It’s time to turn our attention to the other major player in the big airplane game – Airbus – and their upcoming Airbus A350.
The First Flying A350 – MSN1 – Images Airbus SAS
This first frame now is structurally complete with its wing and winglets, as well as fairing panels and the main landing gear doors.
The plane has also completed a series of indoor tests, and will be moving outside for further testing on the frame as it hopefully moves closer to first flight.
The two big things that are missing from the plane are of course the two Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines. These have been dispatched to Toluse and are awaiting fitting to the aircraft.
Whilst this aircraft does feature Lithium Ion batteries for the test configurations – in the wake of the problems with the 787, Airbus have activated it’s “Plan B” and will be switching to Ni-Cad battery packs for the production A350′s.
Airbus is intending for first flight in mid-2013, with deliveries to begin mid-2014. These dates are subject to any issues that Airbus run into on the way – already the A350 is running 2 years late.
And those winglets do look gorgeous on it.
As with most new planes, I’ll be keeping a close eye on what they are – and what they’ll deliver for you the passenger (and yes, I’ll be looking at the Bombardier C Series very soon…).