Each test flight is operated by a crew of 2 pilots and 3 flight engineers, who monitor the stream of data flowing from a multitude of sensors into a bank of computers installed in the middle of the cabin.
On all seats is a parachute. If things should go terribly awry and the crew needs to evacuate, a bright-orange railing leads them from the cockpit door to a hatch in the floor above the forward baggage compartment. The emergency scape.
By pulling a lever, the crew can trigger a set of explosive charges that will blow a hole in the right side of the fuselage. They can then leap down a slide, through the hole, and into the air.
That’s the idea, anyway. Says test pilot Frank Chapman: “If the plane is tumbling out of control, would you really be able to get out?” He shrugs.
Based on the article “How Airbus Is Debugging the A350” published in Businessweek