The very first A350-900 headed for Turkish Airlines has been spotted undertaking its maiden flight today. The aircraft completed a flight of more than four hours in duration, putting it through its paces at a variety of altitudes. This important milestone suggests that the delivery date for this super looking aircraft is now a matter of weeks away.
The flight was spotted by flight dispatcher at Toulouse Airport and avid planespotter Clement Alloing, who was kind enough to share his images of the beautiful aircraft on Twitter.
— Clément Alloing (@CAlloing) March 13, 2020
The maiden flight of the Turkish Airlines A350 was a pretty thorough effort at putting the shiny new aircraft through its paces. The aircraft, flying under the Airbus flight number AIB01GN, the A350, tail number F-WZGN, took off from Toulouse (TLS) at 09:31 this morning, local time.
Takeoff was uneventful, with the aircraft quickly climbing past 10,000 feet. From Toulouse, the aircraft headed to the north, trying out a few low altitude maneuvers on the way.
After that, it headed north and slightly east, heading out over the Bay of Biscay to perform some higher altitude passes over the sea. After about four tight turns at altitude, the aircraft headed to the south west, passing high and fast over Bordeaux at some 43,000 feet, before heading home.
Once in the south of France, the A350 headed east, passing along the border with Spain until it was just above Limoux. By now, the Turkish plane was cruising at 20,000 feet as it began to make a turn towards home. But the rigorous flight test wasn’t done yet.
The A350 turned back north east and proceeded to undertake a series of maneuvers at this lower altitude. Finally it seems Airbus was satisfied with the test and the A350 headed for home. F-WZGN landed safely back in Toulouse at 14:01 local time, completing a flight that had lasted four hours and 29 minutes in total.
When will the A350 be delivered to Turkish Airlines?
While getting its maiden flight under its belt is a hugely positive step for the Airbus, there’s still more to be tested and checked over the coming days and weeks. Previous A350 flight testing has often involved three or four flights, so we can expect to see a fair bit more of the A350 in the very near future.
What this does signify is that the delivery date on this first A350 is edging tantalizingly close. When Air France’s A350 was preparing for delivery, we noted it took its maiden flight in Toulouse on August 28th, 2019. The customer acceptance flight then occurred on September 12th, and then delivery took place on September 27th. That’s around a month from maiden flight to delivery.
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) March 13, 2020
We’ve seen a similar pattern with other first A350 deliveries too, from SAS to Virgin to British Airways. That gives us hope that we could see Turkish taking delivery of its first of the type in around four weeks. Very exciting times!
Turkish Airlines has a total of 25 A350-900s on order from Airbus. The first is due to start flying in April, initially on routes from Istanbul to London and Dubai. Following that, the A350 will head to Los Angeles in July, and finally to Seoul later in the year.
Are you excited to see Turkish Airline’s A350 enter service? Let us know in the comments.