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The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:11 pm

IMO a balanced write up on this anniversary by Simply Flying:

Fifteen years ago, on the 27th of March 2005, the Airbus A380 took to the skies for the first time in front of a large crowd and tremendous excitement. The giant of the skies was supposed to revolutionize air travel. In terms of passenger experience, it certainly has!

However, there’s another side to the story. For many airlines, the aircraft just doesn’t work out. Singapore Airlines and Air France have already started to retire aircraft that are barely a decade old. Other airlines have also mentioned the possibility of withdrawing the giant.

Ref: https://simpleflying.com/the-airbus-a38 ... -15-today/

IMO CNET has a fairly salty take:

Fifteen years ago today, April 27, the A380 flew for the first time. Since then, it's been a hit with passengers, even if its commercial success hasn't been what Airbus originally hoped. There's nothing like it in the sky today, and as Airbus winds down production completely by 2021, hastened by the coronavirus pandemic, there never will be again.

Ref: https://www.cnet.com/news/on-its-15th-b ... etirement/

As always, lots of different takes on the marvel that is the A380!

Is this anniversary getting mentioned in your local media?

Do you have any personal memories of that day?
Last edited by atcsundevil on Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited title for clarity
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:49 pm

I remember being so amazed by it when I saw it (as an impressionable 12 year old) in 2006, at Farnborough, after seeing all the mock-ups and CGI of it, it was so crazy to see 'the future' right in front of me. It's a delight to fly on, and even 15 years on I am always happy when I see one, it's a magnificent sight when flying low overhead, but with barely a whisper! Loved by pilots and crew as well, it seems. I was lucky enough to fly on each of the first 6 delivered (to SQ) across 10 years of 'commuting' from SIN to LHR, with a LHR-LAX and LHR-BKK thrown in as well. A shame it hasn't worked out for Airbus or most of its operators, but such is life. At the very least, its failure quite possibly helped AIrbus become a more lean company, and lessons were applied to the A350, which has been successful so far.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:54 pm

MrHMSH wrote:
I remember being so amazed by it when I saw it (as an impressionable 12 year old) in 2006, at Farnborough, after seeing all the mock-ups and CGI of it, it was so crazy to see 'the future' right in front of me. It's a delight to fly on, and even 15 years on I am always happy when I see one, it's a magnificent sight when flying low overhead, but with barely a whisper! Loved by pilots and crew as well, it seems. I was lucky enough to fly on each of the first 6 delivered (to SQ) across 10 years of 'commuting' from SIN to LHR, with a LHR-LAX and LHR-BKK thrown in as well. A shame it hasn't worked out for Airbus or most of its operators, but such is life. At the very least, its failure quite possibly helped AIrbus become a more lean company, and lessons were applied to the A350, which has been successful so far.

I think I was a similar age when I first fell in love with airliners. It still is amazing that we have these machines that can move so many people so far with so much efficiency. Both the articles I linked credit the A380 for getting it right on the passenger experience side. Unfortunately for it, customers look at price first, and airlines know it, so the approach that puts the most people in a given amount of space wins.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:11 pm

Revelation wrote:
MrHMSH wrote:
I remember being so amazed by it when I saw it (as an impressionable 12 year old) in 2006, at Farnborough, after seeing all the mock-ups and CGI of it, it was so crazy to see 'the future' right in front of me. It's a delight to fly on, and even 15 years on I am always happy when I see one, it's a magnificent sight when flying low overhead, but with barely a whisper! Loved by pilots and crew as well, it seems. I was lucky enough to fly on each of the first 6 delivered (to SQ) across 10 years of 'commuting' from SIN to LHR, with a LHR-LAX and LHR-BKK thrown in as well. A shame it hasn't worked out for Airbus or most of its operators, but such is life. At the very least, its failure quite possibly helped AIrbus become a more lean company, and lessons were applied to the A350, which has been successful so far.

I think I was a similar age when I first fell in love with airliners. It still is amazing that we have these machines that can move so many people so far with so much efficiency. Both the articles I linked credit the A380 for getting it right on the passenger experience side. Unfortunately for it, customers look at price first, and airlines know it, so the approach that puts the most people in a given amount of space wins.


