First Flight Completed
ON APRIL 27, 2005, THE GARGANTUAN AIRBUS A380 jetliner successfully completed its nearly four-hour first flight. It took off in Toulouse, France, at 10:29 a.m. local time, and after a three-hour, 54-minute flight, the giant double-decked, four-engine A380 landed there at 2:22 p.m. It was piloted by chief test pilot Jacques Rosay, copiloted by Claude Lelaie and carried four other crew members and 44,000 pounds of onboard flight-test equipment that returned 150,000 different parameters of real-time data to ground-based computers. “The takeoff was absolutely perfect,” Rosay radioed to reporters on the ground.
The flight-test airplane weighed 928,300 pounds at takeoff or about 75 percent of its maximum takeoff weight; it landed with a weight of 616,000 pounds.
At a list price of $282 million each, Airbus has firm orders for 154 airplanes-127 A380s and 27 A380Fs. The A380 airliner will be able to carry up to 840 passengers and is expected to enter service in spring 2006; the A380F freighter version is scheduled to enter service in 2008. So far, A380 preparation has taken some 11 years at a cost of about $13 billion.
Copyright Air Age Publishing Aug 2005
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