Two more Airbus A350 XWB flight-test aircraft, MSN2 and MSN4, have made their first flights ‒ on the same day.
Both aircraft ‒ each of them an Airbus A350-900 jet ‒ made their first flights on February 26 from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France, the location of Airbus’ widebody final-assembly lines.
During their respective first flights, the two aircraft joined up to fly in formation for an in-flight photo shoot conducted using a chase plane.
The successful first flights of the two aircraft means the total number of A350 XWBs now flying has doubled, from two to four.
To date, the first two Airbus A350 XWB test aircraft to fly, MSN1 and MSN3, have already performed close to 1,100 flight-test hours out of the program’s total 2,500 flight hours planned for certification.
MSN2, with its special ‘carbon’-inspired livery, will be the first A350 XWB test aircraft to feature a full passenger cabin. This will allow Airbus to start testing and validating all A350 XWB cabin- and passenger-related systems.
As part of these cabin tests, MSN2 will carry the first A350 XWB passengers during the Early Long Flights (ELF) program this spring.
MSN4 bears the combined colors of Qatar Airways – the A350 XWB launch customer – and Airbus.
Aircraft MSN4 will be fitted with light flight-test instrumentation. Amongst other test activities, it will be used for low-weight flight envelope certification and external noise measurements.
The A350 XWB test fleet will be completed when the fifth A350 XWB test aircraft, MSN5, joins the fleet in spring.
MSN5 will be used for the final Airbus A350-900 type certification, to be performed for the European Aviation Safety Agencies.