The A380 is a true commercial aviation pioneer

27 September 2012 Feature story

In addition to introducing a totally new in-flight experience for passengers, the A380 also is a technology pioneer – bringing advances that have since been introduced on other members of Airbus’ jetliner family.

One such breakthrough is use of the Airbus-developed Brake to Vacate system that optimises braking efficiency and runway turn-around time – thereby improving safety and helping to enhance traffic flow at increasingly busy airports.  Brake to Vacate allows pilots to select the appropriate runway exit during the landing approach and regulates the aircraft’s deceleration after touchdown, enabling it to reach any chosen exit at the correct speed under optimum conditions no matter the weather and visibility.

The Brake to Vacate concept was developed by a multidisciplinary team at Airbus, bringing together expertise in the areas of flight controls, landing gear, flight warning systems, onboard air navigation, flight management and flight test.  After the successful application of Brake to Vacate on the A380 as an optional feature, it will be basic on Airbus’ A350 XWB – which is now entering production.

Another A380 technological milestone is the use of a high-pressure hydraulic system operating at 5,000 psi, resulting in significant weight savings by reducing the diameter of hydraulic fluid lines and the size of actuators that operate the aircraft's primary flight control system.  Having proven its worth on the A380, such high-pressure hydraulics has been adopted for the A350 XWB.

Also incorporated on the A380 is a load alleviation function – in which the aircraft’s ailerons are deployed during gust and turbulence conditions for span-wise load distribution across the wing.   Airbus has adopted this technology for the A350 XWB, and also will use it on a newly launched longer-range version of the A330.