Airbus A380 Airplane

Airbus A380 goes high-tech with Homer Simpson!
Actual PR shot for Singapore Airlines' inaugural flight

airbus a380 homer

Airbus A380 on takeoff

airbus a380 takeoff

Airbus A380 Banking

airbus a380 banking

Airbus A380 Cockpit

airbus a380 cockpit

South African 747-400 crossing the equator on June 15th, 1999 from CPT-JFK. This was their first 747-400 named "Durban" - my Dad flew the delivery flight

SAA 747-400

A slightly smaller plane (Cessna 206) about to land at a Botswana Camp a week earlier as my wife Wendy watches from the right seat.

African Cessna 206

Alek in Glider - wonder how the Airbus A380 glides?!? ;-)

alek glider

Kyle at JFK with the Concorde in the background
A380 cruises at M 0.85, so quite a bit slower

Even before I got my degree in Aero/Astro Engineering, I've been interested in aviation. Ironically, I now provide computer support for rocket scientists ... literally! ;-) I've seen quite a few flying machines - many in person including the Concorde and Space Shuttle - liftoff and landing on the later. But one I have yet to see is the Airbus A380 which had its first flight on April 27th, 2005. This is now the largest passenger airplane - bigger than the 747 and C-5. I don't think the Airbus A380 will be coming to DIA anytime soon (although the AN-225 comes occasionally to haul rocket stuff), so I'll probably have to catch it at the handful of airports that it will fly out of. While I'm waiting for that photo op, here's a few pictures of it along with some other aviation pictures that I've taken.

The Airbus A380 is somewhat unique as it is a double-decker all the way back - think of a 747 with the upper deck extended. When that airplane was introduced back in the early 70's, cocktail lounges and even piano bars were on-board, but these soon went away for economic reasons - my guess is the same will happen with the A380. Except for the size (which presents some ground handling challenges), there's nothing that "new" about the airplane - doesn't fly any higher, faster, or farther than airplanes that are out there now.

BTW, Boeing has an opposite point of view than Airbus of the commercial airline market, believing that smaller long-range planes for more point to point service are desired, rather than large planes between hubs. For example, the 707 and then the 747 used to be the main mode of transportation across the Atlantic between major hubs such as New York, Paris, and London. But now, smaller twin-engine aircraft make up the vast majority of traffic, going between smaller city pairs. This fragementation has started occurring in the Pacific also - hey, wouldn't you rather take the non-stop flight?!? ;-) Having said that, it seems to me there will be a place for the Airbus A380 in high density markets and as a niche player - for instance, Virgin Atlantic says they'll put a casino on board.

Should be interesting to see what happens and I'm sure one of these years, I'll get to see (and ride) in the Airbus A380. And while a lot smaller than the Airbus A380, the Blue Angels are a pretty nifty airplane to look at too!