Airbus’ composite aircraft takes maiden flight

The first Airbus A350 XWB takes to the skies on its maiden flight. It took off this morning from Toulouse for a short test flight powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent turbofan engines.

It marks the beginning of a 2,500 flight hour test program that will lead to the certification of the A350-900 variant for airworthiness, prior to entering service in the second half of 2014.

The aircraft is made from 53% carbon fibre composite and is reportedly the world's most efficient large twin-engine commercial aircraft. The A350 XWB is a mid-sized long range aircraft that will be able to carry between 270 and 350 passengers. The composite wings are made in UK.

The new family of aircraft will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25% less fuel and providing equivalent reductions in CO2 emissions. The aircraft will rival the Boeing Dreamliner for mid-sized, ultra efficient composite aircraft.

For a replay of the test flight click on

Justin Cunningham

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