To date, the A350 XWB MSN1 has completed around 350 flight test hours out of the campaign’s total 2,500 hours which are to be achieved by five flight test A350’s over the next 12 months. Entry into commercial service of the A350-900 is scheduled for the second half of 2014.
First development-VMU tests were performed last 26/Sep in Paris-Vatry airport with no special issue reported.
The VMU "Velocitiy minimum unstick" is much lower than the speed that will be used later when entry into service. From this dangerous low test speed range the prototype-aircraft must then accelerate, stabilize and then safely withdraw.
These test series are considered to be one of the most demanding maneuver of the entire test-program. The aerodynamic effect of the rudder is severely restricted due to the extremely low speed. There was the theoretical risk of seriously damaging the MSN1, which could delay the entire certification program; and it has been sucessfully mitigated in the first development-test.
The second test aircraft MSN3 will join the test program next week with the first flight in comming days after the RTO tests done during last 2 days.
Based on the press release “Airbus and Japan Airlines sign their first ever order” published by Airbus.