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Qualification and Full-Scale Test of the Airbus A400M Barrier Net

Journal Article
ISSN: 1946-3855, e-ISSN: 1946-3901
Published October 18, 2011 by SAE International in United States
Qualification and Full-Scale Test of the Airbus A400M Barrier Net
Citation: Trafford, M., Klein, S., and Meiranke, D., "Qualification and Full-Scale Test of the Airbus A400M Barrier Net," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 4(2):710-723, 2011,
Language: English


AmSafe®, Airbus and IABG were the first in decades to undertake an ultimate forward load Full-Scale Test (FST) of a 9 g₁ Barrier Net. Barrier Nets are safety-critical products used during an emergency landing (FAR25.561/CS25.561) to protect passengers and crew. When Airbus Military required an A400M Barrier Net they identified requirements well beyond the "normal" and demanded that payloads from a rigid structure to a frangible be restrained.
AmSafe uses non-liner Finite Element Analysis (FEA) technology to analyze their nets and proposed an innovative solution for a new Barrier Net to satisfy these very demanding requirements. Given these new requirements, it was decided to also carry out a Full-Scale Test (FST). This test required the expertise of IABG, a testing facility based in Germany. The rig requirements - the capability of asymmetric loading, with a rigid and frangible payload and the unusual behavior of a textile test object - made predicting the resultant load performance on the test setup and the rig design very challenging. IABG developed a unique test setup to perform the FST up to a maximum design load of 4.2MN.
The Barrier Net was able to achieve the demanding requirements and better due to the innovative use of "Tear Webbing" (AmSafe patent pending). The Tear Webbing technology was able to share the load evenly with the aircraft attachment points. Seven tests were performed with the test-rig performing perfectly each time. The associated monitoring system provided load data for all Barrier Net attachment fittings to the aircraft, as well as total load application and distension data for the Barrier Net.
The testing confirmed that the Barrier Net could achieve all the attributes that the FEA predicted. It also confirmed that the limitations stipulated by Airbus for the airframe were met. This first-of-a-kind test - undoubtedly a step forward for safety - is a testament to all three partners that this technically challenging project was a success.