An A380 with carbon-fibre construction like the A350, wings correctly optimised for its size and the newest engine technology may have been compelling, I remember Matt4641 (did I get that right?!) putting some numbers down for that one, and it would have been an efficiency monster. Probably wouldn't have been realistic at any point, but an A380 with monstrous effieincy would have been interesting. If I have it right it's the wings that really cost it, the fuselage design itself is very efficient for its weight/size relative to its capacity. Oh well, I imagine BA at least will be operating theirs until 2035 or thereabouts, one of few airlines that really get the best out of it.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:22 pm

MrHMSH wrote:
Revelation wrote:
MrHMSH wrote:
I remember being so amazed by it when I saw it (as an impressionable 12 year old) in 2006, at Farnborough, after seeing all the mock-ups and CGI of it, it was so crazy to see 'the future' right in front of me. It's a delight to fly on, and even 15 years on I am always happy when I see one, it's a magnificent sight when flying low overhead, but with barely a whisper! Loved by pilots and crew as well, it seems. I was lucky enough to fly on each of the first 6 delivered (to SQ) across 10 years of 'commuting' from SIN to LHR, with a LHR-LAX and LHR-BKK thrown in as well. A shame it hasn't worked out for Airbus or most of its operators, but such is life. At the very least, its failure quite possibly helped AIrbus become a more lean company, and lessons were applied to the A350, which has been successful so far.

I think I was a similar age when I first fell in love with airliners. It still is amazing that we have these machines that can move so many people so far with so much efficiency. Both the articles I linked credit the A380 for getting it right on the passenger experience side. Unfortunately for it, customers look at price first, and airlines know it, so the approach that puts the most people in a given amount of space wins.


An A380 with carbon-fibre construction like the A350, wings correctly optimised for its size and the newest engine technology may have been compelling, I remember Matt4641 (did I get that right?!) putting some numbers down for that one, and it would have been an efficiency monster. Probably wouldn't have been realistic at any point, but an A380 with monstrous effieincy would have been interesting. If I have it right it's the wings that really cost it, the fuselage design itself is very efficient for its weight/size relative to its capacity. Oh well, I imagine BA at least will be operating theirs until 2035 or thereabouts, one of few airlines that really get the best out of it.

We know SQ and QF had begun interior refreshes and EK of course is still taking new ones, so it would not surprise me if a decade from now we have a few dozen still in service.

Matt still favored the 10+8 cross section that Airbus chose. I still feel a more appropriate cross section would be 8+6. It would get rid of the 2nd aisle upstairs so lots of weight and the longer thinner airplane would have more space for bags/cargo per pax and would be lighter overall with a pretty great passenger experience. Airbus really thought the family would need to serve the 650-850 pax range in its lifetime so it ended up being over built.

I think a better cfrp implementation of A380 still ends up needing too many pax to want to go the same place at the same time, with the result being empty seats and/or diluted yields.

Sadly it seems we will see no clean sheets for at least the next five years. It's going to be quite a while before pax demand builds and parked airplanes fly again and airlines have enough money to consider new airplanes.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:30 pm

Revelation wrote:
MrHMSH wrote:
Revelation wrote:
I think I was a similar age when I first fell in love with airliners. It still is amazing that we have these machines that can move so many people so far with so much efficiency. Both the articles I linked credit the A380 for getting it right on the passenger experience side. Unfortunately for it, customers look at price first, and airlines know it, so the approach that puts the most people in a given amount of space wins.


An A380 with carbon-fibre construction like the A350, wings correctly optimised for its size and the newest engine technology may have been compelling, I remember Matt4641 (did I get that right?!) putting some numbers down for that one, and it would have been an efficiency monster. Probably wouldn't have been realistic at any point, but an A380 with monstrous effieincy would have been interesting. If I have it right it's the wings that really cost it, the fuselage design itself is very efficient for its weight/size relative to its capacity. Oh well, I imagine BA at least will be operating theirs until 2035 or thereabouts, one of few airlines that really get the best out of it.

We know SQ and QF had begun interior refreshes and EK of course is still taking new ones, so it would not surprise me if a decade from now we have a few dozen still in service.

Matt still favored the 10+8 cross section that Airbus chose. I still feel a more appropriate cross section would be 8+6. It would get rid of the 2nd aisle upstairs so lots of weight and the longer thinner airplane would have more space for bags/cargo per pax and would be lighter overall with a pretty great passenger experience. Airbus really thought the family would need to serve the 650-850 pax range in its lifetime so it ended up being over built.


That's a different plane entirely! Would have been great for pax comfort. I guess the eliminated second aisle on the upper deck would compensate for the decreased space efficiency of a 2-4-2 on the lower deck?

A potential -900 was 'built in' to the -800, I wonder how efficient per seat that would have been with the same wings and engines. It would still have flown pretty far on the same MTOW, missing out maybe on DXB-SFO/LAX/AKL, but still getting DXB-SYD and LHR-SIN for example.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:35 pm

I remember watching the first flight on CNN. Her best angle was always head-on when you could admire her magnificent wings.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 4:42 pm

I've seen an A380 twice (LH @ IAH, KE @ ATL) and I was struck by how stubby it looked compared to a 744. That had no bearing on my desire to fly on one, but I was never in a position to do so.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:06 pm

Not sure what was in the water at Airbus when the A380 was scoped out, ego got in where it should have been just excellent design. This also affected the A345 and A346, a 2nd program that did not live up to its hype. The first A350 iteration had some of these same issues.

