Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Taking a clean-sheet design for airlines’ operational needs of tomorrow, Airbus developed the A380 as the most spacious and efficient airliner ever conceived. This 525-seat aircraft will deliver an unparalleled level of comfort while retaining all the benefits of commonality with Airbus’ other fly-by-wire aircraft Families.
Airbus is the first jetliner manufacturer to be certified to international environmental standards ISO 14001, for full lifecycle coverage, including all products and manufacturing plants.
The Airbus' approach is based on an innovative Environment Management System, used to map, assess, track and minimize an aircraft's environmental impact throughout its life. This approach optimises environmental performance at any phase of the product life cycle.
The A380 has been a catalyst for innovative new technologies and a new way of "working together" across the industry. Airbus negotiates environmental requirements in contractual agreements with suppliers and actively spreads environmental best practices within the supply chain.
Airbus is also working hard to mitigate the impact of manufacturing on the environment with cleaner technologies and processes. Environmental management has been a major criterion for the A380 production facilities, optimising energy and water consumption, as well as waste and emissions.
Furthermore Airbus has developed innovative solutions to transport A380 components across Europe. The largest components use maritime shipment and river barges, which generate very little disturbance to the ecosystem. On the road, night time road convoys are using lorries equipped with high quality noise-reduction features.
Airbus' design philosophy is based on the whole life cycle of an aircraft, from the initial concept to its end of life. The A380 static test airframe will be used as part of a project to test procedures for decommissioning aircraft in the most environmentally responsible way. This will be the first time that an aircraft's pre-service testing has been taken through to the very end of its life.
The A380 burns 17 per cent less fuel per seat than today's largest aircraft. This is the most significant step forward in reducing aircraft fuel burn and resultant emissions in four decades. Low fuel burn means low CO2 emissions. In fact the A380 produces only 75g of CO2 per passenger and per km, almost half of the target set by the European Union for cars manufactured in 2008. With the A380, which offers more space per passenger in all classes, CO2 footprint per passenger has never been so small.
This progress is possible thanks to advances on many fronts. The A380 has an efficient structure that incorporates more new material than any other jetliner, with composite and other lightweight materials accounting for more than 25 per cent of its structure.
The A380 also benefits from the latest innovations in aerodynamics, reducing drag to the minimum and improving fuel efficiency further. Moreover, the A380 is fitted with new state of the art high by-pass engines that contribute to the overall reduction in fuel burn, reducing it to unprecedented levels.
These engines have been designed not only to meet the current regulatory limits (ICAO-CAEP 4) with significant margins but to be already in line with the most stringent future regulatory limits (ICAO-CAEP 6) in terms of NOx emissions.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Formerly known as the A3XX, Airbus' double-decker passenger jet, the A380, will be the largest airliner ever built. Lengthwise, it would nearly stretch from goal line to goal line of a football field while its wing tips would hang well beyond the sidelines. Three full decks will run along the entire length of the plane. Upper and main decks will serve as passenger areas, and will be connected by a grand staircase near the front of the plane and by another smaller staircase at the back. Although the lower deck will be reserved primarily for cargo, it could be outfitted for special passenger uses such as sleeper cabins, business centers or even child care service. In a one-class configuration, the A380 could accommodate as many as 840 passengers. The more likely three-class configuration will still offer an unprecedented 555 passenger seats. Either way, the A380 would offer 30% - 50% more seating than its direct competition, the Boeing 747-400.
Although the A380 will be able to fly a distance of over 10,000 miles, the plane's usefulness will not be limited to long-haul flights. For instance, many flights within Japan are among the highest in passenger capacity and would be well suited for A380 service, despite their short distances. Whatever the flight distance, a new breed of engines will be required to lift the plane's 1.2 million pounds into the air. Rolls Royce and GE/Pratt & Whitney are both working on engines to provide thrust that will max out at 75,000 pounds. By comparison, the first American jet airliner in service, the Boeing 707, was powered by only 10,000 pounds of thrust.
As amazing as it will be for this behemoth to take off into the air, the A380 faces significant challenges on the ground as well. To integrate into existing airports, the A380 must fit the standard airport-docking plan. The plane's nearly 262-foot wingspan meets this requirement by about 18 inches. Its outer-most engines, however, would hang just beyond the standard 150-foot runway width, requiring upgrades at many airports. The plane's weight will be distributed to 20 landing gear wheels, actually producing less weight per wheel than the 747. The cockpit location, between the main and upper decks, is designed to give pilots a vantage point on the runway similar to that of current airliners.
