HAMBURG – Airbus’s A321XLR took off today (15 June) on its first technical flight from Hamburg. AviationSource had the opportunity to watch the aircraft take-off live in Hamburg.
The flight will last about 2 to 3 hours and can be followed on Flightradar24.com. There are 5 crew members on board. Two pilots: Thierry Diez and Gabriel Diaz de Villegas, as well as three Airbus engineers: Philippe Pupin, Mehdi Zeddoun and Frank Hohmeister.
We will soon present an extensive photo report from the event. As well as a slightly more detailed introduction of the new type in the A320neo family.
In recent weeks, the manufacturer has conducted the first commissioning of the CFM LEAP-1A engines and ground tests of the new power unit. This also includes low and high-speed taxiing and rejected take-offs.
Of the four A320 family assembly lines in Hamburg, the one responsible for the first A321XLR is referred to as “FAL Line 2”, which is located inside a building named “Hangar-9”.
Two more A321XLR test aircraft, MSN11058, and MSN11080 are currently in the final stages of assembly.
Will stricter fire regulations delay the EIS of A321XLR?
Everything seems to indicate so, although Airbus claims that it is too early to talk about ready solutions when the aircraft has only been flying for a few hours.
According to reports, EASA is likely to challenge Airbus’ solution for the design of the fuel tank in the lower part of the aircraft’s fuselage.
The European agency wants this part of the machine to be further strengthened using more durable materials and composites. All of this is to prevent the possible spread of fire to the rest of the plane, which can occur, for example, during an emergency landing without extended landing gear.
The suggested changes could delay the series production of the airbus A321XLR aircraft by at least six months, and the final version of EASA expectations is still unknown.
A321XLR – narrow-body aircraft for long-haul routes
The new airbus A321XLR was announced at the Paris Air Show 2019.
The aircraft is expected to be greener and save 30 percent fuel per passenger. The A321XLR is expected to have 4 tons more maximum take-off weight MTOW (101 tons), so its landing gear will also be redesigned.
The machine will also have an increased range of 4,700 nautical miles (8797 km) compared to the A321LR’s range (4,000 nautical miles – 7408 km).
In a typical two-class configuration, the aircraft will be able to carry between 180 and 220 passengers, while a three-class configuration will have a maximum of 200 passengers. To date, Airbus has sold more than 500 A321neo XLR version aircraft.