Friday morning, Airbus will finally put the A350 XWB, its answer to the Boeing Dreamliner, in the air for the first time.
That first test flight is a huge milestone for a plane that has been in development for nearly a decade, but it’s also just the latest in a series of steps to make sure it can stand up to the stresses of flight.
In preparation for Friday, Airbus published a video (with rather dramatic music) showing how it examines the jetliner before it ever leaves the ground. In the words of Test Manager Emmanuel Bodin, “We will torture it a lot of times.”
For stress testing, the plane is loaded with 12,000 sensors before a huge metal machine pulls and pushes the wings and fuselage to their breaking points. At one point, the left wing is raised to a 45 degree angle, and holds.
To see how the A350 handles extreme pressure, pipes are fitted to its windows to pressurize the plane to an extreme degree. “It’s like a bomb,” Bodin says.
Watch the video:
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