Airbus A380

Article

May 19, 2022

The Airbus A380 is a four-engine wide-body long-haul aircraft from the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus with two continuous passenger decks. With a capacity of up to 853 passengers, the low-wing aircraft is the largest mass-produced civil airliner in the history of aviation. It has a range of max. 15,200 km and a cruising speed of about 940 km/h (Mach 0.87), max. 961 km/h (Mach 0.89). Final assembly took place in Toulouse and the cabin equipment in Hamburg-Finkenwerder instead of. The first flight was completed on April 27, 2005 with an A380-841, up to March 10, 2018 331 machines were ordered. After Emirates announced that it would reduce the order by 39 to 123, Airbus announced on February 13, 2019 that it would phase out production of the A380 in 2021. On March 17, 2021, the last of a total of 251 left with the production number MSN272 Machines the production halls in Toulouse towards Hamburg. Emirates received the last delivery of an A380 on 16 December 2021.

Story

History

The development of the Airbus A380 goes back to the 1980s, when the first feasibility studies regarding a large aircraft for both passenger and cargo air traffic were drawn up. In the second half of the 1990s, a market situation arose that allowed Airbus to realize its plans. This assessment resulted on the one hand from the growing demand for wide-bodied aircraft and on the other hand from the decision by Airbus competitor Boeing not to invest any money in research and development for new versions of its Boeing 747. In 2000, when the first 50 letters of intent to purchase were received, Airbus began construction in 2001. During the conception phase, the aircraft was referred to as the Airbus A3XX.

Development

The development of the aircraft required both an increase in the possible number of passengers and a reduction in the specific operating costs per person and kilometer. The A380 should be able to operate at 15% lower cost compared to other modern passenger aircraft of the 1990s. The development goals could only be achieved through extensive use of new materials, such as fiber-reinforced plastic and sandwich constructions to save weight. For example, the outer skin of the fuselage is only made of aluminum on the underside. The top two thirds are made of glass fiber reinforced aluminum. The dimensions of the aircraft do not exceed the 80×80 meter box, which allows it to move on existing taxiways, and also use the handling infrastructure of the terminals. For optimized passenger handling, however, the existing facilities are often expanded in such a way that boarding and disembarking can take place on both decks in parallel. The aim is to achieve turnaround times comparable to those of single-story wide-bodied aircraft.

Test program

First public presentation (rollout)

The first prototype built for flight testing with the serial number (MSN) 001 was in final production from October 2004 to January 2005. Finally, on January 18, 2005, the A380 was ceremoniously presented to the assembled press. The Heads of State and Government of Airbus' main cooperation countries, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder, Tony Blair and José Luis Zapatero, were present at the ceremony, which was televised live.

Structural Load Testing

The largest structure was tested from September 1, 2005 to June 16, 2012 (originally planned to last until 2008) in a non-airworthy example specially built for structural loading tests with the serial number (MSN) 5001 -Fatigue test on a civil aircraft