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A flight to nowhere - A tour of Airbus' A350-1000XWB in Hong Kong

A flight to nowhere - A tour of Airbus' A350-1000XWB in Hong Kong

Old Jan 30, 18, 9:35 am
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Cool A flight to nowhere - A tour of Airbus' A350-1000XWB in Hong Kong

Hello FT!

It's been a while since I last posted here, and I thought I'd return with a rather different trip report. Well ok, maybe not a trip report...

A flight to nowhere - A tour of Airbus' A350-1000XWB in Hong Kong


Background

A few weeks back, an email from the local aviation society titled "A350-1000 visit" appeared in my mailbox. Apparently Airbus had rather secretly restarted its round the world tour of their A350 aircraft - but this time promoting its newest variant, the -1000. Understandably, Hong Kong was made one of the twelve cities the new jet was to visit over January and February. I signed up without thinking much about it, knowing that these kinds of events would be immensely popular amongst local avgeeks and hence a very slim chance of myself being selected.

But a couple of days later another email from the society arrived - this time titled "Congratulations". The rest is history...

Day of the tour

After a few clicks on the almighty internet I learnt that the aircraft chosen to perform the tour was to be MSN065, the second production A350-1000 (which I shall conveniently call the A35K) distinctive as it carries the much loved Carbon livery first seen on MSN002 (F-WWCF). The aircraft would call at Doha and Muscat after departing from Toulouse, arriving into Hong Kong in the wee hours of January 29. We were to visit the bird as part of the Cathay allocation, and would have around 45 mins to snap away.

I arrived at Cathay City in the early hours of the 29th as instructed to meet up with other participants, and to pick up our airport permits.



We were then bused straight from CX City into the HAECO hangers, where the star of our tour was parked.



I originally expected the aircraft to be quite tightly guarded. It turns out there were only a handful of Airbus/HAECO staff around the plane and we were able to get rather close to the fuselage.



Confirmation that I was getting on a dash 1000:



F-WLXV, registration for the aircraft. Coincidentally LXV is also 65 in Roman numbers, which is the same as the aircraft's MSN. Whether that's deliberate is anyone's guess.



We were led up the staircase into the aircraft through door L4. A few customary shots on the way up:





The now iconic A350 winglet. An enlarged version is currently being tested on one of the A359 test planes.



Despite MSN065 being a test aircraft, Airbus have installed fully functional seats in a typical three class layout:

Economy Class

Economy Class is arranged in a typical 9-abreast configuration.





Airbus on a mission to educate the most ignorant of layperson



The flight engineer's work station. We were given a short lecture by the man in charge - Christophe Bertrand







Not your every day wing view - a winglet in Airbus house colour with a maintenance hanger in the background.




Premium Economy Class (?)

It was rather surprising to see Airbus fit 10+ rows in PEY since it is supposed to be a niche sub-class from Economy (for context - Cathay has 4 rows installed in their A350-900). The seats were also in 9-abreast and not noticeably thicker/wider than the other seat type. It makes wonder whether this was just another type of Economy seat off their catalog.













Business Class

Nothing to really write home about:





An INOP seat on a promotion flight?! Not the best promotion material:



The much loved seat 1A:





And yes - the brainwashing continues in the front cabins:



The Business Class wing/engine view:



A nespresso machine for 40,000ft. Don't recall seeing a George Clooney advert promoting this - but I might be mistaken:



Beyond Business Class

Airbus installed a revised version of the Cirrus Seat for this all exclusive cabin - housing a grand total of three.
.
.
.
No they didn't - still the same old chair that doesn't look entirely comfy:



The man in the co-pilot seat is Airbus test pilot Jean-Michel Roy. Massive kudos to him for posing for the photos and giving me a quick run through of the panels.







Some Airbus memorabilia on the way out - including the Cathay themed A350-1000 stickers. I wonder if Airbus does one for each customer:





Some external pics for hardcore A350 fans before I was bused away:













-----

And that is it! Apologies where they're due - this wasn't much of a report nor a review of the stock Airbus seats, mainly due to the limited amount of time we get to spend inside the aircraft. But I nonetheless hope you enjoyed the photo walk-through.

Thanks for reading!!

Adrian
freakinflyer001 is offline  
Old Jan 30, 18, 11:21 am
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Funny thing!
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Old Jan 30, 18, 2:19 pm
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Nice looking plane. Thanks for the pictures.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 8:14 pm
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Great report, thanks!
The A359 is already the most comfortable airliner to fly IMO. Cannot wait to try the A35K.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 9:25 pm
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Thanks for sharing the experience. I'd love to do a plane tour like that. Great photos!
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Old Jan 30, 18, 10:22 pm
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Awesome stuff, freakinflyer001. I wonder what happens to these test planes after all the testing?
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Old Jan 30, 18, 10:45 pm
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Originally Posted by DanielW View Post
Awesome stuff, freakinflyer001. I wonder what happens to these test planes after all the testing?
Test ones are usually overweight, so usually they're either:
  • Kept by the manufacturer for testing new technologies (as mentioned above, the test A350-900's are testing the new winglet)
  • Sold to a customer who can use them on their routes
  • Put on display (Like the 787-8's)
  • Scrapped
However, that's more common with first generation models - with second gen/stretches, a lot of the issues are worked out already and they're manufactured well enough that once they complete the test program, those planes can go to customers

Excellent report btw, quite jealous
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Old Jan 31, 18, 1:50 am
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Very nice plane, thanks.
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Old Jan 31, 18, 9:40 pm
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Nice tour!
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Old Jan 31, 18, 11:20 pm
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Great report and tour! I've always been a Boeing fan myself, especially the 747. The 777 is also nice, but I like that the a330/a350 planes can only fit 9-across in Y. 10 across doesn't help the comfort issue.

Are there any US carriers that are picking up the -1000?
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Old Feb 1, 18, 4:22 am
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Originally Posted by eeflyer View Post
Great report and tour! I've always been a Boeing fan myself, especially the 747. The 777 is also nice, but I like that the a330/a350 planes can only fit 9-across in Y. 10 across doesn't help the comfort issue.

Are there any US carriers that are picking up the -1000?
Not for the time being. United had quite a sizeable order placed but converted them all to the -900 a few months back.
freakinflyer001 is offline  
Old Feb 2, 18, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by darthlemsip View Post
Test ones are usually overweight, so usually they're either:
  • Kept by the manufacturer for testing new technologies (as mentioned above, the test A350-900's are testing the new winglet)
  • Sold to a customer who can use them on their routes
  • Put on display (Like the 787-8's)
  • Scrapped
However, that's more common with first generation models - with second gen/stretches, a lot of the issues are worked out already and they're manufactured well enough that once they complete the test program, those planes can go to customers

Excellent report btw, quite jealous
Yes, MSN005 that did the last round of tours for the -900 (and the last Airbus schemed plane to visit HKG before this visit) is now sold to French Blue as F-HREU.
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Old Feb 2, 18, 11:52 am
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Even no air under the wings...a very nice read!
Many Thanks

Best,
Bent
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Old Feb 2, 18, 3:49 pm
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This is REALLY COOL! Thanks for sharing ^
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Old Feb 2, 18, 9:07 pm
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Thamks for posting. Interesting.
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