Airbus A350 XWB MSN3 Test Aircraft Successfully
Completes First Flight
October 15, 2013 - On Monday a second A350 XWB
landed back at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport France
after successfully completing its first flight,
the flight lasted five hours. The A350 XWB test
aircraft, MSN3, was flown by Frank Chapman and
Thierry Bourges, Airbus Test Pilots.
Accompanying them in the cockpit was Gerard
Maisonneuve, Test Flight Engineer, while three
Flight Test Engineers; Tuan Do, Robert Lignee
and Stephane Vaux monitored the progress of the
flight profile. The MSN3 is similar to A350 XWB
MSN1 however it has no cabin but is equipped
with heavy flight test installation.
The Airbus A350 XWB is a long-range, two-engine
widebody jet airliner developed by Airbus. The
A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and
wing structures made primarily of carbon fiber
reinforced polymer. A350 XWB will be equipped to
carry 250 to 350 passengers in a typical
three-class seating layout, or maximum seating
of 440 to 550 passengers, depending on variant.
The A350 was originally conceived in 2004 as a
largely new design, but with a fuselage based on
the A330. In 2006, Airbus redesigned the
aircraft and renamed it the A350 XWB (extra wide
The first A350 XWB (MSN1) took off on June 14,
and has to date flown some 330 flight test hours
in almost 70 flights. These flights have been
devoted to the identification and freeze of all
flap and slat configurations, loads and
aeroelastic testing and evaluation of the
aircraft’s handling characteristics and systems’
operation throughout the operational envelope.
Three more A350 XWB test aircraft will join MSN
1 and 3 to perform the planned 2,500 hours up to
Type Certification. Airbus has stated that A350
XWB will be more fuel-efficient and have
operating costs up to 8% lower than the
competing Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
A350 XWB has already won 725 firm orders from 37
customers worldwide. First delivery is planed
second half of 2014. The launch customer for the
A350 is Qatar Airways, which ordered 80 aircraft
of all three variants. Development costs are
projected to be US$15 billion.