Scaling up things gets quite tricky when tech boundaries are being bumped. In the cases where boundaries are not pushed scaling has far less problems. The A380-800 has: 478 m^2 of cabin area, the 747-400 has 321 m^2, an increase of 1.49, basically two steps larger. Normally models are positioned 15 to 20% larger than the model below it. The A380 is 18 abreast (3-4-3 main, 2-4-2 upper) the 747 is 16 abreast, but only in the front section, then is 10 abreast behind this. If the A380 cross section was trimmed to 16 or 17 abreast. All other parameters equal trimming to 16 from 18 saves 12 percent of seating. With this and a slight adjustment to length could reduce the floor area to 135% of the 744.

Further optimizing for the specific initial model, with a range for payload stretch which doesn't tax the wings with the larger plane's MTOW.

The 744 and 767 were paired up with common engines, that may have required some size adjustment also, but having the engines be part of a fleet with 1,000's of engines vs being just a 1,000 would have kept the engines current during its life. Similarly with many other elements that could be more common with other models.

The production side always looked convoluted, the parts convoys seem quite expensive. Had it been simpler, would it be still in production?

Had Airbus optimized the A380 to a more pragmatic specification it could be doing well in the market today. What is interesting is that the 748 really didn't challenge the A380, the 77W did by being a very efficient aircraft. So strange to see an airplane model only make 15 years of production.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:14 pm

I remember seeing it for the first time on CNN in 2005. And my mum was so scared of how huge it was she couldn’t believe such a thing could fly, she’s still kind of scared to get on the 380! But it was my favourite plane for a very long time because it just broke all the boundaries I had in my head of what an aircraft could realistically be. It was and IS an amazing piece of engineering that will forever be difficult to upstage. Whether it was a commercial success that’s a different story but it proved the unwavering talent and ability of the Airbus team!
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:26 pm

MrHMSH wrote:
That's a different plane entirely! Would have been great for pax comfort. I guess the eliminated second aisle on the upper deck would compensate for the decreased space efficiency of a 2-4-2 on the lower deck?

Yes, I would have built a different airplane. https://www.icas.org/media/pdf/ICAS%20C ... ampion.pdf gives a great presentation of how Airbus approached the problem. The design made sense if your were putting your design focus around 650 as per the A380-900 and even future stretches, but I never thought that was the right approach.

I'm still not sure how they talked themselves into thinking they needed to be that much larger than any existing airplane. I think to some degree they feared they would not get enough business if they were within striking distance of the 744 or the 745/746 proposals that were being floated, they felt the market would do the safe thing and go with Boeing. They could have also felt the A340-600 was good enough for the 400-ish pax range and needed to get to 525-ish to get a meaningful difference. The problem as you pointed out was the 525 seater had too much growth built in to it so it was not as good as it needed to be to earn the much needed NEO in the 2014-6 time frame.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:53 pm

The A380 had the back luck to enter service just as the Great Recession was beginning in late-2007. As a result of this, Airbus struggled to sell the A380 to airlines outside of their launch customers for the type. For instance, United might have bought them to replace their B744 fleet had the recession not struck when it did. Unfortunately for Airbus, no passenger airline in the Western Hemisphere bought the A380 and the cargo version briefly ordered by FedEx and UPS never made it off the CAD machine.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:20 pm

FLALEFTY wrote:
The A380 had the back luck to enter service just as the Great Recession was beginning in late-2007. As a result of this, Airbus struggled to sell the A380 to airlines outside of their launch customers for the type. For instance, United might have bought them to replace their B744 fleet had the recession not struck when it did. Unfortunately for Airbus, no passenger airline in the Western Hemisphere bought the A380 and the cargo version briefly ordered by FedEx and UPS never made it off the CAD machine.

Yes, but that's all a part of the risk equation: the risk is more for a big airplane. We're seeing the same thing now with 779: Boeing has CX's deposits for 779 and CX now sees the 787-10 as a better use of that money than 779. The 779 business case had to have some realization that if another SARS or GFC came along it would be more vulnerable than 787. A380 needed even more efficiency to keep selling in the face of a market contraction, but it was overbuilt due to an incredibly optimistic projection for future growth. 779 may find itself shelved because it does not offer enough efficiency gain above A350/787 and we can't say the problem was COVID-19, the problem was Boeing not building an efficient enough airplane to remain attractive once the inevitable setback happened.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:20 pm

Stitch wrote:
I remember watching the first flight on CNN. Her best angle was always head-on when you could admire her magnificent wings.


