On 14 June 2013, the Airbus A350-900 took to the sky for its maiden flight.
“It was a breakthrough moment, as the A350 XWB family, of which the A350-900 was the first, is the world’s most modern aircraft. It was drawn up on a totally clean sheet, designed from scratch with the latest technologies and airlines’ feedback built in.” says Airbus
Although created for the modern age, its biomimetic design is inspired by timeless creatures of nature.
The A350 XWB features a unique adaptive wing technology. Inspired by birds’ flight, the A350 XWB wings’ moving surface constantly adapt shape, literally morphing while airborne, to always ensure optimised lift. On-board computer systems automatically deploy and retract the wing’s movable parts to maximize aerodynamic efficiency and optimise fuel burn throughout the flight.
Air flow management
The albatross detects changes in air pressure and adapts the position of its feathers to help it traverse gusts of wind. In the same way, accelerometers in the A350 XWB trigger spoilers and streamline flaps to deploy along the direction of flight, resulting in better lift efficiency and improved low-speed performance, while reducing aerodynamic-generated noise.
Inspired by soaring birds such as the Steppe-Eagle, the A350’s wings are designed with curved tips, called winglets, to reduce drag.