Airbus’s A350 XWB program has kicked off a 2,500 hour flight test program with a successful first flight on June 14.
A350-900 MSN001 F-WXWB took off from Runway 32 Left from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport at 1000 local time, landing four hours and five minutes later at 1405 after a near flawless first flight that saw the aircraft’s flight envelope explored up to Mach 0.80 and 25,000ft.
The flight was piloted by Airbus’s chief test pilot Peter Chandler and A350 project pilot Guy Magrin. Also on the flightdeck was A350 test flight engineer Pascal Verneau while three flight test engineers were also onboard, Fernando Alonso, head of Airbus’s Flight & Integration Test Centre; Patrick du Ché, head of development flight tests; and Emanuele Costanzo, lead flight test engineer for the A350’s Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine.
“It was ready to fly and it wanted to fly. It was clearly much happier in the air,” Chandler remarked after the flight. “It felt more like an aircraft at the end of its flight-test program than one on its first flight.”
Another four A350s will join MSN001 in the flight test program, as part of a 12 to 14 month flight test program, leading to certification and first delivery to launch operator Qatar Airways in the second half of 2014.
“I congratulate the whole A350 XWB development team for having completed the first flight preparation in a record time. I also wish to thank the first flight crew today for taking this aircraft where it wants to be – in the sky,” Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier said.
“I would also like to extend my gratitude to all our teams in the design offices, at programme and manufacturing level, the ground crews as well as our colleagues in airlines and suppliers and many others who helped define this all-new aircraft. The A350 XWB which has flown today, integrating the latest available technologies, is now entering the final stage of its development. And it is ready. Ready to head towards certification and entry-into-service in the second half of next year.”
Airbus estimates a crowd of 50,000 staff, invited guests, dignitaries and media watched the first flight.