back to article Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Airbus has successfully flown a new commercial jet model, with the first A350-1000 taking to the skies over Toulouse on Thursday. The A350-1000 is the new member of the A350 program, Airbus' attempt to offer a long-haul twin-engine jet a little larger and rather more modern than its A330 range, and also cheaper to operate than …

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You didn't know Concorde was coming until the PA system announced its approach? That building must have had some seriously impressive soundproofing.

          Hey, I did some fun work there, but I'm not allowed to tell you about it (yes, it was that site). Also, the noise doesn't travel much AHEAD of the plane, so if you want to see it approach you do need some advance notice.

          I agree with you that, at the altitude it flew in it was rather hard to miss that it had passed, though :).

        2. oldcoder

          Since the Concorde could travel faster than sound, you wouldn't hear it until after it arrived - thus missing the arrival.

          In reality, it only traveled supersonic over oceans...

    1. Vic

      Wake me up when Concorde returns.

      There is a plan. Don't know if it will come to anything...

      Vic.

  1. MakingBacon
    Thumb Down

    When they make and test-fly something like the Fireflash from Thunderbirds, then I'll be interested.

    Until then ...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. bpfh Bronze badge
        FAIL

        It was due to emissions that the flying crowbar was cancelled. Ejecting bits of the aircraft's nuclear reactor engine downwind of the flightpath was seen as a good thing over enemy territory but not while it was cruising over friendly airspace on the way there...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Although that is really a self-solving problem. Any bits of land you do eject nuclear waste over is likely to become unfriendly territory quite quickly.

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Didn't that spend most of its time flying around teetering on the brink of a catastrophe? In that case we already had the DC-10 to do that.

  2. Doc Ock

    Go A350 !

    RR engines only.

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Go A350 !

      not until the fleshie pilots can over-ride the silicon pilots. If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going. At least it looks like an aircraft that will sell and make money for the buyers. The final sign has been sighted,* the next financial splash is on way so running costs are going to become very important to the 3 airlines left after smoke clears.

      * whenever Merkin stock market hits record highs while real economy is still falling, Nemesis is on way.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Go A350 !

        I'm the opposite, I choose Airbus with RR engines when I have a choice... (which means checking aircraft used on the route i intend to fly...) but if there is no choice, I take whats available.

      2. RPF

        Re: Go A350 !

        Because the Boeings have worked real well at LA (Asiana), Dubai (Emirates) or over the Atlantic (TWA 800) recently?

        Boeings have huge problems; you need to get your myopia looked at (ever flown an Airbus? I bet not).

        p.s. Air France managed to over-ride the silicon really well....into the sea.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Go A350 !

          > Because the Boeings have worked real well at LA (Asiana), Dubai (Emirates) or over the Atlantic (TWA 800) recently?

          > Boeings have huge problems; you need to get your myopia looked at (ever flown an Airbus? I bet not).

          > p.s. Air France managed to over-ride the silicon really well....into the sea.

          Don't know about Dubai & TWA but the LA crash was due to pilot error. Despite thousands of hours on the plane, the pilots had never manually landed, according to a pilot friend of mine, as company policy was to use autopilot controlled landing wherever the airport supported it.

          As for Air France, he is scathing over the poor training and poor cockpit processes that emerged following the incident. He can't believe that company directors didn't go to jail - they certainly would have done if it had been a US airline.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Go A350 !

            The pilot has no direct control over any modern jet engine anyway, they can only make requests, the EEC will decide if it's going to allow it. So killing the avionics still doesn't give you complete manual control. Modern aircraft are far too complex to fly without computers.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Go A350 !

              Another reason for the return of the Handley-Page on transatlantic flights - if you can't crawl out onto the wing to clean the plugs every few hours it's not a real plane

          2. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Go A350 !

            'Don't know about Dubai & TWA but the LA crash was due to pilot error. Despite thousands of hours on the plane, the pilots had never manually landed, according to a pilot friend of mine, as company policy was to use autopilot controlled landing wherever the airport supported it.'

