Airbus A380

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

Airbus A380

Manufacturer: Airbus
First flight: 27 April 2005
Introduced: 25 October 2007 with Singapore Airlines
Primary users: Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas
Produced: 2004 – present
Number built: 38 as of September 2009
Unit cost: US$ 317.2 - 337.5 million

The Airbus A380 aircraft is designed to carry 555 passengers in a typical seating configuration, including an Economy, a Business and a First class in a typical three-class configuration, and able to fly for almost 15,000 km (8,000 nautical miles) non-stop.

During its UK visit, BAA and Airbus carried out ground handling and airport compatibility trials, which helped to ensure that everything was ready for the aircraft's entry into service.

The Airbus A380 made it’s first commercial flight to the UK in 2008. The Singapore Airlines A380 flight touched down on 18 March 2008 at Heathrow Airport and taxied to the purpose built stand at Terminal 3, Pier 6.

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, a subsidiary of EADS. The largest passenger airliner in the world, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight on 25 October 2007 from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines. The aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX during much of its development phase, but the nickname Superjumbo has since become associated with it.

The A380's upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage, and its width is equivalent to that of a widebody aircraft. This allows for a cabin with 50% more floor space than the next-largest airliner, the Boeing 747-400, and provides seating for 525 people in a typical three-class configuration or up to 853 people in all economy class configurations.The postponed freighter version, the A380-800F, is offered as one of the largest freight aircraft, with a payload capacity exceeded only by the Antonov An-225. The A380-800 has a design range of 15,200 km (8,200 nmi), sufficient to fly from New York to Hong Kong for example, and a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (about 900 km/h or 560 mph at cruising altitude).


Moments after emerging from the cockpit of the A380 after its successful first flight, chief test pilot Jacques Rosay said flying the world’s biggest passenger jet had been “like handling a bicycle.”

As captain for the take-off and the initial part of the test flight, he lavished praise on the aircraft for its performance: “This aircraft is very, very easy to fly. Any Airbus pilot will feel immediately at ease with this aircraft, a pure member of the Airbus family.”

He described the take-off as “totally perfect” and paid tribute to the Airbus designers and the customer pilots who worked together to design the cockpit. “The cockpit makes the work for the crew easier and safer. It’s an excellent cockpit – and an excellent aircraft.”

Other members of the flight test crew also praised the aircraft’s performance. Claude Lelaie, senior vice president flight division at Airbus, who took over the captaincy for the second part of the test flight including the landing, said: “It was a great pleasure to perform this first flight on this marvellous aircraft.”

Fernando Alonso, chief flight test engineer and vice president flight test division, said the A380’s take-off weight for the first flight, at 421 tonnes, was the greatest take-off weight of any aircraft in the world. “In terms of systems everything worked fine,” he said. “It’s an extremely comfortable aircraft.”

Noël Forgeard, Airbus president and CEO, said he and Charles Champion, executive vice president for the A380 programme, were “extremely proud of everyone who made this happen”.


Chief Test Pilot Jacques Rosay spoke of the flight test crew’s delight with the way the A380 was performing in a radio call from the cockpit around an hour into the flight.

In a conversation broadcast on the ground to journalists, Jacques said: “The take-off was perfect. Up to now it is all absolutely perfect so we are very happy.” Jacques was speaking to Peter Chandler, Deputy Project Pilot for the A380

The conversation took place with the A380 at 10,000 feet and north of the Pyrenees, between Toulouse and Foix.

“The behaviour of the aircraft both before and after take-off was completely normal,” said Jacques. “After take-off we went up to 10,000 feet accompanied by the chaser aircraft, the Corvette. The aircraft has been fantastic.

“The whole scene is magnificent, as perfect as we thought it would be.”

Jacques said the landing-gear had been successfully retracted and the A380 was now moving as planned into the second phase of the test flight.

Photographs of the A380 in flight were being taken from the Corvette.

Later Claude Lelaie, senior vice president Airbus flight division, also took part in an exchange with Peter Chandler broadcast to the assembled media. He said the A380 was now south of Toulouse and flying at 13,000 feet, adding: “We are currently testing the autopilot and we’ve decelerated down to a low speed.”

For details of A380 first flight crew, visit

Best Video of A380 at Heathrow Airport view not seen on TV,


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