First A350s with touchscreen cockpit

A350 cockpit touchscreens Photo by Airbus

Airbus has commenced deliveries the first A350s equipped with new touchscreen cockpit displays.

Specially developed for the A350 together with Thales, they will enable enhanced operational efficiencies, greater crew interaction, cockpit symmetry and smoother information management. On 18 December, China Eastern Airlines took delivery in Toulouse of the first A350 equipped with the new devices. To date, around 20 airlines have selected the option for their new A350s.

Of the A350 cockpit’s six large screens, three can now become touch capable: the two outer displays plus the lower-centre display. These displays now offer touchscreen capability for the pilots when presenting Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications. This new method of input complements the existing physical keyboard integrated into the retractable table in front of each pilot and also the keyboard & trackball “keyboard-cursor control unit” (KCCU) located on the centre console.

The new technology, which was recently certified for the A350 by EASA in November, facilitates ‘pinch-zooming’ and panning gestures and will facilitate more flexibility and better interaction between both pilots, particularly during these scenarios:

  • before take-off (for computing take-off performance while entering data into the flight management system “FMS”),
  • in-flight/cruise (for accessing en-route navigation charts), and
  • during approach preparation (for consulting the terminal charts before entering FMS data).

Moreover, during high workload phases of flight, the touchscreen capability reduces need for pilots to make multiple cursor inputs and avoids them having to flip between different displays when using the EFB applications collaboratively on the lower centre display.