Xtra innovative technology at the heart of the A350 XWB.
By integrating robust and efficient state-of-the-art systems, Airbus has brought a new level of intelligence to the A350 XWB, while also increasing reliability and lowering maintenance requirements.
The use of fully-electrical three-axis flight controls takes Airbus-pioneered fly-by-wire technology to the next level. Operators will benefit from the enhanced flight safety, reduced pilot workload and reduction of mechanical parts that come with fly-by-wire – along with Airbus’ “family concept” that provides operational commonality across its product line.The A350 XWB also has an Airbus-developed fully duplex network backbone that improves data exchange capabilities aboard the aircraft, with its 1,000-fold increase in bandwidth supporting the transfer of more digital data with fewer boxes and less cables. This AFDX® (Avionics Full DupleX Switched Ethernet) data network was first used on the A380 and is ideal for demanding in-flight applications, while simplifying data exchange when compared to previous protocols.
A reduction in systems corresponds to greater efficiency and maturity.
On the A350 XWB, as on the A380, there are only two hydraulic circuits, compared to three on all other Airbus aircraft. This helps to reduce the overall aircraft weight and complexity while maintaining safety. These hydraulic circuits are used to power the flight controls, landing gear actuation, nose wheel steering and more. In addition, the A350 XWB has a simplified fuel system with fewer pumps and valves.
Airbus reduced the number of work packages on its new-generation long-range jetliner, and involved the company's main suppliers earlier in the process through the A350 XWB collaborative framework – which has been continually refined to improve cooperation from the jetliner’s production to its in-service operation.This approach significantly enhances the A350 XWB’s maturity, and is a key contributor toward meeting the jetliner’s steep production ramp-up.
Built with carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), the A350 XWB's all-new fuselage supports lower fuel burn, easier maintenance and increased resistance to corrosion.
More than 70 per cent of the A350 XWB’s airframe is made of advanced materials – bringing together the best attributes of composites (50-plus per cent overall), titanium and advanced aluminium alloys – exactly where they are needed. These materials reduce the need for overall fatigue and corrosion maintenance tasks while enhancing the jetliner's overall operating efficiency.
Most of the A350 XWB's wing is comprised of the lightweight carbon composites, including its upper and lower covers. Measuring 32 metres long by six metres wide, these are the largest single aviation parts ever made from carbon fibre.
The intelligent application of modern, high-tech materials is further illustrated by the A350 XWB’s nose section, which uses a mix of 55 per cent aluminium/aluminium-lithium alloys, 40 per cent composites and five per cent titanium.
A wing that adapts
The A350 XWB is a more efficient and quieter aircraft thanks to its advanced wing design.
Built primarily from carbon composite materials, the A350 XWB wing combines aerodynamic enhancements already validated on the A380 with further improvements developed by Airbus engineers. It has been thoroughly tested with cutting-edge computer technology and in wind tunnels, optimising it for fast cruise speeds that reduce trip times, improve overall efficiency and extend the aircraft’s range.
By intelligently controlling the A350 XWB wing’s moving surfaces using on-board computer systems, the wing will adapt while airborne – tailoring it for maximum aerodynamic efficiency in the various phases of flight.
The A350 XWB wing design benefits from variable camber and differential flaps setting, enabling pilots to use the flaps not only for take-off and landing, but also while cruising in order to reduce wing drag.
The wing design includes several streamlined features. Among these are droop-nose leading edge devices and new adaptive dropped-hinge flaps, which increase the jetliner’s efficiency at low speeds. In addition, the wings are capable of producing more lift and automatically handle loads across their surface – helping to reduce the aircraft's drag and fuel burn.
Improved flight deck dimensions
The A350 XWB flight deck features maximum commonality with Airbus’ comprehensive market-leading product line.
In the A350 XWB’s “front office,” its flight deck has been updated – built around an arrangement of six identical, interchangeable large displays. This is a continuation of Airbus’ philosophy for creating ergonomic flight decks that combine commonality and innovation.
Providing maximum commonality with Airbus’ other jetliner families, this flight deck configuration is fully aligned with the company’s unique Cross Crew Qualification concept – which gives pilots the possibility of transitioning from one Airbus aircraft type using digital fly-by-wire controls to another via difference training instead of full type rating training.
In addition, the concept allows for full interchangeability of the A350 XWB flight deck’s large displays in cases of failure.
A next-generation engine
With its state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 XWB is able to outperform competitors in terms of fuel economy, emissions and overall efficiency.
These lightweight, three-shaft powerplants – the latest in Rolls-Royce's Trent family – is produced using advanced manufacturing techniques for a lighter, more capable and highly efficient engine. It features high-tech materials, coatings, engine architecture, and cooling technologies – including a third-generation low-speed fan and contra-rotation operation.With a single engine type for the complete A350 XWB jetliner family, the Trent XWB provides commonality across the product line – at thrust ratings of up to 97,000 lb. Additional benefits include module weight savings of 15 per cent, along with aerodynamic efficiency improvements through the use of compressor blisk (bladed disk) technology.
The incorporation of state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems contributes to the A350 XWB’s superior passenger experience.
Airbus’ A350 XWB is the first jetliner to integrate fourth-generation systems from the beginning. Thanks to the use of high-bandwidth fibre optics, high-definition video is available to all passengers via individual seat monitors that have been upgraded to new standards – beginning with screens of up to 12 inches wide in economy class.
The “digital tool set”
The A350 XWB's revolutionary digital mock-up is a “game-changer.”
Airbus has created a bridge between the virtual and real worlds with its A350 XWB Digital Mock-Up, which provides a high-definition representation of the aircraft – right down to the smallest parts – on computer screens. It also reinforces Airbus’ role as an integrator, and capitalises on the company’s decades of experience from previous programmes.
This very realistic digital version of the A350 XWB has literally changed the way aircraft are conceived, as it allows an accurate visualisation of where systems are located during design, how they are installed in production and what access is available for maintenance during the jetliner’s operational lifetime.
By opening this digital mock-up to thousands of A350 XWB designers and engineers at Airbus and its key suppliers, the tool provides shared real-time access to a rich database with highly detailed information.