Aviation News

June 14, 2013

Airbus Successfully Completes First A350 Flight

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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A350 First Flight Takeoff

In the early morning hours of Friday, Airbus A350 “MSN1” climbed into the skies over Toulouse for the very first time. The first flight, just days before the 50th Paris Air Show, is a huge milestone in the A350 program, which is the latest widebody aircraft in the Airbus family.

Much like the Boeing 787, the Airbus A350 has ditched traditional materials, and instead is produced with a combination of composite materials, with titanium and advanced aluminum alloys, as well as a carbon fibre reinforced plastic fuselage. Airbus is claiming a 25% boost in fuel efficiency compared to its competitors, thanks in part to its two new Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

The A350 conducts a low pass over the runway at Toulouse during its first flight.

The A350 conducts a low pass over the runway at Toulouse during its first flight.

The A350 program has been relatively low key in the media. After the 787 battery malfunctions, Airbus decided to swap out the lithium ion batteries in the A350, instead option for traditional nickel cadmium batteries for entry into service. However, this does not rule out the possibility of switching to lithium ion in the future.

“This first flight marks the beginning of a test campaign totaling around 2,500 flight hours with a fleet of five development aircraft. The rigorous flight testing will lead to the certification of the A350-900 variant by the European EASA and US FAA airworthiness authorities, prior to entry into service in the second half of 2014 with first operator Qatar Airways,” said Airbus via press release.

A350 First Flight air to air shot. Credit: Airbus Youtube Video

A350 First Flight air to air shot. Credit: Airbus Youtube Video

There are currently 613 orders for the A350, though that number is likely to change during the Paris Air Show. In the United States, US Airways has 22 ordered (18 for the A350-800, and 4 for the larger A350-900), United has ordered 25 A350-900’s, and Hawaiian has ordered 6 of the 800 variant.

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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