As the A380 comes more and more into commercial service (with SIA, Emirates and Qantas to follow very soon), we at Flight are interested to know what it is like to ride on one.
Whether you are a pilot, a member of the cabin crew or a passenger, we would like to know your thoughts on what it's like to fly on this undeniably impressive engineering feat. The best ones will be profiled in the site and maybe even in Flight International.
AirSpace - more than just hot air
I’ve had two extremely contrasting A380 flight experiences – one, a 3.5h sortie on board the first Rolls-Royce Trent 900 powered development aircraft (MSN001) from Toulouse and the other in the comfort of business class on Emirates’ first A380 (which is powered by the “other” engine, the GP7200).
The flight on the unfurnished (except for around 30 old business class seats on the upper deck, see above) MSN001 in 2006 was interesting, to say the least. I was among five or six journos accompanying our “test pilots” who were sampling the giant for the first time to compile pilot report articles. So apart from a brief blast up with the angels to sample cruise performance, most of the flying was low level circuits during a particularly lumpy day in the south of France with five pilots at the controls who’d never flown the jet before. I did get to spend some quality time in the jump seat though, and some first hand technical insight into the aircraft's development from Airbus test pilot Pete Chandler(see below):
My second trip was the 7h delivery flight of Emirates’ first aircraft from Hamburg to Dubai. This wasn’t really very typical of a regular in-service experience, as with almost everyone knowing one another, the bar was full from start to finish which hampered the galley service. The atmosphere was great though! On both flights the solid stability of the A380 was evident, as was the quietness of the cabin (on the upper deck) during take-off and climb. On the Emirates machine, all the cabins (premium and economy) felt airy and spacious, and the seats very comfortable. Sadly I wasn’t able to make use of the shower facilities, though!