Two Airbus A350 XWB test planes took to the skies for the first time Wednesday, doubling the size of the fleet that will log 2,500 flight hours before the new jetliner is delivered to any customers. The A350 XWB, in the works for nearly a decade, is an effort to push the envelope in passenger comfort, aerodynamics, and fuel efficiency.
One of the first commercial jets to be made primarily of composite materials instead of metal, it will come in three variants, the 800, 900, and 1000. Those will carry between 276 and 369 people.
The planes, dubbed MSN2 and MSN4, took off from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France. MSN1 and MSN3 are already in service and have logged nearly 1,100 flight test hours. One more test aircraft will be built, and deliveries of the plane should begin in the fourth quater of 2014.
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Photo by Airbus