The brand new A350 XWB from Airbus, MSN1, has taken to the air for the first time from Toulouse today. This new aircraft is taking the fight to Boeing and the 787 as it looks to set the standard for passenger comfort.
With over 50,000 viewers watching live around the world the A350 XWB took to the air to carry out the first of many flight tests before the aircraft is certified for deliveries to airlines.
The plan to get the aircraft in the air before the Paris Air Show has been achieved, just in time and no doubt the show will be full of news of increased orders!
The first flight test has included general handling of the aeroplane with its landing gear down and flaps and slats extended in a variety of configurations. This was also a precaution just in case there where any issues during the first part of the flight.
Once the MSN1 flight crew where happy the landing gear was raised and the aircraft cleaned up to allow them to increase speed up from 250 knots and then up to 0.8 Mach and up to an altitude of 25,000 feet for further testing.
Before and during the flight the aircraft is monitored by over 100 engineers in six Telemetry Rooms.
One of the main points to notice with the A350 is how quiet the aircraft is with the Rolls Royce XWB engines. The other is the new composite wing shape, offering increased lift with less weight throughout the airframe structure.
Two of the five test A350 aircraft will be fitted out with cabin seating. The Extra Wide Body Airbus is offering a cabin that is 5 inches wider than the 787 allowing a 9 abreast 18 inch economy seating.configuration. Mood lighting, more space and larger overhead lockers will all go to trying to keep the new Airbus setting the standards for wide body aircraft.
From the presentation today by Airbus they certainly have shown they are leading the way at the moment in airline construction and specifications.
The proof will be achieving delivery dates and standards for its airline customers.