Kinston, North Carolina might be a sleepy little town with a per capita income of $18,000 a year, but it's now home to high tech production for the next generation of widebody aircraft.
The video below, filmed by me and created by Spirt AeroSystems, shows what all the buzz is about, and even includes a Noth Cah-line-ah accent....
Spirit starting this month is beginning to build Airbus A350 cabin and wing components at its new centre of excellence in Kinston.
Officials held a grand opening ceremony on 1 July, with Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders commenting that Kinston will see more work from Airbus in the future, potentially from the US Air Force's KC-X tanker program, should Airbus win.
At full capacity, the 46,468m2 (500,000ft2) facility, adjacent to the Kinston Regional Jetport, could manufacture10-13 cabin sections and forward wing spar components per month, says Enders. The A350's cabin will be built in three sections by three different manufacturers, with each section composed of four or more composite panels, a fundamentally different approach to construction than Boeing used for the 787 with its four barrel sections.
Below is a video of some of the robotic machinery dancing to the beat of composite cabin panels being built up...
Airbus is building three variants of the A350, with the 315-passenger -900 version to enter service mid-2013, followed by the 276-passenger A350-800 in mid-2014 and the 379-passenger A350-1000 at the end of 2015. The company has 535 orders for the aircraft, three from private customers. Airbus is promising a 25% lower fuel burn per seat basis versus compared to the Boeing 777, an aircraft the A350 will compete with, along with older Boeing 747s and the 787.
Below is a presentation provided by Spirit.