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How much time in flight hours does it take for a civilian aircraft (the Airbus A350-1000 for example) to get its certification from say either FAA or EASA?

To make the question more practical, I used the example of the Airbus A350-1000. People could similarly use examples of Boeing or Comac (China, which I believe is currently going through certifications). I had read couple of articles where it was told/surmised that even though today's designers have far more complexity and far more parameters to check, the time to certification has been the same. I am not sure how much of that statement is correct or not. Can somebody help clarify or give some insight?

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    $\begingroup$ which type of hours are we comparing? flight hours? employee hours? calendar hours? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Aug 9, 2021 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ Closely related, perhaps a dupe? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Aug 9, 2021 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ To some extent, the actual hours spent on certification activities are trade secrets. You don't want to tell competitors how much sweat and tears it took you to get things going. And in the case of a certain manufacturer, some certification tasks have been handled as own work, which has been proven to be worth zero actual work hours. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Aug 9, 2021 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ I think this question is impossible to answer, even for the manufacturer. Much certification work is indistinguishable from the huge amount of design and testing that would have to be done anyway, so how should that be counted? Pondlife's link might be the best you'll be able to do. $\endgroup$
    – Pilothead
    Aug 9, 2021 at 23:12

1 Answer 1

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Airbus states that both the A380 and the A350-900 initially required over 2,600 flight hours for EASA/FAA certification:

Airbus’ 21st century flagship A380 was certified by the two major international governing bodies – the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – in December 2006, following a programme that began more than five years earlier and ultimately comprised more than 2,600 flight hours with a fleet of five test aircraft.

To ensure the A350 XWB’s reliability from the moment it entered commercial service in January 2015, Airbus implemented one of the most thorough test programmes ever developed for a jetliner. Lasting just over 14 months, an industry record, the A350-900 flight test and certification programme comprised a five-aircraft fleet that performed over 2,600 flight hours in total – with Type Certification received from EASA and FAA in September and November 2014, respectively.

(Airbus - Test programme and certification, emphasis mine)

The A350-1000 was certified after the A350-900 and required less flight hours for certification:

The Type certification is a requirement for the aircraft to enter commercial service. This milestone comes after an intensive flight test trials that have taken its airframe and systems beyond their design limits to ensure the aircraft successfully meets all airworthiness criteria. The three A350-1000 flight test aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce engines successfully accumulated over 1,600 flight hours.

(Airbus - Airbus A350-1000 receives EASA and FAA Type Certification, emphasis mine)

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