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Lottie

A380 Takes Off For Maiden Voyage

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Lottie

The world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, has taken off on its long-awaited maiden flight.

Thousands of aeroplane enthusiasts, many of them clapping and cheering, witnessed the twin-deck "superjumbo" taking to the air for the first time.

The flight was due to last between one and five hours, depending on weather conditions and how the plane handled.

The A380 took off from its production site in Toulouse with a crew of six and about 20 tonnes of test equipment.

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 short-haul aircraft.

Take off

The A380 - designed to carry as many as 840 people between major airports - took off from its production site in Toulouse, southern France.

The crew were expected to take the plane out over the Bay of Biscay, before returning to base.

The crew were equipped with parachutes. And a handrail has been fitted, leading from the cockpit to an escape door.

During the flight, there will be a live satellite feed of data which will be monitored by a team of experts on the ground, Airbus said.

Earlier Airbus test pilot Jacques Rosay told the BBC: "We are confident with what has been done up to today.

"But we still have some doubts. We have to be very careful during all the flight because, as you say, when you are looking at new things, something may happen.

"But we are still very confident."

Safety

More than 50,000 people are thought to have watched the take-off, many of them sitting on the grass banks that line the runway.

The take-off was also broadcast live on television and thousands of enthusiasts watched via a giant screen in Toulouse's main square.

Most of the tests will be carried out at 10,000 feet and within 100 miles of Toulouse, said Peter Chandler, deputy project pilot for the A380.

He added that the plane was flying with its wheels down as a safety measure, and that the A380's hydraulics and electrics had all been tested while it was on the ground.

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 then they have on Wednesday, testing for extremes of speed, altitude and temperature, experts said.

The project, hailed as a European success story by leaders including France's President Jacques Chirac, 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.

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Conspiracy

thats pretty cool, cept i guess it would be expensive to ride in =/

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Blackleaf

I'm just glad than a wing or something else never fell off as it was up there.

There was actually another flight of the Airbus a few months ago that was largely kept secret, and it's rudder snapped off as it was flying.

Then Airbus finds out that it's too wide to land at most American airports, and even to wide to land at London's Heathrow Airport, the busiest airport in the world.

There were also fears that it would be too heavy to take-off.

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Hans Dolbrook

sorry,but that thing is an accident in waiting!putting 550 people on an airplane is just far and flat out stupid! w00t.gif

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AztecInca

mid-sized short-haul aircraft is the way to go, Boeing have the right idea, super massive long haul jets I just dont see taking off with the public!

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7773ER
mid-sized short-haul aircraft is the way to go, Boeing have the right idea, super massive long haul jets I just dont see taking off with the public!

596259[/snapback]

midsize shorthaul? you dont know what that means do you. If that's the way to go, then how are you gonna get across the pond? Swim? The 787 is a widebody long-haul airliner, about the size of the 767.

Also, the rudder that fell off was from an Airbus A310, an old Airbusmodel, it's no secret at all and you can read all about it at www.pprune.org. The plane belongs to Air Transat and it landed without problems.

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MCHARQ
mid-sized short-haul aircraft is the way to go, Boeing have the right idea, super massive long haul jets I just dont see taking off with the public!

Which is why Boeing has been making long haul jets longer than Airbus. I agree that it's going to be hard to cross the ye old pond with a "Mid-sized short-haul" aircraft. If you take the time to research both Airbus and Boeing's production lines they have both came out with ultra-long-haul aircraft. And guess what? They sell! Airbus has the Airbus A340-500 that has been a selling a/c for a while. Sure some airlines are choosing to rid of them but what are they replacing them with? That's right other ultra-long-haul jets. The 777-200LR (Long Range) just flew for the first time a few months back and it's expected to sell like crazy with the orders already flowing in. The A380 is clearly the choice for many and if it fits their needs than so be it.

To say that the A380 isn't an a/c worth flying or that other long haul a/c aren't the choice/way to go then buddy are you wrong. Think about how many international destionations are met with such long haul a/c and how many airlines depend on such a/c. If you haven't noticed a/c are getting bigger b/c airlines and passengers requirements need to be met. The Airbus A340-600 is a very long and big jet, the 747-400 another huge jet. The A340 family is all huge. 777-200, 777-300, LR, ER, etc.

