Airborne!

Airliner World’s Craig West travelled to Toulouse to witness the first flight of the Airbus A350-1000.

EUROPEAN AEROSPACE giant Airbus is celebrating the second of two major landmarks in as many months after the A350-1000 successfully completed its maiden flight. Thunderstorms and torrential rain did little to dampen the occasion, which came just weeks after the company delivered its 10,000th aircraft (see Airliner World, December 2016). Notably, most first flights are approached by the manufacturer with a degree of trepidation, but Airbus gathered hundreds of journalists, suppliers, customers and employees at its Toulouse/Blagnac facility to witness the flight, reflecting a high degree of confidence in its newest widebody jet.

Departure was originally planned for around 10.30am and, after keeping the waiting crowd in suspense, the prototype A350-1000, F-WMIL (c/n 057), lifted off from a saturated Runway 32L shortly before 11am on November 24. The take-off marked the start of a 1,600- hour, three-aircraft flight test campaign that is due for completion inside 12 months.

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