            Can't find any records of an Asiana crash at LA, but if you meant the one at San Franciso the investigation found that the only pilot who correctly understood how the different modes of the autopilot worked was Boeing's test pilot. Even the FAA test pilots who certified the 777 didn't fully understand what was being controlled when. Consequently the Asiana pilots managed to enter a mode where the autothrottle was inactive without realising, they weren't attempting a manual landing. Full details from the NTSB http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Pages/2014_Asiana_BMG-Abstract.aspx

    2. druck Silver badge

      Re: Go A350 !

      My first job after university was writing the cabin software for the A330/A340, I hope they are using something a bit better than old 68000s in the A350.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Go A350 !

        a bit better than old 68000s

        Heresy! old 68000s were one of the nicest processors to program ever :)

  3. Fursty Ferret

    not until the fleshie pilots can over-ride the silicon pilots. If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going.

    You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. The whole point of the Airbus fly-by-wire philosophy is that the aircraft can deliver its maximum performance at any time without risk of stall, overspeed, or exceeding the maximum rated load factor. Pull the stick to the stop in an Airbus and it'll settle one or two knots above the stall - not a nice place to be, but safe.

    At no point has someone deliberately needed to stall a commercial aircraft in flight other than for certification. We've seen at least two 777s written off within the last few years thanks to un-intuitive autoflight systems. Those accidents could not happen on an Airbus. Granted, there have been losses on the A320 side of things too, but only through pilot incompetence (pulling computer circuit breakers, FFS).

    The point is, under competent hands you are perfectly safe regardless of which modern aircraft you're in. But I know which one I'd prefer to be in when windshear's forecast, or the runway's short, or there are mountains around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't AF447 (an A330) crash due to a stall which was the result of one of the pilots misinterpreting data and so holding the stick back too long? By your logic, the plane shouldn't have allowed this to happen.

      Sure, I believe the data was incorrect because of a frozen pitot, but therefore you cannot say these "accidents could not happen on an Airbus"...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          so why can't they just add an emergency override for the pilots, enter a code of some kind, and hten require BOTH pilots to hold down a big red button on the stick at the same time

          1. collinsl

            Because one of the pilots might be unconcious or dead or hanging half out of the aircraft

            See:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_5390

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UPS_Airlines_Flight_6

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swissair_Flight_111

          2. oldcoder

            That assumes that both pilots are functional... and that is not always the case in emergencies.

          3. David 132 Silver badge

            so why can't they just add an emergency override for the pilots, enter a code of some kind

            Good idea!

            [UP][UP][DOWN][DOWN][LEFT][RIGHT][LEFT][RIGHT][B][A]

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Flight 1549 was a triumph for the pilot and the software

          It is deeply unfair to criticise the fly by wire software for a harder than necessary ditching. This is widely accepted as the most successful aircraft ditching of all time. It was by the standard of ditching a very gentle event. The flight management software assisted the pilot in handling this situation so successfully and to pretend otherwise or he somehow managed despite the software is deeply misleading.

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >Capn. Sullenberger, who was flying a Airbus A320-214, "

          The same software also prevented him from stalling

        4. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          "noted that the impact could have been less violent". As a honest guy he said could not would. And if we could ask him if his "pitching up and down" could have made things worse he would probably tell us that that could also have happened.

      2. Marcelo Rodrigues

        "Didn't AF447 (an A330) crash due to a stall which was the result of one of the pilots misinterpreting data and so holding the stick back too long? By your logic, the plane shouldn't have allowed this to happen.

        Sure, I believe the data was incorrect because of a frozen pitot, but therefore you cannot say these "accidents could not happen on an Airbus".."

        Yes, the pilots did that. But the computer only allowed it because it was operating under "alternate law".

        The flight computer of the airbus can operate under two configurations: "normal law" and "alternate law".

