First Flying A380 Composite Vertical Tail Plane Arrives In Toulouse

25 June 2004

The vertical tail plane (VTP) for the first flying A380 has arrived at the Jean-Luc Lagardere final assembly hall in Toulouse, France

The 14.1 metre high and 12.9 metre wide VTP left Airbus’ Hamburg facility and was transported on a Beluga Super Transporter aircraft following a two-and-a-half hour flight. This journey by air to the Jean-Luc Lagardère site is the VTP’s third and final transportation.

Assembled at Airbus’ Stade facility, in Germany the vertical tail plane travelled first by road and then via the River Elbe to Hamburg, where it was finally painted and prepared for the Beluga flight.

The component’s height means that it needed to be transported as two separate parts. The VTP’s lower rudder was separated and loaded into the Beluga alongside the main body of the tail plane.

Upon its arrival, the component was loaded on to a multi purpose transportation vehicle for the short journey from the Beluga transfer station to the Jean-Luc Lagardère site.

The VTP on the A380 was produced by HITCO Carbon Composites using a rib truss structures processed using hand layup of carbon/ epoxy prepreg.

The A380's tail, at 14m/45 ft high and 13m/42 ft long at the root, will be the largest commercial aircraft tail in the air. The highly loaded structure incorporates a number of composite components, including pultruded profiles, resin-infused spars and automatic tape layed outer skins.

Stade delivered its first A380 VTP, for the static test aircraft, in April this year. The unpainted component was sent directly to Toulouse by road.

The A380 tail plane integrates the aircraft’s rudder system, manufactured at Airbus’ plant in Puerto Real, Spain, as well as leading and trailing edge sub-assemblies produced by Japanese supplier Fuji Heavy Industries.

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