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Airbus-developed A350 XWB safety feature enables automated emergency descents

Airbus A350-1000

Airbus-developed A350 XWB safety feature enables automated emergency descents..

The first Airbus A350-1000, which was delivered to launch operator Qatar Airways last month, is equipped with a new safety feature that will now be standard across all A350-1000s. Called the automated emergency descent, or AED, this system engages the aircraft’s autopilot function to automatically and quickly bring the aircraft to a lower, safer altitude in the event of in-flight cabin depressurization.

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A pioneering Airbus application for safety

The AED’s use on the A350-1000 is the first application of its kind in a large commercial aircraft and demonstrates Airbus’ commitment to ensuring safety through what AED project leader Florent Lanterna termed “Airbus’ continuous improvement philosophy.”

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Airbus-developed A350 XWB safety feature enables automated emergency descents

Airbus-developed A350 XWB safety feature enables automated emergency descents

Developing the brand-new system also meant evolving an innovative way for Airbus engineers to work across the company’s separate locations. The AED system requires a seamless interface between the aircraft’s autopilot and cabin pressurisation systems, explained Besse, and called for close collaboration between the engineers responsible for each system to integrate them. “The autopilot test bench is in Toulouse, France and the cabin pressurisation facility is in Hamburg, Germany,” said Besse. An inability to connect the two sites “would have meant having to do the AED system’s testing on a real aircraft, which would take much longer.”

Automated emergency descent 1

Team : Airbus-developed A350 XWB safety feature enables automated emergency descents

Developing the brand-new system also meant evolving an innovative way for Airbus engineers to work across the company’s separate locations. The AED system requires a seamless interface between the aircraft’s autopilot and cabin pressurisation systems, explained Besse, and called for close collaboration between the engineers responsible for each system to integrate them.

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