On January 2, Airbus rolled-out its third A350 XWB flight-test aircraft from the paint shop in Toulouse.
Airbus has designated the aircraft MSN2 and it is painted in a distinctive “Carbon” livery to reflect its primary construction from advanced carbon-fiber composite materials.
According to the manufacturer, the roll-out of MSN2 marks another successful milestone on its planned path for the Airbus A350 XWB to enter into service in the fourth quarter of 2014.
In addition to its special livery, this aircraft is also the first of two Airbus A350-900 flight test aircraft to be equipped with a full passenger-cabin interior.
According to Airbus, MSN2 will join the A350 XWB flight test fleet in the coming weeks and will be the first A350 to transport passengers when it undertakes the A350-900 Early Long Flights (ELF) program later in the year as part of the overall Airbus A350-900 flight-test regime.
Composite materials in Airbus aircraft have seen a step-by-step introduction that started with the A310-200, which was rolled out in February 1982.
Benefiting from over 30 years of experience in using carbon-fiber composite materials for structural components in its aircraft, Airbus has designed the A350 XWB family so that 53 per cent of each airframe is made-up of carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP).
The A350 XWB’s design includes Airbus’ first carbon-fiber fuselage.