Why does the Airbus A350 wear a Zorro mask?

Image Wikimedia commons Laurent ERRERA from L'Union, France

Image Wikimedia commons Laurent ERRERA from L’Union, France

Next year we welcome our new aircraft the Airbus A350-1000 to our fleet, and everyone here at Virgin Atlantic is incredibly excited. We’ve got teams of people making sure its entry into service is smooth and we have a few surprises up our sleeves to delight you. Although we’re keeping things under wraps for the time being there’s one thing that’s been intriguing us about the aircraft. It’s a question that gets asked again and again. Why Zorro’s mask?

Every Airbus A350 comes with the distinct black masking around the pilot’s window. In today’s world when many aircraft look the same, it really makes the A350 stand out. Nobody has ever seen anything like it on any other civil aircraft. That Airbus don’t offer the aircraft without this feature suggested to us there was more to it than just a pair of sunnies for one of the most sophisticated jets in the sky. So we asked Airbus for an explanation:

“The A350 XWB is the first ever Airbus aircraft with curved cockpit glasses. These cockpit windows offer more than just the most futuristic, aesthetic and distinctive look. The new windshield enhances the overall aerodynamic efficiency of the aircraft,” said Donna Lloyd, Head of Communication Business Partners at Airbus.  “The perfectly curved shape of the nose helps the air flow hug the surface, in the least turbulent manner, thereby reducing drag. The emblematic “Ray-Ban” like black windshield eases the window’s maintenance and contributes to harmonising the thermal condition of this temperature-sensitive window area. The slightly concave nose area (seen from the side) offers the pilots an optimal view of the immediate surroundings easing ground operations and making them safer.”

And here is it (without the mask). The first glimpse of our first Airbus A350-1000 on the production line at St Nazaire in Northern France,

So there you have it. Efficiency and safety, two of the most important elements of aviation, and super stylish too. Many thanks to Airbus for the interesting explanation.

Movie poster for 1920 film The Mark of Zorro. Maybe one for our A350 inflight entertainment?

About Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.
Bookmark the permalink.