Friday, 8 February 2013


Oh, for the wings, for the wings of an AIRBUS A380 - and oh, HOW FABULOUS they are - just the wings alone! Nothing quite prepares you for just how grand and majestic the spread and sweep of them are.
Both from before and from behind

Check out those flaps and spoilers!

It was back in the day - in the summer of 1988, Jean Roeder and a group of Airbus engineers hatched a plan to 'bust a move' on the Ultra High Capacity Airline market, and challenge the strong hold that Boeing had on the jumbo aircraft scene. This was going to be a European effort comprising of Aerospatiale, Deutsche Aerospace AG,British Aerospace and CASA(Spanish). All four parties put their ingredients into the pot, marinaded with research and care, and some twelve years later in December 2000, the announcement that the newly designed and configured Airbus A380 was to be 'born'. WOW! These things take a long time, don't they?

Between 2000 and 2002, component manufacturing started in France, Gerany, Spain and the UK.
The first engine was delivered in 2004, with the maiden flight taking place in 2005, but I digress. THE WINGS, oh yes, those wings. The wings are built in Filton in Bristol, and Broughton in North Wales in the UK. They are then transported to Toulouse in France for assembly.

The wing area is 845m2 (9,100 sq ft)
The aspect ratio (the ratio of it's length and breadth - chord) is 7.5
The wing sweep is 33.5 degrees
Wing span 80 metres
The wings weigh approx 30 tons

They are built and transported between Bristol and North Wales by road convoys, river barges and ferries.

And we all know that you need wings to fly with right?!
 Those wings majestic as they are did have some problems though. I remember how shocked I was when I heared that cracks had appeared in the wings. It meant that there had to be a recall of these
massive beasts so that the wings could be checked. I was devastated! Coming from GB, it was a matter of some pride for Airbus to be doing well, and for only good reports to be heared. However, the sheer size of the giant people carrier meant that there would be problems, but they would be solved. They had to be! In February 2012 there were 68 A380's that had to be checked and have to be repaired. The optimum wingspan for this huge aircraft is 90m, but many airports could not accomodate those proportions for passenger planes. They are restricted to 80m, with the 90m's reserved for the A380F, which is for freight transport.


It is just the sheer expanse of the wings, their beauty, and what they have to carry - a double decker flying machine whose total take-off weight is 650 tonnes, that just blows my mind. Simply amazing.
How they get off the ground, I'll never really know.


Well, we all know that engines play a huge part in getting the aircraft into the air; four turbo fans mounted onto those wings - Rolls-Royce Trent 900's or the Engine Alliance GP7000 which are remarkably quiet.

The lack of engine noise—it's 50% quieter than a 747-400 on takeoff—was downright eerie. The A380 is so big it's difficult to sense its speed, and its upper deck is so far away from the engines the noise dissipates. - The Time Magazine.
It;s the darndest thing - as the Americans would say.
It's the sheer improbability of such a monster taking to the sky that leaves me over awed. Living in London's Stoke Newington, planes heading for Heathrow always bank to the right over my neighbourhood. They are low enough for their ailerons and flaps to be seen moving, adjusting the pitch and roll. It's fab to watch them fly past - especially the A380. In another life I, if I was better at maths, I would definitely have become an airline pilot..............
(thanks to wikipedia and Airbus)


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A380 taking off