Airbus will undertake detailed analysis of the A350 XWB’s fuel burn and range performance with the first fully representative aircraft when it flies in May, but is confident that it is on course to achieve all its targets.
The first two aircraft MSN1 and MSN3 -with more than 1000 flight hours logged- have been used for some basic performance testing. MSN2 and MSN4 will also play a role in the process as soon as they airborne in February.
However the test team will concentrate on MSN5 when it becomes available in May for definitive analysis, said Fernando Alonso senior vice-president flight and integration tests.
“MSN5 will be the first ‘batch 2’ airplane built with production-standard engines, and we will fly a 2-3 month test campaign on that airplane which is mandatory to certificate everything related to ‘batch 2’ modifications and the engines,” said Alonso.
This aircraft will also be used for the route-proving program to be flown in conjunction with launch customer Qatar Airways, from the airline’s Doha base.
“Batch 2” represents the production specification A350 with modifications mainly related to weight-saving, said Alonso. “We are on target for the weight with the ‘batch 2’ aircraft. I am very confident that we will deliver the payload and the range that we planned.”
The first A350 off the line for Qatar Airways will be MSN6.
Airbus says it is making “steady progress” towards type certification in the third quarter and it is confident that first deliveries to Qatar Airways and entry-into-service will take place before the end of the year.