Odds and Ends: A350 batteries; A350 V 1.0; Southwest schedule

A350 batteries: Flight Global has a detailed story about the Airbus approach to lithium-ion batteries in the A350. The approach is more conservative than Boeing’s for the 787.

A350 Version 1.0: A blog called A350 XWB News has a retrospective on the A350’s original proposal (which we call Version 1.0, because the design went through so many iterations). It’s got the original brochure reproduced. It’s an interesting recollection, and one to compare with the A330neo. Boeing dismisses the A330neo as A350 V 1.0, but it’s really not when you compare.

A350 Final version: A350 XWB production is tracking to plan, first A350 after Qatar’s initial 8 (MSN6 to 13), MSN14 to Vietnam Airlines is going to ground tests (Station 30) after getting wings and empennage in Station 40 at the Airbus Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Tolouse. We are following this program carefully since start and the roll out of the latest XWB from wing join was within days of our prediction 6 months ago, thereby the A350 ramp to three FAL starts by end of year is tracking so far.

A380 downed by mops: Aviation Week has the story on how Qantas cleaners got the water flowing in their A380s when it should not. The incident is old (80 gallons of water flowing around in the fittings of the A380 when climbing out of LAX to Melbourne, first time in June) but one has now found the cause; the cleaners mops were getting the water couplings in a galley unlatched. Small things having big impact.

Boeing record: Qatar airways took delivery of three 787 and one 777 in one day this week; here the Flightglobal version of the Boeing announcement. Airline CEO Al Baker says ““Never in the history of an airline have so many aircraft been taken in just one day.”

Southwest schedule: Southwest Airlines adjusted its schedule two months ago to improve its on-time performance, and revealed that the new times are working.

Southwest, once boasting of being #1, 2 or 3 in on-time ratings among US major carriers, saw a steady decline in recent years as it ramped up service in congested airports, expanded in regions that were more prone to weather delays, added larger airplanes (the Boeing 737-800) to its schedule. After acquiring AirTran, Southwest tightened the schedule in an effort to cut turn-times. But AirTran’s traditional hub operation vs WN’s largely point-to-point didn’t lend itself to the tighter turns Southwest scheduled. It didn’t take a lot of insight to understand why delays were showing up on the AirTran fleet. Southwest’s OT performance is still not where it once was–it’s currently at 78.9% when it used to run in the 80s–but it’s better.

21 Comments on “Odds and Ends: A350 batteries; A350 V 1.0; Southwest schedule

  1. A350 MSN15 VN #2 is also in final assembly (in station 40 to be more precise).

  2. Regarding the delivery of four Boeing planes to Qatar – is there some Al Baker smoke & mirrors going on?

    There were three delivery flights this morning:
    777 – A7-BED
    787s – A7-BCP & A7-BCQ

    However, my understanding is that their next 787 (A7-BCR) doesn’t have its customer acceptance flight until next week? Has comic-Al really paid for a plane before the customer acceptance flight just to get a bit of free publicity?

  3. Batteries: Interesting that aboth A and B continue to push for that battery chemistry.

    If Both Airbus and Boeing want them does that mean its like gravity, a given fact of life?

    In Nicads Saft has always been the one to “ride the river” with. It will be interesting to see which specific LI battery chemistry try went with (and if Boeing ever changes theirs)

    While not completely hidden, but certainly over PRd by the Boeing Battery Containment, was the fact that Yuasa quality control standards were extremely lax and one of the helmets of the fix was to do a major tighten up on tech inspection protocols and tests and standards for what did or did not pass.

    Obviously the increased monitoring, control and inspection has worked with one failure since return to flight which was contained.

    It still seem a questionable item to pin your hat on with the well proven Nicads solidly proven and how little in the overall scheme of things it saved weight (how much more does all that containment system weigh now (i.e. complete system not just the batteries) vs a standard Nicad pack?

    • Wasn’t the point with Boeing’s use of Li-ion batteries that NiCads didn’t have sufficient power density for the job needed? So they were really committed to them. Because Airbus needed the battery to deliver much lower peak loadings they could go with either NiCads or less radical Li-ion chemistry.

      • Power density is one detail but higher up on the selection chart is lower impedance ( higher load and discharge currents from a same capacity device thus less lossy during charge and discharge leading to less heating and more energy at a ( high current ) sink. Output voltage over discharged capacity is much “stiffer”.
        Airbus seems to use a four fold redundant symmetric bussing arrangement. Apparently similar to the A380s setup. ( Seen a diagram somewhere, lost )

        • As I remember A380 already flies with the same type of Li-ion batteries which are now also certified for the A350.

