The Airbus A380 has successfully completed its technical route proving programme that saw the superlarge doing a world tour in three weeks.
Returning from its final route that took it over the North Pole, MSN002 landed in Toulouse today at 13.30 en route from Vancouver where it left under heavy snow conditions yesterday at 16:25.
The technical route proving started on 13 November with four trips. Technical route proving is the last hurdle prior to full type certification, which is expected in mid-December. The aircraft flew 128,000km (69,000nm) around the World in 18 days, taking in ten Asian Pacific airports in flights totalling 152h. On board some legs were representatives from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
One of the most-talked about legs was the 16h 13,500km (7,300nm) Johannesburg to Sydney trip over the South Pole at a maximum take-off weight of 555,000kg (1.2 million lb), making it the heaviest aircraft ever to take-off from the city's Oliver Tambo international airport (pictured on stand below).