The world's largest commercial airliner, the 555-seat A380, successfully completed crosswind tests in extreme wind conditions at Keflavik Airport in Iceland, on Friday 10th November. A minimum of 23 knots (42 km/h) crosswind must be demonstrated at take off and landing for its Type Certification that is expected in mid-December.
MSN004, one of the five developmental A380 aircraft, carried out a series of six landings and five take-offs with crosswinds above 40 knots (74 km/h), gusting up to 56 knots (104 km/h), which is considerably higher than the value required for Type Certification. During the tests, the A380 was put through its paces, and it showed that it will be able to operate easily with very strong crosswinds during normal operations. This is the first time an Airbus aircraft has performed tests in such crosswind conditions.
During this series of tests, three test pilots flew the A380 developmental aircraft MSN004, Claude Lelaie, Senior Vice President of Airbus' Flight Division, Jacques Rosay, Chief Test Pilot and Vice President, and a pilot from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The other members of the crew were Fernando Alonso, Vice President Flight Division, Flight Test Engineering, Pascal Verneau, Test Flight Engineer and Eric Isorce, Flight Test Engineer.
"The aircraft's behaviour and handling was very smooth and landing in particular was easy, despite the heavy cross winds," said Claude Lelaie, Senior Vice President, Flight Division. "This was the first time we have carried out tests at such high cross wind speeds and yet again, the A380 is outperforming even in these extreme conditions."
Five development A380s have now flown. Four aircraft, one of which is powered by the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine, are now actively involved in the intensive flight test programme, which has already reached over 730 flights and 2,300 flight hours. The fifth aircraft is undergoing cabin installation in Hamburg. Firm orders and commitments for the A380 currently stand at 166 aircraft for 15 customers.
Airbus is an EADS company.