        The "normal law" mode is the one we are used to read about: the computer is always second guessing the pilot, and doing its best to keep the plane and the humans safe and comfortable.

        The "alternate law" kicks in when (if) the computer decides it cannot fly the airplane in a safe way. The clogging of two pitot tubes in that plane did that. Under "alternate law" the pilot can do whatever he wants. The computer plays Pontius Pilate, and "washes its hands".

        When in "alternate law" there is an alarm/warning in the cockpit (don't remember what is, but it exists).

        Due to poor training, the pilot AND co-pilot didn't realize they were under "alternate law". So they didn't believe the stall alarm, since it would be impossible to happen. They kept increasing pitch, without increasing engine power. The rest we know.

        1. Vic

          The flight computer of the airbus can operate under two configurations: "normal law" and "alternate law".

          Four configurations. "Normal Law", "Alternate Law", "Abnormal Alternate Law", "Direct Law".

          Vic.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Could it be that Denarius doesn't know that the Dreamliner is fly-by-wire too. Or what is he talking about.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Cost increases?

    Will Airbus have to pay tarriffs when importing the wings in future?

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Cost increases?

      We don't know yet, but they have expressed their concern, and one could assume there are several countries in the EU who would love to build the wings and I am sure the Americans would love to deliver the engines.

      1. MrXavia
        Unhappy

        Re: Cost increases?

        With Theresa May in power we can be sure the wrong decision will be made....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cost increases?

      Will Airbus have to pay tarriffs when importing the wings in future?

      Only if they reinstate the suspended EU import duties on aircraft components. Can't see that myself, since Airbus are heavily dependent upon US semiconductor technology and engines (directly or via consortia).

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Cost increases?

        >Will Airbus have to pay tarriffs when importing the wings in future?

        It does demonstrate a flaw with the Eu in the way taxes are decided and collected.

        eg. The Eu supports a French demand for a 100% import duty on wings to punish perfidious Albion, the money is paid to the French government when the wings arrive in Toulouse but the cost is paid by all the Airbus partners - making Germany and Spain subsidise France.

    3. smartypants

      Re: Cost increases?

      Tariffs, yes, but on the plus side, with Shambassador Farage not giving up till we've fully wound back fully to 1945 with all the remaining brown and funny-accented people sent 'home' so we can finally have our country back, Airbus should stick around and enjoy the plummeting workforce bill as Blighty turns its currency to shit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cost increases?

        >With Theresa May in power we can be sure the wrong decision will be made....

        How do you know? She hasn't actually made any decisions yet.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Cost increases?

        Or China could say "lovely aircraft and we would love to buy them if some major component, like say the wings, was built locally and I hear you are having some political difficulty with your other foreign wing supplier."

        Of course the aviation industry has always been immune to this sort of pork-barrel politicing so no need to worry.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Cost increases?

          'Or China could say "lovely aircraft and we would love to buy them if some major component, like say the wings, was built locally and I hear you are having some political difficulty with your other foreign wing supplier."'

          China already has an Airbus assembly plant and is building another one. However I don't think their materials technology is quite at the level of building wings yet, certainly their jet engines aren't quite on a par with western ones.

  5. boltar Silver badge

    Bye bye Arctic

    "Growth in Asian markets means there's nearly always a queue for any long-haul jet: over 190 A350-1000s were ordered before it rolled off the factory floor"

    Bye bye arctic, its been nice knowing you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bye bye Arctic

      over 190 A350-1000s were ordered before it rolled off the factory floor

      Don't count your chickens: Over 100 Concordes were ordered before it rolled off the factory floor. Every single commercial carrier order was cancelled, and if Air France and BA hadn't been state owned, they would have cancelled too.

      1. smartypants

        Re: Bye bye Arctic

        Concorde was stuffed by oil rising from $3 to $12 per barrel, which made it instantly uneconomic. It didn't help that it looked unlikely it'd be able to fly supersonic over land after all.

