Spirit produces first A350 centre fuselage crown

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Production of the Airbus A350 has reached a further milestone with production of the first panel making up the longest section of the airliner's carbon-fibre fuselage.

The 19.7m-long, 77m² centre fuselage crown panel was produced and cured by Spirit Aerosystems at its Kinston, North Carolina plant. Over the next few weeks it will be trimmed, drilled and undergo non-destructive inspection.

The Kinston plant, which was officially opened in July, will design and manufacture the composite centre fuselage upper and lower shells and front wing spar for the A350.

Production of the centre fuselage panel follows September's curing of the first forward fuselage section crown panel by Premium Aerotech at Nordenham in Germany.

The A350 will have slightly more than 50% of its weight composed of carbon fibre composites. Final assembly of the first A350-900 is due to start next year, with service entry scheduled for 2013.