Airbus showed off the first flyable A350 yesterday. Yes, we know it’s not a freighter, but the A350 marks a big step into the future for Airbus just as the 787 did for Boeing, and like many of you, we love to follow the progress of new aircraft types.
The company completed the main structural assembly and system connection of A350 XWB ‘MSN1’ – the first flight-test unit – and towed it on its own undercarriage from Station 40 in the main assembly hall in Toulouse to Station 30 in the adjacent ground test station. In Station 40, Airbus successfully carried out electrical power-on of the aircraft’s entire fuselage and wings, and will now move on to testing the hydraulic system, followed by full electric and hydraulic power-on by the end of the year.
Once those tests are complete, MSN1 will leave Station 30, and go through a series of production and certification/development tests. After that, it will be painted and have its engines installed, and delivered to the flight line, with first flight scheduled for “mid-2013.”