Airbus A350 heads to northern Canada for tests in cold, snow

Shortly after the French aircraft maker finishes high-elevation tests in Bolivia on one version of the energy-efficient jet, it begins cold-weather testing on Baffin Island.

The Airbus A350 XWB endures cold-weather testing in Iqaluit, Canada.
The Airbus A350 XWB endures cold-weather testing in Iqaluit, Canada. The plane has to show it can function even at minus 28 degrees Celsius, or minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Airbus/Master Films/H. Gousse

Anyone suffering from cold winter weather in the United States should think of the plight of 48 Airbus employees who have taken a test version of the company's new A350 XWB passenger jet to Iqaluit, Canada.

Airbus specialists began testing the new twin-aisle jet in Iqaluit, a small town on Baffin Island, north of Newfoundland and west of Greenland, the company said Tuesday. Airbus debuted the energy-efficient A350 XWB at the Paris air show in June 2013, pitting it chiefly against Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

The cold-weather testing is geared to confirm that the jet can operate successfully, to include starting the engines and aborting a takeoff, in temperatures as low as minus 18 degrees F, or minus 28 degrees C. The testing also checks if reverse thrust works in snowy conditions, Airbus said.

A different model of the A350 XWB just completed high-elevation testing in Bolivia, Airbus said.

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