I'm sorry but you're wrong.

MCHARQ

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Thanato

Would you rather have lots of stops while flying or take a direct flight.

~Thanato

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Me_dont_give_2_*****!

ok ok your entitled to your opinions but this is ridiculous the rudder fell off. Ok, how did it get up with no one seeing it?? huh.gif

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aurorapilot84

The rudder fell off..yea ok.

Where is your source?

do some research into aeronautical engineering before you state something like that!

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Speed-Bird772

Absolutely obserd i've never heard anything so pathetic, the simple truth: The A380 has not been up before April 27th FACT!

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Magikman

Speed-Bird772, registering multiple user names isn't allowed on this forum. The other nick has had its posting privileges suspended, stick with this name if you wish to participate.

MM

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AlaskaMD83

The fact is that the A380 made its first flight on April 27th. The rudder has never fallen off of the A380. As stated above the aircraft which suffered a rudder detachment during flight was an A310 operating for Air Transat. A report of this incident is available here.

http://www.aviation-safety.net/database/re...p?id=20050306-0

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Reepicheep

I wish Airbus well, but 800+ people on one plane ? They might try to make it look like a hotel inside, but the fact is you're hurtling through the air in a tube of metal & plastic. That almost 1000 people might perish in a single crash makes it a headline waiting to happen.

The whole thing just makes me feel nervous....

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Viggen

So what you mean to tell me, is that the worlds largest commercial aircraft, the centrepiece of years of European collaboration and talk amongst aircraft enthusiasts (like it or hate it) the world over took off a few months ago and lost it's rudder in flight, landed (since there is only one airframe in existence) and was repaired without anyone but Airbus and someone on this forum knowing about it, being able to take a photo of it or backup this theory? What's more, where did this rudder land? Has someone come forward to ask that Airbus remove the rudder from their backyard? Nope.

Airbus can't open the hanger door without someone snapping a picture of the A380.

Yes, aircraft do lose part in-flight, and thay do land safely, I think perhaaps the reference is to an incident several months ago in which an Airbus A310 lost it's rudder in flight en-route to Quebec City.

user posted image

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ptitmoine

please, before talking about aicrafts, consider some things that really matters when buying an airplane.

- cityparing: diagrams made buy sellers to prove that an aircraft correspond to airline's needs.

- the fleet: a airline with no airbus will have to pay more to keep them in line if they take some. (certification, ingeneers, etc...)

on an other hand, an airbus fleet cost less than a boeing fleet in pilots' certification: airbus' cockpits are all the same, except for the A380 that is more modern. going from an airbus to another (A320 to A340) will take 2 weeks whereas going from a boeing to another will take two months. Those two weeks or two months are paid by the airline...

- political issues: Like the sell of fighters to Seoul, politics is powerful. South Corea chose F-15S instead of Rafales because of Washington forced them to do it. Whereas, ther's no match between a Rafale and a F-15S... (on top of that, the F-15 is more expensive...)

considering the fell off. It is a well known issue for A300/A310. But, Airbus has take its responsabilities: they admit the problem and said how to avoid it. Most of the time, it is a matter of speed and angle of use... the computer doesn't prevent pilot form turning the rudder too much while crusing at a too high speed.

considering the A380. The maximum size: 80x80m was given by the airports in 1996. During the A3XX project, Boeing said there was no market for such a big a/c. At the same time, they tried twice to make a bigger 747 (747X). Because this is a very old aircraft they couldn't do it. Now they do the 747Advanced... I mean, if there was no market, why trying to make one very wide body a/c?

A report saying that A380 was sold at 150M€ whereas it cost 199€ to be built and will cost 8Md€ on a life time to the airlines that use it was broadcasted. This report was paid by Boeing... I'm not sure it was really a well done report... Considering it is paid by Airbus' opponent, I don't think we have to pay attention to this "thing"...

Now many airports that will accept the A380 are transforming their runway, their taxis and their buildings to accept it. If they do that, it is certainly because the A380 will fly with many operators.

