Second A350 XWB Completes First Flight

 - October 14, 2013, 9:44 AM
Airbus A350 MSN 3 takes off from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport for its first test flight. (Photo: Airbus)

The second flying prototype of the Airbus A350 XWB took to the air for the first time Monday morning and landed at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France shortly after 2:30 p.m. local time. Airbus test pilots Frank Chapman and Thierry Bourges flew A350 XWB test aircraft MSN 3 for some five hours, while flight-test engineers monitored the progress of the flight profile.

The milestone flight comes a week after Airbus drew its first A350 order from Japan and its first-ever order from Japan Airlines. The $9.5 billion order covers 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s and includes options on another 25 of the mostly composite widebodies.

The first A350 XWB to fly (MSN1) took off on June 14, and has now logged some 330 test hours during almost 70 flights. The test regime has included identification and freeze of all flap and slat configurations, loads and aeroelastic testing and evaluation of handling characteristics and systems operation throughout the operational envelope. Plans five A350 test aircraft to fly 2,500 hours before expected type certification.

Airbus now won firm orders for 725 A350s from 37 customers worldwide. It plans to deliver the first production example to Qatar Airways in the second half of next year.