Vultures Row: Aviation Milestone

Aviation Milestone

Today a plane took off from Blagnac, France with a crew of six for a four hour flight. This flight is historic as it was the maiden flight of the Airbus A380. This is the largest passenger liner to ever fly. It is 308 tons of state of the art aircraft that was ten years in the making.

The four engine plane had 22 tons of test equipment aboard to record every possible aspect of the flight. The A380 has two decks that run the length of the fuselage. It will seat over 500 people and some plans for versions with gyms and casinos.

Airbus A380

The behemoth comes with a corresponding price tag, an estimated $282,000,000.00 each. The new jet also requires that existing runways will have to be extended and strengthened, baggage handling systems will have to be redesigned to fit to the aircraft and some jet ways will have to be replaced. There will be special tools, and equipment needed to maintain it, mechanics will have to get special training on that bird. The cost of operating this aircraft will be enormous. One has to ask if it is wise, in an era where only one airline (South West) is posting profits, to buy such an expensive aircraft is wise.

Packing more people on one plane and making few flights will make the per flight cost go up, but how long will it take to offset the cost of tooling up to operate it?

One more criticism of the A380 is that when, and it is only a matter of time, one crashes, it will be called a tragedy and give the media another thing to fixate on because there will be 500 victims. We will be able to see floating debris or smoking ruins while we eat our eggs, before the bubble headed host then switches to promoting the next book.

All that being said, man that is one sweet bird. It is a marvel of technology and has been tested more than any other airliner in the world through wind tunnels and computer simulations. It took ten years to make this plane fly and it should be one of the safest ever built. The fact that they can in crease the payload (passengers) will make the long range hauls cheaper and more cost effective. Today’s fuel prices make this a necessity and it will be a wise move for any airline that can afford it. It will also reduce the emissions and pollutants as there will only be four engines instead of 8 (two planes) making the same trip.

In conclusion, there are a lot of positive benefits of such a large plane. Let us just hope that they are purchased and used responsibly by the struggling airline industry. As long as dedicated and talented men and women keep dreaming, we will always continue to set new records for the next generation to try and break. Aviation history reached a milestone with this plane today and we can only dream of the ones yet to come.


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