Saturday, June 15, 2013

Aviation History…10 Amazing Photos From Airbus A350’s First Flight!

Moments before the first Airbus A350 flight [Photo: Airbus]The aviation industry celebrated a historical moment yesterday, when the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft performed its very first flight in Toulouse.

Airbus did a fantastic job at generating buzz for the momentous occasion, with countless aviation enthusiasts throughout the world glued to their computer screens, desperate for real time updates, photos and videos of the A350 flight.

I’ve included a few amazing photos on this page – and I’ve uploaded an entire photo album on The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page with my 10 favourite photos from the flight. Click here to view them and don’t forget to like the page for the latest updates.

Beginning its takeoff roll exactly on time at 10:00 a.m., the first A350 XWB smoothly rotated and climbed away from Runway 32L at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, ascending through scattered clouds as it was accompanied by a photo chase aircraft.

In the air with the first Airbus A350 flight [Photo: Airbus]Operating on maximum takeoff power of its two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 XWB demonstrated the aircraft’s low external noise levels and excellent handling conditions from its first moments in the air.

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“The A350 XWB is fantastic and impressive,” said John Leahy moments after the historic takeoff.  “Did you hear how quiet it was?  We’re going to set new standards with the A350 XWB – not just for comfort and performance, but for environmental friendliness as well.”

Airbus employees welcomed the newest member of the company’s jetliner family by turning out in large numbers at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport – many waving flags with the message: “A350 XWB first flight – We did it!”

Additionally, more than 50,000 visitors watched the A350 XWB’s takeoff on the website, which delivered on-line streaming that also included real-time air-to-air video.  This coverage enabled viewers to share the experience as the aircraft went airborne for the first time, and subsequently provided real-time views during such key moments as the first landing gear retraction and certain handling qualities evaluations.

The talented crew behind Airbus A350's first flight [Photo: Airbus]MORE PHOTOS: Brand new Swiss Airlines Airbus A330 damaged in Montreal

Video of the first flight was provided on Airbus’ You Tube channel, and comments were posted on Twitter using the #A350firstflight hashtag.

While airborne, the A350 XWB was clearly identifiable by the extra widebody fuselage cross-section, its distinctive wrap-around windshield and streamlined nose profile, along with the tapered wings – a result of Airbus’ advanced aerodynamic design.  To further distinguish the new aircraft, it carries the A350 WXB designation – complete with the stylized logo – in large letters on its fuselage centerline.

In completing its 4-hour, 5-minute maiden mission, the A380 XWB performed a flyby of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport before landing on Runway 32L to applause and cheers.

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The A350 XWB that flew yesterday is designated MSN1, and is an A350-900 version.  This is the mid-family member of the A350 XWB Family, with the -900 to accommodate 314 passengers in a typical three-class configuration.  The longer-fuselage A350-1000 version seats 350, while the shortest – the A350-800 – has a capacity of 270 passengers.

A total of five aircraft will participate in the A350-900’s 2,500-flight hour test and certification programme in support of this first A350 XWB version to enter airline service.

MORE PHOTOS: Airbus A320neo engine makes first flight


  1. Tom Murray-SmithJune 15, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Thanks Robeel! Great photo from the chase plane! :)

  2. Beautiful :)

  3. Ahmet Önay ÖzpolatJune 16, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    I love A<350!

  4. I love this plane...

  5. Very exciting. A rare moment. History.

  6. Roshanakhtar AkhtarJune 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Now aircraft companies have become like cars manufacturers, they are trying to take out models every now & then with little extra features, but nothing exciting.

    1. Now and then? it takes 10 years plus to design and build and test an Aircraft. The shape of Aircraft is nominated by what the Airlines want-i.e. to fly as far as poss. for the least money and cost the least.Nothing to do with being exciting. if you want that in a car you buy the bugatti veron-but it wont be cheap on fuel! Horses for courses.

  7. Awesome, great pictures!


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