Due to recent technological advances, Airbus claims the A380 will be a more efficient plane than its rival, the 747. Airbus states the A380 will use 20% less fuel and will fly quieter, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the 747. Airlines seem to be impressed. So far, ten carriers have declared their interest in the plane, placing options to order a total of 66 planes. The first A380 is scheduled to take flight in September of 2004 and may enter commercial service as early as October of 2005.
Airbus A380 completes test flight
Watch the flight
The world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, has landed safely, completing its maiden flight.
The long-awaited test lasted almost four hours, with the A380 circling the Bay of Biscay before returning to base.
The A380 took off from its production site in Toulouse with a crew of six and about 20 tonnes of test equipment.
Thousands of aeroplane enthusiasts clapped and cheered as the twin-decked, four-engine "superjumbo" made a flypast before landing.
Speaking after he landed the plane, test pilot Claude Lelaie said the flight was a "milestone".
The A380 crew after landing in Toulouse
In pictures: The maiden flight
Have your say on the A380
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"You have seen a lot of ground tests, a lot of wind tunnel tests, simulators - for the first time you can see all the systems working together in the real world in the air," said Mr Lelaie.
Jacques Rosay, who flew the A380 during take-off, said the plane behaved "immaculately" and that as a pilot "you handle it like you handle a bicycle".
France's President Jacques Chirac called the test flight a "total success".
"A new page of aeronautical history has been written," he said in a statement. "It is a magnificent result for European industrial cooperation."
The A380's maiden voyage was powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, which were designed specially for the superjumbo.
A380 and Boeing 747 compared
Airbus, which is owned by European firm EADS and the UK's BAE Systems, sees the A380 as the future of air travel.
Arch-rival Boeing has instead chosen to focus on mid-sized long-haul aircraft such as its new 787.
The US firm congratulated Airbus on the successful test flight, but added that "the A380 is a very large aircraft for a very small market".
The A380 - designed to carry as many as 840 people between major airports - took off from its production site in southern France just after 0830 GMT.
It had returned by about 1225 GMT, and touched down with a small puff of smoke from its wheels.
Airbus A380 after landing in Toulouse
Its wings are built in Broughton, North Wales
Engines made by Rolls Royce
Originally called the A3XX
The '8' represents the plane's double-decks and is a symbol of success in Asia
By 2016, the A380 will account for one in eight flights out of Heathrow, the airport estimates
Most of the testing was carried out at 10,000ft and within 100 miles of Toulouse, said Peter Chandler, deputy project pilot for the A380.
During the flight, there was a live satellite feed of data which was monitored by a team of experts on the ground, Airbus said.
Taking no chances, the crew had been equipped with parachutes. A handrail had also been fitted, leading from the cockpit to an escape door.
More than 50,000 people watched the take-off and landing, many of them sitting on the grass banks that line the runway.
The historic flight was also broadcast live on television and thousands watched via a giant screen in Toulouse's main square.
More than a year of flight-testing and certification-programme work will now follow before the A380 starts commercial services.
Pilots will then have to push the plane far harder than they did on Wednesday, testing for extremes of speed, altitude and temperature, experts said.
The A380 project has had its share of problems.
In December 2004, Airbus' main shareholder EADS, which has an 80% stake, revealed that the project was £1bn (1.5bn euros; $1.9bn) over budget, at more than £8.4bn.
The UK's BAE Systems owns the remaining 20% of Airbus.
Comparison of Boeing 747 and Airbus A380
Maiden flight 27 April 2005
Primary user Singapore Airlines
Produced 2002 – present
Number built 12 as of January 2008
Program cost €12 ($17.1) billion
Unit cost $319.2 million
The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, an EADS
subsidiary. 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. 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 standard
three-class configuration or up to 853 people in full economy class configuration. The A380 is offered in passenger
and freighter versions. The A380-800, the passenger model, is the largest passenger airliner in the world,
superseding the Boeing 747, but has a shorter fuselage than the Airbus A340-600 which is Airbus' next biggest
passenger aeroplane. The A380-800F, the freighter model, is offered as one of the largest freight aircraft, with a
listed payload capacity exceeded only by the Antonov An-225. The A380-800 has a design range of 15,200 kilometres
(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 cruise altitude).