World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Technology -

The phrase “take it easy” doesn’t ap­ply to a test plane: first, the A350 must prove in the US Air Force’s Mckin­ley Cli­matic Lab­o­ra­tory that its en­gines can run smoothly at -40°C and that it can there­fore take off in Siberia with­out a prob­lem. Out­side the lab­o­ra­tory, test pi­lots seek out the planet’s ex­tremes. Us­ing the five ex­ist­ing test air­craft, they sub­ject them to 100km/h cross­winds while land­ing in Ice­land, snow­storms com­bined with force 9 gales in north­ern Canada, a 53°C fur­nace in Dubai, 100% hu­mid­ity in Sin­ga­pore and a take-off in the thin air at more than 4,000 me­tres above sea level in Bo­livia. They even carry out a 14-hour non-stop trip to the North Pole and back be­cause keep­ing track of your lo­ca­tion at the planet’s axis of ro­ta­tion is more dif­fi­cult than at the equa­tor. “The nav­i­ga­tion equip­ment has to be able to work there,” says test pi­lot Scheuermann. But, even then, a pi­lot still hasn’t reached the per­for­mance limit…

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