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Inside the team that's debugging the Airbus A350

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Airbus A350
Airbus A350

Airbus has long been in a neck-and-neck race with Boeing for the lead in the airplane market. The company is making a big bet with the A350, a plane built with composite materials to make it lighter and more fuel-efficient. However, it's also a plane designed from a clean slate instead of retrofitting an older design. That potentially attracts more attention — and more sales — but it also means that working out all of the bugs is a much bigger task than usual. It's a lesson that Boeing learned the hard way with its Dreamliner, which has been famously beset with battery problems since its launch. Bloomberg Businessweek has spoken with the team tasked with debugging the A350 and detailed the "testing pyramid" that's designed to catch major stuff early and minor stuff later. The process of creating a mass-market plane is incredibly complex, but by all indications the process — which now includes test flights in potentially dangerous situations — is moving along well. The A350 made its maiden voyage last June, and could become a $2 trillion business for Airbus. You can read about the whole testing process (and see a great dynamic infographic about the plane) at Bloomberg Businessweek.