Airbus has put the A350 prototype into scheduled lay-up in readiness for a second flight-test phase starting in August, following the opening up of the initial flight envelope over 92 flight hours.
Airbus’s flight-test crews say MSN1 has performed well during the initial sorties conducted since its first flight on June 14, just prior to the Paris air show. Overall, the A350 flight-test campaign will total around 2,500 flight hours with five development aircraft. The second test aircraft, MSN2, is undergoing final assembly in Toulouse following fuselage section joining in mid-June.
The manufacturer adds that during the first four weeks of the flight-test campaign, in addition to the clearance of the flight envelope, several key systems have been evaluated. These include the performance of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the electrical system, Ram Air Turbine emergency back-up system, landing gear and braking, and fuel and cabin-pressurization systems.
Airbus also says the initial test phase included a preliminary assessment of the autopilot and auto-land functions.
To date, 10 experimental test pilots have flown MSN1. In a statement, Airbus notes, “A350 MSN1 will now undergo routine maintenance and upgrades of its flight-test installation to ready it for the second phase of the flight-test campaign, which will start in August, while the design office will analyze the results of these initial flight tests.”
The test effort remains on track for the A350’s scheduled entry into service in the second half of 2014. Airbus has taken 678 firm orders for the A350, from 34 customers.