Airbus tests braking as back-up for steering A350

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Airbus is testing a differential braking system for the A350 which will provide back-up manoeuvring capability in the event of nose-gear steering failure.

The airframer has been using an A340-600 test-bed and performed three flights to explore the mechanism.

Automatic differential braking, it said, would give A350 crews access to standby capability in case of a loss of normal nose-gear steering.

A350 chief engineer Gordon McConnell, speaking in Toulouse, said the system "gently" activates the brakes through the use of the steering tiller.

"We've not done that before," he said. McConnell said there had not been a specific customer request for such a system.

"We get it for free," he said. "There's no weight added. We're just using the computers and the brakes."

Simulations and models had validated the "intuitive" system, he added, and the demonstration programme, aimed at achieving maturity by first flight, had been successful.