Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE

44th John Player Lecture - Meeting the Challenge: A380, A350XWB and Beyond

18 March 2009

As air travel has grown from a luxury for a privileged few to the mass transport network that we all use today, the key drivers for airframe designers and manufacturers have become increasingly complex. During the later part of the twentieth century aspects such as direct operating costs became key considerations for airlines as they strove to compete in the 'low cost carrier' market. Also during that time, the impact of humanity on the environment became a very hot topic. It was against this background that Airbus developed the A380. Not only was this aircraft destined to be the largest passenger aircraft in the skies, but it also had to meet stringent requirements for performance, cost, noise, fuel-burn and maintenance, amongst many others. This presentation explores how Airbus engineers rose to the challenge of developing structural solutions that balanced these often conflicting needs, culminating in the most successful entry into service ever for a commercial aircraft.

However, requirements, like time, do not stand still. The challenges facing the designers of the A350XWB are even tougher, with environmental legislation and customer expectation for in-service performance reaching new heights. Examples will be shown of the how the latest technologies are being applied to ensure that the A350XWB meets these objectives, and to set the agenda for the development the next generation of passenger aircraft.

Meet the Speaker

Roger Digby is currently Head of Materials & Processes Integration, with responsibility for delivering the most appropriate Materials and Processes solutions for current and future aircraft programmes. In this role he is responsible for defining all the materials and processes for the new A350XWB family of aircraft, as well as supporting the ongoing needs of the rest of the Airbus product range, including the A380, A400M, A330/340, and A320 families.

Clips:

Playitback

: Roger Digby, Head of Materials and Processes Integration (Programmes), Airbus

Duration: 1 hr 11 mins