You are affraid of crashes but first, most of the time, crashes are due to pilot error, and in percent (number of crashed aircrafts divided by number of built aircrafts) there are more boeing crashed than airbus... A/cs sometimes avoid pilots errors (like the Mirage 2000 does)

The biggest crash was two 747, one was taxying and the other was taking off, there were 650+ dead people. The error was made by the pilot of the taxying a/c or by the controler, I can't remember...

All that stuff just to say that Boeing/Airbus war is really a stupid war, were one, Boeing, is playing a strange game where they appear more and more stupid...

The important thing for people like us is not to take part in this war because we don't know enough about how to make/sell a/c and that kind of things..

sorry for my english but I still have problems original.gif

see you wink2.gif

Stephan

P.S. I'm a student in aeronautic ingeneering.... IPSA is the school... for those who doubt...

Edited by ptitmoine

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stubbers

hehe, couldn't have said it better myself ptitmoine. Seeing as though I'm a 16 year old who aspires to be a pilot who dosen't know that much about aircraft at all, it's probably no wonder!

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ptitmoine

I'd like to be a pilot.. but I'm color blind... so, I'll make a/c... original.gif

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zaneciampa

This should be a very good upcoming 2 years for airbus since this a 380 has came out

post-18220-1115390680_thumb.jpg

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Blackleaf
ok ok your entitled to your opinions but this is ridiculous the rudder fell off. Ok, how did it get up with no one seeing it??  huh.gif

607315[/snapback]

The Airbus rudder snapped in midair -

What made an Airbus rudder snap in mid-air?

When Flight 961 literally began to fall apart at 35,000 feet, it increased fears of a fatal design flaw in the world's most popular passenger jet

David Rose

Sunday March 13, 2005

The Observer

At 35,000 feet above the Caribbean, Air Transat flight 961 was heading home to Quebec with 270 passengers and crew. At 3.45 pm last Sunday, the pilot noticed something very unusual. His Airbus A310's rudder - a structure 28 feet high - had fallen off and tumbled into the sea. In the world of aviation, the shock waves have yet to subside.

Mercifully, the crew was able to turn the plane around, and by steering it with their wing and tail flaps managed to land at their point of departure in Varadero, Cuba, without loss of life. But as Canadian investigators try to discover what caused this near catastrophe, the specialist internet bulletin boards used by pilots, accident investigators and engineers are buzzing.

One former Airbus pilot, who now flies Boeings for a major US airline, told The Observer : 'This just isn't supposed to happen. No one I know has ever seen an airliner's rudder disintegrate like that. It raises worrying questions about the materials and build of the aircraft, and about its maintenance and inspection regime. We have to ask as things stand, would evidence of this type of deterioration ever be noticed before an incident like this in the air?'

He and his colleagues also believe that what happened may shed new light on a previous disaster. In November 2001, 265 people died when American Airlines flight 587, an Airbus A300 model which is almost identical to the A310, crashed shortly after take-off from JFK airport in New York. According to the official report into the crash, the immediate cause was the loss of the plane's rudder and tailfin, though this was blamed on an error by the pilots.

There have been other non-fatal incidents. One came in 2002 when a FedEx A300 freight pilot complained about strange 'uncommanded inputs' - rudder movements which the plane was making without his moving his control pedals. In FedEx's own test on the rudder on the ground, engineers claimed its 'acuators' - the hydraulic system which causes the rudder to move - tore a large hole around its hinges, in exactly the spot where the rudders of both flight 961 and flight 587 parted company from the rest of the aircraft.

Last night Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which conducted the flight 587 investigation, said that the board was 'closely monitoring' the Canadian inquiry for its possible bearing on the New York crash. 'We need to know why the rudder separated from the aircraft before knowing whether maintenance is an issue,' he added.

Airbus - Europe's biggest manufacturing company, to which British factories contribute major components, including aircraft wings - has now overtaken Boeing to command the biggest share of the global airliner market. In sales literature to operators, it described the A300 series as a 'regional profit machine'.

The firm recently launched its superjumbo, the two-storey A380, which is due in service next year. Like earlier Airbus models, this relies heavily on 'composite' synthetic materials which are both lighter - and, in theory, stronger - than aluminium or steel. Fins, flaps and rudders are made of a similar composite on the A300 and A310, of which there are about 800 in service all over the world.

