Prototype A350 begins high-altitude cruise tests

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Airbus has started a second test flight with its A350-900 prototype, and taken the aircraft to higher cruise altitudes as part of the plan to open fully the flight envelope.

The aircraft initially headed south towards the Pyrenees mountain range before turning west for La Rochelle on the French coast and climbing to high altitude over the Bay of Biscay.

Airbus, which confirmed the departure of MSN1, has been intending to conduct high Mach testing as part of the second flight.

It had originally been scheduled to depart Toulouse Blagnac at about 13:30, weather conditions permitting.

During the first test flight on 14 June the crew took the aircraft up to 25,000ft. Chief test pilot Peter Chandler says the intention had always been to split the envelope testing over two sorties.