Airbus has successfully performed certification testing to demonstrate the A350 XWB’s ability to operate on wet runways.
During water-ingestion tests at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base in the south of France (where a number of the Dassault company’s factories are also located), MSN4, one of the flight-test Airbus A350-900 jets, traveled through a trough containing at least a 22-millimeter (0.9-inch) depth of water.
The A350-900 traveled through the trough at a variety of speeds, starting at 60 knots (111 kilometers per hour) and successively increasing to around 140 knots (259 kilometers per hour).
This test validates how the aircraft would behave on a very rain-soaked runway, and verifies that neither the water under the aircraft nor the spray generated by the nose landing gear will enter the engines or auxiliary power unit, according to Airbus.
For the tests, the water trough was created by inserting rubber strips in the runway’s surface grooves in order to retain a pool of water. This pool measured 100 meters (328 feet) long by 29 meters (95 feet) wide.
The aircraft performed several runs in order to test various situations, including the use of reverse thrust while passing through the water trough. The results will be analyzed by the Airbus Design Office, which will extrapolate them to predict a variety of typical operational scenarios.
According to the manufacturer, certification testing of the Airbus A350 XWB is progressing well, and the initial A350-900 version is on track for certification in the third quarter of 2014.
Certification will then be followed by entry into service of the first customer A350-900 with Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter of this year.
The first four A350-900s have together accumulated around 1,600 flight-test hours and more than 350 flights.
A fifth aircraft, MSN5, will join the flight-test fleet in the coming weeks, according to Airbus.