Magazine #06

A350 XWB Magazine #06:
“What a Year It's been -
And There's Still More to Come ”

A little more than a year ago, MSN001 made the very first flight in the A350 XWB programme. Since then, the programme has achieved many milestones on its way to certification.

And with the onset of the spring and summer seasons there have been even more highlights:

In Issue #6, join our video teams as they follow the A350 XWB programme from France to Florida, from the skies over Norway to the deserts of the Middle East. There’s also a special one-year anniversary video of the first flight of MSN001.

 

So buckle up, admire the cabin, and get set to be amazed! The A350 XWB is going places!

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Tablets owners can also download our all-new A350 XWB Magazine on the AppStore or on GooglePlay.



Cabin


Inspired design


 

From the start of the design process the A350 XWB had to be a revolutionary aircraft. Discussions with operators of existing wide-bodies had revealed that many were only interested in something completely new. The step change was an opportunity to design a cabin that was absolutely fresh.

Airbus decided to seize the opportunity by proposing what became known as the ‘chrysalis cabin.’ Designers usually start work by looking at existing cabins and looking for evolutionary improvements that would add incremental benefits for passengers and airlines. The inspiration for the chrysalis cabin was the potential of new technologies to allow a break with the past, so discussions started with a blank sheet of paper.

“We saw no point in simply tweaking existing cabin designs when the aircraft itself was going to be completely new,” explains Kiran Rao, head of strategy. “The chance to offer customers a substantially better cabin as well as excellent performance, range and efficiency was too good to miss. After all, the quality of the cabin is what matters most of all to passengers.”

In fact, the cabin was important enough for it to be the key factor in some decisions about the aircraft design. “We’d seen the first super first class suites on the A380, the evolution of business class towards lie-flat seats with no middle seat and the need for enough space to allow comfort in economy on long haul flights,” says Kiran. “These considerations determined the width of the cabin and the aircraft.”

Older wide-bodies tapered at the front and back but this placed limitations on seat configuration and made an aircraft feel narrow to passengers as they looked along the cabin. Curved walls reduced shoulder room in window seats and for many passengers the view from the windows was quite limited. The chrysalis cabin was designed with no tapering at all between the doors, straighter walls and panoramic windows that were 50% bigger those on the A330, setting a new industry standard. Panoramic windows allow more passengers to see more of the world outside. “We could have gone for higher windows like our competitors,” remembers Kiran, “but they only let you see more sky.”

Dropping the floors allowed straighter walls, a change that also increased the feeling of spaciousness, made room for bigger overhead storage bins and meant that crew rest areas could be installed above the passenger deck. Other proposals included LED lighting, 3D and ultra-HD ready in-flight entertainment, a flat floor and full connectivity. “We knew that the chrysalis cabin was a real challenge but every feature was designed with passengers at heart and airlines in mind so we didn’t want to compromise,” concludes Kiran. “I’m deeply impressed that eight years on our people have delivered almost everything we asked for.”

 

“The chance to offer customers a substantially better cabin as well as excellent performance, range and efficiency was too good to miss. After all, the quality of the cabin is what matters most of all to passengers.”

Kiran Rao, head of strategy
 

Determined delivery

“When we saw the chrysalis cabin requirements, we were slightly stunned,” remembers Jochen Mueller, cabin supply module head of engineering. “We didn’t think it was actually possible and neither did some of our suppliers but being engineers, we soon started thinking in terms of solutions.”

The scale of the challenge led to a new way of working. Jochen believes that the key to the team’s successful delivery was their adoption of the ‘requirement-based system,’ introduced with the A350 XWB.

In the past, cabin engineers had worked out exactly what they wanted and then asked suppliers to produce it. For the A350 XWB the process was changed. “Our suppliers became RSPs (risk sharing partners) and we trusted them much more, we let them work out the finer details as long as what they produced met our requirements,” he says.

