Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A350 Design Changes Again UPDATE 3

The usually well informed James Wallace of the Seattle Post Intelligencer is reporting that contrary to ATW and Suddeutscher Zeitung reports earlier this week, John Leahy has said that the A350 will, indeed, be built as it was to be in the second iteration, CFRP panels over conventional structure. vSo we're back to A350 v. 2.0, I think.

On the other hand, a ringing denial from one part of da Festung does not necessarily mean it ain't so where another department is concerned. So nearly anything could happen between now and the end of the Paris Airshow.

If what Leahy says is true, it amounts to an admission that Airbus can't take the two more years delay of deliveries and can't afford the infrastructure investments necessary to build a monolithic fuselage from CFRP , even though it would yield substantial benefits in weight reduction.

If true, it's also a failure of belief in the future of a technology that is going to change the way aircraft are built from here on in, perhaps because it was 'not invented here'. The takehome from this announcement, if it turns out to be accurate, is that instead of being4 or 5 years behind the power curve, Airbus will be 10 or 12 years behind the power curve of technology.

In any event, the fat lady has definitely not yet started singing. Stay tuned.


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