirit workers in France will perform the final upper shell assembly. The panels for the lower shell of the center fuselage will deliver to Spirit’s French facility by the end of the year.
“With help from our customer, we have successfully integrated the Airbus methods, tools, processes and systems,” Dan Wheeler, vice president and general manager of Spirit’s North Carolina plant, said in a statement. “Shipment of these composite fuselage panels represents a significant achievement for Spirit employees as we work with Airbus to meet all their requirements and delivery schedules for the pre-final assembly plane.”
Final assembly for the upper and lower panels, which will become the center fuselage section over the wing, will occur during the first quarter of 2012.