On Thursday, the first of three Airbus A350-1000 aircraft – the latest member of the all-new A350 XWB wide-body family – successfully completed its first flight, which lasted four hours and 18 minutes.
The A350-1000 measures 74m from nose to tail and has the longest-fuselage version of Airbus wide-body airliners. Back in August 2015, Airbus announced the beginning of production of the XWB wings for the A350-1000. According to Airbus, the 32 meter-long A350 XWB wing is the largest carbon fiber composite material-based components in civil aviation today. Approximately 70 percent of the A350 XWB frame is made from advanced lightweight materials. In addition to lowering the weight, Airbus says composites help make the aircraft more efficient.
In addition to the aircraft’s composite structure, Airbus credits the success of the maiden flight to lessons learned from A350-900 test campaign. The A350-1000 has a wingspan similar to that of the A350-900, but 90 percent of its components have been changed, including an extension to the trailing edge to resize the wing. It includes a droop-nose and adaptive dropped-hinge flaps, which increase the jetliner’s efficiency at low speeds.
“We have seen today the world’s most modern and efficient passenger aircraft – the A350-1000 – in action for the very first time, adding soon to the successful A350 Family,” said Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier. “My congratulations and thanks go to all the teams who have contributed to make today’s flight happen. We are equally pleased that many customers have witnessed this important milestone today together with us – here from our headquarters in Toulouse, [France].”
The company says 11 of those customers, coming from the Middle East, North America, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, have already ordered a total of 195 A350-1000s. Deliveries of the A350-1000 are planned to begin in the second half of 2017.