FOURTEEN cities around the world welcomed the newest addition to the range of Airbus wide-bodied passenger jets on August 13th 2014, before completing the type's 20 day Route Proving trials.
The Airbus A350-900 test aircraft, which is the next variant of the A350-XWB series, departed on July 24th in Toulouse, France completing a total of 151,300km and 180 hours travel time in its multiple-country trials. They are the last series of the trials to obtain it's Type Certification expected to be issued in the third quarter of 2014.
The Route Proving demonstrated the aircraft's capability and readiness to perform in global operations.
These trials included ETOPS (Extended Range Twin Operations or Ultra-Long-Haul flights), flying from Johanessburg to Sydney, and Auckland to Santiago, travelling both approximately 9,700km and 11,000km respectively.
Johanessburg's Tambo International airport, located 5,558 feet above sea level, also provided an opportunity for the aircraft and it's crew to demonstrate high altitude performance, to which it performed perfectly. While in Johanessburg, the crew also successfully demonstrated the automated landing capabilities of the aircraft.
Compatibilty and operations at different airports were also tested, as well as standard maintenance checks on the aircraft.
The A350-900 performed as anticipated and prudent to schedule in all destinations assigned for the tests. These included Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong Kong, with the third trip including Johannessburg, Sydney, Auckland, Santiago and Sao Paulo. The fourth and final trip included Perth, Doha, Moscow and Helsinki before returning to Toulouse.
Officials and flight crews from Airbus and Qatar contributed to various legs of the trials including Airworthiness pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The Airbus A350-XWB is the world's newest widebody passenger jet, offering operators reductions on fuel costs, due in part to lighter carbon fibre polymer fuselage, wings and control surfaces, longer range, and three versions of passenger seating ranging from 276 to 369 capacities.
As of the end of the 2nd quarter in 2014, 742 orders of the jet from 38 operators have been placed.
Written by: Luke Hague www.globalpilotlife.com