Similarly on BBC News in the UK and also a quick interview with Richard Branson in front of the craft and him saying "this one's mine" or words to that effect. I went to Paris that summer and saw it for real. I must say I found it slightly underwhelming and not quite the massive behemoth I was expecting.

Catching sight of my first 747 as a kid was exactly the same mind you.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:27 pm

JannEejit wrote:
Stitch wrote:
I remember watching the first flight on CNN. Her best angle was always head-on when you could admire her magnificent wings.


Similarly on BBC News in the UK and also a quick interview with Richard Branson in front of the craft and him saying "this one's mine" or words to that effect. I went to Paris that summer and saw it for real. I must say I found it slightly underwhelming and not quite the massive behemoth I was expecting.

Catching sight of my first 747 as a kid was exactly the same mind you.

I'm the opposite: I still find my jaw dropping when I see A380, 747, C-5A, C-17A, AN-124, etc in person, and I prefer any view of the A380 that minimizes its (IMO) worst feature, its unattractive huge forehead. I do admire the wings and the "cruise ship" double decker fuselage when I can find a way to not get distracted by the forehead.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:28 pm

I recall as a teenager the first 747's flights, but let's not forget that it soon ran into trouble as the oil crises, wind down of the VIetnam war in the 1970's related worldwide recession for years meant a major cut in production and parking of planes by airlines or operating them at great losses. There was the saying 'will the last person leaving Seattle turn out the lights'. The pandemic situation as to the A380 is like then.
While the A380 is a great feat of engineering, it came out a little too late, into the Great Recession, had delays of EIS, early problems, and too few customers. To me the A380 has a limited place, mainly service to strictly capacity controlled airports like LHR and too big for where service frequency more important and had 4 engines.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:44 pm

The first (and only) time I saw the A380 'in person' was in 2015 while staying at a hotel near LHR. We took a long walk down Bath Road one day and watched one A380 after another take off. Most were Emirates, but also Singapore and Qantas, IIRC.

I would like to fly on one someday, but probably will never get the chance. :cry:
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:47 pm

Insane that it will be outlived (my opinion) by the queen.
Pretty bird none the less.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:23 pm

Revelation wrote:
Matt still favored the 10+8 cross section that Airbus chose. I still feel a more appropriate cross section would be 8+6. It would get rid of the 2nd aisle upstairs so lots of weight and the longer thinner airplane would have more space for bags/cargo per pax and would be lighter overall with a pretty great passenger experience. Airbus really thought the family would need to serve the 650-850 pax range in its lifetime so it ended up being over built.


That might have created an odd profile on the upper deck, but could the overhead luggage bins have been replaced by 'between the seat and window luggage bins' it might have worked well.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:52 pm

Revelation wrote:
JannEejit wrote:
Stitch wrote:
I remember watching the first flight on CNN. Her best angle was always head-on when you could admire her magnificent wings.


Similarly on BBC News in the UK and also a quick interview with Richard Branson in front of the craft and him saying "this one's mine" or words to that effect. I went to Paris that summer and saw it for real. I must say I found it slightly underwhelming and not quite the massive behemoth I was expecting.

Catching sight of my first 747 as a kid was exactly the same mind you.

I'm the opposite: I still find my jaw dropping when I see A380, 747, C-5A, C-17A, AN-124, etc in person, and I prefer any view of the A380 that minimizes its (IMO) worst feature, its unattractive huge forehead. I do admire the wings and the "cruise ship" double decker fuselage when I can find a way to not get distracted by the forehead.


I have the same list like you + AN-225
In this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gF0fLBYlZ8 I like the second landing most. Looks like a monster glides out of the sky
As a pax the A380 will be as long as possible my first choice !
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:03 pm

On the very first day that SQ flew it to LHR, I happened to be on my way to Spain for an exchange rotation in Madrid and I was connecting via LHR. I knew SQ was flying it to LHR that day but I figured that it would be unlikely that I'd get to see it.

...and then we taxied right behind it while it was sitting at the gate. It would be another 7 years until I would manage to get aboard one (a trip that involved my first A340 and my first A380, thereby taking me on both Airbus quads for the first time in my life in the same trip).