A good example of this approach arose with the aircraft’s stunning new LED lighting system. It had to be zonal, programmable and provide the full range of colours, but explaining how bright it should be was a problem. “We could have done a lot of research before giving exact specifications, but instead we said we wanted the rest rooms to be bright enough for passengers to put their make-up on and then left it to the lighting experts to achieve that,” explains Jochen.

Of course, careful, regular, systematic checks were absolutely essential to monitor progress but showing faith in the ability of RSPs to deliver made fast work on the groundbreaking cabin possible. “We might have been a little bit in awe of the requirements at first but when I look at the cabin now I can cross almost all of them off the list,” says Jochen.

“Our suppliers became RSPs (risk sharing partners) and we trusted them much more, we let them work out the finer details as long as what they produced met our requirements”

Joechen Mueller, cabin supply module head of engineering
 

Even a quick glance at the new cabin’s credentials shows that Jochen’s assessment is correct. Air pressure and humidity levels are better while state of the art in-flight entertainment (IFE) is delivered through larger, higher quality screens. Mood lighting changing to suit each phase of the flight can help passengers to avoid jet lag. And airlines can brand the interior by using colours against the white aircraft walls.

In addition, the floor is flat (no humps for IFE and other cables), overhead bins are larger, shoulder room is better and the lack of tapering really does make the cabin feel more spacious. And the panoramic windows offer a noticeably better view. Even the hot beverage machines and ovens have their servicing needs monitored by a centralised computer system.

“Being presented with non-negotiable requirements is every engineer’s nightmare, but our job was to overcome any problems,” says Jochen. “It took a few years, but with the help of our RSPs I think we did it.”

 

Flight test
A350 XWB
opens its doors


 

At the A350 XWB Customer Definition Centre opening event in Hamburg on 7 April, Airbus also unveiled A350 XWB’s first development cabin interior.

Flight test aircraft MSN002 is the first of two aircraft in the A350 XWB development fleet to be fitted with a cabin, which includes a medium flight test installation to be used for testing all cabin-related systems.

Intensive cabin flight and ground tests have already been performed on the aircraft since its arrival in Hamburg in mid-March. MSN002 will also be used for a partial evacuation test on the ground and hot and cold cabin testing.

MSN002 will be the first A350 XWB to carry real passengers when it makes a series of ‘early long flights’ during which the aircraft’s cabin systems and features can be tested in the air. It will soon be joined by the second cabin-equipped A350 XWB, MSN005, which will perform a series of route-proving flights around the world.

The new interior showcases the aircraft’s extra wide 221” internal cabin cross-section, along with some of the features that will characterise the in-service aircraft. For example, the A350 XWB is set to include the very latest inflight entertainment consoles and offer airlines exceptional flexibility and passenger comfort in all seat classes along with 18” seats in a nine-abreast economy configuration.

The first A350 XWB is due to enter commercial service with launch customer Qatar Airways later this year.

 

A350 XWB Customers' dream cabins

 

The A350 XWB cabin was revealed to excited customers and the media in Hamburg on 7 April. But as photographers, journalists and film crews admired the cabin installed on flight test aircraft MSN002, other visitors attended the inauguration of the A350 XWB Customer Definition Centre (CDC), where the airlines will choose their own dream cabins.

The CDC is a unique showroom housed in an old industrial hangar and it retains the atmosphere of an industrial loft. “It is a highly attractive one-stop shop, designed specifically to support A350 XWB customisation,” said Jörg Schuler, head of centre of competence, Cabin and Cargo. “The CDC showcases the variety of the A350 XWB cabin products on offer.”

