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The Airbus A350 XWB takes off for its maiden flight

14 June 2013

The Airbus A350 XWB 'MSN1' had a successful take-off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport at around 10.00am local time this morning (June 14).

Airbus A350 MSN1 takes off on its maiden flight from Toulouse-Blagnac
Airbus A350 MSN1 takes off on its maiden flight from Toulouse-Blagnac

Recent pre-first flight tests successfully carried out include the first power up of the fuel efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines on MSN1, which took place on June 2. 

The A350 XWB is the all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The new family will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25 per cent less fuel and providing an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions. 

Tony Wood, President - Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, said: "We congratulate Airbus on today's huge achievement and look forward to supporting the A350 XWB to a successful entry into service and beyond. Our own employees are very proud to have delivered a global engine programme that has achieved new levels of efficiency."

Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister, added: "The A350-XWB's maiden flight is significant for Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the aerospace industry - it shows that government's long-term Aerospace Industrial Strategy is the right approach to ensure the UK remains Europe's number one aerospace manufacturer. This is a big moment for the aerospace industry and the aircraft's first flight marks the continued commitment to innovation and excellence, contributing to stable economic growth and jobs."

The Trent XWB is the fastest-selling of six Rolls-Royce Trent types of engine, with more than 1,300 already sold.

Rolls-Royce started the Trent XWB programme in 2006 and four years later ran the engine for the first time on a test bed. Since then, it has been tested all over the world including climate extremes from +42C in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates to -23C in Iqaluit, Canada.

Twelve engines have been tested on the ground and, since February 2012, in the air on an A380 flying test bed, proving performance, endurance and safety.

The Trent XWB version that will power the A350-800 and A350-900 variants was awarded its "ticket to fly" in February with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification. A higher thrust version of the Trent XWB is under development for the A350-1000.

Trent XWB - engineering by numbers:
- The front fan is just under 10 feet across (9.8) and sucks in up to 1.3 tonnes of air every second at take-off.
- The force on a fan blade at take-off is equivalent to a load of almost 1,000 tonnes, the same as a freight train hanging off each blade.
- High pressure turbine blades inside the engine rotate at 12,500 rpm, with their tips reaching 1,200mph - twice the speed of sound.
- At take off each of the engine's 68 high pressure turbine blades generates around 900 horsepower per blade - similar to a Formula One racing car.
- At full power, air leaves the nozzle at the back of the engine travelling at almost 1,000mph.

Scheduled for entry-into-service in second half of 2014, the A350 XWB has already won 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide.

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