The flight took off at around 10:15 local time and was operated by two pilots, two flight test engineers and a test flight engineer who carried out 8 successful take-offs.
“The aircraft performed as expected during these milestone tests. While completing alignment on the runway, waiting for clearance from air traffic control, we engaged the auto-pilot,” said Airbus Test Pilot Captain Yann Beaufils. “We moved the throttle levers to the take-off setting and we monitored the aircraft. It started to move and accelerate automatically maintaining the runway centre line, at the exact rotation speed as entered in the system. The nose of the aircraft began to lift up automatically to take the expected take-off pitch value and a few seconds later we were airborne.”
Watch the ATTOL flight
Airbus says that its mission is not to move ahead with autonomy as a target in itself, but instead use these flights and experiments to ‘explore autonomous technologies alongside other innovations in areas such as materials, electrification and connectivity‘