In 2009 Airbus went public with a new feature in the Airbus A350, an Automatic Emergency Descent (AED) System.

The system would detect a rapid depressurization and, after a defined waiting time, would initiate an automated descent if the pilots failed to respond to the respective alert (i.e. in case of pilot incapacitation).

I found some presentation slides from 2015 on the topic but haven't heard anything on that system since. Does anyone have additional information: is it a standard feature now on the A350, is it optional, or was it not pursued any further? If not, for what reasons?

  • $\begingroup$ Now I'm wondering how many separate things need to break on the plane before this system performs an unplanned emergency descent into terrain. $\endgroup$
    – bobsburner
    Feb 21, 2020 at 10:10

2 Answers 2


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Airbus will have it on the -1000, and will also introduce it on the -900.

A350 chief engineer Alain de Zotti says the -1000 will be able to "slightly deviate" from the flight plan, if the system is activated, and leave its cruise altitude.

As well as executing the high-speed manoeuvre the aircraft will automatically notify air traffic control of the action.

(flightglobal.com, Nov 2017)

The Falcon 7X already has it, they call it Automatic Descent Mode (ADM).

In case of a depressurization at high altitudes, the Autopilot and Auto throttle will guide the aircraft to safe altitude at maximum velocity. ADM is activated when Autopilot is engaged, the aircraft is above 30,000 ft., and the cabin altitude is 9,700 ft. or greater.

Further reading: Automatic Emergency Descent System (skybrary.aero)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's available even in light aircraft too: Cirrus and Socata both offer it. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jan 30, 2017 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @ymb1 thanks. The pdf linked in the question is almost two years old, so I was wondering what the current status is, if it's still coming to the A350... but thanks for the hint to the 7X! $\endgroup$
    – Stefan
    Jan 31, 2017 at 17:56

On a crew bus the other day at American. Mgmt type said it like this. If the Cabin Alt goes above 14000, the aircraft starts a 15 sec timer. If no intervention from the crew, it initiates an Emergency descent. Power back and spoilers. Vmo/Mmo-10kts. It even changes the squawk to 7700. The aircraft will level off at 10,000 or Grid MORA whichever is higher.

Was also told that it will auto respond to a TCAS RA if the autopilot is on.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ welcome to aviation.SE. if possible, we prefer autoritative sources, not "a guy told me". If you could find some sources to back up your answer it would improve substantially. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Mar 28, 2017 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ So an aircraft eastbound from California could level off at 16,000, 18,000 feet, somewhere in that range if Grid MORA calls for that while in the vicinity of the Rockies? $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jun 7, 2018 at 12:07

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