        Unfortunately for the climate, none of this will stop subsonic flight. Our ability to release carbon from the ground at an economically viable price now is more than able to keep up with rising demand for the forseeable future, and aircraft are getting quieter.

      2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Bye bye Arctic

        Concorde is hardly a relevant example. Concorde was conceived in the era when air travel was still an expensive luxury, but by the time it entered service, widebodies like the DC-10 and 747 had already turned flying into a mass-market proposition.

        Fuel consumption would have made Concorde a niche-player for any airline, and the series of oil crises from the early 1970s onwards killed the chance of further orders by making that fuel much more expensive than it had been a decade before, when the project started. In service, you needed nearly three times as much fuel to bring a passenger in Concorde as in a 747. There are very, very few routes where passengers are willing to pay 3x the fare just to arrive a couple of hours faster. (The US aircraft industry's successful lobbying to prevent supersonic use of Concorde within the States was another downside, but it wasn't the only one)

        The 350 and 787 are what the market needs; they're more efficient versions of their predecessors, with better passenger comfort, longer range and lower operating costs.

        A380 is selling slowly, but it's no failed product. The new growth is in point-to-point links between second-tier airports, to create a mesh rather than hub/spoke, but at those primary airports, the high demand means planes like 747 and A380 are the best way to make a landing slot pay for itself.

        1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

          Re: Bye bye Arctic

          The Concorde was also uneconomical from the point of view of maintenance. Going super-sonic places an immense amount of stress on the entire craft, and especially the engines and the leading edges. At those speeds, the craft also required much more and more often inspections since a fracture that would lead to, at most, minor damage on a traditional craft would cause the Concorde to disintegrate upon breaking the sound barrier.

          There was also the problem that the thing turned like a cow (the thing was so skinny and delicate that turning too fast would cause the thing to twist apart and shatter), so if you had to over-shoot your landing, it was either hope there was another runway with the same orientation, or you had an hour of fuel so you can loop back around.

          Even the the super-luxury aircraft market where cost is no object is staying below super-sonic speeds and opting for 0.99-mach maximum speeds and aiming for 0.99-mach cruise. No one wants to buy a plane that is stuck in the hanger for maintenance longer than its usable flight time...

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Bye bye Arctic

            'There was also the problem that the thing turned like a cow (the thing was so skinny and delicate that turning too fast would cause the thing to twist apart and shatter), so if you had to over-shoot your landing, it was either hope there was another runway with the same orientation, or you had an hour of fuel so you can loop back around'

            You do realise that's not how aircraft turn right? At a given airspeed and angle of bank all aircraft will form a turn of the same radius while experiencing the same increase in g force. Concorde's g limit was at least 2 (increasing to 2.5 as fuel was burnt) which would allow a 60 degree angle of bank turn which is more than most airliners use on a day to day basis because most passengers really wouldn't like to experience 2g. In fact at 250kts she could theoretically turn 180 degrees in 1 minute while pulling only 1.2g with a turn diameter of 2.6 nautical miles. The same as any other aircraft.

          2. Vic

            Re: Bye bye Arctic

            There was also the problem that the thing turned like a cow (the thing was so skinny and delicate that turning too fast would cause the thing to twist apart and shatter), so if you had to over-shoot your landing, it was either hope there was another runway with the same orientation, or you had an hour of fuel so you can loop back around.

            [Citation needed], I think. I've spoken to a number of former Concorde captains, and none has given any hint of support to that assertion.

            Vic.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately for the climate, none of this will stop subsonic flight.

    Better go and start digging a warren of tunnels around Colnbrook then. The name "smartypants" doesn't quite have the same ring as "Swampy" or "Mudpig", so you might want to have a personal re-brand.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All very well, but the music?

    The music unfortunately reminded me of "Regular Ordinary Swedish Mealtime"; I was expecting a bearded maniac to burst into the cabin and start chopping onions with an axe while shouting in Swenglish.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: All very well, but the music?

      The Swedish Chef is coming.

      Bork! Bork! Bork!

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