REFILE-First flight nears, A350 could make Paris show flypast

Mon May 20, 2013 1:38pm EDT
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* Airbus could show off new jet from the air

* Paris air show flypast depends on maiden flight

* Past launches suggest plane could fly by mid-June

* Cruise performance tests key in battle for sales

By Tim Hepher

PARIS, May 20 (Reuters) - Airbus could steal the Paris air show with a flypast of its newest passenger jet, the A350, as confidence grows over a maiden flight some four weeks away.

The timescales of its previous airliner launches suggest the European manufacturer could be ready to fly the aircraft in mid-June, depending on weather and ground trials, giving pilots a narrow time window to test the plane's basic characteristics in flight before the June 17-23 air show.

With just a few hours in the air, industry sources say it is unlikely that the first completed A350, rolled out of the Airbus paint shop only last week, will actually land at the show.   Continued...