back to article Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Airbus has successfully flown a new commercial jet model, with the first A350-1000 taking to the skies over Toulouse on Thursday. The A350-1000 is the new member of the A350 program, Airbus' attempt to offer a long-haul twin-engine jet a little larger and rather more modern than its A330 range, and also cheaper to operate than …

  1. bazza Silver badge

    First Flight Challenges

    There rarely seem to be any challenges these days.

    In the old days the test pilots would strap themselves in, light the fires and take the aircraft up for a quick circuit and get it back down ASAP before one of the many items that are clearly wrong / broken / rattling / wobbling / leaking / overheating bring it down in a smoking ruin of bent, shattered and charred aluminium. A lifetime of excitement compressed into 5 minutes of sheer exhilaration, possibly ending in some parachute time.

    Nowadays it's normal to be able to take the plane up for hours on the first flight and fully explore the flight envelope. One wonders what the remainder of the flight test campaign is really for these days.

    Of course, this is a good thing.

    Anyway, congrats to Airbus and the wider aviation community for getting it right so often. It's become so normal that we moan about delays.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      This is just an extended version of the existing model. Not an entirely new plane. So having a rather dull first flight is not so surprising.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        I know, but the first flight of the first A350 was just as uneventful. And the A330. And pretty much everything else that has been flown in recent decades.

        Back in the old days it was definitely more exciting. Bill Parks, Lockheed's legendary test pilot, demanded and got extra (extra! Ordinary danger money was already part of the package) danger money for taking Have Blue (the F117 prototype) up for the first time it was such a ramshackle assemblage of second hand junk. Hugely successful though.

        1. Denarius Silver badge

          Re: First Flight Challenges

          wasn't reused components so much as Pave Blue (and F117) are so un-aerodynamic the electronics are essential to keeping the craft the right way up. That the flight control and design worked well speaks volumes about _real_ engineers pushing the boundaries of current practice but not leaping into unknown.. It also suggests that the source of the endless mirth and mockery of the flying flimflam AKA F35, has too much clever code instead of much developed code.. Now if I could just remember the pithy appellation used about the F35 another commentard used I would be a little less depressed.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

          "but the first flight of the first A350 was just as uneventful. And the A330."

          Several things have helped, many of them IT related.

          AFAIK all bit aircraft will be done on CAD systems and they can do automatic clearance and fit checking, Part of the original purpose of rollouts was to find what had not been done right and "shim" it together/apart as needed.

          The mfg by "hogging out" large lumps of alloy or laying up large pieces of composite eliminates a shedload of fasteners and their accumulation of tolerance IE all the little bits being slightly out adding up to a whole part that's a lot out.

          CFD (certainly below M1) is pretty good so any suspect features that may make handling difficult can be tested and either redesigned or flight rules adjusted so they are not a hazard (at least in early testing).

          This results in generally much less drama with new types.

          However you can get new problems as well. Airbus had issues when their 2 design centres had different versions of the same CAD SW. IIRC the datum points (where exactly is "0" in the X, Y, Z dimensions relative to each drawing) was just a bit out. This caused months of delay.

          Possibly the ultimate case of "More haste, less speed." (-:

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. JLV Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: First Flight Challenges

          Oh, I dunno. If you average in the F35's reliability with all the others you'd see we haven't progressed quite as much.

          I know, that's a bit like a MS rant in the midst of a Linux article - not that we ever have those - my coat.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      shattered and charred aluminium

      Pah! I laugh in scorn at your aluminium, puny human: real planes are made from plywood! :-)

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        real planes are made from plywood!

        Indeed. But (Mr Clark) if you're still out in Germany, some of them may not be as favourably remembered as they are on this side of the channel.

        1. Anonymous Blowhard

          Re: First Flight Challenges

          "if you're still out in Germany, some of them may not be as favourably remembered as they are on this side of the channel."

          Maybe, but I think Herman Goering was secretly a fan of British wooden planes...

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: First Flight Challenges

          "Indeed. But (Mr Clark) if you're still out in Germany, some of them may not be as favourably remembered as they are on this side of the channel."

          I don't know, Hermann von Goering was very complimentary about them.

          Basically, carbon fibre and kevlar composite is just improved designer plywood. Carbon chains in a flexible polymer matrix. We've just helped natural selection on quite a bit. Grass even includes silica particles in its matrix.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Grass even includes silica particles in its matrix.

            Not the grass I smoke.

      2. kmac499

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        Pah!! Plywood; modern day composite shite..., Real aeroplanes were made from Ash planks recycled piano wire and grannys old linen sheets...

      3. Def Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        Pah! I laugh in scorn at your aluminium, puny human: real planes are made from plywood! :-)

        Oh...

        *Looks at half carved granite wing in the garden*

      4. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        Pah! I laugh in scorn at your aluminium, puny human: real planes are made from plywood! :-)

        Pah - I raise you balsa and treated paper

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        Pah! I laugh in scorn at your plywood, puny human: real planes are made from wood, canvas and dope!

      6. PNGuinn Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        "Pah! I laugh in scorn at your aluminium, puny human: real planes are made from plywood! :-

        Rubbish!

        REAL planes are made of second hand bicycle bits and lots of canvas doped with highly inflammable lacquer.

        REAL aero engines have wooden spinny bits on the front and highly exciting operating characteristics.

        See icon >>

        Pah, Pah.

      7. Bitbeisser

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        Mosquito anyone? ;-)

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: First Flight Challenges

          The X15 gets my nod for fearless test pilots. The whole shebang could have blown at any second, it leaked, the avionics were naff, the ejector seat was "probably work up to a speed, after that better to be blown up". It had 3 control systems depending on your speed, each with a different joystick and "throttle" and "forward" headrest for deceleration! More over, many of its pilots instantly qualified as astronauts based on height achieved. It still holds the record for fastest manned powered aircraft.

          remarkable little spaceplane.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Jonathan Richards 1
      Go

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      > take the plane up for hours on the first flight and fully explore the flight envelope

      Actually, that seemed to be rather a conservative first flight, and nowhere near exploring the boundaries of the flight envelope. The Flightradar24 link shows the plane at about 10,000 ft and a groundspeed of around 200 kt for the majority of the flight, only on the last couple of legs did the throttles get opened a bit, up to 400 kt, and there was a brief excursion to around 28,000 ft.

      Contrary to statements in The Fine Article, I saw no evidence of looping. Now that would have been an exciting first flight!

      1. PhilBuk

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        Seeing as it was flying around near the Pyrenees, going up to 28,000 ft would have been advisable as most of the big peaks are 10,000-11,000 ft!

        Phil.

    5. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      >There rarely seem to be any challenges these days.

      TBH, I should not be answering, because I have not rid systemd off my system* .... but this is outrageous in so many respects ....

      You sound like one of the young, inexperienced, aviation engineers that take for granted what their ancestors have discovered in the field .... right until they discover that one of the innovations has the inverse effect of what they thought.

      Aviation is still, TO THIS VERY DAY, very difficult a subject ... seriously, something as simple as 'lift' still has controversies, we are not quite sure what provides lift ... these aircraft a very sophisticated, VERY sophisticated, so please ... are you a pilot or do you run IE or systemd ? I think, imho, you should step back and look at the whole picture ...

      One proof, the A330, mentioned in this very article, a mate's father .... a mate, right (honestly), now watch what you or anybody else say, DIED in a test flight of the A330, his "last" action was to save the newly built factory ... just saying ... this was 1990's and everybody thought just as you back then ... look at Appollo 13 ... this stuff is hard, in real life, easy for you from your computer keyboard god-knows-where, for sure ...

      * See my comment history

      1. PeterM42
        Holmes

        Re: First Flight Challenges

        Not just first flights - Getting you to your holiday destination is a miracle of co-ordination of which the (immensely complicated) aircraft is just a part.

    6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      Depends on how much new is being done with the design. Some experimental and military designs have nerve-wracking first flights. Given that most commercial designs are aerodynamically conservative and are fairly conservative designs overall, these flights should be relatively boring. If the flight is not relatively boring then there is serious design problem.

    7. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      It's great that things go wrong so few times these days, but there's always risk and things can still go tragically wrong like they did two years ago when four Airbus employees were killed testing the A400M..

      It takes plenty of stones to test a new aircraft, and the flying punters owe their safety to a lot of hard work and care from everyone in the aviation industry.

    8. oldcoder

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      Several of the tests involve loading til it breaks... Then repair, and do it again.

      This requires a full test aircraft that can be used to demonstrate both safety AND repair-ability.

    9. Vic

      Re: First Flight Challenges

      In the old days the test pilots would strap themselves in, light the fires and take the aircraft up for a quick circuit

      The short-lived ones did. "Kick the tyres and light the fires" was one motto often used, and it is explicitly called out by Winkle Brown as a poor attitude. He attributed most of his success as a TP to *not* subscribing to that attitude...

      One wonders what the remainder of the flight test campaign is really for these days.

      There are three main tasks, AIUI:

      • Testing new designs to ensure they are fit for real operation
      • Testing rebuilt aircraft to ensure they have been put back together properly
      • Flying accident profiles to determine what happened

      I have friends who do or have done all of these :-)

      Vic.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wake me up when Concorde returns.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      The A380 was quite exciting, but it turning out to be a gamble that hasn't paid off, Dreamliner turned out to be the better strategy.

      The A350 is going to be very important.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        I think it's a little too early to judge the A380. Sales have been disappointing but not bad, all things considered and the markets for which it's really suitable are still growing: pilgrimages to Mecca from around the world. But for Airbus it was also the test bed of many of the techniques that it's now using in things like the A350. And, while the 787 is selling well, it had so many problems that I reckon the financials are on a par.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. RPF

            They sure should. More than one has been lost to people making camp-fires (!!!!!) in the cabin.......

            1. GrantB

              I like the Mayday/Aircrash investigation series (useful to watch it you work in IT...) So looked up if any aircraft used for the pilgrimage had gone this way.

              Probably not, it turns out, but surprisingly three aircraft have been lost to fires while doing the trips to/from Mecca.

              Mostly the result of cheap carriers packing people into charter flights, than the type of people being carried. People are stupid, but not quite 'camp fire on a aircraft' level of stupid.

          2. Robert Sneddon
            Angel

            Knock in Ireland

            has an international airport, the fourth largest in Eire. It's there to handle the half-million or so Catholic pilgrims who visit the nearby shrine every year. Religion is big business in the travel industry.

            Oh, and Lourdes? From the Wiki article on the airport at Knock:

            "On 1 June 2003, hundreds of people gathered to view an Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747 land with 500 returning pilgrims from Lourdes."

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Korev Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Knock in Ireland

                YES!

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Depends on whether the pilgrim are Shia or Sunni methinks

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Safe travel to a stopover point en route to Oz/NZ.

            I'm sure a plane load of devout Muslims on the Hajj would be less liable to "interference" than some other fights.

        2. boltar Silver badge

          " all things considered and the markets for which it's really suitable are still growing: pilgrimages to Mecca from around the world"

          There's a certain sad irony in the cutting edge science and technology used to design and build the aircraft ultimately allowing sheeple to walk around a black box in circles praying to their invisible sky fairy. Perhaps the plane could just loop around it instead a few times and save them the trouble of landing?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Not as silly as me flying half way around the world in an aircraft stuffed full of the latest communications technology - in order to sit in a meeting while somebody shows me a Powerpoint presentation.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              The last line of Animal Farm was about Stalinism, not flyover country.

              (Which are just being talked about when someone needs voters for some establishment harpie or bodies for some war in foreign lands, otherwise being the butt of "liberal" disdain, it's just sad)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wake me up when Concorde returns.

      Yes, that defined quite an era. I was glad I was working in Bristol when it made its last flight - everyone in the buildings turned out for its last flight (well, OK, we had the PA system announce it was inbound, but still :) ).

      1. Pangasinan

        Wake me up when Concorde returns.

        Ah Yes,

        Remember as a kid playing outside on the northern edge of Swindon.

        Fairford was a good few miles away but we could hear the roar of the afterburners when it took off and before we could actually get a glimpse of it if it ever headed our way.

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: Wake me up when Concorde returns.

          >Fairford was a good few miles away

          There's a Heathrow approach corridor about five miles south of the M4. You could always hear Concorde inbound at least five miles either side of it.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Wake me up when Concorde returns.

            Yep. It seemed to fly right over Arkwright Rd in Reading.

            Had two flights on IMHO the most beautiful jet ever made but both were from JFK to London.

            The kick from the afterburners was something wonderful to experience.

            When the Captain announced ' Ladies and Gentlemen, we are currently flying at 600mph. We are about to go supersonic", everyone stopped what they were doing and watched the mach meter. Some americal 1ft timers would whoop and holler when it ticked over the Mach 1.0.

            Flying these days is pretty boring

            1. Vic

              Re: Wake me up when Concorde returns.

              Yep. It seemed to fly right over Arkwright Rd in Reading.

              That's roughly where the bottom of the LTMA drops to 3500ft, so you're likely to notice...

              Vic.

            2. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Wake me up when Concorde returns.

              Co-incidence. I worked in Arkwright Road in Reading (it's not a very big street). Visitors from out of area used to stop and photograph it if they could get to a camera quick enough (pre-mobiles). Even the good burghers of Reading used to come to a standstill in Broad Street @ 11:00hrs on a Saturday (at least I think that's when it was). PP

      2. TeeCee Gold badge

        You didn't know Concorde was coming until the PA system announced its approach? That building must have had some seriously impressive soundproofing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You didn't know Concorde was coming until the PA system announced its approach? That building must have had some seriously impressive soundproofing.

          Hey, I did some fun work there, but I'm not allowed to tell you about it (yes, it was that site). Also, the noise doesn't travel much AHEAD of the plane, so if you want to see it approach you do need some advance notice.

          I agree with you that, at the altitude it flew in it was rather hard to miss that it had passed, though :).

        2. oldcoder

          Since the Concorde could travel faster than sound, you wouldn't hear it until after it arrived - thus missing the arrival.

          In reality, it only traveled supersonic over oceans...

    3. Vic

      Wake me up when Concorde returns.

      There is a plan. Don't know if it will come to anything...

      Vic.

  3. MakingBacon
    Thumb Down

    When they make and test-fly something like the Fireflash from Thunderbirds, then I'll be interested.

    Until then ...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. bpfh
        FAIL

        It was due to emissions that the flying crowbar was cancelled. Ejecting bits of the aircraft's nuclear reactor engine downwind of the flightpath was seen as a good thing over enemy territory but not while it was cruising over friendly airspace on the way there...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Although that is really a self-solving problem. Any bits of land you do eject nuclear waste over is likely to become unfriendly territory quite quickly.

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Didn't that spend most of its time flying around teetering on the brink of a catastrophe? In that case we already had the DC-10 to do that.

  4. Doc Ock

    Go A350 !

    RR engines only.

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Go A350 !

      not until the fleshie pilots can over-ride the silicon pilots. If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going. At least it looks like an aircraft that will sell and make money for the buyers. The final sign has been sighted,* the next financial splash is on way so running costs are going to become very important to the 3 airlines left after smoke clears.

      * whenever Merkin stock market hits record highs while real economy is still falling, Nemesis is on way.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Go A350 !

        I'm the opposite, I choose Airbus with RR engines when I have a choice... (which means checking aircraft used on the route i intend to fly...) but if there is no choice, I take whats available.

      2. RPF

        Re: Go A350 !

        Because the Boeings have worked real well at LA (Asiana), Dubai (Emirates) or over the Atlantic (TWA 800) recently?

        Boeings have huge problems; you need to get your myopia looked at (ever flown an Airbus? I bet not).

        p.s. Air France managed to over-ride the silicon really well....into the sea.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Go A350 !

          > Because the Boeings have worked real well at LA (Asiana), Dubai (Emirates) or over the Atlantic (TWA 800) recently?

          > Boeings have huge problems; you need to get your myopia looked at (ever flown an Airbus? I bet not).

          > p.s. Air France managed to over-ride the silicon really well....into the sea.

          Don't know about Dubai & TWA but the LA crash was due to pilot error. Despite thousands of hours on the plane, the pilots had never manually landed, according to a pilot friend of mine, as company policy was to use autopilot controlled landing wherever the airport supported it.

          As for Air France, he is scathing over the poor training and poor cockpit processes that emerged following the incident. He can't believe that company directors didn't go to jail - they certainly would have done if it had been a US airline.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Go A350 !

            The pilot has no direct control over any modern jet engine anyway, they can only make requests, the EEC will decide if it's going to allow it. So killing the avionics still doesn't give you complete manual control. Modern aircraft are far too complex to fly without computers.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Go A350 !

              Another reason for the return of the Handley-Page on transatlantic flights - if you can't crawl out onto the wing to clean the plugs every few hours it's not a real plane

          2. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Go A350 !

            'Don't know about Dubai & TWA but the LA crash was due to pilot error. Despite thousands of hours on the plane, the pilots had never manually landed, according to a pilot friend of mine, as company policy was to use autopilot controlled landing wherever the airport supported it.'

            Can't find any records of an Asiana crash at LA, but if you meant the one at San Franciso the investigation found that the only pilot who correctly understood how the different modes of the autopilot worked was Boeing's test pilot. Even the FAA test pilots who certified the 777 didn't fully understand what was being controlled when. Consequently the Asiana pilots managed to enter a mode where the autothrottle was inactive without realising, they weren't attempting a manual landing. Full details from the NTSB http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Pages/2014_Asiana_BMG-Abstract.aspx

    2. druck

      Re: Go A350 !

      My first job after university was writing the cabin software for the A330/A340, I hope they are using something a bit better than old 68000s in the A350.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Go A350 !

        a bit better than old 68000s

        Heresy! old 68000s were one of the nicest processors to program ever :)

  5. Fursty Ferret

    not until the fleshie pilots can over-ride the silicon pilots. If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going.

    You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. The whole point of the Airbus fly-by-wire philosophy is that the aircraft can deliver its maximum performance at any time without risk of stall, overspeed, or exceeding the maximum rated load factor. Pull the stick to the stop in an Airbus and it'll settle one or two knots above the stall - not a nice place to be, but safe.

    At no point has someone deliberately needed to stall a commercial aircraft in flight other than for certification. We've seen at least two 777s written off within the last few years thanks to un-intuitive autoflight systems. Those accidents could not happen on an Airbus. Granted, there have been losses on the A320 side of things too, but only through pilot incompetence (pulling computer circuit breakers, FFS).

    The point is, under competent hands you are perfectly safe regardless of which modern aircraft you're in. But I know which one I'd prefer to be in when windshear's forecast, or the runway's short, or there are mountains around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't AF447 (an A330) crash due to a stall which was the result of one of the pilots misinterpreting data and so holding the stick back too long? By your logic, the plane shouldn't have allowed this to happen.

      Sure, I believe the data was incorrect because of a frozen pitot, but therefore you cannot say these "accidents could not happen on an Airbus"...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          so why can't they just add an emergency override for the pilots, enter a code of some kind, and hten require BOTH pilots to hold down a big red button on the stick at the same time

          1. collinsl

            Because one of the pilots might be unconcious or dead or hanging half out of the aircraft

            See:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_5390

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPS_Airlines_Flight_6

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissair_Flight_111

          2. oldcoder

            That assumes that both pilots are functional... and that is not always the case in emergencies.

          3. David 132 Silver badge

            so why can't they just add an emergency override for the pilots, enter a code of some kind

            Good idea!

            [UP][UP][DOWN][DOWN][LEFT][RIGHT][LEFT][RIGHT][B][A]

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Flight 1549 was a triumph for the pilot and the software

          It is deeply unfair to criticise the fly by wire software for a harder than necessary ditching. This is widely accepted as the most successful aircraft ditching of all time. It was by the standard of ditching a very gentle event. The flight management software assisted the pilot in handling this situation so successfully and to pretend otherwise or he somehow managed despite the software is deeply misleading.

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >Capn. Sullenberger, who was flying a Airbus A320-214, "

          The same software also prevented him from stalling

        4. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          "noted that the impact could have been less violent". As a honest guy he said could not would. And if we could ask him if his "pitching up and down" could have made things worse he would probably tell us that that could also have happened.

      2. Marcelo Rodrigues

        "Didn't AF447 (an A330) crash due to a stall which was the result of one of the pilots misinterpreting data and so holding the stick back too long? By your logic, the plane shouldn't have allowed this to happen.

        Sure, I believe the data was incorrect because of a frozen pitot, but therefore you cannot say these "accidents could not happen on an Airbus".."

        Yes, the pilots did that. But the computer only allowed it because it was operating under "alternate law".

        The flight computer of the airbus can operate under two configurations: "normal law" and "alternate law".

        The "normal law" mode is the one we are used to read about: the computer is always second guessing the pilot, and doing its best to keep the plane and the humans safe and comfortable.

        The "alternate law" kicks in when (if) the computer decides it cannot fly the airplane in a safe way. The clogging of two pitot tubes in that plane did that. Under "alternate law" the pilot can do whatever he wants. The computer plays Pontius Pilate, and "washes its hands".

        When in "alternate law" there is an alarm/warning in the cockpit (don't remember what is, but it exists).

        Due to poor training, the pilot AND co-pilot didn't realize they were under "alternate law". So they didn't believe the stall alarm, since it would be impossible to happen. They kept increasing pitch, without increasing engine power. The rest we know.

        1. Vic

          The flight computer of the airbus can operate under two configurations: "normal law" and "alternate law".

          Four configurations. "Normal Law", "Alternate Law", "Abnormal Alternate Law", "Direct Law".

          Vic.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Could it be that Denarius doesn't know that the Dreamliner is fly-by-wire too. Or what is he talking about.

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Cost increases?

    Will Airbus have to pay tarriffs when importing the wings in future?

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Cost increases?

      We don't know yet, but they have expressed their concern, and one could assume there are several countries in the EU who would love to build the wings and I am sure the Americans would love to deliver the engines.

      1. MrXavia
        Unhappy

        Re: Cost increases?

        With Theresa May in power we can be sure the wrong decision will be made....

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Cost increases?

      Will Airbus have to pay tarriffs when importing the wings in future?

      Only if they reinstate the suspended EU import duties on aircraft components. Can't see that myself, since Airbus are heavily dependent upon US semiconductor technology and engines (directly or via consortia).

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Cost increases?

        >Will Airbus have to pay tarriffs when importing the wings in future?

        It does demonstrate a flaw with the Eu in the way taxes are decided and collected.

        eg. The Eu supports a French demand for a 100% import duty on wings to punish perfidious Albion, the money is paid to the French government when the wings arrive in Toulouse but the cost is paid by all the Airbus partners - making Germany and Spain subsidise France.

    3. smartypants

      Re: Cost increases?

      Tariffs, yes, but on the plus side, with Shambassador Farage not giving up till we've fully wound back fully to 1945 with all the remaining brown and funny-accented people sent 'home' so we can finally have our country back, Airbus should stick around and enjoy the plummeting workforce bill as Blighty turns its currency to shit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cost increases?

        >With Theresa May in power we can be sure the wrong decision will be made....

        How do you know? She hasn't actually made any decisions yet.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Cost increases?

        Or China could say "lovely aircraft and we would love to buy them if some major component, like say the wings, was built locally and I hear you are having some political difficulty with your other foreign wing supplier."

        Of course the aviation industry has always been immune to this sort of pork-barrel politicing so no need to worry.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Cost increases?

          'Or China could say "lovely aircraft and we would love to buy them if some major component, like say the wings, was built locally and I hear you are having some political difficulty with your other foreign wing supplier."'

          China already has an Airbus assembly plant and is building another one. However I don't think their materials technology is quite at the level of building wings yet, certainly their jet engines aren't quite on a par with western ones.

  7. boltar Silver badge

    Bye bye Arctic

    "Growth in Asian markets means there's nearly always a queue for any long-haul jet: over 190 A350-1000s were ordered before it rolled off the factory floor"

    Bye bye arctic, its been nice knowing you.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Bye bye Arctic

      over 190 A350-1000s were ordered before it rolled off the factory floor

      Don't count your chickens: Over 100 Concordes were ordered before it rolled off the factory floor. Every single commercial carrier order was cancelled, and if Air France and BA hadn't been state owned, they would have cancelled too.

      1. smartypants

        Re: Bye bye Arctic

        Concorde was stuffed by oil rising from $3 to $12 per barrel, which made it instantly uneconomic. It didn't help that it looked unlikely it'd be able to fly supersonic over land after all.

        Unfortunately for the climate, none of this will stop subsonic flight. Our ability to release carbon from the ground at an economically viable price now is more than able to keep up with rising demand for the forseeable future, and aircraft are getting quieter.

      2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Bye bye Arctic

        Concorde is hardly a relevant example. Concorde was conceived in the era when air travel was still an expensive luxury, but by the time it entered service, widebodies like the DC-10 and 747 had already turned flying into a mass-market proposition.

        Fuel consumption would have made Concorde a niche-player for any airline, and the series of oil crises from the early 1970s onwards killed the chance of further orders by making that fuel much more expensive than it had been a decade before, when the project started. In service, you needed nearly three times as much fuel to bring a passenger in Concorde as in a 747. There are very, very few routes where passengers are willing to pay 3x the fare just to arrive a couple of hours faster. (The US aircraft industry's successful lobbying to prevent supersonic use of Concorde within the States was another downside, but it wasn't the only one)

        The 350 and 787 are what the market needs; they're more efficient versions of their predecessors, with better passenger comfort, longer range and lower operating costs.

        A380 is selling slowly, but it's no failed product. The new growth is in point-to-point links between second-tier airports, to create a mesh rather than hub/spoke, but at those primary airports, the high demand means planes like 747 and A380 are the best way to make a landing slot pay for itself.

        1. Crazy Operations Guy

          Re: Bye bye Arctic

          The Concorde was also uneconomical from the point of view of maintenance. Going super-sonic places an immense amount of stress on the entire craft, and especially the engines and the leading edges. At those speeds, the craft also required much more and more often inspections since a fracture that would lead to, at most, minor damage on a traditional craft would cause the Concorde to disintegrate upon breaking the sound barrier.

          There was also the problem that the thing turned like a cow (the thing was so skinny and delicate that turning too fast would cause the thing to twist apart and shatter), so if you had to over-shoot your landing, it was either hope there was another runway with the same orientation, or you had an hour of fuel so you can loop back around.

          Even the the super-luxury aircraft market where cost is no object is staying below super-sonic speeds and opting for 0.99-mach maximum speeds and aiming for 0.99-mach cruise. No one wants to buy a plane that is stuck in the hanger for maintenance longer than its usable flight time...

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Bye bye Arctic

            'There was also the problem that the thing turned like a cow (the thing was so skinny and delicate that turning too fast would cause the thing to twist apart and shatter), so if you had to over-shoot your landing, it was either hope there was another runway with the same orientation, or you had an hour of fuel so you can loop back around'

            You do realise that's not how aircraft turn right? At a given airspeed and angle of bank all aircraft will form a turn of the same radius while experiencing the same increase in g force. Concorde's g limit was at least 2 (increasing to 2.5 as fuel was burnt) which would allow a 60 degree angle of bank turn which is more than most airliners use on a day to day basis because most passengers really wouldn't like to experience 2g. In fact at 250kts she could theoretically turn 180 degrees in 1 minute while pulling only 1.2g with a turn diameter of 2.6 nautical miles. The same as any other aircraft.

          2. Vic

            Re: Bye bye Arctic

            There was also the problem that the thing turned like a cow (the thing was so skinny and delicate that turning too fast would cause the thing to twist apart and shatter), so if you had to over-shoot your landing, it was either hope there was another runway with the same orientation, or you had an hour of fuel so you can loop back around.

            [Citation needed], I think. I've spoken to a number of former Concorde captains, and none has given any hint of support to that assertion.

            Vic.

  8. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Unfortunately for the climate, none of this will stop subsonic flight.

    Better go and start digging a warren of tunnels around Colnbrook then. The name "smartypants" doesn't quite have the same ring as "Swampy" or "Mudpig", so you might want to have a personal re-brand.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All very well, but the music?

    The music unfortunately reminded me of "Regular Ordinary Swedish Mealtime"; I was expecting a bearded maniac to burst into the cabin and start chopping onions with an axe while shouting in Swenglish.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: All very well, but the music?

      The Swedish Chef is coming.

      Bork! Bork! Bork!

  10. Crazy Operations Guy

    Not surprising its safe, no one is doing anything exciting anymore nowadays

    Its not surprising at all that tests flights are so safe and reliable when no one is designing anything new or different.

    Test flights are pretty much a formality now that everyone is just building slight variations on their existing craft and are just your standard aluminum tube with a pair of wings on either side and powered by 2 / 4 petroleum-burning turbofans strapped to the bottom of the wings. The most revolutionary thing to hit the skies in the past several decades is replacing the aluminum on the sides with carbon fiber or blending the winglets into the wing surface whoop-de-fucking-do.

    Why don't aircraft manufacturers have the courage to actually make something revolutionary anymore? Why no new designs (Flying wings, proper blended-bodies, etc)? Why not try different fuels on a larger scale? How about something new for once? I'd settle for a new design that would cut down the hour and a half cluster-fuck that is getting 100 passengers off the plane and 100 new ones on (Could probably be solved by the airlines, but the manufacturers could do something to help make it more efficient).

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not surprising its safe, no one is doing anything exciting anymore nowadays

      >Why don't aircraft manufacturers have the courage to actually make something revolutionary anymore

      For pretty much the same reasons that cricket balls are all round.

      The big design decisions are cos of physics, the small ones are to make them compatible with all the airports, ground equipment and passengers

    2. Andy Tunnah

      Re: Not surprising its safe, no one is doing anything exciting anymore nowadays

      People aren't a fan of prototype technologies on commercial aircraft. They want safe, reliable, and well understood.

  11. Mephistro Silver badge
    Coat

    "Airbus flies new plane for the first time"

    The article's title is wrong! Airbus has flown new planes many times!!!

    Yes, yes, I'm leaving already.

  12. adam 40

    Will we all get a crash helmet and parachute?

    I for one would feel much safer if I got a crash helmet and parachute on boarding the aircraft - "just in case" of course - it would also make the stewardess' demo much more interesting - showing how to pull the rip cord etc.

  13. Vic

    "The new plane looped around"

    It looped?

    I very much doubt it. There's video of an A400M doing a wing-over, but I can't imagine any large passenger aircraft doing a loop...

    Vic.

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