The first of three Airbus A350-1000 development aircraft to fly – MSN059 – successfully completed its first flight on November 24.
The round trip from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (IATA: TLS) lasted for four hours and 18 minutes.
The cockpit crew on board the flight comprised: Hugues Van Der Stichel, Experimental Test Pilot; Frank Chapman, Experimental Test Pilot and Gerard Maisonneuve, Test-Flight Engineer. Furthermore, monitoring all the test parameters at the Flight-Test-Instrumentation (FTI) station behind the cockpit were: Patrick du Ché, Head of Flight and Integration Tests; Emanuele Costanzo, Head of A350 Development Flight Tests; and Stéphane Vaux, Flight-Test Engineer.
Powered by Rolls-Royce’s new Trent XWB-97 engines, the aircraft traversed south-western France, during which the crew explored the aircraft’s handling and flight envelope. The airliner was accompanied by a chase aircraft to observe and film the various manoeuvres. Its progress was also monitored by experts on the ground in real-time via a direct telemetry link.
Benefitting from the experience of the original A350-900 test campaign (accomplished in 2014), Airbus says the A350-1000’s development programme will be shorter – under one year for the three aircraft. MSN059’s duties for performance testing will include exploration of the flight envelope, handling qualities, loads and braking. The second aircraft to fly, MSN071, will also be tasked with performance evaluation, which will encompass braking, powerplant, systems and autopilot. The third and final aircraft to fly – MSN065 – will be equipped with a cabin and will evaluate the cabin and air systems. MSN065 will also perform the “early long flights” and route-proving. The overall campaign will culminate in the type’s certification followed by its entry into airline service in the second half of 2017 with first operator Qatar Airways – the largest A350-1000 customer to date with 37 on order. To date 11 customers from five continents have placed orders for a total of 195 A350-1000s.