The U.S. Air Force’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory was the next test location for the A350 XWB. Various systems and cabin installations will be subjected to a full range of conditions for further maturity and operability verifications prior to this new jetliner’s delivery start-up later this year.
Airbus brought A350 XWB MSN2 to the facility at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida for more than two weeks of evaluations this month, during which this developmental aircraft was subjected to multiple climatic and humidity settings from a high of 45 deg. C. to as low as –40 deg. C.
Flight test director Philippe Foucault said the A350 XWB’s various systems – from in-flight entertainment and air conditioning to its galleys, water and waste systems – were validated while the A350 XWB was enclosed in the laboratory’s large hangar. Testing included operations with Rolls Royce’ Trent XWB engines running, which required the A350 XWB to be securely chained in place.
The A350 XWB is one the largest aircraft ever tested at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory, requiring the teams to start their preparations six months prior to arrival. “This is a one-of-a-kind tool, and the laboratory’s operators are masters of it,” Foucault said. “They made everything seem possible.”