An Airbus flight crew with the A350 jet.
The A350, the passenger jet Airbus created to compete with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, has completed its first phase of test flights, Airbus announced today.
Ten test pilots flew the first A350 — known as MSN1 — for 92 hours, completing initial tests of key systems, including engines, electrics, landing gear and braking, fuel and cabin pressurization, and the autopilot and auto-land functions.
MSN1, which is loaded with test instruments, will now undergo routine maintenance.
Airbus will build five A350s for its 2,500-hour flight testing campaign, its largest test fleet ever. The next phase of testing is set for August. The first delivery is scheduled for the end of 2014, to Qatar Airways.
Now is a good time for Airbus to make a lot of noise about the A350. The jet's direct competitor, Boeing's Dreamliner, is under scrutiny again, after a fire onboard an empty 787 in London last week.
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