Airbus has carried out an early long flight with the A350-1000 as part of the aircraft’s airborne testing prior to certification.
The test was carried out in co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, one of the customers for the largest variant of the A350 family.
Airbus says the aircraft – the cabin-fitted MSN65 – departed Toulouse on the morning of 11 May, with 310 passengers. Thirteen cabin crew from Virgin Atlantic and 10 Airbus flight-test personnel were among those on board.
Test pilot Peter Chandler, the captain on the flight, said the trial marks the “first chance to check out the cabin in a realistic scenario full of passengers”.
“Because we’re doing it well before certification it allows us to see, in advance, if there are any issues that need to be fixed,” he says.
The flight, lasting some 11h 30min, took the aircraft over the Mediterranean – via Sardinia, Sicily and Italy – before travelling north over Germany towards Scandinavia and the Gulf of Bothnia.
It flew as far north as Bodo in the higher latitudes of Norway before crossing the North Sea to the UK. The aircraft then headed for Ireland and turned south to the Bay of Biscay, crossing Portugal before rounding the Spanish coast and returning to Toulouse.
Airbus is aiming to put the A350-1000, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, into service before the end of this year.