27 August 2013

A 3-day briefing course is enough for cabin crew to get familiar with the new A350 XWB cabin equipment, systems and procedures.

Cathay Pacific cabin crew participated in the ‘CVFF’ cabin virtual first flight last 25/July in the A350 XWB Cabin Integration and Test Centre.

“We thought this was the right time to put Cabin Zero to the test in a real operational environment with real cabin crew,” says Michel Treillet, Customer Programme Director for the A350 XWB.

“Cabin Zero was developed as an engineering platform but we wanted to take it further “and use it as if it were a real aircraft.”

"For that we needed real cabin crew and so we called on Cathay Pacific for help, based on our experience with them in the past and also because Cathay is a big customer for the A350.”

9 crew were recruited for the exercise, all of them going through 3-days of intensive training prior to the day of the trial.

“I wanted to get accurate information to our crew in advance of the exercise because I knew it would be a big challenge for them, working in a brand new environment with new galley arrangements and standards, and with different types of service equipment” explains Cathay Pacific Inflight Technical Operations Manager Inez Mok, who coordinated with the project team to get a full understanding of the whole process.

The 3-day briefing course included a thorough introduction to Cabin Zero, followed by familiarization procedures for cabin checks, the passenger doors, the flight attendant panel and cabin intercommunication data system.

The day didn’t end when the flight came in for its virtual landing. Passengers were asked to sit down and complete detailed questionnaires about their entire experience on the virtual flight.

The cabin crew went through individual debriefings to give Airbus invaluable feedback on the cabin and its workings, from galley equipment to the layout of crew rest areas.

“What the Cathay crew have given us is valuable input to prepare for the A350’s entry into service,” said Mr. Treillet Customer Programme Director for the A350 XWB, adding that first test aircraft to be fitted with a cabin, MSN002, is now being assembled in Toulouse.

“We will gather all the feedback and take a close look at what things need to be changed or modified. It’s always a challenge to match an engineering platform with the final cabin but I think CVFF has been an invaluable intermediate step in terms of the cabin development.”

Based on the article “Airbus A350 makes its first 'virtual flight'” published in Australian Business Traveler.

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