The first A321neo equipped with CFM International LEAP-1A engines completed its maiden flight on February 9th from Hamburg, Germany.
The aircraft, registration D-AVXB, was flown by Experimental Test Pilots Martin Scheuermann and Bernardo Saez Benito Hernandez. Accompanying them in the cockpit was Test-Flight Engineer Gérard Leskerpit and monitoring the flight’s progress were Flight-Test Engineers Sandra Bour Schaeffer and Emiliano Requena Esteban.
The flight lasted five hours and 29 minutes during which tests were performed on the engine speed variation (low/high), systems behavior and to validate the aircraft’s flight envelope. The A321neo will join the NEO flight test fleet and perform a partial flight test program to validate the impact on handling qualities, performance and systems. The first A321neo will be delivered at the end of 2016.
The A321neo is the largest member of the A320neo Family and incorporates many innovations including latest generation engines, Sharklet wing tip devices and cabin improvements, which together will deliver up to 20 percent in fuel savings by 2020.
The A320neo flight test campaign has accumulated some 1,900 flight hours in over 640 flights since the first flight on 25th September 2014.
Airbus also announced it has started final assembly of the first A350-1000 on schedule at the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France. This A350-1000, one of three flight test aircraft to be built, will take to the skies for its maiden flight before the end of 2016. A350-1000 deliveries will start in mid-2017.
To ensure the smooth integration of the A350-1000 into the FAL while A350-900 production is ramping-up, Airbus has added three additional final assembly stations. For maximum flexibility, all stations in the A350 XWB FAL can be used for both models.