Hopefully some of you know this, for those that don't:
It bugs me when people insinuate that A380 needs to prove itself by flying. We got something 'airborne' 40 years ago weighing in at 2 times as much as A380, it was a Soviet ground effect machine called Ekranoplane. Around the same time we launched a rocket, called Saturn V, that had an equivalent MTOW of 6 times A380's future potential stretch version!
I don't differentiate between rockets and airplanes much, both have to lift themselves; one uses extreme thrust and the other must move horizontally to create lift in it's wings. Force (whether wing lift or rocket thrust) over area is pressure, on a stucture that is stress and shear, the materials existed then to withstand the pressures of lifting those kinds of weight. Politics and business aside, we did it; it happened and just because it didn't happen again does not mean it probably won't work again.
I am certain we have the technology even now to make something like a 5000pax airplane, and yes it will fly, duh. Though most rockets do not have to endure multiple cycles, this plane may not fly more than a few times. Thus any plane that large built now with current technology cannot be successful, but it will fly and land in one piece. Marketability is an issue, IMO probably the biggest issue. Who's gonna buy it, store it, maintain it?
Business aside; we lifted a 7 MILLION-lb monster in 1969 and it really bugs some of you are claiming that we can't lift 1.2 million lbs now, in 2005; not because you looked at what technology is avail, but becasue it is the biggest thing you have ever seen and so it can't fly?? Are you serious?! This is what happens when you go on and on about one thing (modern airliners) and not inform yourself about other ideas and technologies -- you get ignorant. Frankly, I get frustrated .
Look, A380 is nowhere by comparison to what we as humans have engineered to lift.
We can make MASSIVE vehicles as such explained above, there is just no business in it yet -- know the difference between all three.
Thank you for reading through this,
[Edited 2005-03-16 08:39:13]