WORLD'S LARGEST AIRPLANE: THE AIRBUS A380

The Airbus A380

The 48th Annual Paris Airshow displaying commercial and military aircraft from the entire world takes place June 18-24, 2007. Take a close look at the world's largest airplane.

As a devout Francophile, I am happy to see the French (with subcontracts in the U.K., Australia, etc.) come up with another world beating invention. I do think that a company like Boeing needs real competition to keep it on its toes. (I have a very low opinion of Boeing after the huge scandals several years ago when a high Pentagon official left the Pentagon to go to work for Boeing after receiving money from that company and after Boeing had hired her relatives in jobs above their abilities.)

I think people don't give France enough credit for being the technologically creative country that it is. Of course the U.S., Russia, Germany and Japan have invented a great number of important things. But just a little look at the record confirms French creativity: the camera, the use of radioactive elements, the aneroid barometer, the lead battery, the altimeter, parachutes, the sewing machine, braille (technology of writing), pasteurization, the stethescope and gyroscope, and (tongue in cheek) the guillotine and don't forget my favorite the bikini.

Somethings that the French did not invent are french fries and french toast. At least they don't call them that. This is a little off the topic, but one of my favorite items is that french toast in France is called "pain perdu" which means lost bread. What is the origin? All through the week, the thrifty French peasants saved the bread that got hard (and thus was "lost" or "perdu") and on the week ends they softened it with eggs and resurrected"lost bread" into something good enough to eat.

Not to miss in France is the huge aerospace technology centers of Toulouse in the far south of the country. Significantly, after World War II, the government established their aerospace center as far away from the German border as was practically possible.

It was a marvel in the year 2005 to see huge parts of the fuselage of the A380 being shipped from the U.K. to a port in the wind country above Bourdeaux and from there transhipped onto a specially-constructed ship to go down the Garonne River to another port from where it was trucked to Toulouse for assembly. What an immense and perfectionist project to get everything correct to the centimeter inculuding being just able to pass under the main bridge of Bordeaux designed by Monsieur Eiffel of Tower fame in the nineteenth century.

And, by the4 way, if you have any interest in the Paris years of America's most influential Francophile of all times, Thomas Jefferson, check out my website at www.jeffersoninparis.com. Jefferson was American Minister Plenipotentiary (Ambassador) in Paris form 1784 to 1789.

 

Description of the Airbus A380

This is an excerpt from the Wikipedia description of the A380

For the full article go to Wikipedia Airbus A380

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, four-engined airliner manufactured by EADS (Airbus S.A.S.). It is the largest passenger airliner in the world. It first flew on 27 April 2005 from Toulouse, France.[1] After lengthy delays, commercial flights are scheduled to begin in late 2007. During much of its development phase, the aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX. The nickname Superjumbo has become associated with the A380.

The A380's upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage. This allows for a cabin with 50% more floor space than the next largest airliner, the Boeing 747-400,[2] and provides seating for 525 people in standard three-class configuration or up to 853 people in full economy class configuration.[3] Two models of the A380 are available for sale. The A380-800, the passenger model, is the largest passenger airliner in the world, superseding the Boeing 747. The A380-800F, the freighter model, is designed as one of the largest freight aircraft, with a listed payload capacity exceeded only by the Antonov An-225.[4] The A380-800 has a maximum range of 15,000 km (8,000 nmi, sufficient to fly from Chicago to Sydney nonstop), and a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (about 900 km/h or 560 mph at cruise altitude).[3]

Interior of World's Largest Airplane Airbus A380

Is This Scary? I think so.

A380 aerial stunts astonish at Paris Air Show

By Dominic Gates

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

PIERRE VERDY / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Airbus A 380 performs its flying display at the Paris Air Show. The jetliner makes turns so tight around the airfield it virtually stands on its wingtip.

At the Paris Air Show this week, the flying display of the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet each afternoon has been jaw-dropping.

As it takes off, the 555-seat double-decker speeds silently down the runway — you hear almost no noise until it draws level with you — then suddenly it lifts off the ground and climbs at a steep angle of about 40 degrees.

It's slightly scary to watch as the massive plane then makes such tight turns around the airfield that as it banks it virtually stands on its wingtip.

On the stretch, it seems to glide like a slow-motion movie with the sound turned off.

It's stunning.

"It's going to compete with the Mirage," (a French fighter jet) joked John Leahy, Airbus' chief commercial officer, at a news conference Monday.

Boeing, by contrast, doesn't conduct flying displays of its commercial jets.

"There's no particular value to doing that," said Scott Carson, who leads Boeing's commercial division.

And if it looks scary, he suggested, that's because it's dangerous.

"One of the reasons we don't fly commercial product at air shows is that people crash airplanes at air shows," Carson said Wednesday.

"Flying a big heavy airplane at low altitude in an air-show environment, with all the testosterone that goes along with being a hotshot, you put unnecessary risk into your business, into your program, into the crowd surrounding the show."

Responding to Carson's remarks later, Airbus' Leahy said the A380's aerial acrobatics are only possible because of Airbus' "flight envelope protection" technology.

Flight envelope protection means that on Airbus planes, the jet's controls are restrained within certain bounds so that it is impossible for the pilot to bring the wings up enough to stall the airplane.

On Boeing airplanes, the systems are set to avoid wild movements of the jet's controls that could put excessive loads on the airplane structure.

However, Boeing designs it so that the pilot may override the system in an emergency.

It's a philosophical difference.

Airbus thinks its approach is safer, because it may allow a pilot in an emergency to take stronger countermeasures without fear of stalling.

Boeing thinks the pilot needs to have the ultimate control.

"If you tried to do what our pilot is doing there in a 747 or a 777, it would look anemic," Leahy said, "because you would have to give yourself enough margin away from a stall that it wouldn't look too impressive."

He said the Airbus A380 pilots at the show are "going right up to the edge of a stall," completely confident that they cannot go over the edge.

"You are within a few knots of the airplane just falling out of the sky," Leahy said.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-296 or dgates@seattletimes.com

World's Largest Airplane Airbus A380 First Landing at Heathrow

Constructing the Airbus A380

John Travolta becomes first non-test pilot to fly the A380

zeenews.com (India edition) this column's source

France, June 21: Hollywood actor and pilot John Travolta said at the Paris air show he found it easy to fly Airbus` troubled A380 superjumbo and hoped to outdo rival Tom Cruise as a real-life `Top Gun`.

The disco-dancing star of `Saturday Night Fever` is a qualified pilot with more than 5,000 flight hours under his belt and he took the controls of the world`s largest airliner as a co-pilot in Australia in November.

"I did fly that A380 you know. I was the first non-test pilot to fly that and I`m telling you it`s a very easy plane to fly but technically complicated," he told reporters on Thursday.

"But it was a privilege to be able to be the first (non-test) pilot to fly it," he said at the Paris air show, which opens to the public on Friday.

Delays to Airbus` A380 superjumbo caused a slump in the 2006 profits of parent company EADS, although the company has since fought back with a series of high-profile orders at the Paris event.

Travolta, looking relaxed and wearing sunglasses and trainers, said he hoped to be able to fly Boeing`s F/A-18 fighter jet at the show at Le Bourget near Paris.

"I`ve been invited to fly an F18 on Saturday. I`m hoping I`ll be able to do that but I don`t know if time permits."

Hollywood`s love affair with aviation peaked with the 1986 movie `Top Gun` about the training of a naval flying ace starring Travolta`s friend Cruise.

Asked whether he would buy any planes at the show, Travolta replied: "Oh, no, no, no."

Airbus 380 interior

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