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Monthly Meeting Notification

SAMPE Orange County Meeting Notice

Wed., June 15th, 2016 at 6 p.m.

The Evolution of Composite Applications and Risk Mitigation at Airbus

Mr. Jens Hinrichsen - Project Manager
Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China


Development of composite materials, tailored composite design, tooling concepts and manufacturing processes ramped up experience at Airbus over a period thirty five (35) years. Initial steps centered on honeycomb technologies for structures like fairings and spoilers, rudders, elevators and landing flaps. Tough lessons had to be learned: Honeycomb-specific designs for elevators - which showed significant differences compared with sheet metal designs - resulted in severe flutter during high-speed certification flight testing. In addition to in-service experiences with ingress of water and hydraulic fluids, numerous damages during normal aircraft usage and difficulties with repairs concerned maintenance experts at the Airlines.

The introduction of composite materials in monolithic panels, spars and ribs characterized the next phase of ever-increasing applications, which took place at the same time as ATL (Automated Tape Laying) became the new standard for manufacturing processes, replacing hand-layup.

Airbus stepped into AFP (Automated Fiber Placement) application for manufacture of the unpressurized fuselage of A380. This large major assembly challenged also with high levels of concentrated load introductions from horizontal and vertical tail planes into the fuselage barrel.

The decision for a center wing box in composite for A380 had to wait until results from a full-scale demonstrator became available, guiding the work for structural concepts for the most critical area of any aircraft: the wing-to-body joint. Airbus A380 stands also for the inauguration of a unique material form: Fiber-Metal Laminate - known as GLARE - for fuselage skins, ultra-high barrel joints and damage-tolerant leading edges of horizontal and vertical stabilizers. The constituents are a) thin aluminum sheets and b) glass fiber prepregs. This product form is characterized by superior fatigue resistance and robustness, and, for low-cost manufacturing processes compared with AFP processes.

A380 should be regarded as the "Airbus Technology Platform" which prepared the risky step into an all-composite fuselage and composite wing torsion boxes.

Experiences from above evolutionary introduction of composite technologies at Airbus significantly lowered the risks associated with structural design, material selection and definition of manufacturing processes for Airbus A350XWB. The paramount tasks for the future will be centered on COST REDUCTION.

We are only half-way through. The tasks ahead will give a further boost to the Enhancement of Materials and Processes in the civil aerospace industry.


- After earning his master degree from Technical University Hannover, Germany, in 1978, Jens Hinrichsen begun working for the Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke - Fokker (VFW-Fokker, which is today a part of Airbus Group), in the flight physics department in the field of Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity.

- In 1988 Jens joined the German-Chinese joint venture "MPCA" in Hamburg, Germany, founded by MBB (Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm) and CATIC (China National Aero Technology Import & Export Corp.), as the assistant to the Vice President Industrial & Engineering.

- Starting in 1992, Jens Hinrichsen was in charge of the technology preparation for Airbus A380, initially as Director Technology Controlling at DASA (Deutsche Aerospace) and finally as Chairman of the TMG (Technology Management Group), for the first common technology program across all Airbus partners, namely Aerospatiale (France), British Aerospace (Great Britain), CASA (Spain) and DASA (Germany).

- Mid 1996 Jens was appointed "A380 Director Structures" at Large Aircraft Division of Airbus in Toulouse. His accountabilities during the five years of the concept phase comprised structural design concepts, preliminary sizing, systems integration, technology evaluation incl. risk assessment & risk mitigation as well as management of the technology maturity process, build & assembly concepts, and support to marketing campaigns at airlines.

- From fall 2001 through March 2004 Jens was Head of the "Component Management and Integration Team" for the A380 vertical tail plane, responsible for engineering, manufacture, supply chain management, procurement and quality.

- In 2005 Jens Hinrichsen became Aerospace-Director Product Strategy and Development at Alcoa (Aluminum Company of America), focusing on hybrid material developments.

- In July 2009 Jens founded his own consulting enterprise, Aerospace Advisory Group LLC. He dedicated his endeavor to advanced wing design for Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force, followed by consultancy for COMAC's research and design institutes in Shanghai and Beijing. Introducing Jens Hinrichsen

- Jens joined COMAC America in August 2014 as Head of Engineering & Projects.



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