Airbus A350 XWB takes its first flight

Friday, June 14, 2013

Toulouse, France: The world’s most efficient large twin-engined commercial aircraft, A350 XWB, powered aloft this morning at Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 10.00 hours local time marking a new chapter in Airbus’ 43 year history. The A350 XWB, equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofans, took its maiden flight over south western France.

The international crew on board comprises two Flight Test Pilots, one Test Flight Engineer and three Flight Test Engineers. Peter Chandler, Airbus’ Chief Test Pilot, and Guy Magrin, Project Pilot for the A350 XWB are at the controls of the A350 XWB’s first flight. Accompanying them in the cockpit is Pascal Verneau, the A350 XWB Project Test Flight Engineer. 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 are at their flight test stations in the main aircraft cabin monitoring the progress of the flight via an extensive array of flight test instrumentation.

This first flight marks the beginning of a test campaign totaling around 2,500 flight hours with a fleet of five development aircraft. This rigorous flight testing will lead to the certification of the A350-900 variant by the European EASA and the US FAA airworthiness authorities

Seating between 270 and 350 passengers in spacious three-class layouts, the A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions. 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, and will enter into service in the second half of 2014 with first operator Qatar Airways.