June 14, 2013
The Airbus A350 is undergoing three to four days of inspections before the aircraft’s flight-test program continues. “We will be flying some time next week,” Airbus’s chief test pilot Peter Chandler told Aviation Week after the landing of the first flight in Toulouse. Airbus indicates that the second flight is planned for June 18, if no major flaws are found.
Chandler was at the controls along with fellow test pilot Guy Magrin when the aircraft took off for the first time at 10 a.m. today. The flight lasted around 4 hr. 5 min., only a few minutes longer than originally expected. Chandler said he initially took the aircraft to an altitude of 10,000 ft. to perform basic handling checks and then gradually began testing different speeds at different configurations.
Initial speeds did not exceed 200 kt., but eventually minimum and maximum speeds at various flap settings were checked.
Around 33 min. into the flight, the crew retracted the landing gear for the first time. It also turned on the primary flight- control computers, changing from direct law—as initially used—to normal law. Chandler and Magrin then took the aircraft to 25,000 ft.
Both at 10,000 ft and 25,000 ft, the aircraft reached its maximum speed of 340 kt., equivalent to Mach 0.8 at 25,000 ft.
The full flight envelope, including climbing to 43,000 ft., is planned to be opened during the second flight. The decision not to go to the maximum altitude during the first flight was taken last week, because collecting low-speed data at different settings was deemed to be initially more valuable for early upgrades to the flight-control software.
The aircraft returned to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport at 2.04 p.m after having made a low pass over the airport, and was welcomed by EADS Prsident and CEO Tom Enders and Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier, among others. Bregier says he had set the target—for the aircraft to make its first flight before the Paris air show—nine months ago.