Airbus is building hours on the A350 flight test program at a remarkable rate. We estimate that by month end, the program will be around 45% of its test hours in approximately 40% of the test schedule. The test program is going exceptionally well. It is certainly the best flight test program of the latest generation of aircraft.
There are four test aircraft flying now so we can expect the necessary hours to accelerate considerably.
MSN 001 F-WXWB
MSN 002 F-WWCF
MSN 003 F-WZGG
MSN 004 F-WZNW
Yesterday Airbus had two of the newer airplanes flying together. There can be no doubt confidence in the program is high. Indeed we believe Airbus will deliver the Qatar Airways airplane early. That will bring joy to one person in particular, with the potential that this one person will be voluble and quotable at an early delivery. Stay tuned.
I am surprised by how well this programme is going. Considering the size and complexity of the aircraft this is truly remarkable. Actually it is the CSeries that expected to go at that pace, not the A350. But Bombardier’s lack of experience (and bad luck) is showing up. Now we have to see how BBD will manage production. Same thing for Airbus with the A350 and Boeing with the 787-10. What is important in the end is when the anxious customers will take delivery of their aircraft.
It’s a good message from Airbus. But the most important question in 2014 is the end of the concept phase of A350-1000: will it be stretched? One frame more? Longer then 777-300ER? More pax? More LD3 cargo? What is about range? In the middle between 777-8X and 777-9X?
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm, and the second mouse gets the cheese.