Spirit AeroSystems has shipped the first production leading edge spar component (an outer spar) for the Airbus A350 XWB from its Kinston, North Carolina, facility.
Spirit AeroSystems has shipped the first production leading edge spar component (an outer spar) for the Airbus A350 XWB from its Kinston, North Carolina, facility.

A leading edge spar is a wing component, part of the fixed leading edge, and comprises six major sections – inner, mid and outer for each wing.

The A350 spar components are made of 100% carbon fibre composite material, and all six combined weigh about 1 ton (1000 kg).

The outer spar is the first of the group to be produced by Spirit, and makes up about 8% of the total spar weight. It is approximately 11.5 m in length.

The subsequent five spar sections will be shipped in the coming months.

"This is the first production component of any kind we've shipped out of our Kinston facility," reports Tom Greenwood, Spirit's A350 XWB spar programme director. "This first unit was built at our new, state-of-the-art facility using automated composite fabrication technology and the technical expertise of Spirit employees."

Each set of spars will be shipped from Spirit's Kinston facility to Spirit's European plant in Prestwick, Scotland, where it will be integrated into the fixed leading edge. From there, it will be delivered to the Airbus plant in Broughton, Wales, for integration into the wing box.

Spirit won a contract with Airbus in July 2008 to design and produce the A350 XWB's spar and fixed leading edge. Spirit is also designing and building the composite centre fuselage section, Section 15, for the A350 XWB.

Based in Wichita, Kansas, USA, Spirit AeroSystems is a supplier of commercial aircraft assemblies and components. Spirit has locations in the USA, UK and Malaysia and is developing a new manufacturing facility in Saint-Nazaire, France.