MCDONNELL DOUGLAS (MDC) has begun production of the first MD-11 fuselage barrels at its Long Beach assembly site, following transfer of the work from General Dynamics' Convair division in San Diego, California.

Production of the fuselage sections, 5.5m in diameter and 18.3m in length, was transferred to Long Beach after General Dynamics announced its withdrawal from the contract in mid-1994.

MDC had begun selecting a replacement subcontractor and site before a cost-reduction plan was agreed between unions, utilities and state and local governments, allowing the work to go to Douglas Aircraft at Long Beach.

"Convair has accelerated barrel production so that a number of shipsets are available to keep the production line going while we get up to speed," says the company.

Local production of the sections began with the loading of aluminium frames and skins into an assembly jig for a section of the forward, lower quarter of the aircraft. Full production will be phased in over the next two months and the first Long Beach-built fuselage will be ready in May 1996.

General Dynamics has sold the design authority and product-support responsibilities for the Convair CV200/300/ 400/ 500 and 600 series to Tracor Flight Systems of Austin, Texas.


Source: Flight International