I have only ever flown on two, one on AF and one on LH. It's a quiet aircraft, but I find that the thick sidewalls make it difficult to see out the window, and the sheer size of the thing makes embarcation and disembarcation take a long time. That said, that size also makes it a very gentle ride. You barely feel any acceleration at any phase of flight. For me, I dislike that. It makes me feel disconnected from the experience of flight. That may be popular for most passengers, but for me, I prefer the sights, sounds, and feelings of flying.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:44 pm

I thought Matt64..'s final analysis of the 380 was a plane only about 25-30% larger than the 747.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:29 pm

Shame they did not proceed with the 8+6 cross section as visually, it is a much better looking plane, plus they did not present apples/apples comparison, of course the 8+6 will be long and thin seating 650 compared to 480 of the 10+8 cross section. An 8+6 seating just 500 would be significantly shorter than the example shown and would look so much better than the A380 without the forehead bulge. An impressive machine the A380 but just a little odd looking unfortunately.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:10 pm

I remember seeing my very first one taxiing in to the gate on a CO 764 on 12/25/2009. It was a beautiful SQ 380 probably just getting ready to go back home. Then an hour later I happened to look out an airport window at the same time an AF 380 was kicking up a ton of spray from water on the runway on landing from JFK.

Fast forward 4 years when my friends and I are coming home from SYD, a UA flight cancelled the day before and filled up our flight. Our parents ZED’d us on QF to LAX on the whale. I flew on in a UA 744 and flew back on the 380, first time for each for me!

Hindsight being 20/20, Airbus shouldve either just made the 900 (the wingbox was built really for a stretch), or just optimized it around the 800. But market fragmentation and the efficiency of twins is unfortunately killing the VLA, with the 77W being the largest killer of the 380 and the 748 killing the 380F, and lesser extent the 787 and HGW 330s and 350s. I hope to see the day when a full double deck aircraft returns to the skies.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:55 pm

Revelation wrote:
Matt still favored the 10+8 cross section that Airbus chose. I still feel a more appropriate cross section would be 8+6. It would get rid of the 2nd aisle upstairs so lots of weight and the longer thinner airplane would have more space for bags/cargo per pax and would be lighter overall with a pretty great passenger experience.

I agree with the 6 abreast upper deck. It could have worked with the current 10ab main deck. Basically a 747-8 with a full length upper deck. The aisle now being at the tallest point of the fuselage allows for a significant height reduction.

The second problem beside the wings is Airbus made room for a stretch. Going with a 6ab upper deck would allow it to stretch to 80m at the current capacity point. This would significantly reduce that huge tail.

But that wing as many people pointed out was very bad.

Image

As this image shows the lower deck definitely wouldn't be 8ab but the ecoliner has 9ab. The ecoliner is unrealistically tight with too narrow floor and sidewalls. You can see the widest point of the A380 fuselage is above head height on the main deck. With the 6ab upper deck and keeping is oval the widest point would be at shoulder height on the main deck. That is where you want it for max cabin width. So the exterior fuselage width could be 40cm skinnier and still fit 10ab as normal. The height could a full metre shorter. About 14% less frontal area for 12.5% less seats. That is taking space optimisation to the extreme.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:09 pm

While the size of the aircraft is impressive, I have never been fond of the looks of the aircraft.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:39 pm

I wonder how many are in the air today on its 15th birthday? I guess it will be a sad number.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:57 pm

Ironically MAS 9M-MNF is on its way to Heathrow today, first MAS 380 to visit for ages
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:35 pm

The first one I saw was all white and flying high over Zurich heading for, I assume, Hamburg. I was birding so I had my binoculars and when I saw the contrail immediately took a closer look. This would be (??) early 2006.

Subsequently, I've been lucky enough to fly on A380s of LH (3), AF (2), EK (1) and Thai (1).

I'm booked on a QR A380 FRA-DOH in July but who knows?

A great flying experience. Love it.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:48 pm

DocLightning wrote:
On the very first day that SQ flew it to LHR, I happened to be on my way to Spain for an exchange rotation in Madrid and I was connecting via LHR. I knew SQ was flying it to LHR that day but I figured that it would be unlikely that I'd get to see it.

...and then we taxied right behind it while it was sitting at the gate. It would be another 7 years until I would manage to get aboard one (a trip that involved my first A340 and my first A380, thereby taking me on both Airbus quads for the first time in my life in the same trip).

I have only ever flown on two, one on AF and one on LH. It's a quiet aircraft, but I find that the thick sidewalls make it difficult to see out the window, and the sheer size of the thing makes embarcation and disembarcation take a long time. That said, that size also makes it a very gentle ride. You barely feel any acceleration at any phase of flight. For me, I dislike that. It makes me feel disconnected from the experience of flight. That may be popular for most passengers, but for me, I prefer the sights, sounds, and feelings of flying.


I understand precisely what you mean. My first A380 flight was a QF to SYD from LHR. I remember sitting upstairs wondering when we were going to take off, then suddenly realising we were already rotating! I know that sounds unlikely but it is true: it was so quiet, I didn't even hear the engines roar as the aircraft did its takeoff roll.

