The Airbus A350-900 has successfully completed a series of route proving trials after visiting 14 cities over the past three weeks. At the technical route proving stage the aircraft must demonstrate its readiness for airline operations on a global scale. This last series of trials is required for type certification, which is expected in Q3 this year.
The A350 XWB completed its route proving after landing in Toulouse, France on August 13th (17:00 UTC) arriving from Helsinki, Finland. The exercise took the flight test aircraft, MSN 005, across the globe on a 20-day trip flying over the North Pole, each ocean and stopping at 14 major international airports world-wide. Airbus says the aircraft flew approximately 81,700 nm (151,300km) in some 180 flight hours during its tour: “with all flights performing on schedule.” The aircraft was operated by Airbus flight crews as well as Qatar flight crews on the route from Doha to Perth, Moscow and Helsinki. The Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency also participated and flew the aircraft on two legs.
Airbus describes major the trip from Johannesburg Tambo International Airport, located at 5,558 feet (1,694m) above sea level, to Sydney, as a “major highlight” because it demonstrated the A350’s performance at high altitude airports. The automatic landing capability of the A350 XWB was also successfully demonstrated during a local flight performed at Johannesburg. These were followed by flights from Johannesburg to Sydney and Auckland to Santiago de Chile which demonstrated its capability to fly ultra-long-haul routes or Extended range Twin Operations (ETOPS).
“The aircraft has performed remarkably well confirming the high level of maturity that it has been demonstrating all the way during our development and certification tests. “We are set for the Type Certification in the coming weeks, as planned”, said Fernando Alonso, Senior Vice President Flight and Integration Tests.”
The technical route proving commenced on July 24th in Toulouse/France and comprised the following destinations: Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong-Kong. On the third trip, the aircraft visited Johannesburg, Sydney, followed by Auckland, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo. The fourth and final journey included Perth followed by Doha, Moscow and Helsinki.
The A350 XWB Family comprises three versions from 276 to 369 seats and as of the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.