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First flight launches 2,500 hour A350 flight test campaign

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 15, 2013

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.

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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.”

Takeoff for A350 MSN001. (Airbus)

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.

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“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.”

MSN001 in flight. (Airbus)

Airbus estimates a crowd of 50,000 staff, invited guests, dignitaries and media watched the first flight.

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7 Comments

  • John N

    says:

    The A350 is certainly a very good looking aircraft, very sleek, I like the look of the blended winglets.

    For Airbus sake I hope the flight test program goes well, I could imagine the Boeing Exec’s looking at this video were probably squirming in their seats!

    And one little interesting bit, at the 3.35 point on the video, there is a ‘Jetstar’ A320 parked in the background as the flight crew reaches the bottom of the stairs, are you taking note Qantas? Maybe its an omen!!

    Cheers,

    John N

  • Ron

    says:

    Go you sexy thing!

  • Sam

    says:

    Looks very 787 to me

  • Colin

    says:

    Great first flight presentation, beautiful bird.

  • Mark (different to above)

    says:

    Oh this aircraft will be a step or two ahead of the B787, cannot wait to fly on A350-900. Now if only Qantas would think growth and order some (dreams are free).

  • Red Barron

    says:

    Good looking aircraft. To me I think it looks more sleek than the 787. Does anyone know the seating layout being an Extra wide body?

  • Callum

    says:

    @ Mark

    Sadly I think Qantas management have forgotten what growth is… Slash and burn looks to be the embedded mantra in that organisation – oh and lets not forget their love child JetStar.

    As for the A350, yes it looks very sleek; It does have similar lines to the B787 – but I do think both these aircraft will revolutionise the industry over that ugly behemoth the A380.

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