Measuring the A380 performance

Measuring the A380 performance

Flight test engineer Patrick du Che has been working on the A380 programme since September 2004, more particularly in charge of performance. For Patrick who joined Airbus four years ago, the A380 is “a fantastic opportunity”.

21 February 2006

Flight test engineer Patrick du Che has been working on the A380 programme since September 2004, more particularly in charge of performance. For Patrick who joined Airbus four years ago, the A380 is “a fantastic opportunity”.

“My job is to conduct the performance flights to enable the design office to check that the aircraft is in line with the specifications we have given the airlines, more particularly with cruise, and take off and climb performance,” says Patrick.

“Currently I am checking braking performance, a subject which covers two distinct instances: rejected take-off and landing performance.”

The objective is to gather all the data which will be used by Airbus to produce the aircraft flight manual. This manual then becomes the reference for all customer airlines.

Apart from the obvious difference in size, the A380 also benefits from a state-of-the-art test equipment. “The test equipment installed in the A380 is terribly efficient and gives us an incredible wealth of data to integrate,“ explains Patrick.

The other obvious difference comes from the amazing popularity of the aircraft, which Patrick, who participated in the Medellin test campaign, is just getting used to. “The A380 has an incredible appeal. It attracts curiosity and sympathy. I have never experienced anything like the fantastic welcome we received in Medellin,” he reminisces.

One of the consequences is that Patrick, like other members of the A380 flight test team, finds that an unexpected part of his job is to welcome visitors on board and occasionally face the cameras. “Clearly what people are most interested in is a photograph in the cockpit,” he says.

But it would be difficult to dampen his enthusiasm for the job: “It is everyone’s dream to participate in the development of this aircraft. As part of the development team, you feel you are adding your personal touch to the A380 even if the final decision is the result of a consensus,” he says. “It is a super aircraft.”

no news in this list.