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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.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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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.

Cold-weather testing for the Airbus A350 (pictures)

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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.