Airbus names A350 flight-test crew

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Airbus has named the six crew who will carry out the first flight of the A350-900, a group led by chief test pilot Peter Chandler.

Chandler, who was closely linked to the testing of the Airbus A380, will be joined by project test pilot Guy Magrin, a French former squadron leader and ex-A320 and A330 pilot.

The MSN1 crew will also comprise project test-flight engineer Pascal Verneau, who supported development testing of the A380 and A340-600.

Flight operations chief Fernando Alonso, flight-test engineer Emanuele Costanzo and head of development flight tests Patrick Du Che will comprise the other three MSN1 crew members.

Chandler will be piloting a maiden flight for the first time in his career.

Airbus has been familiarising the crew with MSN1 through twice-weekly simulator sessions, each lasting up to five hours, using its Aircraft Zero integrated test system. Aircraft Zero connects a simulated cockpit to the "iron bird" rig featuring the A350's primary control systems.

The airframer has yet to determine when MSN1 will conduct its first flight. Following the powering-up of its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines on 2 June, the aircraft will undergo initial flight-control testing.

MSN1's ground-test regime will then move to taxiing and low-speed braking tests before the A350 undergoes high-speed braking, ahead of the aircraft becoming airborne for the first time.