Airbus has successfully completed the “Early Long Flight” campaign of its A350 XWB. The tests involved two flights with passengers operated consecutively by Air France and Lufthansa cabin crews on June 2nd and June 3rd.
Early Long Flights are an important step towards the A350 gaining entry into service. Though not part of the technical certification programme, these flights allow Airbus to assess the cabin environment and systems in flight ahead of final certification to ensure that airlines will benefit from a fully mature aircraft from day one of commercial operations.
Both A350 XWB Early Long Flights took off from and landed in Toulouse, France. The first flight, a daytime flight, took place on Monday 2nd June and lasted seven hours, while the second one, an overnight flight lasting 12 hours, left Toulouse on Tuesday 3rd June and landed on 4th June.
During the flights, 500 passengers, comprising Airbus employees, and 30 cabin experts from Airbus and equipment manufacturers, were first to experience the A350 XWB interior. During the flights these early passengers were tasked to try out and test the A350 XWB cabin systems, including air conditioning, lighting, acoustics, in-flight entertainment (IFE), galleys, electrics, toilets and water waste systems.
The Early Long Flights were carried out with MSN2, one of the two A350 XWB test aircraft fitted with a cabin and which seats 252 passengers in a business and economy layout. These flights were operated as any standard airline service.
The A350 XWB’s certification testing is progressing well, according to Airbus, and is on track for certification in Q3 2014, to be followed by entry into service in Q4. The first four A350s now flying have together accumulated around 1900 Flight test hours and over 440 flights. The flight-test fleet will be completed with the fifth aircraft, MSN005, in the coming weeks.
The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions covering a range of capacities from 276 to 369 seats, and with a 221in-wide internal cabin cross-section. At the end of May 2014, the A350 XWB had won 812 orders from 39 customers worldwide.