Monday, March 21, 2016

Airbus to test fly first U.S. plane Monday

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The first Airbus airplane made in the United States will fly for the first time Monday in the Port City. The first test flight of the new A321 is scheduled for 9:15 a.m., and you're invited to witness history!

The event will be held at Doyle Park near Mobile Aeroplex.

Monday's test flight is a normal step in aircraft production, to work out any kinks before delivery to Jet Blue this summer. It could take around three hours from take off to landing.

A six man crew including two pilots, two ground test engineers and two flight test engineers will be in control, testing all the systems and backup systems in the cockpit.

"We have the privilege of flying the newest and the greatest. It's not every pilot who gets to get into an airplane that has zero hours on the clock and that new plane smell," said Chief Test Pilot Captain Mark McCullins.

"We'll do this first flight and see how it goes. Many of them you get 100 percent record and you can go to the customer delivery phase. Sometimes there are a few minor issues and they need to do some maintenance action so on occasion it needs a second test flight," added Test Pilot Captain Bruce MacDonald.

After Monday's flight test, there will be a few more weeks of preparations, including a test flight by a Jet Blue pilot before delivery this summer.

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