The world?s largest commercial airliner, the 555-seat Airbus A380, has successfully completed a series of technical route proving missions, receiving an enthusiastic welcome at each destination. Technical route proving is the last of the trials required for Type Certification, which is expected in mid-December.
Returning from its final route that took it over the North Pole, the MSN002 landed in Toulouse, France today at 1.30 pm local time (12H30 UTC). This final flight left Vancouver, Canada under heavy snow conditions, on Wednesday 29th November at 4.25 pm local time (00H25 UTC) .
The exercise took the A380 MSN002 across the globe on an 18-day trip, stopping at ten airports in the Asia/Pacific region. During the trials, the aircraft flew approximately 69,000 nm / 127,788 km in some 152 flight hours, with all flights performed on schedule. The aircraft was operated by Airbus flight crews. The Airworthiness Authority pilots from both the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration also participated in the technical route proving and flew the aircraft on four legs.
A major highlight of the exercise was the Johannesburg - Sydney trip over the South Pole, where the A380 demonstrated its capability to fly ultra long-range routes at maximum payload. The A380 departed Johannesburg, South Africa, its maximum take-off weight of 555 tonnes / 1,223,565 lbs and was the heaviest aircraft ever to take off from O.R. Tambo International Airport, located at 1,680 metres (5,323 feet) above sea level. This trial demonstrated the A380s excellent performance at high altitude airports. The aircraft landed at Sydney airport after a flight of around 16 hours covering a distance of 7,296 nm / 13,512km, circling the South Pole on the way.
The technical route proving started on November 13th with four trips which included visits to Singapore and Seoul on the 14th and 15th November, then to Hong Kong and Narita, Japan on 18th and 19th November. On the third trip, the aircraft went to China stopping at Guangzhou on 22nd November and Beijing and Shanghai on 23rd November. The fourth and final journey included the round-the-world trip via both poles with stops in South Africa, Australia and Canada.
At each destination, the A380 performed as expected, demonstrating that it can be turned around as per normal airline operations. Checks were made on standard maintenance and behaviour, as well as typical airport operations and compatibility. This included the monitoring of functions such as bridge docking, cleaning and catering, refuelling and boarding procedures. The automatic landing capability of the A380 was also successfully demonstrated during a local flight performed at Johannesburg.
Airbus is an EADS company.