European airframer Airbus S.A.S. has released pictures of the first A350XWB – A350-900 MSN001 being moved from Roger Béteille A350 XWB final assembly line (FAL) “Station 30” to the Clément Ader area “Station 18” in Toulouse. These are the first pictures of the structurally complete flying prototype aircraft with its wings which include the new curved winglets. The belly fairing panels and the main landing gear doors are also seen.
|Airbus A350-900 MSN001 emerges from the A350 XWB final assembly line. More pictures below the fold.|
The aircraft has recently successfully completed a series of indoor ground tests including stability tests on ‘movable’ elements such as rudder, elevators, ailerons and wing spoilers and landing gears extraction and retraction.
The next steps which will take place outdoors at the Clément Ader area Station 18, will include three planned families of tests: Fuel tanks testing – including levels, flows, sealing and internal fuel transfer functions; pressure testing of the fuselage; and radio equipment testing.
Airbus is targeting the first flight of MSN001 by the middle of this year. The two Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines for the prototype have already been delivered to Toulouse and will be podded and installed on to the airframe later.
Earlier this month, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) awarded the Engine Type Certification to the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofan engines which will power the A350-800 and A350-900 variants. The higher thrust version of the Trent XWB for the A350-1000 is currently under development.
|Rolls Royce Trent AWB engine on A380 FTB|
The Trent XWB engine has been extensive tested on an Airbus’ A380 ‘Flying Test Bed’ (FTB) aircraft since February 2012.
The A350 XWB is the all-new mid-size long range product line from Airbus, with advanced and composite technologies similar the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The A350-800, -900 and -1000 variants will seat between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts, thus competing against the Boeing 787-9 and the venerable 777 models.
Airbus still has the A350 scheduled for entry-into-service (EIS) in 2014, though realistically one can expect some delays.
|The new curved winglets can be seen on A350-900 MSN001. All images courtesy Airbus S.A.S.|