As part of its contribution to preserving aviation heritage, Airbus has begun transferring four of its test aircraft to museums: the Museum of Air and Space at Paris-Le Bourget Airport and Aeroscopia in Toulouse, France.
The aircraft, which will benefit from heritage preservation and will soon be presented to the public, include A320 MSN1, recently withdrawn from the test aircraft fleet; A340-600 MSN360; A380 MSN2; and A380 MSN4.
The first aircraft to be preserved was A380 MSN4 which carried out 3,360 flying hours during its testing campaigns and was flown to the Air and Space Museum (ASM) at Le Bourget airport on February 14, 2017. Fifty passengers made up of Airbus A380 engineers and technicians, partners and staff from the Air and Space Museum took part in this special flight.
Before the aircraft is opened to the public, which should take place after several months, several operations will be necessary. In preparation for its display, it will be made safe by decommissioning, which includes draining the fuel tanks and other liquids in preparation for its display.
The museum has one of the largest aviation collections worldwide and there the Airbus’s iconic test aircraft will undergo a unique refurbishment to showcase its operational role. Once an initial phase of technical work has been carried out on the airframe – which will include structural preservation – a special exhibit will also be created inside the aircraft’s interior to enable the greatest possible number of people to visit it from 2018.
The other three aircraft maintained by Airbus Heritage in Toulouse, within the Airbus plant, will travel to Aeroscopia within the next two years, where an area in the northern part of the museum has been made ready for them. All these aircraft cover more than 30 years of flight tests and commercial success for Airbus.
Written by Michael Jones
Pic: Airbus, photo by exm company / H Goussé
February 15, 2017