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Innovative Honeywell helps to curb A380 weight

Honeywell is helping Airbus keep the weight of the A380 down with a range of innovative technologies, including composite wheels, electromagnetic thrust reversers and a solid-state power distribution system.

Eric Hinson, Honeywell's vice-president Aerospace Europe, Middle East, Africa and CIS, says that the company has 13 new systems flying on the A380.

"Some systems, like the electromagnetic thrust reversers are a first for a commercial aircraft," Hinson says. "We are meeting our objectives on all the A380 components. It has been a challenging programme, but we are confident that we will be ready for the aircraft's entry into service."

Although the A380's maiden flight was completed on conventional aluminium wheels, Honeywell and Dunlop Aerospace delivered the first set of composite wheels in time for the aircraft's crucial rejected take-off (RTO) tests. This is the first time metal-matrix composite (MMC) wheels and high-density carbon brakes have been used on a commercial transport.

There was no delay with the Honeywell E-TRAS electromagnetic thrust reverser, which offers a big weight saving over hydraulic actuators. The system was used on engines two and three during the inaugural flight to bring the A380 to a stop on landing.

Another weight saving has been chalked up with the Canadian-developed all sold state SEPDS secondary electronic power distribution system. This has no circuit breakers and provides additional benefits in terms of load management, fault isolation, diagnostic health monitoring, and the flexibility to accommodate modifications and system upgrades.

The Honeywell AESS aircraft environmental surveillance system also combines the functions of the weather radar, enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS) and transponder into a single box, so saving weight and space.
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