Airbus A350 XWB begins final phases of flight testing

The composites-intensive A350-900 XWB is beginning Route Proving tests that include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials and airport turnaround and handling services, before certification later this year.

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Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on July 24 that its all-new A350-900 has entered the final stage of testing on the way towards certification. The Route Proving tests are designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials and airport turnaround and handling services. Some flights will have passengers on board. The A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole.

The world tour using A350 MSN5 test aircraft forms part of the route proving for certification campaign. The aircraft (MSN5) is one of the fleet of five test aircraft and one of two with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). The A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for third quarter of this year. The first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, will follow towards the end of the year.

The three-week trial (four trips) starts in Toulouse, France. Trip one, includes destinations such as Canada via the north-pole and Frankfurt. Trip two to Asia, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, includes visits to Hong Kong and Singapore. The third trip brings the aircraft to Johannesburg and to Sydney. From Sydney it will fly to Auckland, followed by Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo before returning to Toulouse. On the fourth and final trip, the A350 will depart from Toulouse to Doha, then onto Perth and back to Doha. From Doha it will fly to Moscow, then to Helsinki from where it will fly back to Toulouse.

Today five development A350s are flying and are actively involved in the intensive flight test program, which has already reached more than 540 flights and 2,250 flight hours.