          • No, not as the main batteries. That still is nicad. ( But it is a similar 4 ways redundancy arrangement.)
            Saft cylindrical Li cells ( VLM series afaik ) are used in emergency lighting and door actuation.
            I could imagine that Airbus had testflown their Li – Packs on their A380? no info though.
            The A350 main bats @ nominally 28V are reported to have 14 cells i.e. a 7S2P arrangement, lump capacity ~45Ah. There are VLM cells with nom. 22Ah around, the bigger variant has 44Ah.
            see: http://aircraft.saftbatteries.com/tabid/155/Language/en-US/tabid/301/TypeControl/Produit/ProduitId/62/Default.aspx

            IMHO it is a failure in design and concept to lean too much on a select products specific properties. “superschlau”

      • If you need more capacity, you can parallel batteries strings needed.

        Power density is just another way of saying we can get more bang for a less weighty buck in that you can suck current from (call it one string) rather than two or more parallels strings.

        However when its all said and done, if you have to spend all that wright tyou saved to keep them from going phoom, they what have you gained other than incurring a huge cost to replace a developed system that you could cut and paste in?

        The Honeywell ELT was also an LI battery (Ethiopia burned fuselage London) but it was not recharge setup ). I also had enough phooom in it to do severe damage (in flight? _)

        The question continues to be, should that chemistry be allowed on an aircraft?

        Nicad has failures, but I do not know of one of those taking down an aircraft. Two 747s crashed as a result of carrying them, Ethiopia would have been in server trouble if not crashed if it had gone phoom in flight and a lot of laptops having gone phoom.

        • When NICADs where introduced they started out with some funnies too.

          The thing with new technologies is to not get blinded by some single fantastic property while loosing contact to the risks associated.

  4. Not really interested in getting involved in the great Airbus vs Boeing fanatics war,but conceptually a350 0.1 seems very similar to 777x

  5. I wonder why airbus ended up with A350’s with less range than planned for the V1. Size for range?

    • Both variants are bigger according to seating but range is different depending on the subtype.

      The postponed A350-800 has less range than the original advertised A350-800V1 – 15,860 km vs 16,300 km (that is Sydney to Rom!). The new A330NEO-800 has a range of 13,800 km. Enough to fly from Honolulu to Rom.

      The actual A350-900 has more range than the V1: 14,350 km vs. 13,900 km.

      Btw. Sydney – London is about 17,000 km. On Wikipedia an A350-900R is mentioned with a range of 17,600 km. Size as -900 but -1000 landing gear and MTOW. Is this type still alive?

      • I read about the Ultra-long haul 900-R too and asked the same question as you. Will it ever be launched? I received no answer.

        • Well, the engineering work for the landing gear and most of the other weight stuff will have been done with the -1000. What more would Airbus need on top of certification costs?

          • “What more would Airbus need on top of certification costs?”

            A viable market that guarantees the ROI? Look at ULR sales to date: 34 x A340-500 and 59 x 777-200LR. Aside from the pathetic sales, how many true ULR routes are those planes flying today?

            Personally, I really can’t see the point in even considering a ULR version of any plane.

          • How many routes are there with sufficient traffic for more than 17,000 km?
            Sydney – London
            Sydney – US east coast
            South America – Asia
            … ?

            About 30 aircraft? In case the A350-900R is available soon after the A350-1000 Boeing may never build or even touch the plans for a 777-8X. Many airlines with a 777 fleet ordered the A350. I can see now airline without A330/A350 pilots in need of a 777-8X.

            I guess Airbus will do this aircraft for prestige.

          • @stealth66

            “A viable market that guarantees the ROI?”

            – Yes, yes, yes. But my question was what more would Airbus have to invest in to produce such a variant apart from what I said above. It looks to be a very minimal cost derivative.

          • It is probably less straightforward than one might think.
            different wheel well : 2 axle versus 3 axle bogie.
            you don’t fully need the strengthened middle section but you need
            the stronger wingbox. ( depending afaics on where the MZFW of this derivative sits ( nearer the -900 regular or the -1000 side ).
            As wingbox and the middle fuselage section aren’t really separate parts …

          • Due to the the wing-trailing-edge extension on the A350-1000** and the one frame larger main gear wheel well (i.e. 7 frames on the A350-100 vs. 6 frames on the A350-900), the wingbox is moved forward by one fuselage frame over that of the A350-900. This means, of course, that the large composite side panels on Section-15 will be identical on both the A350-900 and A350-1000 (i.e. the large side panels in dark green colour in the link below*)

            * http://www.airliners.net/uf/view.file?id=135513&filename=phpSRSjeo.jpeg

            ** The wing will feature a trailing-edge extension increasing its area by 4%, which McConnell describes as “quite a big change because it extends the high-lift devices and the ailerons, making the chord bigger by around 400mm. We’ve been able to optimise the flap lift performance as well as gain more performance in the cruise.”


  6. In the news yesterday:
    Airberlin to replace all 45 Boeing aircraft with Airbus aircraft in the next two years. 10 directly from airbus, 14 from the closing Alitalia subsidiary Air One (another Ethid “partner”). Airberlin is also in discussion with TuiFly to prematurally end the wetlease of 14 737s.

    Source: Aero.de (google translate):

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