LYON, France—Airbus Customer Services is offering an inflatable tent for engine maintenance to provide better working conditions to perform an on-wing job in adverse weather when the conventional hangar is occupied.
It is available now for the A380, and Airbus is planning to test it on the A350 and the A320neo in the coming weeks.
“We received a request from an A380 customer,” Eric Rivière, an Airbus ground support equipment designer tells Aviation Week. In fact, the basic tent was a product from Ireland-based specialist JB Roche. Airbus added a ground power unit and air conditioning.
The inflatable dome tent is oil-, acid- and hydraulic fluid-resistant. It is “bringing the hangar to the aircraft, rather than the aircraft to the hangar,” as its promoters put it. Not only can operators start a maintenance job without having to wait for better weather or available hangar space, they may also avoid costly hangar fees.
Airbus is now working on similar shelters for composite-material repair, Rivière adds. They would fit the shape of the fuselage or the wing and provide the required controlled atmosphere.