Airbus delivers its first A350 with touchscreen displays in cockpit

Airbus has begun delivering its first A350s with touchscreen displays in the cockpit. The new technology, developed in collaboration with Thales, will increase crew efficiency, simplify interaction between pilots and improve dashboard ergonomics.

China Eastern Airlines is recipient of the first A350-900 with touch screens. Currently, about 20 airlines have chosen this option for their new A350 aircraft.

Three of the six screens on the A350 dashboard can become touch-sensitive: two displays on the outside and one located at the bottom. Now pilots will be able to display information from EFB applications on these screens using touchscreen technology. This method complements the traditional method of entering information using the keyboard and trackball.

Touchscreen technology was certified by EASA in November this year. Touch displays will simplify the interaction between the crew primarily in the following situations: (a) before take-off (for calculating take-off characteristics and entering data into the FMS flight control system); (b) during flight at the echelon (for access to navigation charts); (c) during preparation for approach (to reconcile airport map data with data in the FMS). Moreover, at busy stages of the flight, the use of touch technology will reduce the load on the pilots, since they will not have to switch between different screens and enter data using the keyboard.

Patrick Piedrafita, Head of Airbus’ A350 XWB Programme, said, “Airbus continues to set the industry trends in aircraft cockpit design with these new interactive touchscreen displays in the A350. With our partner Thales we are very proud to bring this technology to our customers, to enhance their aircrews’ operations.”

The A350 XWB is a new generation of medium-sized wide-body long-range aircraft. These aircraft embody all the most advanced achievements in the field of aerodynamics, production technologies and avionics. Over 70% of the structure is made of high-tech materials, including composite materials (53%), as well as new-generation titanium and aluminum alloys. In addition, thanks to the new generation engines and aerodynamic improvements, jet fuel consumption was reduced by 25%, while the airspace passenger compartment offers passengers even more space and flight comfort. At the end of November 2019, Airbus received 959 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 51 customers.

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