By: AirTravellerPH Staff
China Eastern Airlines takes delivery of the very first Airbus A350 equipped with touchscreen cockpit displays. According to Airbus, three of the six large screens can become touch-capable and can be used with electronic flight bag applications. These displays are the two outer larges ones and the lower center display. These special touchscreen displays were developed for the A350 with Thales.
This new touchscreen method of input complements the existing physical keyboard integrated into the retractable table in front of each pilot. It also complements the keyboard and trackball, also known as the "keyboard-curser control unit" (KCCU) located on the center console.
To date, there are 20 airlines that have selected this option for their new A350s which would provide enhanced operational efficiencies, greater crew interaction, cockpit symmetry and smoother information management. This technology will facilitate more flexibility and better interaction between both pilots, particularly before take-off (for computing take-off performance while inputing data into the Flight Management System); in-flight and cruise (for accessing in-route navigation charts); and during approach preparation (for consulting the terminal charts before entering FMS data).
Additionally, during high workload phases of flight, the touchscreen capability reduces the 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 center display.
Head of Airbus's A350 Program Patrick Piedrafita said, "Airbus continues to set the industry trends in aircraft cockpit design with these new interactive touchscreen displays in the A350 XWB. With our partner Thales we are very proud to bring this technology to our customers, to enhance their aircrews’ operations.”
This new touchscreen cockpit display technology was certified last November by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for use on the A350.