Fuel System Of Airbus A380

free essayAirbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer. Due to its attentive attitude towards customers, commercial know-how, leadership in technology, and production efficiency, the company became a leader in the global aviation industry. Airbus consistently receives half of all orders for the construction of new aircrafts. The company continues to improve its activities and expand the range of products successfully spreading the experience on military programs. The range of the company has a large number of aircrafts. Airbus A380 is one of them. It is a double-decker wide-body jet airliner. Nowadays, Airbus A380 is the biggest passenger aircraft in exploitation. It can make non-stop flights for a distance of more than 15,000 kilometers (Altfeld, 2010). To implement such long flights, the plane is equipped with the modern and well-developed fuel system.

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Airbus’ headquarters is located in Toulouse, France. The author Graham Simons (2014) states that “it was formed by the government initiative between France, Germany, and the UK that originated in 1967 and was intended to be a consortium of European aviation firms to compete with American companies such as Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, and Lockheed” (p. 7). It is a fully global company, which has about 52,000 employees in staff (Kazda & Caves, 2015). The composition of the company also includes its subsidiaries in Japan, China, and the United States; the centers of logistics in many countries; and 130 offices located throughout the world in order to ensure a linear operation of aircrafts. To produce A380, numerous companies in 16 states cooperate together. The range of universal and modern production of Airbus is composed of four aircraft collections of high demand. They include the family of single-aisle aircrafts A318, A319, A320, and A321; wide-body twin-engine family of A300 and A310; the family of long-range wide-body aircrafts A330, A340, and A350; and the family of long-haul double-decker high-capacity A380 aircrafts (Moir & Seabridge, 2012). Every year, Airbus develops its existing planes.
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Airbus A380 entered into commercial operation in 2007. In the book Aircraft Fuel Systems, it is affirmed that “the aircraft entered service with Singapore Airlines in October 2007 configured with a three-class cabin having a total capacity of 550 passengers” (Langton, Clark, Hewitt & Richards, 2009, p. 301). It is considered the most advanced, spacious, and efficient long-haul aircraft in the world. Airbus A380 is the largest serial passenger airliner in the world. Its height is 24.08 meters, length – 72.75 meters, and wingspan – 79.75 meters (Moir Seabridge & Jukes, 2013). The capacity of the aircraft is 525 passengers in three classes and 853 passengers in one-class configuration (Appleton, 2013). To date, A380 is the largest passenger airliner in the world exceeding the capacity of the Boeing 747, which can only carry up to 525 passengers (Appleton, 2013). It should be noted that Boeing 747 was the largest passenger liner for 36 years.

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According to the developers, the most difficult part in the creation of this plane was the problem of reducing its weight. It was solved due to the extensive use of composite materials in power structural components as well as in auxiliary aggregates, interiors, and others. To reduce the weight of the aircraft, advanced technologies and improved aluminum alloys were also used. Thus, the center section with the weight of eleven tons consists of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics up to 40% of its mass (Appleton, 2013). The top and the sides of the fuselage panel are made of hybrid materials. Moreover, laser welding of stringers and cladding is applied on the bottom panel of the fuselage. This fact has significantly reduced the number of fasteners.

Another difficult task that the company faced was connected with the ability of the aircraft to perform long flights. The fuel supply control system of A380 had to be able to securely manage with any problem within the whole structure that consists of 43 valves, 21 pumps, and many other mechanical components (MathWorks, n.d.). In such a difficult system, the engineers faced complicated situations at the phase of setting requirements. A complicated task consisted in forecasting various challenges, which might be a mixture of minor malfunctions.

How It Works


The use of new ideas and technologies has always been one of the main components of the success of Airbus. In the book Airbus A380, it is stated that “Airbus had pushed its way into the commercial aircraft market using advanced technology as one of its trump cards” (Norris & Wagner, 2005, p. 61). This European aircraft company has extensive experience in the successful implementation of new scientific and technological achievements. The Airbus Company applied model-based design with an aim of stimulating the A380 control system of fuel, the validation demands, and the accurate cooperation of the functional specifications. The engineers of the company applied Stateflow and Simulink to modeling control system logic that includes more than 8600 transitions, about 6,000 states, and 45 cards of the highest level (MathWorks, n.d.). Such a model determines the control regimes on the ground including ground transference, fuel draining, and refueling. This model also defines the control regimes during the flight including facilitation of loading, optimal power supply of the engines, discharge of fuel, and monitoring of the center of gravity. The functionality of every high-level regime is aggregated into separate cards. This fact allows the developers to operate independently on every component part in the hierarchy of the system.

A team of engineers has produced parameterized patterns of the objects in the direction of pumps, electronic parts, valves, and tanks with the use of Simulink. In the book Flying the Airbus A380, it is stated that “all fuel on A380 is carried in tanks in the wings, with the exception of a small trim tank in the horizontal stabilizer at the rear of the aircraft” (Vogel, 2012, p. 128). Developers were able to install the parameters for setting of these patterns in order to produce the fuel system of every Airbus aircraft. After running the enclosed simulations of every active component part in Simulink, the engineers have desegregated them into a common pattern for simulation at the system-defined level. The team of engineers implemented a simulation using the method of Monte Carlo on the basis of the cluster with 50 workstations (MathWorks, n.d.). These stations were able to produce in just several days 100,000 simulations of flights in various aircraft operating scenarios and environmental conditions.

The team of developers produced a desktop simulator due to the process of generating the code from the control logic and patterns of facility management with the help of Simulink Coder. The user interface allowed support engineers, aircraft customers, suppliers, and other team members to render the operation of the fuel management system of Airbus and collaboration with other systems. The team also used the Simulink model to elaborate hardware, software, and exercised tests on the equipment based on HIL in order to get access to the real equipment and obtain the acceptable quality.

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After successful experimental flights on A380, the team applied the System Identification Toolbox for customization of the management pattern of the object with the use of measured data (MathWorks, n.d.). To remove noise from the experimental data, Signal Processing Toolbox was also used. Lastly, the engineers applied Curve Fitting Toolbox in estimating the inequality between the modeled and measured results as well as in modeling the behavior of the system in non-established conditions.

Anyway, the application of the fuel system with the training layout of aircraft control system took up to nine months. With the help of the model-based design applied in A380, it tooks less than a month (MathWorks, n.d.). In a similar manner, due to the multiple usages of the model during the implementation of the equipment tests in the HIL mode, it saves several months of the development, and some more time from the first concept to the first flight was reduced as well.

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The aircraft can operate on the mixture of GTL (gas to liquids) containing natural gas and jet fuel (MathWorks, n.d.). One of the four engines of A380 uses a mixture of kerosene and GTL fuel delivered by shell. The aircraft does not require any improvements for the usage of GTL fuel, which is intended for mixing with conventional jet fuel. Besides, GTL does not have sulfur compounds. In such a way, it favorably distinguishes from conventional kerosene.

Airbus is one of the leading aircraft companies in the world. Despite the fact that the company’s headquarters is located in France, many others countries are involved in the production of the planes. There are several families in the range of the company. Airbus A380 is considered to be the most advanced, spacious, and efficient long-haul aircraft in the world. It is a double-decker wide-body jet airliner, which can make non-stop flights for a distance of about 15,000 kilometers. The team of engineers has developed the fuel system of A380 with the use of model-based design. Airbus creates new standards of quality by introducing the latest technologies and design solutions within the airplane A380 production. Creating such a liner sets the level of technology development for all main civil aircraft companies.