Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Airbus A400M Progress Report

There is a certain amount of good news out of Festung Airbus as the military airlifter division is quietly getting on with the job of putting together the first A400M, far from the drama and comic opera performances over in the commercial division.

Design of cargo aircraft, unlike the civilian stuff, is an unromantic business that is concerned with things like "how much does it weigh? what's the footprint? how big is it?" rather than interior decor schemes...

The first set of wings is undergoing final assembly at the Airbus Filton plant in the UK, and the first fuselage is being set up for the integrated fuselage assembly process in a nice new facility in Bremen.

It was my view of Airbus manufacturing methods on a PBS Nova special back in 1990 that told me my beloved Douglas was doomed....from that day forward I started planning for a future without them. I had been called in to officiate at a fuselage section join. It was primitive and everything was done by hand and eye. The sections were on rails and they were pushed together and leveled by hand-by pounding on a screw jack with a hammer. The sighting tool was a laser deal, but they'd recently retired the old level and transit.


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