How Airbus Is Debugging the A350

By Jeff Wise – Airbus adopted standardized design software throughout the company to avoid errors such as the A380’s wiring miscalculation. It went further by creating a single electronic rendering of the airplane, called the digital mock-up, or DMU, that every engineer working on the airplane can use at any time. If anyone makes a change, everyone can see it.

As with any new plane, the early design phases were riddled with uncertainty.

Would the materials be light enough and strong enough?

Would the components perform as Airbus desired?

Would parts fit together?

Would it fly the way simulations predicted?

To produce a working aircraft, Airbus had to systematically eliminate those risks using a process it calls a “testing pyramid.” The fat end of the pyramid represents the beginning, when everything is unknown. By testing materials, then components, then systems, then the aircraft as a whole, ever-greater levels of complexity can be tamed. more>


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