The fifth flight-test Airbus A350-900 has completed a series of route-proving trial flights throughout the world.
Completing the last leg of the route-proving flights, a sector from Finland’s capital Helsinki, Airbus A350-900 MSN005 landed at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France at 1700 UTC (7:00 p.m. local time) on August 13.
Airbus conducted the technical route-proving tour with the aircraft as one of the last requirements needed for type certification of the A350-900, which the manufacturer is expecting to receive from the European Aviation Safety Agency in the third quarter.
During its route-proving trials, the MSN005 visited 14 major international airports worldwide during a 20-day period which began on July 24.
The route-proving flight trials took the aircraft over every one of the Earth’s oceans and also saw it fly over the North Pole. During its world tour, the aircraft flew approximately 81,700 nautical miles (151,300 kilometers) in a total of 180 flight hours. All flights were performed on schedule, according to Airbus.
For the world tour the aircraft was operated by Airbus flight crews, as well as by Qatar Airways flight crews on sectors from Doha to Perth, Moscow and Helsinki. Airworthiness authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency also accompanied the tour and flew the aircraft on two legs of its trip.
According to Airbus, a major highlight was the flight the A350-900 made from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, located at 5,558 feet (1,694 meters) above sea level, to Sydney. This flight demonstrated that the A350-900 offers excellent performance at high-altitude airports, according to the manufacturer.
Very long-distance, over-ocean flights from Johannesburg to Sydney and Auckland to Santiago de Chile also demonstrated the A350-900’s capability to fly ultra-long-haul routes and Extended range Twin Operations (ETOPS), Airbus says.
“The aircraft has performed remarkably well, confirming the high level of maturity that it has been demonstrating all the way during our development and certification tests,” says Fernando Alonso, Airbus’ senior vice president flight & integration tests.
“We are set for the type certification in the coming weeks, as planned,” says Alonso. “I truly believe that the aircraft is fit to enter into service and perform to the expectations of our customers.”
MSN005 began the technical route-proving trials on July 24 at Toulouse and first saw the aircraft fly to Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong Kong.
On the third flight trial routing, the aircraft visited Johannesburg and Sydney, followed by Auckland, Santiago de Chile and São Paulo.
The fourth and final trip visited Perth in Western Australia, followed by Doha, Moscow and Helsinki.
At each destination, Airbus performed standard maintenance checks as well as checking the A350-900’s ability to comply with typical airport operations and its general airport compatibility.
The A350-900 also demonstrated its automatic landing capability, during a local flight performed at Johannesburg.