Composites are made of hundreds of layers of carbon fibre sheeting stuck together with epoxy resin. Each layer is only strong along the grain of the fibre. Aircraft engineers need to work out from which directions loads will come, then lay the sheets in a complex, criss-cross pattern. If they get this wrong, a big or unexpected load might cause a plane part to fail.

It is vital there are no kinks or folds as the layers are laid, and no gaps in their resin coating. Holes between the layers can rapidly cause extensive 'delamination' and a loss of stiffness and strength.

Airbus, together with aviation authorities on both sides of the Atlantic, insists that any deterioration of a composite part can be detected by external, visual inspection, a regular feature of Airbus maintenance programmes, but other experts disagree.

In an article published after the flight 587 crash, Professor James Williams of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world's leading authorities in this field, said that to rely on visual inspection was 'a lamentably naive policy. It is analogous to assessing whether a woman has breast cancer by simply looking at her family portrait.'

Williams and other scientists have stated that composite parts in any aircraft should be tested frequently by methods such as ultrasound, allowing engineers to 'see' beneath their surface. His research suggests that repeated journeys to and from the sub-zero temperatures found at cruising altitude causes a build-up of condensation inside composites, and separation of the carbon fibre layers as this moisture freezes and thaws. According to Williams, 'like a pothole in a roadway in winter, over time these gaps may grow'.

Commenting on the vanishing rudder on flight 961, he pointed out that nothing was said about composite inspection in the NTSB's report on flight 587. This was an 'unfortunate calamity', he said. Although the flight 961 rupture had yet be analysed, he continued to believe Airbus's maintenance rules were 'inadequate', despite their official endorsement.

Barbara Crufts, an Airbus spokeswoman, said visual inspections were 'the normal procedure' and insisted Williams's case was unproven. 'You quote him as an expert. But there are more experts within the manufacturers and the certification authorities who agree with these procedures.' She disclosed that the aircraft used in flight 961 - which entered service in 1991 - had been inspected five days before the incident. She said did not know if the rudder had been examined.

Despite these and earlier assurances, some pilots remain sceptical. The Observer has learnt that after the 587 disaster, more than 20 American Airlines A300 pilots asked to be transferred to Boeings, although this meant months of retraining and loss of earnings. Some of those who contributed to pilots' bulletin boards last week expressed anger at the European manufacturer in vehement terms. One wrote that having attended an Airbus briefing about 587, he had refused to let any of his family take an A300 or A310 and had paid extra to take a circuitous route on holiday purely to avoid them: 'That is how con vinced I am that there are significant problems associated with these aircraft.'

Another seasoned pilot with both military and civilian experience said: 'Composite experts across the country advocate state-of-the-art, non-destructive testing to prevent this type of incident from happening, yet civil aviation authorities still only require "naked eye" or other rudimentary inspections. How many more incidents have to occur for decision-makers to do the right thing by passengers and crews?'

He said that while flight 961 had come down safely, to land a plane without a rudder in a crosswind or turbulence could be impossible. The rudder was all the more important on a plane such as an A310, because its wing design meant that it was 'aerodynamically unstable' and needed the rudder for stability.

Air Transat, a charter operator which flies from Canada to Europe and the Caribbean, said that after the incident it 'immediately carried out a thorough visual examination of all its Airbus A310s... and no anomaly was detected.'

The separation of the rudder may have further implications for the cause of the 587 crash. In its report, the NTSB said the tail and rudder failed because they were subjected to stresses 'beyond ultimate load', imposed because the co-pilot, Sten Molin, overreacted to minor turbulence and made five violent side-to-side 'rudder reversals'. The report said the design of the A300 controls was flawed because it allowed this to happen.

However, the NTSB investigation has been criticised by many insiders. Ellen Connors, the NTSB chair, told reporters last January that the report was delayed because of 'inap propriate' and 'intense' lobbying by Airbus over its contents, adding: 'The potential for contaminating the investigation exists.' In America, the NTSB staff is small and manufacturers provide many of the staff employed on air-crash investigations into their own products.

Dozens of former accident investigators, engineers and pilots, including some who were involved in the official inquiry but were disappointed by its conduct, poured their expertise into a parallel investigation run by Victor Trombettas, who lives near the crash site and runs a website, usread.com. Drawing on the huge mass of technical data released after the crash, they question the conclusion that 'aggressive' rudder inputs were the crash's main cause.

