Airbus has been carrying out low-speed take-off tests with one of the A350-1000 development aircraft as it heads towards certification later this year.
The first of three A350-1000 test aircraft (MSN59) has a tail bumper installed, enabling its rear fuselage to be dragged along the runway in trials to establish VMU minimum unstick speeds. The tests, which took place in early March at Istres in southern France, help to verify slat and flap settings and performance criteria.
Airbus is working towards certification of the A350-1000 this year, to clear the way for deliveries of the stretched A350 derivative to begin in the second half of 2017, with Qatar Airways as the first recipient.
The flight-test trials involve a trio of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 powered A350-1000s. The third test aircraft (MSN71) recently returned from cold-weather trials (below) in Iqaluit, Canada, where it was exposed to temperatures as low as -37°C during an overnight cold soak. The aircraft subsequently undertook high-altitude take-off and landing tests at La Paz airport in Bolivia.