“It is a highly attractive one-stop shop, designed specifically to support A350 XWB customisation”

Jörg Schule, head of centre of competence, Cabin and Cargo
 

With its 5000 m2 of presentation and lounge areas spread across two levels, the CDC enables the customers to see, feel and test real catalogue solutions in individually tailored zones. The Design Studio is a dedicated space for customers, designers and suppliers to consider and select materials, colours and textures. The variety of materials, fabrics and colours is clustered into seven representative ‘trim and finish’ design themes, such as Smart Tech, New Luxury or Pure Indulgence. And in highly functional ‘play rooms’, in-flight entertainment systems; LED lighting scenarios, with a selection of 16.7 million colour combinations; and galley variants can be compared and selected.

The Inspire Area’s full-scale, fully integrated cabin mock-ups represent the various design themes. They feature the available products in a realistic cabin environment and can be used to show airline customers their configuration choices.

Another unique aspect of CDC is the A350 XWB ‘configurator’, a newly developed tool that uses 2-D and 3-D design to let the customer digitally visualise and select all possible cabin layouts, product configurations and options. This virtual process is combined with two real configuration rooms designed to physically mock up different cabin zones by using original seats, simplified doors and sidewall panels with original contrasts or monuments. These rooms allow airline customers to test different layouts and feel how their choices will change their passengers’ sense of volume, space and leg room.

“The CDC showcases the variety of the A350 XWB cabin products on offer”

Jörg Schule, head of centre of competence, Cabin and Cargo
 

Flight Test Campaign


A350 XWB
Water ingestion tests


 

Making a big splash

It was a sunny day at Istres, outside of Marseille, France, and A350 XWB test aircraft MSN004 was rolling down the Air Force base runway.

Moving at 60 knots – about 110 kilometres per hour – the wheels suddenly entered a large man-made pool of water. There was a huge splash and a truly impressive plume of water spray as the aircraft continued through the pool.
And then the flight test crew did it again...and again – five times in total – going up to 140 knots (260 kilometres per hour).

The reason: it’s a part of the engine certification process known as the ‘water ingestion test due to runway conditions.’ Test coordinator Jean-Christophe Bonjour said that the airworthiness authorities (EASA) require aircraft to be designed in order to prevent dangerous quantities of water or slush from being directed into engines and auxiliary power units (APU) during takeoff, landing, and taxiing.

“The pool is 100 metres long and 29 metres wide and then we fill it with water until it is at least 23 millimetres deep below the nose landing gear tyre. Then, it is divided into several troughs to cope with the runway topography and the geometry of the aircraft.”

Jean Christophe Bonjour, test coordinator

Jean-Christophe explained that the pool or ‘water trough’ is created by inserting rubber strips into grooves in the runway. “The pool is 100 metres long and 29 metres wide and then we fill it with water until it is at least 23 millimetres deep below the nose landing gear tyre. Then, it is divided into several troughs to cope with the runway topography and the geometry of the aircraft.”

The test flight crew – two pilots, one test flight engineer and two flight test engineers – performed most of the tests in takeoff mode using maximum thrust, but they also simulated a landing using the thrust reversers in ‘max mode’ to ensure that engines performed as expected in any situation.

 

 

Even though the test looks like fun and games, Jean-Christophe said the pilots must be extremely precise. “The pool is not much wider than the landing gear itself – there’s only 60 centimetres of space on each side of the nose landing gear. If the pilot veers, even slightly, to either side he’ll damage the pool and we would lose a lot of time repairing it and then redoing the tests.”

To capture the results, an Airbus photographer was on board a helicopter hovering over the test area to video and film the tests. In addition, photographers were installed on the ground, on each side of the runway to have a complete overview of the tests. The tests were also witnessed by representatives from EASA.

At the end of the busy day, Jean-Christophe concluded by saying, “This is yet another critical test for the programme. And thanks to all of the hard work of everyone involved – the test preparers, the test flight crew, the designers – we can feel proud of what was achieved today.”

 

A350 XWB
Climatic testing


 

You’re getting warm, you’re getting warmer, now you’re ice cold

 

Imagine making a trip where you’ll be going from equatorial heat and humidity one day to desert heat and dryness the next and then a couple of days later to Arctic cold.

