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Approved: American Airlines captain becomes the first FAA-certified A350 XWB pilot

It was all smiles for American Airlines’ John Dudley, as he became the first airline pilot certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Airbus’ all-new A350 XWB jetliner. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for eight years,” Dudley said at the Airbus training centre in Toulouse, France. “Being an A350 XWB captain is a dream come true, and being the first airline captain to receive FAA Type Rating for the aircraft is a special honour.” ( Ещё...

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Glenal Morean 17
Having flown both Boeing and Airbus, as well as Bombardier, Embraer and others, I sadly find that the irrational, anti-Airbus, apoplectic vitriol sounds like something out of American politics in general – bluster over substance, knee-jerk xenophobia, opinion not informed by fact, and isolationist to the point of scoring own goals without even realising it.

To those who imagine American or Delta unpatriotic in their economic selection of the A350XWB, no doubt from the same crowd who'd embellish the nuanced differences between market capitalism and social democracy, would you prefer that American purchased only Boeing products absent any genuine competition and reflect that in consumer prices? Would American's domestic customers benefit from British Airways or Lufthansa purchasing only Airbus aircraft uncompetitively? And what should Japan Airlines, longtime Boeing customer but obligated to tender competitively, do to facilitate the desired trade war? Or state-owned, Chinese airlines, in the world's largest and fastest growing aviation market, equally comfortable with Airbus and Boeing technology and boasting an Airbus assembly facility?

To the aircraft itself, what is it about Airbus technology that engenders a nationalistic response? Is it the fly-by-wire (FBW) technology and flight envelope protections, essentially similar to the Boeing 777 FBW computer suite (having flown both), or the even greater reliance on such systems aboard the B787?

If nationalism rather than cost, performance or equivalent safety is how an aircraft should be judged, what about the A350's Honeywell APU? The Hamilton RAT? Perhaps the UTC Aerospace nacelles and thrust reversers on its Trent engines. You may that know that many 'American' GE and P&W engines sit on European operated Boeing and Airbus jets just as many 'European' Trent engines sit on American operated Boeing and Airbus jets. Of course, engine design is such a capital intensive proposition that most projects are now international collaborations, such as the oh-so-American Boeing 737's CFM56 engines (also on the Airbus 320) and the IAE V2500 series. Should these American jobs never have existed? What of the American A320 assembly line? Or the truly global chain of the A350XWB as much so as for the B787?

It's true the odd nationalistic stitch-up can be arranged, like the multiple tenders for the US DOD's tanker requirement until the protectionist result is found (voicing dissatisfaction should foreign governments do likewise, of course). True, hardly unique.

The reason American Airlines, Delta and United each operate both Airbus and Boeing jets is the same reason that British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France do. They both make great jets, and are both a delight to fly.

I've just left the B777 to again fly my outfit's A320s, and I'd equally operate our B787s or A350s as my next posting after my tour as A320 captain, as much as I loved the B777. I equally fondly remember my regional flying days on Embraer jets, and even turboprops from both sides of the Atlantic, while still doing 'real' flying as a light aircraft flight instructor. Frankly, most people who have a blanket aversion to Airbus generally either haven't flown them (especially the general aviator, armchair experts) or don't understand the design philosophies, and would be surprised to find out what's inside a B787. As with Eurofighter Typhoon or F-22, the days of less-reliable cables and pulleys, in both military and civilian jets, are behind us.

The competition between them will benefit passengers around the world. Both programs will create good American, European, Japanese, Australian and Chinese jobs, in a global supply chain. Congrats to the first FAA type rated pilot. I'm sure American and Delta will find the A350XWB as much of a delight as BA and Norwegian love the B787, Trumpians be damned.
Kenneth Schmidt 6
Well reasoned comment based in fact, not blind faith. Consumers always win where there is competition in the marketplace.
Glenal Morean 4
As far as comparing FBW to Xbox, well, that's easily said by not truly understanding transport jet aerodynamics or how envelope protections improve safety, which is why both the B787 and A350 feature variants of the technology. There's nothing lost by making flying easier, less fatiguing, and more reliable, in a word – safer.
James Driskell 4
Andy Cruickshank 4
Well said, as several people have already noted.There is a huge lack of understanding as to the complexity of the supply chain and sourcing of components. I am lucky to have some appreciation of this as (when I worked) I worked for Caterpillar who is perhaps an equally global company with similar challenges. We even made some FBW (or Drive by wire) products.
Jacque Harper 1
Adding my voice of thanks for a reasoned response.
Tim Duggan -1
I'm kinda on your "side" I think....about the aspect of basic piloting skills. I WILL state that Airbus products seem to appeal to the lesser pilot...the ones who aren't as well-trained. JUST my opinion. Seems Airbus engineers want to design a product that is "Human-Proof"....and sometimes, they fail. Here is an interesting YouTube video, I hope you will enjoy:

