The A350 flight deck being shown off by its joyful flight crew – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
For press, the delivery ceremony completion usually means it is either time to drive back home, or return to the hotel and pack for the flight.
Not this day.
Airbus and Qatar Airways decided that it would be a great way to enhance the press experience if everyone was given a demonstration flight aboard the Airbus A350.
This was a great idea, so there had to be some kind of drawback! For a demonstration flight that would last an hour with pre-selected passengers, all 200 of us present had to go through security screening. A process that felt like it took longer than the flight itself. What a surprise, no one had any contraband or ill intent!
Rant aside, after what felt like an eternity, I finally made it onto the jet bridge to a crowd that was more akin to being in the last row of economy on a domestic narrowbody. I realized then and there that taking any kind of photographic imagery was going to be a challenge.
Door L1 on Qatar Airways’ first A350 XWB, long after the crowd had dispersed for lunch Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
We boarded via a choice of either L1 or L2, I chose L2 as I wanted to see the lovely dome light and the in-flight bar. The doors themselves do not create any temporary feelings of claustrophobia. In the case of L2, you immediately walk into a spacious and open atrium. The ceiling is higher than one has come to expect on regular passenger aircraft, the walls more vertical. Continue reading A Demonstration Flight Aboard the First Airbus A350 with Qatar Airways
The Airbus A350 (MSN002) waiting to be boarded – Photo: Owen Zupp
A flight test program is a finely-tuned schedule, down to the most detailed demonstration, with every minute of flight time accounted for. The deadlines of certification and delivery loom ever-closer as the engineers and pilots continue to put the aircraft through its paces. Still, recently, Airbus was able to somehow wedge a 60-minute flight into their A350 XWB timeline to showcase their newest family member to a media contingent visiting Toulouse for their ‘Airbus Innovations 2014′. I was fortunate to be one of those that flew aboard that flight.
The A350 wingtip with special escort – Photo: Owen Zupp
The fact that Airbus was prepared to conduct the flight reflects two rather key points. Firstly, that their flight test program is on track and secondly, that they are confident enough in their product to take a load of media scribes aloft. Furthermore, Airbus created specific social media channels for the journalists to share the flight with the world. Consequently, there was a buzz of texting and tweeting as 200 passengers cleared a security channel and filed down the aero-bridge.
The aircraft’s cabin was still in flight test mode, so interspersed amongst the passenger seats were stations of data-gathering equipment, computer screens, and cables taped to the floor. Even so, as one walked through business class and into the economy cabin, there was still that new airplane smell. The interior boasted all of the mod-cons of inflight entertainment systems and even the fasten belt sign was a scrolling digital display. As we all settled in, there was no mistaking that this was a new generation of passenger jet and we were very privileged to take flight.
Continue reading My First Flight on the Airbus A350 XWB
The A350XWB shows its stuff at the Singapore Airshow – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The Singapore Airshow is in full swing right now and although we will have a nice wrap-up story at the end, we wanted to share some photos.
These are pictures of the third Airbus A350 XWB (MSN003) taking its first flight at an airshow like this and according to Jacob Pfleger, who is at the show for AirlineReporter, the most noticeable thing for him was how quiet the plane was. “During its fly-by I was impressed with how quiet it is and in my opinion it’s the quietest jet out there even more so than the Airbus A380 or even Boeing 787,” Pfleger explained via email.
Continue reading Photos of the Airbus A350XWB in-Flight at the Singapore Airshow
This post will be updated as new Airbus A350 events unfold. All times will be in PST, nine hours behind local time in Toulouse, France.
6/14 7:45am – We have posted the “A350 first flight” story with photos.
6/14 7:00am – Due to server issues, we were not able to update after 10:20pm, our apologies.
6/14 01:05am - Almost right on time, the first Airbus A350 took flight.
6/13 10:20pm - We made the mistake of time zones. Toulouse is in CEST, but Airbus was reporting times in UTC. Our apologizes. The live stream should start at midnight PST, the first flight is set to happen at 1am 6/14 PST. Thanks for Chris with Airchive.com (who is in Paris) for confirming.
6/13 8:00pm - Although the Airbus press release said live feed will start at 10pm PST, the live feed code above shows midnight. Trying to clarify, but we might just have to wait and see when it starts.
STORY FROM 8:50AM June 13th:
The first Airbus A350-900 XWB is scheduled to have its first flight at 10:00am UTC tomorrow, Friday June 14th. For those of you in the US, that means either an early morning (4am EST) or a late night (1am PST). But worth it? Heck yes. When is the next time we will all be able to share in the first flight of a major new aircraft? It will be quite sometime [after the Cseries].
The first flight will take place in Toulouse, France and comes just before the Paris Air Show that is scheduled for next week. Airbus plans to deliver the first A350-900 XWB in the second half of 2014 to its launch customer Qatar Airways.
Starting at 7:00am UTC (aka 1am EST and 10pm PST) Airbus will provide a live feed via their website www.A350XWBfirstflight.com. Be sure to also follow along via AirlineReporter.com, our Twitter (hashtage is #A350FF) and our Facebook page.
Want a run-down of the Airbus A350 and what it means? Check out Jack Harty’s A350 story on Airchive.com for all the background.
PREVIOUS AIRBUS A350 XWB GOODIES:
Click here to see live Twitter stream
Airbus A350 XWB in Air France and KLM liveries. Images from Airbus. Click for larger.
Air France-KLM announced today that they have ordered 110 Airbus A350 XWB and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Currently there are 50 firm orders with another 60 options.
“For its first joint order, the Air France KLM group made its selection after a detailed assessment showing all the performance characteristics of each aircraft, including their energy and environmental performance” declared Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France KLM.
Computer rendering of the 787 Dreamliner in Air France and KLM liveries. Images from Boeing.
The airline will purchase 25 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, with options for 25 more. They will also purchase 25 A350-900s with options for another 35.
“We’re proud to be a major part of the fleet renewal plan being undertaken by Air France-KLM,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 787 Dreamliner will bring outstanding value to the two airlines and will be a great complement to their large fleets of Boeing widebody airplanes.”
Currently Boeing has over 800 orders from 56 customers for the 787 Dreamliner and Airbus has 567 orders for the A350 XWB from 35 customers.