Virtual first flights for the A350

Airbus revealed today that the test-bed A350XWB – known as “aircraft zero” – has started its vrtual first flight(VFF) programme, which the manufacturer describes as “a key step in the final preparation for the actual first flightof aircraft MSN 1 [manufacturer serial No 1] by the middle of this year”.

“Aircraft zero” is, in its own way, real: it is the linking of the “iron bird” electric, hydraulic and flight control test bench with a flight deckintegration simulator. The manufacturer explains: “This provides the closest core system test environmentto the effective first flight of MSN 1. For this campaign, aircraft zero isequipped with a standard of equipment fully representative of MSN 1′s firstflight.”

Airbus continues: “The campaign, set to last for several months, has twomain objectives. The first is to prepare for first flight, by simulatingnormal and abnormal operational  scenarios prior to first flight,verifying the aircraft systems and handling aspects.  The second objectiveis to ensure maturity by detecting and resolving potential issues as early aspossible. The VFF campaign will also allow the flight crew to fully prepare forthe first flight and the subsequent flight test programme.”


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