(THERE are lots and lots of these sorts of videos online. To those of us, LIKE you who are professional airline pilots? THESE people do not understand the MANY other demands that come into our realm of thinking. Almost EVERY flight has its own challenges. Some are "routine"...but there is always a chance of something going wrong....AND that is why we remain vigilant.
patrick baker 10
kinda reminds me what my girlfriend said, " you can't be first, but you can be next." next is plenty good
Ruger9X19 13
Your girlfriend told me the same thing!
chalet 0
Sorry folks, I was the first one.
James Driskell 6
btweston 2
At least half of you are retarded. Or under the age of twelve.
joel wiley 1
Did you consider a) second childhood b) dementia or c) paucity of sarcasm font?
Andy Cruickshank 1
Interesting. I normally go to Planespotters website for fleet details and they do not show AAL with A350s in their fleet or on order. AB state that they have 22 on order and I do not doubt it. Any suggestions for an alternate site for detailed fleet information. Thanks
Congratulations John!
george siegel 1
Great Job......................John
Andy Cruickshank 1
I do not see anywhere how many A350s AAL is buying. I normally rely on the data in
Any other suggestions?
joel wiley 1
I guess in his thumbs up photo he is pantomiming his certification to operate the joystick from either the right or left seat?
chalet 0
Joysticks suck, real macho pilots fly the old fashioned way, solid touchy-feely control yokes, OK?
Glenal Morean 4
Airlines and professional militaries don't want macho pilots. As even the FAA notes (in the Aviation Instructor's Handbook and elsewhere), 'macho' is an inappropriate, anti-authority attitude that is a weak link in the safety chain.
Roger Curtiss 1
Now Capt. Dudley needs to wait patiently while some FOs also get type-rated so he has someone to fly with.
Chuck Mac -5
No real pilot skill required above that of a 14 year old Xbox owner.
Right... Have you ever heard of flying skills and decision making when things aren't working the way they should???
joel wiley -3
Isn't tha about all you need to fly a bus, as long as nothing goes wrong?
Edward Fremaux -6
As American continues to move towards a more Airbus-centric fleet, I move away from flying American Airlines.
btweston 4
It is truly awful when airlines decide to utilize more efficient machines. I, for one, think that the government should require all U.S. based airlines to only fly Boeing.

That's what free market economics is all about, right?

Edward Fremaux 0
It's all about getting the overseas gates and routes.
MultiComm -1
Delta is not too far behind it seems. No orders for the B787 and alot of new Airbus metal on property in the past several years thanks to R Anderson. I believe they have an order for the A350 as well.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Quidnon 21
It doesn't say he was issued the first type rating for the 350. It doesn't say he was issued the first type rating from the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (French FAA). It says he was issued the first type rating for the 350 from the FAA. As in he is the first American pilot to have the type rating on an American license. No propaganda there.
MrTchou -2
Since 5 A350 are in operation right now on flightradar24 (I count 3 from Qatar airline, 1 finnair and 1 vietnam airlines) just right now (not counting the airbus prototype in toulouse), I really hope their pilots are certified ;-)
jbayter -5
Well... I guess that's what he wanted!! If the time to choose comes to me, I will definitely say PASS, I don't really mind if my license won't ever show a bus rating, MY THINKING about buses = Winged Gaskets, and by the way well done "American" You keep buying/leasing French planes for "American" at least we are saving some money right? Cheap planes, unreliable computers sorting all kinds of spurious messages some of them true, to carry "valuable" employees and tons of people... Who cares they are falling from the skies all over the world, nobody will miss another Airbus, is that so??? If you are an Airbus fan please, don't waste your time, go on with your life!! And if you just missed what I just said, please come back later, we will be discussing why an AA A350 crashed soon!! I really hope to be wrong, if I don't please remember reading my words. Enjoy the ride!!
chalet 8
Take it easy and then write. Granted the Airbuses are over-computed and some airlines have suffered the consequences (Air France for one) but they are reliable and well built that is why all mayor US airlines have bought thousands of them and continue to do so as their counterparts around the world- And you have to thank everyday you fly on a Boeing airliner as the fares are reasonable because the Airbus competition has kept Seattle honest in its pricing. Can you imagien if Boeing was the only airframe manufacturer of large jets.
btweston -3
Your comment is almost completely bullshit.

I mean, they are French. Mostly.
chalet 0
You must be some very intelligent.....mmm... I don't know what, if any.
Ron Morgan -5
Really. It took all that to just say congrats Capt. Glad I don't have to sit beside you for a 9 hour drone.
terry gersdorf 5
Actually John is awesome and fun to fly with


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