On its third test flight, the Airbus A350XWB flew past President Francois Hollande this afternoon on the final business day of the 2013 Paris Air Show. After two hours of cruise flight tests, the new aircraft made a curving descent toward Runway 27 for a single flyby.
Airbus notched up firm orders for a further 55 examples of its now-flying A350 XWB airliner yesterday here in Paris, with Air France-KLM and Singapore Airlines signing major deals. The European airframer now has 668 firm orders for the A350. And, for good measure, Airbus also managed yesterday to close a major fleet-upgrade MoU with Sri Lankan Airlines.
Following the first flight on June 14 of the Airbus A350 XWB, AIN had an opportunity to interview John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers, about the historic event.
What can you say about today’s flight?
Rolls-Royce (R-R) is developing continuous improvements for mature Trent engines, with new technology flowing from later models into established variants, according to program director John Hogarth. Since the original Trent–the Series700–entered service on a Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 in 1985, successive variants have been introduced to constitute a “tailored family” enjoying common architecture, but with each model dedicated to specific airframes.
Airbus began the 2,500-hour flight-test program for the A350 XWB when the new long-range widebody took off for the first time at almost exactly 10 a.m. local time in Toulouse, France, on Friday. The eagerly awaited first flight over southwestern France lasted slightly more than four hours and the twinjet, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, touched down safely back in Toulouse at 2:05 p.m.
“The honeymoon has lasted longer than on previous aircraft: people go out of their way to fly on [the A380 very-large airliner],” according to Airbus programs executive vice-president Tom Williams. By the beginning of this month, the European manufacturer had delivered 103 aircraft from the 262 for which it holds firm orders, leaving a backlog of 159, equivalent to about six years’ production.
Airbus has introduced a central configuration software tool for the A350 XWB program that promises to make cabin layout and cabin configuration more efficient, thanks to software engineering specialist PACE.
Rolls-Royce says that by August it expects to have demonstrated a new high-pressure turbine (HPT) destined for its Trent 1000-Ten engine, which is being offered to power the prospective Boeing 787-10. Assembly of the first full development engine is scheduled before year-end.
Parker Aerospace (Hall 5 C220) has added the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engine powering the Airbus A350 XWB-1000 to its portfolio of R-R applications. The U.S. manufacturer estimates business worth up to $2.2 billion will be generated during the life of the program. Parker will supply a suite of pneumatic valves, a bearing and gearbox oil pump and the hydraulic engine build-up system comprising tubes hoses and hardware required to transfer power between the aircraft and engines.
Orders from Singapore Airlines covering up to 50 additional Rolls-Royce (R-R) Trent XWB-engined A350-900s boosted Airbus as it made final preparations late last month [May] for the new airliner’s first flight. The Asian carrier has booked 30 examples and taken options on 20 more (convertible to larger A350-1000s), boosting the total number of A350-900s it has ordered to 70.