Standards are the Nuts and Bolts of World's Largest Aircraft

The Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, successfully completed its maiden flight on April 27, a voyage that lasted three hours and 54 minutes, while more than 30,000 spectators looked on. According to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the mammoth plane was built with hundreds of standards developed by CEN and the European Association of Aerospace Industries-Standardization (AECMA-STAN).

“For Airbus, standards are a means to lower costs in development and production as they offer proven and tested solutions”, said Dr Ulrich Schumann-Hindenberg, the Engineering Focal Point for Standardization Policy at Airbus. “They are invaluable for our worldwide customers as they facilitate maintenance and increase reliability.”

The first flight marks the beginning of a rigorous test flight campaign involving five A380s and some 2,500 flight hours. It will culminate in the aircraft’s certification followed by its entry into airline service in the second half of 2006 with first operator Singapore Airlines. The A380 is designed to carry 555 passengers in three classes, but its occupancy can be expanded to 800 seats.

The structure, electrical systems and mechanical systems – such as valves, doors and landing gear – all contain European standards. They are used for more than 10,000 standard parts in the A380 such as rivets, screws, bolts, or electronic parts.

In the United States, aerospace standards are set by American National Standards Institute members such as SAE International, ASTM International, and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). In January 2005, AIA released The Future of Aerospace Standardization Report, which provides recommendations to strengthen the U.S. aerospace standards infrastructure to support and enable the creation, maintenance, and distribution of global aerospace standards, which are value added enablers for the industry.

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