With the A350 conceived as the natural replacement in the Airbus product line for the A330 family, the manufacturer had to ensure the desire to introduce advanced technology into the new twinjet did not create too big a step for pilots transitioning from the earlier type.
While on the face of it, the new cockpit with its 6 huge glass display screens looks a world apart from its predecessor, the reality is that once crews have undergone conversion training the 2 environments feel very similar, said Christian Norden, head of A350 flight crew training at Airbus.
“When A330 pilots first enter the A350 cockpit they say ‘that’s totally different, that won’t work’, because this is not the A330,” said Norden.
“At the end of the conversion course (4-day ground course + 4 days of systems training), they make their first take-off and first landing in the A350, and everyone so far has said ‘it’s an A330’.”
Source: Alexander Hassestein
The A330 and A350 have approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration for a common type rating. “So every A330 pilot can say ‘hey, I’m an A350 pilot already,’” quips Norden.
“From September onwards Finnair plans to make A330/A340/A350 common rating.”
Airbus is currently working on the differences program between the A380 and A350, with a 5-day course being targeted, said Norden.
“We have to make a little bit of manoeuvring training because coming from a quad to a twin, engine-out handling is different. So we have to make use of a full-flight simulator.”
The program is likely to comprise a 2-day ground course, 2 days in the simulator and a 1-day skills test, he added.
Based on the article “Airbus keeps pilot conversion to A350 from A330 simple” published in FlightGlobal.