The Right Stuff: Airbus A350 Completes Maiden Voyage


It’s not the distance but the first step that is difficult. Today, Airbus flexed long-haul legs in Toulouse, France, completing the maiden voyage of their first new aircraft in eight years, the A350 XWB, which landed like a leaf in water.

What couldn’t be said got wept, giving the flight a deep sort of reverb. Now the blind god of evolution takes over.

Everyone who contributed so much as a light-bulb design in the nine-year-long dream (originally conceived in 2004, then redefined the A350 XWB in 2006) watched with chainsaw intensity as always-calm fighter pilots spun aviation cotton candy and challenged Airbus’ challenger to Boeing’s Dreamliner.

Delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways (they ordered 80 A350s across three variants -800, -900, -1000) should begin mid-2014.

Airbus says the wings and fuselage of the 250 to 400-seat A350 XWB, made of lightweight carbon fiber–reinforced polymer, will save jet fuel and maintenance. Maybe a 25 percent cost savings.

Design changes also include a fuselage with a constant width from door 1 to door 4, wider than Boeing’s Dreamliner. No topiary gardening, but it’s a big sandbox. Airbus says you can expect more headroom, larger overhead storage bins (imagine what those will rent for) and larger windows.

More from the promo lit (Dolled up flight attendants!):  “Cabin crewmembers will utilise (utilize) a rest facility in the A350 XWB’s rear fuselage that accommodates six to eight bunks. It has a full-height standing area, providing a comfortable zone that allows crews to prepare and dress more easily.”

The Tarmac’s View:  Can’t wait. Airbus flights across Asia last month put me in the Airbus camp. All those old Boeings around the world look homemade and seedy. They deserve a Rolex for meritorious service. Along with a handshake. The A350 promo lit also reads “unmatched premium first class and business solutions.” Solutions? Once somebody ante’s up a private room w/ shower, the bar has been set (there’s a bar, too, in Emirates Airlines A380 first-class suites). Brace for reentry.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Airbus S.A.S. – by e’m company / P. Pigeyre


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Comments (Showing 5 of 5)

  • BostonFlyer1624 at 6:45pm June 14, 2013

    Why was the gear down the entire time???

  • stablemate77 at 9:53pm June 14, 2013

    the landing gear went up at end of video….looked really cool…..the a350 will give boeing a run for ther money….super quit engines they say…..good job bravo airbus

  • behuman at 1:48pm June 15, 2013

    Had tears in my eys watching the video. Airbus the pride of Europe and the pride of being European.

  • LeisureMiler at 6:07pm June 15, 2013

    So looking forward to riding that beautiful prowess of a bird!

  • FlightNurse at 2:23am June 17, 2013

    Gear stay down as part of the testing, boeing does the same thing.

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