After flying internationally for over 20 years on a range of Airbus and Boeing aircraft types I have recently had the opportunity to train on and fly the A350—the latest and most advanced offering from the Airbus consortium. Flying the Airbus A350 is:
THE A330’s SMARTER SIBLING
In terms of technology and advancements, the A350 appears to be steps ahead of its smaller sibling, the A330. While systems redundancy and complexity has moved forward, automation and design concepts have been notably well engineered and put together. The inclusion of such advanced technology also enhances the potential to operate the aircraft efficiently.
TRANSITION TO PAPERLESS FLIGHTS
The evolution of computer technology has provided for an almost paperless flight deck with manuals and charts being produced on large iPad like displays. During a flight, the active displays update the information in the manuals, increasing their usefulness in both normal and potential emergency scenarios.
Head-Up Displays (HUDs) present essential flight information in front of the pilots so more ‘heads up’ and looking out the window space is available. Importantly, this diminishes the need for pilots to do as much ‘looking in’ for information during the critical stages of flight. This makes handling the aircraft during takeoff and landing not only easier and more effective, but safer.
LIGHTER, FASTER AND READY FOR THE FUTURE
Design innovation utilising a carbon fibre wing, more efficient engines and a composite carbon fibre airframe design allows the aircraft to fly higher, farther and faster than previous designs within the Airbus group. Furthermore, these improvements allow the A350 to fly higher, faster and more efficiently than many of its rivals, making the A350 a fierce competitor within the Airline industry for the foreseeable future.
CREATURE COMFORTS IN THE CABIN
It’s not just the operating crew, but the passengers who are remarking on the comfort of the A350. Lower cabin altitudes and more airflow internally allow everyone on board to enjoy a significantly more satisfactory cabin and travel experience, contributing to feeling more refreshed at the end of the flight.
TAKE THE LEAP
The even larger A350-1000 is expected to enter service in the early parts of 2018 and is expected to provide services for airlines globally across all continents. Because the A350- 1000’s will be able to take even longer routes, the rivalry between competitors will continue to heat up and spur the evolution of this already amazing aircraft on.
If you have not had the opportunity to travel in an Airbus A350, I thoroughly recommend it. Experience for yourself this leap in aircraft and passenger technology. It may trigger a desire to move beyond sitting in the back and look towards a career as an Airbus A350 pilot.
Contributed by Darren McPherson, our Airline Interview & Workshop coach and senior captain at a major international airline with over 30 years’ experience.