The A350 XWB makes its first commercial flight – virtually

Airbus’ next-generation A350 XWB carried its first “passengers” this week – without ever leaving the ground.

26 July 2013 Feature story

On board “Cabin 0” – a ground-based representative section of the jetliner’s fuselage – 129 “travellers,” along with two pilots and eight crew members, completed a five-hour long initial virtual flight in Hamburg, Germany. 

The test simulated all phases of a commercial flight, from boarding and meal service to snacks and deplaning. After stowing their hand luggage, the passengers were able to move around to different seats, while the crew operated various systems from the flight attendant panel (FAP), including the all-LED lighting and intercom.

Featuring systems that will be included on the A350 XWB, this representative interior allows Airbus to verify operations and analyse human factors to ensure cabin systems and equipment maturity at the jetliner’s service entry – which is planned for the second half of 2014. 

This virtual flight is part of Airbus’ extensive early test programme to ready the A350 XWB for its service entry. In addition, the jetliner’s flight test campaign will consist of around 2,500 flight hours, across a fleet of five development aircraft. 

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