'I don't think the NTSB did a quality job,' said Vernon Grose, a Washington safety consultant who is a former board member. He supported the conclusion of Trombettas's group - that more than ten seconds before any rudder movements, the 587 pilots were fighting to regain control of the aircraft for reasons that remain unknown: a still-to-be investigated technical failure, or possibly a terrorist bomb. The crash, he recalled, took place two months after 9/11. Ninety per cent of the witnesses who saw the plane from the ground said they saw smoke or fire billowing from it before the tail and rudder fell off, Grose said.

Against this background, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Transport Safety Bureau, which is performing the investigation, disclosed that there is 'no evidence' of any movements by the rudder before its rupture, while Air Transat confirmed that it had separated when the plane was at cruising altitude and speed. 'You barely use the rudder at all in those conditions,' the former A300 pilot said. 'If this plane lost a rudder with no one doing anything, it has to raise new questions about the fate of flight 587.'

And the pressure is now on the aviation authorities to review whether testing by the naked eye is really enough to keep air passengers safe.

www.guardian.co.uk

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Blackleaf

Plus, judging by your foul language in the private message, I take it that you are an angry Frenchman.

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Blackleaf

And considering that the Airbus doesn't crash, the thing is even too wide to land at most US airports.

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Reepicheep

It's well known that Airbus is heavily subsidized by the EU - that how's the industry was started and sustained. The argument now is that since the company is mature the subsidiaries should end.

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ptitmoine

first problems about tails that fall appeared only on A300/A310 familly. They were made many years ago. Boeing and its 707 has problems too... and MDD broke many a/cs in high vertical speed landing tests....

All a/cs manufacturers have problems. But, saying that becauses of problems on A300, A380 should not fly with passagers..... it a lack of intelligence, sorry.

"And considering that the Airbus doesn't crash, the thing is even too wide to land at most US airports."

well, did you know? there are other countries that have airports... TLS (Toulouse Blagnac) is not an big airport. but it accepts the A380 landings and take off's...

Remember that Orly, (South Paris Airport) has to reinforce its runways to accept the 777 that Air France has ordered...

777 weight divided by the number of wheels makes 25 tons per wheel. For the A380, it is 26 tons per wheel, it is not that big....

Just to say that, fortunatly, the A380 will not have to fly only over US. Singapore is ready, Dubaï is almost ready, HonkKong is ready too, Roissy is ready, plus 4 or 5 other airports. Then, some airports are making transformations to accept the A380. Most of this is paid by the airlines that chose the A380...

just to keep in mind some interresting features, TLS main test runway is 3500x45 meters. That is almost the average size of an international airport runway.

Consider the great number of airport that accept the Antonov An-124... It is bigger than the A380...

Too wide was the adjective for the 747 when it started its life...

Boeing, Airbus, Who's right? who's wrong? no one know.

but, on the interresting point of subsidizing, Boeing with founds comming form Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, etc... and US gov, plus the official aids........

1992 treaty was solving those problems: only subsidiaries from the state etc... but:

"The argument now is that since the company is mature the subsidiaries should end."

I don't understand your point, because it is Boeing that requests this end, not Airbus.

And we will not talk about orders made by US gov for tankers... US gov usually make a project, then decide between two or three candidates... for the tanker story, US gov decided to buy Boeings.... the reason is that buying KC-767 will keep the 767 construction line in work.

Fortunatly, Pentagone asked other candidate.... original.gif

I don't know if it is clear... :s

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Space Commander Travis
And considering that the Airbus doesn't crash, the thing is even too wide to land at most US airports.

608632[/snapback]

The width of the landing gear's no different from a 747, it can land anywhere a 747 can, it's the width of taxiways and space at terminals that decides where it can go. It's not going to need to use 'most' US airports, it's designed to fly from major hub to major hub.

'If it doesn't crash'... it's made by Airbus. An A300 lost its tail and an A310 lost its rudder, therefore the A380 is bound to crash because it's made by the same company?

737s have crashed, 747s have crashed, 757s have crashed ... so presumably all Boeings are dangerous too? The A330 and A340 have been flying for over 10 years, without (so far) any crashes. But Airbus is clearly incompetent ...

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