Airbus’ five A350-900 test aircraft took to the skies for an impressive formation flight on 29 September 2014. These A350 XWB jetliners accumulated a combined total of more than 2,600 flight test hours during the successful campaign leading to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Type Certification for this next-generation widebody.
A350 XWB (MSN1) First Engine Run, Toulouse, France. Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines have run for the first time on the A350 XWB (MSN1) following the start-up of the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), as part of the preparations for the aircraft’s maiden flight.
Such belly markings are typically used for branding in air show flyby.
A flying debut is the signature moment in the development of any new plane, when the industry goes into publicity overdrive. A 600km trip from Toulouse to Le Bourget is surely the unannounced-target of Airbus; date of first flight is not certain, and those of the following flights are even more uncertain as you will never know what issues have to be resolved. So, if one of the test flights can be combined with a flyby at Le Bourget it would be a bonus, but not a priority.
The first fully painted Airbus A350 XWB MSN-001 is caught by French TV crews in Toulouse fueling speculation of an imminent test flight. Details at the bottom of the timeline. Airbus has now just released its own photo of the fully painted A350.
Airbus has switched to nickel-cadmium batteries, in the wake of the problems which grounded the Boeing 787 in January, to reduce the risk of delaying the program.