The A350 XWB’s “front office” has taken a significant step forward with completion of its “class two” full-scale cockpit mock-up – an element that represents the highest level of maturity ever at this point in an aircraft’s development.
This new mock-up contains prototypes of all the internal sub-structures and consoles, cockpit linings and full equipment, along with all lighting, backlighting and display functions enabled. Located at Airbus’ Toulouse, France facility, it is to play a vital role in the next phase of A350 XWB verification and validation work.
An initial cockpit mock-up, known as a “class one” configuration, entered service for testing in February 2008 and was used primarily for layout validation. In contrast, the latest version is highly representative of Airbus’ future twin-engine aircraft – providing a more detailed configuration, and showcasing its ease of use, safety and component design in physical form.
“This cockpit is perhaps the most representative ever produced by Airbus at this stage in development,” said project leader Jean Duprez. “The time we spend refining and fine-tuning it now will be extremely beneficial to the maturity and success of the first aircraft.”
Recommendations made using the highly detailed “class two” mock-up also will help reduce the new-generation aircraft’s overall development time and costs.
Ongoing testing includes work with ventilation systems to examine the cockpit arrangement and air outlets’ effect on air circulation. “We carry out lighting tests to simulate conditions at night and during the day, checking for any reflections,” Duprez added. “And in June, we will be testing out the escape hatch, which has moved slightly from the first version.”
The latest mock-up already has been made available for pilots of airline customers – including US Airways – to see first-hand the cockpit they ultimately will be flying in.