The world's largest commercial airliner, the 555-seat Airbus A380, has received joint European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Certification on 12th December 2006. The certified aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.
The EASA A380 Type Certificate was signed by EASA's Executive Director, Patrick Goudou; and the FAA A380 Type Certificate by John Hickey, FAA's Head of Certification The documents were handed over to Airbus' Executive Vice President Engineering, Alain Garcia. The Ceremony, held at the Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France, was attended by the Honorable Marion Blakey, FAA Administrator, and by senior officials from Civil Aviation Authorities from several countries worldwide.
"This double seal of approval represents a key milestone for the A380 programme. It recognises the quality of the work performed by all those who have worked hard for many years on the development of this superb, new technology leading aircraft. My thanks go to all of them, including to the EASA and FAA teams, for this outstanding achievement," says Louis Gallois, Airbus President and CEO. "But more than anything, it provides clear evidence of the technical soundness of the A380, and confirms that the aircraft is meeting or exceeding the expectations in terms of performance, range, environmental friendliness, and cabin comfort. Both our customers and their passengers will love it."
The Certification by the two major international governing bodies comes after the A380 successfully completed a stringent programme of certification trials which has taken its airframe and systems well beyond their design limits to ensure the aircraft meets - or even exceeds - all airworthiness criteria. The A380 is also the first aircraft to which 21st century certification standards were applied.
The flight test campaign has also revealed that the aircraft is meeting the guaranteed performance both in terms of fuel burn and range. Because of its very low fuel burn, contributing to the lowest operating costs, it will produce very low emissions. An environmental champion, it is also quieter than any other airliner, meeting the stringent noise restrictions at London Heathrow. The A380 also has the quietest cabin in the skies and provides a very smooth ride. Also, all the pilots who have flown it, enjoy its remarkable handling qualities.
Five aircraft have been involved in the intensive flight test programme, four of which have Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines and one is powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines. To date, the aircraft have accumulated over 2,600 flight hours in 800 flights, with over 80 airline and certification pilots having flown the aircraft. During its test campaign, the A380 was also welcomed at 38 airports around the world, proving its easy airport acceptance and compatibility.
The A380-800 is designed to carry an average of 555 passengers in a three class layout over distances up to 8,000 nm/15,000 km. To-date, Airbus has received 166 orders and commitments from 15 customers for the A380, with the first due to be delivered to first operator Singapore Airlines in October 2007.
Airbus is an EADS company.
Notes to Editors:
The A380 test programme started with systems testing in 2001, structural testing in November 2004 and structural fatigue testing in September 2005. This then led to one of the most extensive certification flight test programmes in the history of Airbus, marked with the first flight on 27th April 2005 and ending on 30th November 2006 with the successful around the globe technical route-proving trip, which took the aircraft over both poles, testing the aircraft?s performance under normal airline operations.
The flight tests have been designed to assess the general handling qualities of the aircraft, operational performance, airfield noise as well as systems operation, in normal mode, failure cases and extreme conditions. For the extreme weather trials Airbus has taken the aircraft from the cold of Northern Canada, to the desert heat of the Gulf and hot and high altitudes of Ethiopia & Colombia where it yielded excellent results and in many cases surpassed its design targets.
Further flight tests for certification purposes have been dedicated to water ingestion trials; low speed take-off tests (VMU trials); flutter; and rejected take off and landings. In addition to a number of wake vortex trials required for certification, Airbus has performed and continues to perform a large series of tests and measurements in this area. These tests have been designed to gather data to support recommendations by the A380 Wake Vortex Steering Group made to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), regarding safe wake vortex separation criteria for aircraft following an A380 for various flight conditions.
In addition to flight test success, further highlights have included airport compatibility trials with a total of 38 airports visited to date around the globe during which the ability to operate the A380 in the same way as existing large aircraft has been demonstrated.
The A380 cabin also underwent a series of tests for certification, including the successful evacuation test, performed at Airbus' Hamburg site, Germany, on 26th March 2006. During this largest ever aircraft evacuation trial 853 passengers and 20 crew members left the aircraft within 78 seconds - 12 seconds less than required, validating 853 as the maximum passenger seating capacity, for the A380-800.
Although not required for certification, but part of Airbus' commitment to smooth entry into service, Airbus undertook a series of four Early Long Flights in September 2006 where over 2000 Airbus employees took part to assess the cabin environment and systems in flight. These followed a 15 hour Virtual Long Flight, that took place in May 2006 in Hamburg, where 474 Airbus employees tested cabin systems in simulated long haul conditions.