Big pumps, big plane

Aug. 21, 2003
Eaton Corp. has introduced the world's first 5,000-psi hydraulic pump for commercial aircraft on the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane.

Eaton Corp., Jackson, Miss. (web.eaton.com), has introduced the world's first 5,000-psi hydraulic pump for commercial aircraft on the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane. The pump is said to save weight by reducing the diameter of the hydraulic fluid lines and size of components that operate the craft's primary flight-control system. “By elevating the hydraulic system pressure standard for commercial passenger aircraft from 3,000 to 5,000 psi, Eaton and Airbus will be able to reduce aircraft weight, increase reliability, and improve operational performance,” says Craig Arnold, senior vice president and group executive for Eaton's fluid-power business.

The pumps will provide fluid power to the craft's primary flight controls, landing gear, nose-wheel steering, and other utility systems. The high-pressure pumps will be the first commercial units designed to mechanically disengage from the main engine gearbox, preventing fluid contamination from entering the hydraulic system. The total system includes eight engine-driven hydraulic pumps per craft and four 5,000-psi ac-motor pumps with associated electronic controls and protection systems. The first flight of the A380 with the new hydraulic system will be in late 2004 with commercial service beginning in 2006.

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