Now imagine experiencing those huge climatic changes without ever changing location. For the past two weeks that’s exactly what MSN002 and its flight crew and support team, headed by flight test director Philippe Foucault, have been undergoing at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin US Air Force Base in Florida.

Arriving at the testing facility on 5 May, MSN002 has been subjected to multiple climatic conditions: 32°C and 85% humidity; 45°C and 15% humidity; and, then, 15°C, followed by -30°C and finally going as low as -40°C.

“In just one trip, we can find all the conditions we need.”

Stephan Ducarroir, test project leader

Test project leader Stephan Ducarroir said that this testing is different from the cold weather campaign conducted earlier this year in Iqaluit, Canada and the hot weather campaign coming later this year. “Those campaigns involve test aircraft without cabins. Here, with MSN002, we’re testing all of the cabin systems – from the in-flight entertainment and air conditioning systems to the galleys and water and waste systems. It’s all part of our efforts to ensure maturity and operability of the aircraft when it enters into service later this year.”

 

1947

 

Established in 1947, McKinley offers multiple advantages for climatic testing. “First, we’re not constrained by natural conditions,” Stephan said. “This is a key asset when conducting a flight test campaign within a very challenging lead-time.” And it’s logistically simpler. “In just one trip, we can find all the conditions we need.”

The A350 XWB was one the biggest aircraft ever tested in McKinley, requiring the team to start test preparations six months prior to arrival. Once MSN002 was in the hangar, it was literally tied down. “Chains, chains and more chains,” Stephan said.

The reason is that some testing would be conducted with the engines running and the pilot in the cockpit just a few meters away from a wall. Also, the aircraft “dances a bit” when under power and because the hangar is a closed environment the exhaust needs to be ventilated. To do so, huge iron ductwork was specially made and the clearances were very tight. “If the aircraft ‘danced’ too much, it could move against the ductwork and damage the structure.”

Going to McKinley was a first for Airbus and with the testing now over, Philippe said he and the team were very proud to be pioneers for this new way of testing Airbus aircraft in extreme climatic conditions. They were also tremendously impressed with the facility and what its crew can do. “This is a one-of-a-kind tool and they are masters of it. They made everything seem possible.”

 

“Chains, chains and more chains”

Stephan Ducarroir, test project leader
 
 

23 May 2014 - Airbus Over America: The A350 XWB Does a Flyover of Mobile, Alabama

 

Capping a busy and productive visit to the US, A350 XWB test aircraft MSN002 made a high-profile appearance in the skies over the state of Alabama.

As it prepared to head back to Toulouse, France, the aircraft performed a flyover of where Airbus’ newest A320 Family final assembly line is being constructed and the Airbus Mobile Engineering Center is located. Both facilities are situated at the Aeroplex at Brookley, near the city of Mobile.

The jetliner’s special Alabama appearance followed more than two weeks of extreme weather testing at Eglin Air Force Base’s McKinley Climatic Lab in Florida and included a flyover of the Airbus LPGA Classic women’s professional golf tournament in Mobile.

 

A350 XWB
Noise Flight Tests

 

Can you hear that?

 

June 2013: MSN001 makes the first flight of the A350 XWB programme and spectators marvel at how quiet it is as it rolls down the runway and takes off into the skies over Toulouse.

Fast forward to June 2014: Passengers for the Early Long Flights (ELFs) onboard MSN002, the first cabin-equipped aircraft in the A350 XWB test fleet, rave about how quiet the cabin is.

 

But exactly how quiet is the A350 XWB?

To get the answer, teams of Airbus engineers have been conducting months of intensive testing.

Osmin Delverdier, head of Noise, Vibration and EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) Testing, said Airbus needs to test exterior and interior noise levels for different reasons. “For aircraft certification, the exterior noise level has to meet the requirements of the certification authorities. Also, airport officials are placing tougher restrictions on noise levels. On the other hand, we test interior noise levels with a focus on the expectations of our airline customers and their passengers,” he said. “And the methods we use for testing exterior and interior noise levels are quite different.”

