As the A350 XWB continues its Route Proving tests, the international community remains in shock after the last tragic week for civil aviation globally. Although humanly tragic in its nature, each civil aviation aircraft disaster contributes to the improvement of flight safety. Airplanes are safe. The aviation industry is taking advantage of modern technology and applied innovation in the production of modern aircraft such as the A350 -900:
The world’s newest airliner, the Airbus A350-900, has took off two days ago, for the final stage towards certification. These Route Proving tests are designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services. Some flights will have passengers on board. The A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole. The world tour using A350 MSN5 test aircraft forms part of the route proving for certification campaign. The aircraft (MSN5) is one of the fleet of five test aircraft and one of two with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). The A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for Q3 this year. The first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, will follow towards the end of the year. The three week trial (four trips) starts in Toulouse, France. Trip one, includes destinations such as Canada via the north-pole and Frankfurt. Trip two to Asia, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, includes visits to Hong Kong and Singapore. The third trip brings the aircraft to Johannesburg and to Sydney. From Sydney it will fly to Auckland, followed by Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo before returning to Toulouse. On the fourth and final trip, the A350 will depart from Toulouse to Doha, then onto Perth and back to Doha. From Doha it will fly to Moscow, then to Helsinki from where it will fly back to Toulouse. Today five development A350s are flying and are actively involved in the intensive flight test programme, which has already reached over 540 flights and 2,250 flight hours. The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus Widebody product line. Offering its customers a 25% reduction in fuel-burn, the all-new mid-size long-range A350 XWB Family comprises three versions from 276 to 369 seats. The A350 has carbon fibre fuselage and wings and sets new standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.
The A350 has also confirmed its braking system’s ability to safely stop the plane, just after a sudden take-off rejection:
Airbus has successfully performed the ‘Maximum Energy Rejected Take-Off’ (MERTO) test with the A350 MSN001 on the morning of Saturday 19th July at Istres Air Force Base in France. MERTO, which follows on from the previous ‘High Energy Rejected Take-Off’ (HERTO) preparation test conducted by MSN001 two months ago, is a part of the mandatory series of tests for Certification. This latest test is to confirm the braking system’s ability to safely stop the aircraft following a rejected take-off at high speed and high weight – using a set of worn-out brakes. As these brakes absorb the kinetic energy of the aircraft, they glow bright orange and reach a temperature of around 1,400 degrees centigrade by the time the aircraft has safely come to a standstill, whereupon the tires are deflated by special fuses. According to certification requirements, the aircraft then has to stay put for five minutes unassisted, after which firefighters are allowed to spray the wheels and brakes to cool them. The Airbus Test team received full support from the “DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) – Essais en vols”, which played a key role in facilitating the test. MERTO is the A350 XWB programme’s final major test before MSN005, one of two cabin-equipped development aircraft, embarks on ‘Route Proving’ in July. The programme has to date achieved more than 2,250 flight hours in around 540 flights, and is on track for certification in Q3 and first delivery to Qatar Airways in Q4.
More importantly, Airbus had a commercially successful presence in the Farnborough Air Show, just a week ago: