The Federal Aviation Administration has granted type certification to the Airbus A350-XWB, which is the newest commercial airliner on the scene. The sleek, widebody jet received approval after completing over 2,600 flight test hours, using five different test aircraft.
The European equivalent of the FAA, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) granted their approval to the new, mid-range plane on September 30th. Here are some great videos of some of the tests the A350 was put through, in order to receive its certification.
Flutter testing is most crucial tests under which a plane can be put. The plane is flown all-out, at the maximum of its performance range. Then a vibration is introduced, and the plane has to be able to dampen the vibration or else risk complete structural failure.
For its water ingestion test (above), Airbus built a shallow pool of water on a runway. This was done to prove that the plane could handle landing in almost an inch of water and not be affected by water ingestion into the engines, or have its braking capabilities substantially impacted.
In a rejected takeoff (RTO) test, the plane is throttled all the way to takeoff speed, and then the pilots force the plane to stop as quickly as possible. This is one of the most frequent real-world scenarios a plane will encounter.
Thirty nine customers have ordered the A350-XWB, with the first one going to Qatar before the end of the year. Currently, the only U.S. airlines to order the A350 are United, with 35 stretched A350-1000s, and Hawaiian, with 6 shortened A350-800s. US Airways, which is slowly becoming American Airlines, also has an order for 22 A350-900s.