The first-ever testing of an Airbus aircraft at the U.S. Air Force’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory subjected the A350 XWB and its various systems and cabin installations to a full range of conditions for further maturity and operability verifications prior to this new jetliner’s delivery start-up later this year.
Airbus brought A350 XWB MSN2 to the facility at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida for more than two weeks of evaluations this month, during which this developmental aircraft was subjected to multiple climatic and humidity settings from a high of 45 deg. C. to as low as -40 deg. C.
Philippe Foucault, flight test director for the U.S. climatic trials, said the A350 XWB’s various systems – from in-flight entertainment and air conditioning to its galleys, water and waste systems – were validated while the A350 XWB was enclosed in the laboratory’s large hangar. Testing included operations with the engines running, which required the A350 XWB to be securely chained in place.
The A350 XWB is one the largest aircraft ever tested at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory, requiring the teams to start their preparations six months prior to arrival. “This is a one-of-a-kind tool, and the laboratory’s operators are masters of it,” Foucault said. “They made everything seem possible.”