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Step by step: Constructing an aeroplane

The construction of an aircraft is one of the most technically advanced manufacturing processes. The system of building an aeroplane for one of the globe's top airlines involves numerous teams across the world working together to create the final vehicle. This is then followed up by a rigorous system of aerospace testing before the final certification is approved.

Design and planning
The major plane manufacturers employ highly skilled design engineers to create the initial designs for new aircrafts. This brings together areas including architecture integration, general design and structural design to implement ideas for all the major elements of an aeroplane.

 These employees are responsible for developing the plane's aerodynamic properties - exactly how the wings should be positioned, the fuel systems and landing gear. The initial designs will bring together all the areas of the internal systems, including the flight management systems and computational fluid dynamics. They also need to concentrate on areas such as how the inside of the cabin will function and the construction of the freight transportation holds. Their role is to assess how all these individual components will successfully work together to produce an effective and efficient aircraft.  

Building the sections
The plane's final construction is the result of a number of remote teams across the globe working together. This requires strong co-operation between the individual sites to enable sections to be delivered on time, enabling the final construction process to be completed on schedule.

The major aeroplane manufacturers have separate production facilities for the different components. The various sites have skills and expertise in specific elements of aircraft manufacture, from electronic communications and cabin management systems to pylon and propulsion systems and landing gear. The aircraft manufacturer designs the supply chain to take full advantage of these skills areas, in order to create the most technically advanced aircraft possible.

These are then brought together at a final assembly facility. The pre-assembled sections are transported via land, sea or air depending on their location and size. Here the sections are assembled and equipped, cabin furnishing and painting is carried out and the final process of testing and certification is completed.

The final assembly line consists of a number of stations, each of which is responsible for a specific element of the aircraft. Many of the areas have now become computerised and fully automated, allowing manufacturers to specify precise production schedules without the unreliability of a human workforce. Once the main sections of the fuselage are constructed, it is ready for system testing and cabin installation. The final elements include the installation of the engine, fuel and pressurisation tests, painting and flight tests.

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