As Osmin explained, the authorities set noise level limits for when aircraft make take-offs, landings, and approaches. To test the exterior noise levels for the A350 XWB, Airbus teams went to the airport in Seville, Spain in March and set up microphones around the approach path and runways. These microphones quantify noise, but are also so accurate they can precisely localise noise coming from anywhere on the aircraft. Then, over five days and nights, MSN004 made over 200 low-altitude flyovers.

Osmin said each flyover was different. “The configurations always change: slats up or down, landing gear up or down – we changed the weight of the aircraft, its altitude, and its speed.” He praised the experimental test pilots. “When you see the aircraft at a very low flight level (around 150 feet or less than 50 meters) with its landing gear retracted, it’s a remarkable sight. You realise how skilled the pilots are with a manoeuvre like that.”

“The level of quiet inside the cabin is going to be a very nice experience for the passengers”

Emmanuel Helfter, acoustic flight test measurement engineer
 

The testing teams conducted real-time monitoring of the noise levels, but more extensive analysis of the data takes weeks. “The analysis isn’t done yet,” Osmin said, “but I can say that the preliminary results conform to the design office models. The sound quality of the aircraft is very impressive.”

As for the interior noise testing, Osmin’s team began resolving issues as soon as the first flight back in June 2013. “During each test flight the pilots and test flight engineers make note of any noises, which are normal occurrences during development. Our team members then explore the interior using handheld microphones and troubleshoot any issue they find.”

For cabin-equipped aircraft, such as MSN002, Emmanuel Helffer, an engineer in the acoustic flight test measurements department, said the testing is even more thorough. “The installation schedule was very demanding, but over the course of two nights, we placed 200 sensors and their connections the entire length of the aircraft, from the cockpit to the rear of the cabin, including the galleys and cabin crew rest areas – everywhere passengers and crew will be. These sensors give us a complete ‘noise map’ of the interior.”

 

Later, when the A350 XWB enters into service, the acoustics team will test noise levels for many airlines’ ‘head of version’ (the model for all other aircraft of that type it will take). Emmanuel said the testing is needed because each airline has its own unique layout, giving each head of version a different acoustical performance.

A big question for the teams was how the A350 XWB’s extensive use of composite materials in the fuselage would affect interior noise levels. “I’ve been onboard MSN002 test flights and, like the passengers on the ELFs, I found the cabin very quiet,” Emmanuel said. “I thought that it was my subjective feeling, but the test results so far confirm that feeling. The level of quiet inside the cabin is going to be a very nice experience for the passengers.”

Concluding, Osmin said, “Right from the beginning, our designers have been thinking about making a quiet aircraft. Having a quieter cabin is something that passengers demand and it’s something that we can market with the A350 XWB.”

 

“Having a quieter cabin is something that passengers demand and it’s something that we can market with the A350 XWB.”

Emmanuel Helfter, acoustic flight test measurement engineer
 

Flight into known
icing conditions

 

It's going to be a tough ride

 

MSN001 and its five-person flight test crew were in the middle of a tremendous storm cell.

Updrafts and downdrafts were buffeting the aircraft. Lightning was striking it. Ice was starting to form on the surfaces. In other words, it was a perfect day for flying...if you’re looking for some of the most demanding conditions that an aircraft will ever face.

The reason for this flight – plus five more just like it – was a certification flight test known as “flying into known icing conditions” and for several weeks in April and May it turned the flight tests department into storm chasers. Flight test engineer Jean-Michel Merle said, “We started every day the same way: looking at weather reports all over Europe and phoning national weather stations to try and find the right kind of storm.”

more than the average commercial aircraft could expect over its entire lifetime – with 29 strikes happening on one flight alone.

