On Jan. 2 Airbus (Toulouse, France) rolled out its third A350 XWB flight-test aircraft, MSN2, from the paint shop in Toulouse, marking another milestone on the path to entry-into-service in fourth quarter 2014. In addition to its distinctive carbon signature livery to reflect its primary construction from advanced materials, this aircraft is also the first of two A350 XWB flight test aircraft to be equipped with a full passenger cabin interior.
MSN2 will join the A350 XWB flight test fleet in the coming weeks and will be the first A350 to transport passengers when it undertakes the Early Long Flights (ELF) later in the year.
Composite materials in Airbus aircraft have seen a step-by-step introduction that started with the A310 which was first rolled out in February 1982. Benefiting from more than 30 years of composite material experience, 53 percent of the A350 XWB’s airframe is made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), including Airbus’ first carbon fiber fuselage.
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The project’s goal is to reduce product development and certification timelines by 30 percent for composite aircraft.