Flight International A380 flight test update Part 2: Airbus has been forced to modify its plans for determining the A380’s wake vortex on approach after atmospheric conditions at Toulouse proved unsuitable for the pulsed Lidar (laser radar)-based monitoring equipment.

A380 No2 - BIG

“After two months of flying, we recognised that we were not accumulating data at the rate we wanted,” says Airbus vice-president flight test Fernando Alonso.

“Therefore, in mid-July we moved the Lidar to Istres. We have done three designated flights to measure the wake vortex. The FAA witnessed those tests,” he says.

Head of A380 programme Charles Champion says it is too early to say whether Airbus has achieved its goal of producing a vortex that necessitates no greater separation between aircraft on approach than that required for the Boeing 747-400. “We need to crunch the data to see what it gives,” he says.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Administration has expressed some concern about the A380’s ability to land on 45m-wide runways.

To address this, Airbus is monitoring the accuracy of every landing in the A380 test programme using differential global positioning system data.

The aim is to demonstrate that the ultra-large airliner’s average deviation from the runway centreline is no greater than that achieved by the smaller A330/A340 family.


Read part 3 of the A380 flight test update Early flight test yields encouraging results

Source: Flight International