Airbus is celebrating today after receiving the thumbs-up from both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration for the evacuation trial it performed in Hamburg over the weekend (pictured below).
Both airworthiness authorities gave their seal of approval to the evacuation, during which 853 passengers, 18 Lufthansa cabin crew members and two pilots left the aircraft within 1min 18s, 12s less than the 1min 30s proscribed by the authorities. Flight was the only media officially allowed onboard the trial and further details of the first hand experience will be published in next week's print edition of Flight International.
The A380-800 was therefore validated to carry a maximum of 853 passengers. Standard three-class configuration of the ultralarge aircraft is 555 passengers; the 853 all-economy configuration represents the highest possible seating density.
Sixteen observers from EASA and the FAA watched the trial, which was carried out in complete darkness and using only the righthand eight of the aircraft's 16 emergency exits (pictured below), using 40 infrared cameras inside and outside the aircraft.
Airbus had planned to repeat the test if fewer than 650 were evacuated in time.
“This is an exceptional result and a remarkable success for Airbus. We have passed a major milestone on the road to certification.” says Airbus chief operating officer and head of the A380 programme Charles Champion. “I would like to thank all participants, the crew and all teams who worked for months on this exercise. They did a fantastic job”.
Read the first-hand experiences of Flight Group Editor Kieran Daly, the only member of the media allowed to take part in the Airbus A380 evacuation trials in Hamburg