Ready to fly: Airbus’ additional A350 XWB developmental aircraft are preparing to join the flight test programme

With more than 150 flight test hours performed to date for the no. 1 A350 XWB aircraft, Airbus is preparing its additional fleet of four of these next-generation widebody jetliners to join the flight test and certification campaign.

11 September 2013 Feature story

The second A350 XWB to fly, designated MSN003 in Airbus’ numbering system, is scheduled to make its maiden takeoff in the coming weeks and is identically configured to the no. 1 aircraft, MSN001. To be used for the cold and hot weather campaign, MSN003 has completed outdoor ground testing, and also has been fitted with its Trent XWB engines. 

MSN002 will be the first A350 XWB to be equipped with a full cabin interior. It has recently been transferred to Station 30 at the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line for indoor ground testing, which will be followed by this month’s planned installation of the first cabin monuments – such as crew rests and galleys – before outdoor ground evaluations with the aircraft begin.

MSN004 and MSN005 are progressing as well, with the recent join-up of MSN004’s three main fuselage sections, which will be followed by the assembly of its wings, and vertical and horizontal tail plane. MSN005 will be the second A350 XWB with a full cabin interior and is to enter the final assembly hall in the coming weeks. 

The A350 XWB testing and certification programme – which began in June with the next-generation jetliner’s first flight – will include a total of 2,500 flight hours across these five developmental aircraft.