Airbus has started producing the first fuselage barrel for the A350 at the company's Spanish plant in Illescas.

It says the barrel, for section 19 of the airframe, will be 5.5m (18ft) long. Section 19 is located in the rear cone of the fuselage, below the vertical fin.

"The majority of the A350 fuselage is made from long carbon-fibre panels which are easier to manufacture and to assemble than barrel sections," says the airframer.

"However for the rear part of the fuselage, which is tapered, Airbus has selected a barrel as being the optimum structure."

 A350 barrel

 A350 fuselage diagram
 © Airbus

Airbus is aiming to achieve service entry of the A350 in 2013.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news