Once the gear has been successfully retracted, Chandler is planning to switch on the flight control computers and push the speed up to the higher end of the range and go up to 25,000 ft. High speed and high altitude testing is to be performed at up to 43,000 ft. before approach and arrival preparations are begun. The aircraft is then to make a fly past over the runway at 1,000 ft. before returning to the field for landing.
Chapman says a thorough evaluation of flight data will be conducted. “We won’t do the second flight until we understand what has happened and why,” Chapman says. Airbus plans to introduce more pilots to A350 flying quickly, but over the first few weeks it will only by a group of four. Eventually all 20 experimental test pilots will participate in the campaign.
Airbus has been considering an A350 flight display at the Paris air show, but Chapman cautions that pilots and engineers need to be fully comfortable with doing that and authorities must agree, too, to flying a test aircraft over Paris.
One of the new features in the test program is the “airline 1” concept. Airbus wants to simulate airline operations by trying to implement quicker fixes. Launch customer Qatar Airways is to become increasingly involved in the trials as first delivery nears.