Airbus A350 XWB completes Route Proving tour

The composites-intensive Airbus A350 XWB, following a 14-city world Route Proving tour, is expected to receive Type Certification in third quarter 2014.

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Airbus (Toulouse, France) reported on Aug. 14 that its all-new A350-900 XWB has successfully completed a series of Route Proving trials, receiving an enthusiastic welcome at each of the 14 cities it has visited over the past three weeks. At the technical Route Proving the aircraft must demonstrate its readiness for airline operations on a global scale. This last series of trials is required for Type Certification, which is expected in Q3 this year.

The A350 XWB completed its Route Proving after landing in Toulouse, France, on Aug. 13, arriving from Helsinki, Finland. The exercise took the flight test aircraft, MSN 005, across the globe on a 20-day trip flying over the North Pole, each ocean and stopping at 14 major international airports worldwide. During its tour, the aircraft flew approximately 81,700 nm/151,300 km in some 180 flight hours, with all flights performing on schedule. The aircraft was operated by Airbus flight crews as well as Qatar flight crews on the route from Doha to Perth, Moscow and Helsinki. The Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency also participated and flew the aircraft on two legs.

A major highlight was the trip from Johannesburg Tambo International Airport, located at 5,558 ft/1,694m above sea level, to Sydney, demonstrating the A350’s performance at high-altitude airports. The flights from Johannesburg to Sydney and Auckland to Santiago de Chile demonstrated also its capability to fly ultra-long-haul routes or Extended-Range Twin Operations (ETOPS).

“The aircraft has performed remarkably well confirming the high level of maturity that it has been demonstrating all the way during our development and certification tests. We are set for the Type Certification in the coming weeks, as planned,” says Fernando Alonso, senior vice president Flight & Integration Tests, and added, “I truly believe that the aircraft is fit to enter into service and perform to the expectations of our customers.”

The technical Route Proving started on July 24 in Toulouse and comprised the following destinations: Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong-Kong. On the third trip, the aircraft visited Johannesburg, Sydney, Auckland, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo. The fourth and final journey included Perth followed by Doha, Moscow and Helsinki.