A350 XWB flight testing is on schedule

Airbus' four A350 XWB flight test aircraft have accumulated about 1,600 total flight hours in more than 350 test flights. A fifth plane is about the join the fleet ahead of entry into service in fourth quarter 2014.

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Airbus (Toulouse, France) reports that its test program for the all-new A350 XWB commercial aircraft — consisting of manufacturer’s serial numbers MSN1, MSN2, MSN3 and MSN4 — have already accumulated approximately 1,600 total flight hours in more than 350 test flights. In the coming weeks, MSN5 — the final flight test A350 XWB jetliner and second to be equipped with a cabin — will join the other planes in the lineup. 

Paving the way for the A350 XWB’s planned certification and subsequent fourth-quarter service entry with Qatar Airways this year, the flight-test program is scheduled to last just more than 12 months and accumulate approximately 2,500 flight hours, with specific duties assigned to each of Airbus’ five developmental A350 XWB aircraft: 

  • MSN1: Initial handling qualities; natural icing campaign; systems and powerplant testing.
  • MSN3: High altitude (in Bolivia) and cold weather (in Canada) testing; performance measurement; hot and cold weather campaigns; systems and powerplant testing.
  • MSN2: Cabin certification testing; early long flights; in-flight entertainment (IFE); cabin hot and cold tests, including the aircraft’s current visit to the McKinley Climatic Lab in Florida, USA.
  • MSN4: External noise and lightning tests; avionics development and certification; training for first customer pilot and maintenance teams.
  • MSN5: Cabin operability training; route-proving; ETOPS (Extended range Twin Operations) certification.