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It's scheduled to take off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France

Airbus announced that the A350 XWB "MSN1" will make its first flight this Friday.

According to Airbus, the A350 XWB “MSN1” is scheduled to take off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France on Friday, June 14, 2013. It will leave around 10:00 a.m. local time. 
Last week, Airbus conducted pre-flight tests on the A350 XWB, including firing up of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

Airbus' A350 XWB is a family of wide-body, long-range jet airliners that are the first Airbus with wing structures and fuselage made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The XWB stands for "extra wide body," and it uses 25 percent less fuel and an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to other aircraft in its size category. 

The A350 XWB has already achieved 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide, and will enter into service in the second half of 2014. 

In February of this year, Airbus said it was prepared to use alternatives to lithium-ion batteries for its A350 jets after Boeing's 787s ran into battery troubles. But overall, Airbus is confident in its battery designs. 

"We identified this fragility at the start of development and we think we resolved it about a year ago," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus CEO. "Nothing prevents us from going back to a classical plan that we have been studying in parallel.
"We have a robust design. If this design has to evolve, we have the time to do that. If it has to change in a more drastic way because the authorities reach the conclusion that the technology is not mature, then we have all the time we need to do this on the A350 before first delivery in the second half of 2014."

Source: Airbus

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They have already went back to Ni-Cad...
By Amiga500 on 6/12/2013 3:03:46 AM , Rating: 2
As of Feb this year.

The test aircraft will still have Lithium-Ion as its too late to change them. But the production aircraft will have Nickel-Cadmium. At least until there is more confidence in Lithium-Ion.

RE: They have already went back to Ni-Cad...
By Dorkyman on 6/12/2013 10:42:35 AM , Rating: 3
Just as an aside, why NiCads? I thought that technology went away decades ago. Heavy, memory effect, although as I recall they were able to deliver a lot of current.

RE: They have already went back to Ni-Cad...
By FATCamaro on 6/12/2013 12:09:06 PM , Rating: 2
In aircraft, being explodey is a bad thing. This is why Li-Ion is considered unfit and unnecessarily risky.

RE: They have already went back to Ni-Cad...
By Vorian on 6/12/2013 12:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
Why not use NiMh instead? They're lighter and don't have the 'memory' issues of NiCad.

By Stiggalicious on 6/12/2013 1:42:56 PM , Rating: 2
NiCD batteries can discharge more current than NiMH, hence the choice for using them. These batteries are used to start the APU (essentially a small turbine engine connected to an electric generator), which requires thousands of amps of current.

By Solandri on 6/12/2013 4:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
NiMH releases hydrogen gas when overcharged. In an open environment like your office that's not a problem. In a airtight environment like an airplane...

RE: They have already went back to Ni-Cad...
By Fritzr on 6/12/2013 10:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
To add to the other answers. NiCad problems are well understood and cease to exist when correct procedures are followed.

These batteries will be the responsibility of the same mechanics who are responsible for making sure the other parts of the plane work correctly. There will also be deficiency standards and tests that will take the batteries out of service if they start to fail.

The bad thing for the average consumer with NiCad is that they rarely use the batteries correctly. NiCad tech just can't handle untrained operators.

By johnsmith9875 on 6/13/2013 11:06:17 AM , Rating: 2
The main problem with NiCads is the horrible effects on the environment. Cadmium is a very polluting metal and in the hands of the average citizen those batteries get tossed in the garbage and end up in landfills, polluting groundwater.
In a corporate environment with proper governmental oversight to watch for unsafe disposal methods, its probably fine.

By EddyKilowatt on 6/12/2013 6:36:57 PM , Rating: 2
Poor little Lithium Iron Phosphate must be quietly crying to itself, watching Lithium-Cobalt have a dramatic public breakdown and seeing the aviation industry consider going back to frumpy old NiCd.

I remain completely baffled by the Boeing/Yuasa decision to go with LiCo in a high-rate, high temperature, safety critical application. AND in the form of huge, brick-shaped, 64 A-Hr cells.

LiFeP is great in high-rate applications (engine starts, emergency bridging power), has huge cycle life, and is much less explodey than LiCo.

I wouldn't want to fly on a 787 with LiCo brick cells, but I have to say I'll also haz a sad if nickel based batteries make a re-appearance on new generation aircraft.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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