The completed A350 XWB MSN001 is welcomed by Airbus employees in Toulouse. Photo from Airbus.
The painting of the first Airbus A350 XWB was completed today in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is sporting the typcial Airbus livery that took about seven days to complete.
The aircraft, MSN001, has also completed flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) verification, engine installation and a subsequent intensive phase of ground vibration tests. Airbus is expecting MSN001 to complete its maiden flight this summer.
The first A350 XWB flight test aircraft has moved to the Station 30 ground test station at Airbusâ€™ final assembly line in Toulouse, France following its structural assembly and initial electrical power-on in the facilityâ€™s main assembly hall (Station 40) . Image from Airbus. Click for larger.
This is a copy and paste from a press release issued by Airbus…
Airbus has successfully completed the main structural assembly and system connection of A350 XWB â€˜MSN1â€™ â€“ the first flight-test aircraft. The aircraft is depicted here on its wheels for the very first time moving out of the main assembly hall (Station 40) at the recently inaugurated â€œRoger BÃ©teilleâ€ A350 XWB Final Assembly Line in Toulouse. It then entered the adjacent indoor ground test station (Station 30).
The structurally-complete no. 1 A350 XWB flight test aircraft is shown during its transfer at the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France â€“ moving from Station 40 in the main assembly hall to the adjacent indoor ground test station (Station 30) . Image from Airbus. Click for larger.
The assembly work performed in Station 40 included the successful electrical power-on of the aircraft’s entire fuselage and wings. Soon work in Station 30 will start by testing the aircraft’s hydraulic system, followed by the full electric and hydraulic power-on of the aircraft which will be completed by around the end of the year. This will mark the start of several weeks of comprehensive functional system testing.
With its main structural assembly and system connections complete, the first A350 XWB flight test aircraft (designated MSN1) was moved from the main assembly hall to the adjacent indoor ground test station at Airbusâ€™ final assembly line in Toulouse, France . Image from Airbus. Click for larger.
After the A350 XWB MSN1 exits station 30, the aircraft will go through a series of extensive production and certification / development tests, be painted and have its engines installed. It will then be delivered to the flight-line and be readied for its first flight in mid-2013.
UPDATE: Airbus has confirmed that the front doors on the A350, as shown in this photo, will be closed on the ground during normal operations. “The forward set of doors only will be open when the gear is being extended or retracted,” Airbus stated to AirlineReporter.com. “The reason that they are open in this picture is that the aircraft is not hydraulically â€œactiveâ€ at the point when the picture was snapped and there was no reason to close the doors for the short road trip.”
First A350 XWB nose section being unloaded from the Beluga aircraft at St Nazaire. Photo by Airbus. Click for larger.
Now that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been delivered and will soon be entering service, I want to share some love with the Airbus A350 XWB.
The A350 line up currently planned will overall, be larger than the 787, even though there will be some overlap. The smaller A350-800 will compete with the larger 787-9 and 787-10.Â The A350 is slated to carry 250 to 400 passengers, where the 787 models will carry about 210-290 passengers.
Cut away of the Airbus A350 XWB from Flightglobal. Click for larger.
The A350 will be the first airliner manufactured by Airbus usingÂ 53% composite materials. We have previously seen the upper wing cover and landing gear, now something a bit more recognizable; the A350Â XWB nose section. The A350 nose section comes in three different parts, which is different than the Boeing 787 coming in just one.
At this time, the A350 has 567 orders, where the first aircraft is expected to go to Qatar Airways sometime in later 2013.
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.
â€œFor 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 performanceâ€ 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.
â€œWeâ€™re proud to be a major part of the fleet renewal plan being undertaken by Air France-KLM,â€ said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. â€œThe 787 Dreamliner will bring outstanding value to the two airlines and will be a great complement to their large fleets of Boeing widebody airplanes.â€
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.