Taking off from Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport at 2:50 p.m. today, the A380 was put through its paces in the Wisconsin skies, and then departed for a brief staging stopover at Milwaukee prior to the trans-Atlantic return to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.
The aircraft brought to this gigantic annual aviation gathering is one of two flight test/ development A380s utilized by Airbus, and many visitors took the opportunity to see it up close in self-guided public tours – the first time such access was allowed at any air show.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to get inside the A380, and to really understand how a test aircraft looks from the inside,” said one pilot from California. “I can’t thank Airbus enough for bringing the A380 here, and for opening its doors to the public.”
During its four days at AirVenture, visitors to the A380 ranged from young inspiring aviators and engineers to top aerospace industry executives and government officials – including newly-appointed Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt.
Airbus also had a high-profile presence in the public sessions at AirVenture. Test pilot Terry Lutz gave a forum presentation on brake-to-vacate technology – the innovative new aircraft braking system that will soon enter service on the A380. Claude Lelaie, the Airbus Senior Vice President of Product Safety, provided an in-depth review of the A380’s flight test and certification program. Both pilots participated as well in planeside discussions and interviews that drew large crowds to the A380.
In the photo above, a family visits the A380’s upper deck during their self-guided tour of the aircraft.