The engines and auxiliary power unit have been installed on the first flight test Airbus A350-900 (MSN001) in Toulouse, marking a significant milestone on the road to aircraft completion and the beginning of powered ground tests.
The aircraft’s Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84 engines, rated at up to 84,000 lb thrust, have a fan diameter of 118 inches – two more than that of the Trent 900s that power the A380. Airbus also installed the first of the aircraft’s new Honeywell HGT1700 APUs.
Airbus says that with these installations “the A350 XWB MSN001 becomes essentially a ‘completed’ aircraft. Following the ongoing ground tests, other preparations and also painting in the coming weeks, MSN001 will then be handed over to the Airbus Flight Test team to commence preparations for ground runs and maiden flight in the summer.” Rumors of the possible appearance of MSN001 meanwhile continue to circulate – but with just over 80 days to go to the start of the show that’s likely to be a long shot.