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Airbus has received a steady flow of orders for A350s from major international airlines. Pilots wanting to join this fleet will have many excellent career opportunities over the coming decades. The A350 XWB perfectly complements the A330 Family, offering significant advantages in terms of reduced training time for pilots who are familiar with the A330. While the A350 is one of the most technologically advanced Airbus aircraft, pilots may be able to use a common type rating with differences training.
The A350 was originally thought of in 2004 as a pairing of the A330's body with new aerodynamic features and engines. In 2006, Airbus redesigned the aircraft and renamed it the A350 XWB (extra wide body). The A350 is positioned to succeed the A340 and to compete with the Boeing 787 and 777.
The A350 has a significant number of advances, including extensive use of composites; a wing with improved lift-to-drag characteristics; more fuel-efficient Trent XWB turbofans; a higher-voltage, lower-weight AC electrical system; and more integrated avionics. The A350 is the first Airbus aircraft with both fuselage and wing structures made mostly of carbon fiber reinforced polymer.
The A350 XWB achieves maximum aerodynamic efficiency by optimising wing loading, reducing drag and lowering fuel burn. The aircraft is using over 70 per cent advanced materials; combining carbon composites, titanium and modern aluminium alloys, to create a lighter and more cost-efficient aircraft while also reducing maintenance requirements. The latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines are quieter and more efficient. The combination of these key features result in significantly lower operating costs, fuel burn and C02 emissions when compared with previous-generation aircraft.
Incorporating advances in flight controls, systems and wing design, the A350 is state-of-the-art aircraft. These developments have a genuine impact in terms of safety, maintenance and efficiency, meaning that the aircraft reduces its fuel burn significantly – generating savings and reducing its environmental impact.
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