A380 biggest and fastest…

Boeing has never knowingly oversold the rival A340′s slowness in its own marketing presentations for the 747 and 777.

The slowness of the A340-200/300 is indeed legendary – there’s even a painting of a 747-400 in flight where the caption reads: “…and just below can be seen an A340 that is being overtaken”.Imagine Airbus’s unbridled glee therefore when on the first ever commercial route proving flight of the A380 to New York last week the opportunity came to settle some very high profile public relations scores.

The flight operated in collaboration with future A380 customer Lufthansa was cruising over the Atlantic at M0.85 and was about to slow down to coordinate with the LAX-bound A380 sister flight when the crew spotted one of BA’s 747s plying its own lonely furrow to the New World.Never slow to acknowledge the broader irony of the encounter, the Airbus-Lufthansa flight crew accelerated to M0.87 and overtook it. The 747, not to be outdone, responded in kind and crept up to M0.87 as well.

The A380 soon had to drop back to M0.83 for the rest of the way however in an effort to co-ordinate its arrival with the LAX flight. It was still early ahead of schedule – landing at 12.10 at New York Kennedy and slightly ahead of the tandem LAX flight whose distinctly imaginative landing repertoire caused several raised eyebrows on either side of the continent.

By Aimee Turner

189_8995.jpgPhoto by SIS Photos

2 Responses to A380 biggest and fastest…

  1. Eric 28 March, 2007 at 5:19 pm #

    Neat story, misleading title. I’m not very good at math, but I never knew that 0.87m > 0.87m… I guess “Biggest and just as fast” just doesn’t have that ring to it, does it?

  2. Mark 18 April, 2007 at 4:59 am #

    I believe the Boeing 747 was originally designed for very high cruise speeds (back when fuel costs were not a concern), hence the very high wing sweep (highest ever on a subsonic commercial aircraft).
    The 747 was designed during the when speed was king. The Convair 880 and 990, and the Boeing 720 and 727 were all designed to fly very fast.
    The 747SP was intended to be faster than the regular 747s.
    The 747SP, and later the 747-300 and 747-400 benefit from the area rule, as the upper level terminates just as the wings start.

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