 

“We’re flying into these huge, very active cumulonimbus clouds with hail and lightning”

Emanuele Costanzo, flight test engineer

As Jean-Michel explained, what they were searching for were storm cells that could produce super-cooled water icing. When that water comes into contact with an aircraft, it turns into ice. “And for certification purposes, we need to show that the anti-icing systems work as planned and that the aircraft’s handling abilities aren’t impacted.”

Prior to these challenging flights, the flight tests department did as much as possible to de-risk them. Extensive modelling was conducted beforehand and flight test engineer Emanuele Costanzo said, “We even performed some handling qualities and performance flights using some ‘artificial ice shapes’ placed along the airframe.”

The search for these ‘perfect storms’ took the crews to the skies over France, Spain, and Italy, where three of the six test flights were conducted. “We’re flying into these huge, very active cumulonimbus clouds with hail and lightning,” Emanuele said. In fact, during the testing, MSN001 was struck by lightning more than 70 times – more than the average commercial aircraft could expect over its entire lifetime – with 29 strikes happening on one flight alone.

Jean-Michel said there was plenty of adrenaline flowing while they were in the storm cells, episodes that can last for hours. “Still, everyone is so focussed on what they’re doing, complete and continuous systems monitoring, that you just concentrate on what you’re there to do.”

For this special test campaign, MSN001 was loaded with dedicated testing equipment. There were sensors along leading edges of the wings and empennage, specific probes all over the airframe, and cameras recording the results. In addition, a representative from EASA, the European airworthiness authority, was on-board to monitor the tests.

With the tests now over, both men said the results validate the results of the pre-test modelling and they have all of the certification points covered for this part of the campaign.

Then, Emanuele laughed and told this story: “On the radio, we would hear other pilots asking air traffic control to guide them around these storm cells. We did just the opposite: we asked to go directly into them. Those other pilots must’ve thought we were crazy.”

 

“On the radio, we would hear other pilots asking air traffic control to guide them around these storm cells. We did just the opposite: we asked to go directly into them. Those other pilots must’ve thought we were crazy.”

Emanuele Costanzo, flight test engineer
 

Al Ain Hot Weather
Test Campaign

 

Remember to Bring Sun Block : Al Ain Hot Weather Test Campaign

 

Al Ain is the second-largest city in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and – called the Garden City – it’s known for its oases. But for Airbus and its Flight Tests department, summers there are also the home of a ‘perfect’ climate for hot weather testing. It’s there, beginning with the A380 programme, that Airbus has subjected its test aircraft to temperatures in excess of 40C/104F.

So it was there, at Al Ain International Airport, that A350 XWB test aircraft MSN003 spent 12-18 June where conditions became, well, more perfect. That’s because the temperature actually hit 49C/120F on its first day there.

A necessary part of the airworthiness certification process, test flight engineer Gérard Maisonneuve said this hot weather campaign was the last major external testing for the A350 XWB programme. “Even in these extreme conditions, we need to verify that the heat doesn’t have any major impact on the aircraft.”

The main objective of the testing was to check the behaviour of the engines, auxiliary power unit (APU), and aircraft systems, including hydraulics, fuel, and air conditioning. A crucial component of the testing is what is known as a ‘heat soak.’ This is when the aircraft is left out in the sun for several hours and then, in the middle of the afternoon, it is restarted. “Fuel and hydraulic systems operate differently when the aircraft gets this hot,” Gérard explained. “But I’m happy to say that the results were very, very successful. We’ve demonstrated that the margins on all of the tests have been excellent – we never reached the limits of what the aircraft can do.”

Okay, so MSN003 could handle the heat, but what about its crew of 48 people: the pilots, engineers, maintenance staff, and supplier representatives?

