First Airbus A350 Flies

A350_XWB_MSN1_TAKE_OFFThe first Airbus A350 XWB, which the manufacturer claims is the world’s most efficient large twin-engined commercial aircraft, made its maiden flight from Toulouse Blagnac Airport, France at 10:00 local time.  An international crew of six is on board, comprising two Flight Test Pilots, one Test Flight Engineer and three Flight Test Engineers took the aircraft for a test flight over southern France.
At the controls of the A350 XWB, equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofans, was 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.  At their flight test stations in the main aircraft cabin and monitoring the progress of the flight via an extensive array of flight test instrumentation are 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.
This first flight marks the beginning of a 2,500 flight hour test programme using a fleet of five development aircraft which will lead to the certification of the A350-900 variant by the European EASA and US FAA airworthiness authorities.  Airbus aims to have the first aircraft in service with launch customer Qatar Airways in the second half of 2014.
The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in three-class layouts.  To date the A350 XWB has already won 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide.