01 September 2014

A350 prototype first time in Austria because it was raining.

The MSN1 prototype has visited today Linz Airport in Austria in the first visit of the A350 to the country.

Some wet-test have been completed in Linz as it was raining with a temperature of 13ยบ Celsius.

This wet tests (2 landings and 2 take-offs) are done to test the behavior of the aircraft under wet conditions.

In it´s way back to Toulouse, the A350-900 first prototype (equipped with Flight Test Instrumentation) has visited the Graz airport in Austria too.

The Type Certification of the A350-900 is expected in coming days.

A photographer team of “Austrian Wings” has been attending this special visit to Linz with many quality-pictures available here.

Based on the article “Fotobericht: Airbus A350-900 zu „Nasswetter-Tests“ in Linz” published in Austrian Wings.

31 August 2014

Aeroflot to decide how to convert its order of 8 A350-800 to A350-900 or A350-1000. Also considering the A330neo.

“Aeroflot was one of the early customers for the A350, as it signed for 22 aircraft in 2007,” Airbus VP for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Andreas Kramer said during the MSN5 one-day stop at Moscow Sheremetievo airport within the A350 World Tour. “We are in Moscow to show theA350XWB to.”

Even though Aeroflot placed its A350-800 order before Airbus dropped the original design in favor of the more spacious XWB and subsequently launched the A330neo, the manufacturer still counts Aeroflot orders among the total orders collected so far. Currently there are 8 A350-800 and 14 A350-900 orders considered in Airbus´ orderbook.

Aeroflot deputy general director and head of flight operations Igor Chalik said that the airline has yet to decide how to convert its earlier order, and which of the currently available models it might take instead of the A350-800.

“Everything depends on how our network of routes develops, as we want to maximize the seat loading factors,” he said.

“Since we placed the order, things have changed. The currently available -900 and-1000 versions have larger cabins.”

Aeroflot plans to open A350 revenue operations in 2018. “So the choice of a model is not something for today; we can make it later, not now,” added Chalik.

Other sources within Aeroflot said that the airline has begun considering the A330neo as a less expensive alternative to the A350.

Aeroflot considers the A350XWB as a natural successor to the Il-96-300, noting fuselage cross-section similarities and 9-abreast seating in the same factory arrangement.

Based on the article “Sanctions Cast Shadow over A350 Visit to Moscow” published in AINOnline

30 August 2014

The A350 certification with Lithium batteries will take one year more.

US regulators have issued the special conditions for approving lithium-ion battery installation on the Airbus A350-900. They are necessary because airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate standards for certain aspects of modern aircraft design, including the use of lithium-ion batteries; “Lithium-ion batteries and battery systems have new hazards that were not contemplated when the existing regulations were issued,” says the FAA.

The FAA has amended the details in places comparing similar requirements laid down for the Boeing 787 in 2007; the instructions for continued airworthiness must contain maintenance requires assuring that the batteries are “sufficiently charged”, retaining enough charge to ensure the cells will not be damaged.

“A battery cell may be damaged by lowering the charge below a point where the battery experiences a reduction in the ability to charge and retain a full charge,” it states. “This reduction would be greater than the reduction that may result from normal operational degradation.” It adds that precautions should be included in these instructions to prevent mishandling of the batteries which could result in short-circuit or other unintentional impact damage.

Airbus had initially opted for lithium batteries to power certain electrical systems on the A350 but switched to conventional nickel-cadmium in 2012 after battery-related incidents on the 787 sparked safety concerns.

The lithium-ion batteries´ certification in the A350 is planned for mid-2015 based on an interview published in Le Figaro with Saft CEO. "Airbus did not split the contract between the battery and the charger, we will provide the 'box' that connects the battery to the aircraft," said John Searle, Saft CEO. "For Saft, the A350 program represents a turnover of around 300 million dollars in original equipment and replacement," he added.

Based on the article “US FAA lays out conditions for A350 lithium batteries” published in FlightGlobal and based on the article  L'Airbus A 350, une aubaine pour les batteries Saftpublished in Le Figaro.

29 August 2014

Finnair´s A350s will be the 1st aircraft with wi-fi service onboard … but it could not be wi-free.

Finnair is evaluating addition of in-flight wifi capability on the rest of its fleet after introducing this wifi-service for the first time on its new A350 –with EIS planned from 2015 to 2017-.
“We are evaluating it on the rest of the fleet; both the rest of the widebodies and narrowbody fleet” said Finnair commercial chief Allister Paterson.

Finnair is still evaluating the priceing model for wi-fi when it launches with the A350s. “Very few airlines offer it for free. We are going to watch the model as it unfolds” said Paterson. “wi-fi is a big investment. Our thinking is we will charge for it,  but if that model changes, we will have to follow it”.

Based on the article “Finnair ponders wi-fi for rest of fleet” published in FlightGlobal.

28 August 2014

A350-1000´s engine starts running on the Rolls-Royce test beds in Derby, UK.

Following closely after the first engine run of the Trent XWB-97 in July, the engine has achieved full takeoff power of 97,000 lbs.

Alistair McIntosh, Chief Engineer for the Trent XWB-97, said: “Reaching 97,000 lbs of thrust is another important milestone for us.  Like the saying goes ‘you need to learn to walk before you can run’, so we’ve been building up thrust levels over the last couple of weeks to understand how the engine performs against our models, before hitting full thrust.”  The engine will continue to test over the coming weeks to further explore the function and operability of the Trent XWB-97 design, across various thrusts and maneuvers.

“What impresses me most is the amount of running we’ve been able to do so far with this engine and how quickly we’ve done it.  It really shows how far we’ve come with our design techniques and tools,” added Alistair.  “We’re also coming from a solid baseline of having so much experience of the -84 engine.  What we need to do now is to execute the program we’ve set out, continue running this engine, and getting more -97 engines on to the test beds.”

Based on the press release “Trent XWB-97 achieves full takeoff power”

27 August 2014

Qatar Airways shows off 1st painted A350-900 MSN6

Qatar Airways’ first Airbus A350-900 has broken cover with its full livery.

The Doha-based airline is the launch customer of the A350 and it is planned that the first aircraft will be delivered by the end of the year.

This 1st aircraft, the MSN6, has been painted in the carrier’s distinctive grey-and-maroon livery.

In the pictures shown by Qatar Airways, the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84 engines are not installed.

As these pictures are from last week, the powerplants have already been installed in the FAL in Toulouse, as shown in these 2  pictures:

Based on the article “Qatar shows off first A350 in full livery” published in Flight Global

26 August 2014

Test flights ongoing to demonstrate that the A350 can safely fly 7 hours using a single engine.

Airbus intends to ramp up flight tests this week to demonstrate that the A350 eventually should be allowed to fly routes taking it as many as 7 hours from an emergency landing strip. Trans-Atlantic flights to Goose Bay in Canada, Azores and Cape Verde are planned as these are common diversion airports.

The A350 would have unprecedented regulatory leeway compared with other twin-engine jets on ultra-long polar or over-water routes.

If European regulators grant approval in coming years, the wide-body jets would be able to take more direct routes to slash flight times, save fuel and give Airbus a potential marketing advantage connecting a limited number of destinations. Later, the FAA will be asked to give its stamp of approval. When the A350 goes into service in coming months, Airbus expects to have approval for diversions of more than 3 hours. (Between ETOPS 180 and ETOPS 330)

Industry officials said Airbus would win bragging rights for the A350 to fly virtually any nonstop route in the world without having to make adjustments to stay closer to potential diversion airports; Australia-Brazil and SouthAfrica-Australia are some of new nonstop routes that would be open for twin-engine jets.

More broadly, the issue also highlights the reliability of the latest generation of Rolls-Royce engines, along with electrical, fuel and fire-suppression systems.

“This is the first time we are targeting such an aggressive ETOPS certification,” said Fernando Alonso, SVP for flight testing at Airbus. To combat fire, one batch of extinguishers is designed to put out the flames. A second group would release chemicals in a controlled way to assure the fire doesn’t rekindle.

Rival Boeing currently has approval to fly certain aircraft as far as 5,5 hours from the nearest suitable airport in case of an emergency. When plans for the A350 were unveiled, Boeing said it didn’t intend to match Airbus’s goal.

On its A330-300 wide-body, Airbus already has approval to fly as far as 4 hours from the nearest airport under so called Extended-range Twin Operations, or ETOPS, rules.

Based on the article “Airbus tests A350’s ability to fly farther from emergency landing sites” published in The Wall Street Journal.