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Home > Airplanes > Do you know anything about this Super Jumbo?
Do you know anything about this Super Jumbo?
Aviation - Airplanes
Thursday, 17 November 2005 10:11

Dear Captain Lim,

I know there will be a Super-Jumbo jet being put into service soon and that is by far the greatest commercial plane. Do you know anything about this brand-new plane? Do you think your company will operate this plane?

How different will it be in controlling such a huge jet from the present Boeing 747-400?

Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Royce

Hi Royce,

Yes, it appears that the Airbus A380 will soon outshine the Boeing 777. Will the Boeing 787 or the stretched
Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (just launched) be equally successful? Only time will tell.

In fact, the Airbus A380 was in Kuala Lumpur today after it was being delayed by 6 days. (I was there this morning!). According to Airbus, they had to replace two of its four engines as a precautionary measure. One of the Trent 900 engine had overheating problem during a previous test flight and this had prompted Rolls-Royce to replace two more that was under a similar stage of the test.

The Airbus A380 was in Singapore last week to check on the readiness of the airport. It then flew to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to participate in the 85th-birthday celebrations of Australian carrier Qantas before arriving Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore Airlines will be the first carrier to operate the planes (10 on order) with a price tag of USD292 million each. Qantas has ordered 12 planes and Malaysia Airlines order was half as much - 6 planes. Seven airlines in the Asian region have ordered a total 49 A380s so far. This accounted for 31% of 159 firm orders. Other A380 customers in the region are Thai Airways, Korean Air, China Southern Airlines and India*s Kingfisher Airlines.

How ready are airports around the world to welcome the A380? According to Airbus, the A380, which is designed to carry 555 passengers - can be stretched to accommodate 800 - will help to ease airport congestion at major passenger hubs. But so far, by 2006, only 20 airports would be ready for the A380. These airports include Singapore, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Paris, Dubai and New York. By 2008, 38 airports will come on line and
by 2010, 60.

How different will it be in controlling such a huge jet from the present Boeing 747-400?

Yes, there will be some differences. The Boeing 747-400 (is not fly-by-wire) still uses the conventional flight control wheels whereas Airbus have been adopting the side stick control since the A320 days. So a pilot who has flown a A320 or A330/A340 will feel at home with this new plane. The sidestick control is the same distance from the throttle as on other Airbus passenger aircraft. The new flight deck will have the latest advances in cockpit technology with larger interactive displays, an advanced flight management system and improved navigation modes.

According to the Airbus website, the A380 cockpit will have eight identical large interactive displays on the main instrument panel, with cursor control provide through a track-ball. The displays provide a much larger screen area with clearer presentations, and they are augmented by a HUD (head-up display) that increases pilot situational awareness, particularly during the approach and landing phases.

The A380 cockpit is halfway between the aircraft*s two passenger decks so the pilot*s eye line is virtually the same as in other large Airbus aircraft. This not only makes taxiing easier but improves the aerodynamics at the nose of the aircraft, reducing cockpit noise levels.

Well, I believe pilots converting from the Boeing to Airbus planes will find a change in the flying philosophy in this huge cockpit (office), but as experienced professionals, they will soon adopt to any new planes.

An interesting point to note. Even though the A380*s wings is about 15 meters longer, the maximum take off weight is about 190 tons heavier, it will be quieter than the Boeing 747-400. The take off distance will be shorter but the flight profile will be almost the same. Its typical cruising speed will be similar at 0.85 Mach.

Soon, the A380 will be the world*s largest commercial long-haul airliner, beating the Boeing 747-400 by end of 2006!

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