A stack of A350’s in formation ! On 29th September, Airbus organised a formation flight of five prototypes over Toulouse (south west France). An impressive way for the European aircraft manufacturer to celebrate on the eve of the civil certification of their new long haul. This 30th September, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) formally delivered its precious document, the result of over 2,600 hours of flight testing.
Tests at high altitude, in cold and hot weather, water ingestion, airport compatibility, passenger evacuation, automatic landing, endurance and online assessment, the new Airbus twin-jet was, like any new airliner, subjected to rough treatment for over fifteen months.
Patrick Du Ché, Head of Development Flight Tests - Airbus :
"There are regulations in force that require us to ensure that aircraft is structurally safe in all conditions. We haven't imposed these regulations. They come from the European aviation authorities EASA working alongside their American counterparts from the FAA. There is little difference between the two. We then draw up our tests that then have to be validated by EASA."
12 billion euros have been invested in the new long-haul aircraft, capable of carrying 315 passengers, and designed to compete with the Boeing 777. And it's off to a good start. At 300 million dollars each, and some 750 units already ordered, in monetary value, the A350 is the second biggest commercial success, after the Airbus A320neo.
With the EASA certification, the A350-900 is now ready to begin its commercial career. A career that will begin before the end of the year in the colours of Qatar Airways, who will receive ten more units during the course of 2015. Certification of the A350 XWB by the FAA, the U.S. Agency for Civil Aviation is expected within the coming weeks.