I really enjoy the upstairs solo 'coffin' seat on BA on the overnight SFO to LHR, which is a regular for me. Very private, very smooth, very quiet. I get onboard, recline into my own little cocoon, and I am undisturbed until about an hour out of Heathrow.

On the other hand... as you note, boarding an A380 can be quite chaotic. Have you ever witnessed the end of the A gates on the international terminal (Gates A13-15) at SFO when an A380 is awaiting boarding? It is chaos. Boarding an A380 in SIN is not fun, if they delay the boarding for whatever reason - remembering there is gate security at SIN, so once you are in the gate, you are incarcerated. And those gates can be cramped when it's a full flight.

Another negative is that the aircraft is so quiet, it makes other noises more noticeable. For example, passengers can hear crew talking in the galley. This can be disruptive on a night flight.

I sound like I am complaining, and I do not mean that. I really enjoy the A380 very much, and always look forward to flying on one. I nearly always take the later A380 flight from SFO instead of the earlier 777 flight. I just wish it was prettier to look at.
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 2:16 pm

m66 wrote:
I wonder how many are in the air today on its 15th birthday? I guess it will be a sad number.

Yes, it's sad, entire fleets are on the ground.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1444531&p=22179261#p22179261 of Apr 26 says "there is 1 airline flying 4 aircraft, with another 1 stored, with 14 more airlines with 232 aircraft all stored". It's not a perfect tally but it's quite good. The source is "Planespotters.net and cross-referenced with Flightradar24". The "stored" verbiage comes from Planespotters, but I'd suggest "inactive" may be a better term in this case.
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:23 pm

I saw the A380 when it did its first flight across London. It was at lunchtime, so I went down to the riverside to see it. It flew well to the south of central London, so it was not that close to me -- I'd expected a fairly low pass, maybe 1000', over the centre of the city -- and I thought it looked rather stubby with a very tall tail, rather like the Boeing 747 SP. As I live near Heathrow, the sight of a Whale soon become a common occurrence, a dozen or more a day. Aesthetically, I've always felt that the fuselage should have been another 20' or 30' longer -- the projected 900 version would have looked better -- and I've never quite liked the nose. Altogether, as an aeroplane, the A380 was a marvellous example of modern design, but as various authorities have said, its commercial success was restricted by changes within the industry which were not expected by Airbus (or was it that the changes were foreseen but warnings were not heeded by Airbus?), and so sales were considerably less than Airbus expected. I suspect that when air travel revives there will still be some Whales going into Heathrow, some busier routes will merit their use, and some hub-to-hub workings should continue, but I don't think I'll be seeing the number of them that I did up to earlier this year.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:12 pm

vhtje wrote:
On the other hand... as you note, boarding an A380 can be quite chaotic. Have you ever witnessed the end of the A gates on the international terminal (Gates A13-15) at SFO when an A380 is awaiting boarding? It is chaos. Boarding an A380 in SIN is not fun, if they delay the boarding for whatever reason - remembering there is gate security at SIN, so once you are in the gate, you are incarcerated. And those gates can be cramped when it's a full flight.

I've boarded an A380 via bus, and while the bussing and boarding itself went smoothly, the waiting area of the gate was clearly not designed for so many people. At least we got to use the stairs inside, not particularly common!

To be fair, you can easily get cramped gates with other aircraft too. I recall a particularly miserable experience with a 747 in AMS (gate security like in SIN), and some airports with bus boarding really squeeze their bus gates so even a moderately full A321 can fill all the seats in the waiting area. Some small airports aren't even able to provide room and facilities for all passengers of the ATRs and Fokkers they see.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:44 pm

ltbewr wrote:
To me the A380 has a limited place, mainly service to strictly capacity controlled airports like LHR and too big for where service frequency more important and had 4 engines.


Just imagine if frequency wasn't that important: we would have more A380's flying around, which may have provided a lower carbon footprint. There are numerous examples, but sometimes I wonder if we really need ten BA/AA flights between JFK and LHR a day...
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:48 pm

AMS18C36C wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
To me the A380 has a limited place, mainly service to strictly capacity controlled airports like LHR and too big for where service frequency more important and had 4 engines.


Just imagine if frequency wasn't that important: we would have more A380's flying around, which may have provided a lower carbon footprint. There are numerous examples, but sometimes I wonder if we really need ten BA/AA flights between JFK and LHR a day...


What is/was the load factor of those ten flights? That's one litmus test. The other is if those ten flights made money with that load factor. (This is all past tense, now...)
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:00 pm

AMS18C36C wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
To me the A380 has a limited place, mainly service to strictly capacity controlled airports like LHR and too big for where service frequency more important and had 4 engines.


