Airbus’ new A350-1000 – the longest-fuselage version of its A350 XWB jetliner – marked another certification milestone by performing tests that validated the aircraft’s ability to operate from waterlogged runways and taxiways.
Performed this month at the Istres Air Force Base in southern France, the A350-1000 was purposely run along an inundated surface to demonstrate that large quantities of water or slush can be safely ingested by the twin-jet’s turbofan engines and its turbine-powered auxiliary power unit during takeoff, landing and taxi.
For these tests, crewmembers progressively accelerated the aircraft through the standing water five times at speeds from 80 to 140 knots, with the A350-1000 performing as expected.
The trials were documented with video and photo coverage, as well as the first use of a camera-equipped drone to provide airborne views of the test runs.
As the latest member of Airbus’ leading widebody family, the A350-1000 is scheduled to enter airline operation before year-end. In addition to having a longer fuselage accommodating 40 more passengers than the A350-900 version currently in service, the A350-1000 also features more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, a modified wing trailing-edge and new six-wheel main landing gears.