More safety with Airbus' newly developed Automated Emergency Descent (AED) system


Toulouse - The first Airbus A350-1000 delivered to Qatar comes with a new security feature. The Automated Emergency Descent (AED) automatically switches to autopilot when it detects unsafe cabin pressure to bring the aircraft to a lower, safe flight level.

According to Airbus, the AED is the first application of its kind in a large commercial aircraft. In the future, it will also become standard in the shorter variant A350-900.

Pressure drops are extremely rare,
says Yann Besse, Airbus engineer in the autopilot lab test team.
Our goal was a simple system that significantly reduces the workload when a faster descent is necessary.

The AED mode is triggered when the cabin pressure drops below a certain limit. After the crew was informed, the system activates autopilot, if there is no reaction from the crew within 15 seconds.

The engineers from different divisions in different locations had to work closely to develop the seamless interface of AED between the autopilot and the cabin pressure system.

The autopilot test engineers in Toulouse and the cabin pressure engineers in Hamburg modified their test bench networks so that they could be connected in real time,
also says Besse.

In the A350-1000, the AED is standard equipment. The approval process is currently underway for the shorter A350-900.