Mikael Maas is the MAP (the French acronym for Mise au Point) manager for MSN003 and as such he led the MAP support team’s efforts in coordinating the people and documentation needed during the testing. He said the high temperatures didn’t really pose any serious problems for the test crew. “It really wasn’t that bad. For the people who worked outside, we just kept reminding them: wear a hat, drink plenty of water, and put on sun block,” he said. “Aboard the aircraft, when we turned on the cooling systems, the main cabin temperature was comfortable in just 30 minutes.”

Gérard finished by remarking how it was only a year ago – on 14 June – that MSN001 made the first flight of the programme. “Now we’ve achieved more than 2000 flight hours and with the arrival of MSN005, the test fleet is complete. Thanks to excellent teamwork and planning, we have done a huge amount of testing in minimal time. I can’t wait for the aircraft to enter into service and see how much the passengers will enjoy flying on this aircraft.”

 

“Fuel and hydraulic systems operate differently when the aircraft gets this hot, but I’m happy to say that the results were very, very successful.”

Gérard Maisonneuve, flight test engineer

 

 

Early long flights Test Campaign


 
 

Time for passengers
to board


 

At the gate

Airbus is a world-class aircraft manufacturer. It is not an airline. But on 2-3 June, it operated a short-lived ‘airline’ that could be called A350 XWB Airlines. That’s because on those two days, MSN002, the first cabin-equipped aircraft in the A350 XWB test fleet, made its first flights carrying full loads of passengers.

 

Although not being necessary for certification purposes, these Early Long Flights (ELFs) are part of Airbus’ ongoing efforts to deliver the most mature aircraft possible when the first commercial A350 XWB enters into service (with Qatar Airways) later this year.

The two flights were piloted by Airbus experimental test pilots and staffed by 12-person cabin crews from Air France (2 June) and Lufthansa (3 June) who had received training in the operation of the aircraft’s systems – including public address systems, galleys, and safety equipment – prior to the flights.

Still, what made these flights special was the presence of passengers: 252 Airbus employees per flight, chosen by their managers as deserving of special recognition.

 

Day #1


 

“This is the best flight of my whole life... There's definitely pride in seeing the results of your work... You get to see why your work was so important.”

Cesar Del-Carre Patallo, aircraft interiors marketing, Toulouse

ELF project leader Christophe Bertrand said that the flights were operated as close as possible to a normal commercial flight. “One of our objectives was to ensure what we call ‘airport compatibility,’” he said. “This means the aircraft was fuelled at the airport, catered at the airport, and serviced by cleaners at the airport, just like any other aircraft.”

Both flights took off and landed at the Toulouse, France airport. The 2 June flight was a daytime flight of seven hours; the 3 June flight was be a night flight of 12 hours. The flight paths took the aircraft over France, north to Norway, west to the United Kingdom – with the night flight heading south to the Iberian Peninsula – before heading back to France.

Christophe said the main goal of each flight was to observe the behaviour of the cabin systems. “We were looking at everything from the in-flight entertainment system and overhead storage bins to the air conditioning and lavatories,” Christophe said. “We also wanted the crew to experiment with their systems and see how they liked the crew rest areas.”

Among its many new features, the A350 XWB has an all-new LED lighting system, full connectivity, and the latest in in-flight entertainment. “We were really keen to get passenger feedback on these features,” Christophe said. To get that feedback, the passengers – and crew – received questionnaires during and after the flights. Developed by Airbus Human Factors specialists, the questionnaires asked for feedback on noise, air flow, comfort, ergonomics and more.

 

Day #2


 

“These flights are a big opportunity to get insights on how smooth and efficient the complete cabin and its systems can be operated and used under realistic conditions of a commercial flight,” Christophe said. “And they’re critical to avoiding any surprises at entry into service.”

“For me, today is about celebrating Airbus and becoming part of our history... I'm delighted to have the chance to provide feedback, because it feels like I'm making a personal contribution to how passengers will enjoy the A350 XWB.”

Luis Guerra, head of rear fuselage and empennage, A350 XWB, Getafe
 

In the cabin



In the cockpit



 

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