It was all smiles for American Airlines’ John Dudley, as he became the first airline pilot certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Airbus’ all-new A350 XWB jetliner.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for eight years,” Dudley said at the Airbus training centre in Toulouse, France. “Being an A350 XWB captain is a dream come true, and being the first airline captain to receive FAA Type Rating for the aircraft is a special honour.”
Dudley has had a long and close connection with the latest member of Airbus’ market-leading widebody product line based on his role in the A350 XWB Airline Office since 2007. This group of airline representatives served as the “voice” of customers for Airbus – with regular involvement in the A350 XWB programme, from design to in-service preparation.
Dudley said Airbus engineers consulted the A350 XWB Airline Office for many aspects of the jetliner, including the crew rest area design and accessibility, dimensions of the cabin storage areas and seat cushions, and the ergonomics of flight deck displays and systems logistics.
“The flight deck is just amazing,” he explained. “It is the next evolution in efficiency and sophistication, while retaining the Airbus heritage and familiarity.”
U.S-based American Airlines will acquire 22 A350-900 aircraft – the A350 XWB Family’s cornerstone member. “With good fortune, I hope to be the first to fly one home,” Dudley added.