Just imagine if frequency wasn't that important: we would have more A380's flying around, which may have provided a lower carbon footprint. There are numerous examples, but sometimes I wonder if we really need ten BA/AA flights between JFK and LHR a day...


it is defently not needed until you want to spread out some fancy viruses
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:22 pm

AMS18C36C wrote:
[Just imagine if frequency wasn't that important: we would have more A380's flying around, which may have provided a lower carbon footprint. There are numerous examples, but sometimes I wonder if we really need ten BA/AA flights between JFK and LHR a day...


Alan Joyce (QF CEO) is on record saying he can fly two 787s on a route more cheaply and profitably than one A380. You can extrapolate from that, that fuel savings must be considerable, as well as airport fees, crew costs, etc. Slot constraints aside, I think that is a very revealing statement, and tells us a lot about why the A380 programme is not as successful as envisioned 15 years ago.
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:14 am

RJMAZ wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Matt still favored the 10+8 cross section that Airbus chose. I still feel a more appropriate cross section would be 8+6. It would get rid of the 2nd aisle upstairs so lots of weight and the longer thinner airplane would have more space for bags/cargo per pax and would be lighter overall with a pretty great passenger experience.

I agree with the 6 abreast upper deck. It could have worked with the current 10ab main deck. Basically a 747-8 with a full length upper deck. The aisle now being at the tallest point of the fuselage allows for a significant height reduction.

The second problem beside the wings is Airbus made room for a stretch. Going with a 6ab upper deck would allow it to stretch to 80m at the current capacity point. This would significantly reduce that huge tail.

But that wing as many people pointed out was very bad.

Image

As this image shows the lower deck definitely wouldn't be 8ab but the ecoliner has 9ab. The ecoliner is unrealistically tight with too narrow floor and sidewalls. You can see the widest point of the A380 fuselage is above head height on the main deck. With the 6ab upper deck and keeping is oval the widest point would be at shoulder height on the main deck. That is where you want it for max cabin width. So the exterior fuselage width could be 40cm skinnier and still fit 10ab as normal. The height could a full metre shorter. About 14% less frontal area for 12.5% less seats. That is taking space optimisation to the extreme.


I still check in every now and then, especially as "commemorative" A380 dates arrive.

I actually thought and think 8-6 would have been the way to go:

Oh what might have been if Airbus had chosen the 8-6 and settled for 450 seats...

I'll refer to the 8-6 model as "A386."

To me this is the original sin of the A380 program. As far as I can tell any widebody double-decker of reasonable fineness ratio (above 8, say) is going to be vastly more efficient than a single-decker.


viewtopic.php?t=776333

That was one of my techops threads, which were always less well-read... I probably wrote more about the efficiency of an A380 re-wing or super-NEO, because those were just more feasible than starting from a clean sheet.

I agree with Revelation that the 777-9 is suffering from a similar dynamic, albeit to a lesser extent and with less bet on it.

One hopeful thing about that outcome is perhaps the 777-9 will be cancelled and Boeing will do a clean sheet double-deck VLA. One can dream anyway.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:12 am

I remember the first time I saw an A380 was at Changi in '07. I was staying at the Crowne Plaza and saw an SQ A380 and thought to myself how cool it would be to fly one of them someday. My first A380 flight came in 2012. LH401 JFK - FRA, although it almost didn't happen because of traffic on the Van Wyck :roll: . Since then, I've flown on four more A380s: A6-APC, A6-APF, A6-EDE, and G-XLEI. I love the A380, but I'll always prefer the 747.
Last flown aircraft: DH8D OE-LGN < DH8D OE-LGI < E195 OE-LWE < DH8D OE-LGI < A320 D-AIUR < A320 D-AIZM < B738 PH-HZJ < B737 PH-XRD < B772 N766AN < B738 N855NN < B788 N45905 < A319 N808UA < A320 N482UA < B752 N19117
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:34 am

I never had a chance to fly with A380 and I am a bit sad that if I do after this, it will not be on its prime. Do you think airlines will keep upgrading the interior as they fly the aircraft?
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:41 am

So far, I flew 3 A380, all on TG:
HS-TUC, HS-TUB on BKK-NRT-BKK
HS-TUF on BKK-KIX

Overall, it was comfortable, especially on redeyes because the seats aren't slimline.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:01 am

LLA001 wrote:
I never had a chance to fly with A380 and I am a bit sad that if I do after this, it will not be on its prime. Do you think airlines will keep upgrading the interior as they fly the aircraft?
EK, SQ and QF should be ok.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:26 am

Stitch wrote:
I remember watching the first flight on CNN. Her best angle was always head-on when you could admire her magnificent wings.



Yes, because from any other angle, she is one of the ugliest --if not THE ugliest-- airliners ever flown.

