Airbus has begun the assembly process on the wings for the first Airbus A350-1000 in Broughton, North Wales. The A350-1000 wing has the same span of the A350-900 that is already in service, but 90% of the parts have been modified and the trailing edge has been extended to resize the wing for the additional payload and range.
Most of the A350 XWB's wing is comprised of carbon-fiber composites, including its upper and lower covers. At 32 x 6 m, Airbus says the wing is the largest single part made from composites in use in civil aviation today.
The wings were designed and developed at Airbus’ facility in Filton, near Bristol, where a number of other systems are designed and tested including fuel systems and landing gear. The wing design includes several streamlined features, in particular droop-nose leading edge devices and new adaptive dropped-hinge flaps, which increase the jetliner’s efficiency at low speeds. Also, the wings are capable of producing more lift and automatically handle loads across their surface—helping to reduce the aircraft's drag and fuel burn.
On the A350 XWB wing, Airbus engineers combined aerodynamic enhancements already validated on the A380 with further improvements. To improve efficiency at higher speeds, the A350 XWB can deflect its wing flaps differentially, optimizing the wing profile and providing better load control. By intelligently controlling the wing’s moving surfaces using onboard computer systems, the wing will adapt while airborne—tailoring it for maximum aerodynamic efficiency in the various phases of flight. In essence, pilots will be able to use the flaps not only for takeoff and landing, but also while cruising to reduce wing drag.