a350 cockpit flight deck british airways a350-1000

When you see the trolleys block the aisle, you know the door the mystifying world of the flight deck is about to swing open. Just like regular humans, pilots too need coffee, food and refreshment, and occasionally a visit to the loo.

Despite incredible breakthroughs in weather radar technology, some bumps still do go unnoticed, and from time to time that results spilling coffee allover a very expensive piece of equipment. If you think spilling coffee on a MacBook feels bad, try doing it on $100 million dollar aircraft.

a plane flying in the sky

Dubbed the “liquid free zone”, some areas of the Airbus A350 flight deck are now off limits to any beverage, after two separate incidents forced the mid flight shut down of an aircraft engine. Shutting down a single engine isn’t necessarily a major concern if the cause is known during flight, but it can require diversion. If a time consuming and expensive diversion is caused by something like a spilled drink, it’s best avoided.

The measures, proposed by Europe’s aviation safety body EASA are an interim fix to the problem of beverages in the cockpit, while Airbus looks to modify the flight deck surfaces to make them spill proof, or at least, less likely to spill thanks to larger cup holders. Surfaces will also feature stronger seals to meaningful damage.

According to pilots, Airbus made cupholders on the A350 smaller than you’d find on a Boeing 787, or other types, because the French aircraft maker made what effectively espresso sized cupholders, rather than those which fit most beverages.

a350 cockpit flight deck british airways a350-1000

Basically, the center console of this magnificent flying machine, which alongside other new generation aircraft provides a better passenger experience, will soon get larger cupholders. Until it does, beverages gotta stay away from the engine dials.

I know what you’re thinking: is the plane really that sensitive? Yes, and no. In the old days, when planes were actually entirely mechanical, a little coffee wouldn’t make a difference. But as planes become increasingly advanced, more flight controls run on computers. There’s still backup systems in case the computers fail, but no

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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