VIDEO: Airbus A350 takes to the skies in maiden test flight

14 Jun 2013 by GrahamSmith

The first test flight of an Airbus A350 XWB has taken place in Toulouse.

The wide-bodied aircraft took off from Blagnac airstrip at the manufacturer's base in southern France at around 1000 local time (0900 BST) this morning.

Engineers took the plane on a four-hour flight in order to perform tests before landing back at Toulouse shortly after 1300.

Airbus A350

Last month, the A350 was rolled out of Airbus paintshop fully painted in the manufacturer's livery (see online news, May 13).

It took less than a week to paint the plane, and follows the recent completion of flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) verification.

In April, the A350 XWB underwent its engines installation, and passed a subsequent intensive phase of ground vibration tests.

The final assembly line in Toulouse - named after Roger Beteille, aviation pioneer and one of the four founding fathers of Airbus - was officially inaugurated by French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault last year (see online news, October 2013).

The 74,000 sqm assembly line employs up to 1,500 people, with launch customer Qatar Airways scheduled to take delivery of the first A350 next year.

Airbus has taken over 550 orders for the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body), with other major customers including Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Asiana, TAM, United, Aeroflot, US Airways and Singapore Airlines.

The aircraft will compete in the next-generation wide-body market with Boeing’s B787 Dreamliner.

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Graham Smith

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