Short, pudgy, inelegant with a stubby low-aspect wing way too big for the sorry excuse of a bloated fuselage it carries around. Good riddance, aesthetically it was and will always be a crime against aviation. And let her be a warning to future generations of aircraft designers: make them ugly at your peril.


Faro
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:11 pm

Faro wrote:
Stitch wrote:
I remember watching the first flight on CNN. Her best angle was always head-on when you could admire her magnificent wings.



Yes, because from any other angle, she is one of the ugliest --if not THE ugliest-- airliners ever flown.

Short, pudgy, inelegant with a stubby low-aspect wing way too big for the sorry excuse of a bloated fuselage it carries around. Good riddance, aesthetically it was and will always be a crime against aviation. And let her be a warning to future generations of aircraft designers: make them ugly at your peril.


Faro

WOW. Do you have any more insults to throw?

As much as we'd like to see stunning looking aircraft like the Constellations, since "function dictates form" these days, it ain't happening anytime soon.
Think about it this way: a highway coach/bus is much more efficient at moving people than a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Bugatti, but drastically falls behind design-wise.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:58 pm

Matt6461 wrote:
I still check in every now and then, especially as "commemorative" A380 dates arrive.

I actually thought and think 8-6 would have been the way to go:

Oh what might have been if Airbus had chosen the 8-6 and settled for 450 seats...

I'll refer to the 8-6 model as "A386."

To me this is the original sin of the A380 program. As far as I can tell any widebody double-decker of reasonable fineness ratio (above 8, say) is going to be vastly more efficient than a single-decker.


viewtopic.php?t=776333

That was one of my techops threads, which were always less well-read... I probably wrote more about the efficiency of an A380 re-wing or super-NEO, because those were just more feasible than starting from a clean sheet.

I agree with Revelation that the 777-9 is suffering from a similar dynamic, albeit to a lesser extent and with less bet on it.

One hopeful thing about that outcome is perhaps the 777-9 will be cancelled and Boeing will do a clean sheet double-deck VLA. One can dream anyway.

Thanks for refreshing my memory. I was thinking more about the earlier re-wing/re-engine posts.

I think we will need to be confined to dreaming when it comes to any sort of clean sheet in the next five to ten years.

We're seeing OEMs and supply chain companies down size by 10%-30%, and this is just the first wave.

We're seeing a lot of loans being issued to save the OEMs for now, but those loans will need to be paid back.

Boeing is saying it will be 2-3 years for airline passenger demand to bounce back, "longer" for new airliner demand.

It's not going to be a great time for people who enjoy seeing new aircraft designs.
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Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
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citationjet
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:03 am

m66 wrote:
I wonder how many are in the air today on its 15th birthday? I guess it will be a sad number.


Currently two A380s in flight.
https://flightaware.com/live/aircrafttype/A388
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,73G,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773,788.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:57 am

Revelation wrote:
I think we will need to be confined to dreaming when it comes to any sort of clean sheet in the next five to ten years.


Yep.

I'm thinking of my retirement probably - easy, cheapish, comfortable flights to far-flung spots on a big VLA.

I'll regale the FA's with tales of living through the COVID crisis (What's that? Nevermind, I'll have another dessert).
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:42 am

I was posted in Singapore when the A380 began commercial service and I went out to the airport once or twice just to see the early flights land. Seemed those incoming flights would hang in the air forever as they approached landing.

My first flight on one was the second ever Qantas SYD-DFW A380 service - hence my screen name. A very smooth ride as was the return flight several days later.

A bit off-topic, the previous 747 westbounds into BNE made for a different arrival experience into Australia.

In my experience clearing passport control was much easier and faster in BNE than in SYD. Both airports required a change of terminal if you were continuing on and in BNE it meant you had to go through security again (SYD you stayed airside).

In short, unless you were terminating in BNE, from DFW the A380 is the way to go to Oz.
QF7
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:41 am

No idea when I saw my first one, but probably in LHR. However, a very fond memory was a project in Dubai in early 2019, when my office at the client's more or less overlooked DXB... Don't think I was at my most efficient when all the big birds came in...

As for boarding the A380, I thought it was enormously efficiently done at DXB -- where I got my first and probably only taste of flying on one (several times, though). So much more comfy than the 77W that would be my regular inbound.

I always thought the 380 looked a bit like a bully, ready to punch someone or someplane. Definitely not a pretty aircraft, imho. But the wings are an amazing sight..
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:48 pm

I've always enjoyed my A380 flights (SQ, MH and EY), and have never felt the passenger numbers overwhelmed the airport infrastructure, as at busy airports you could have 3 744s or 77Ws arriving within 5 minutes anyway

Great for the passenger, but not a looker and more seriously a commercial failure. Having a wing optimised for the stretch that never happened was in retrospect a serious mistake
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