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The first A350 XWB to fly has landed back at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, France, after successfully completing its first flight that lasted four hours and five minutes.
The aircraft was flown by Peter Chandler, Airbus’ Chief Test Pilot, and Guy Magrin, Project Pilot for the A350 XWB. Accompanying them in the cockpit was Pascal Verneau, the A350 XWB Project Test Flight Engineer. Monitoring the progress of the flight profile were the three flight test engineers; Fernando Alonso, Head of Airbus Flight & Integration Test Centre; Patrick du Ché, Head of Development Flight Tests; and Emanuele Costanzo, lead Flight Test Engineer for the Trent XWB engine.
Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier said, “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.” He added: “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.”
For its first flight, the A350 XWB, carrying the registration F-WXWB, took off at around 221 tonnes. During the flight, which took the aircraft around south western France, the crew explored the aircraft’s flight envelope. The aircraft was accompanied by a chase plane to observe and film the various manoeuvres. Its progress was monitored by experts on the ground in real-time via a direct telemetry link. This maiden flight marks the beginning of a rigorous test flight campaign involving five A350s, and around 2,500 flight hours. It will culminate in the aircraft’s certification followed by its entry into airline service in the second half of 2014 with first operator Qatar Airways.
The A350 XWB is the all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in spacious three-class layouts. The new family will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25 per cent less fuel and providing an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions. To date the A350 XWB has already won 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide.
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