Due to receive a number of Airbus employees as its first passengers on 2nd., June, for a ''commercial test flight'', the A-350 XWB was recently subjected to shock treatment during which the long-haul underwent a new series of extreme climatic condition tests lasting twenty days.
However, it was not in Canada or Qatar that the aircraft was subjected to freezing and soaring temperatures, but in a U.S. Air Force laboratory in Florida, USA. A first for Airbus who sent 50 engineers and technicians to the site.
Frank Chapman, Experimental Test Pilot - Airbus :
''Well, we've been looking at running the aircraft systems, the engines, the A.P.U., up to temperatures of 30 to 35°degrees Celsius, making sure all the systems are working, in not only the hot and humid temperature conditions, to simulate the sorts of conditions that we're going to find flying the aeroplane around the world in operational service. Similarly, we've gone to very cold temperatures minus 40°, and run the aircraft systems to make sure the electrics and hydraulic systems are up to the task.''
These tests, having been successfully passed, were absolutely necessary to obtain certification of aircraft, expected by the end of the year. Conducted discretely, but also successfully, in Hamburg, Germany, one other passage was obligatory, that of the passenger evacuation tests. For the A-350, 440 passengers had, not one second more, than 90 seconds to exit the aircraft.
To date, the four prototypes have totalled more than 1,700 hours of testing. Qatar Airways, the launch customer, should receive their first unit, as planned, before the end of the year.