"The best aircraft and the best job"

"The best aircraft and the best job"

Interview of Harry Nelson, Experimental test pilot

 

Harry Nelson, 58, is a new member of the Airbus flight test team and for him this is the best job he could ever have. “I feel so very lucky to fly the A380, the best aircraft and the best job in the world for me!” he said.

19 November 2005

An interview of Harry Nelson, Experimental test pilot

Harry Nelson, 58, is a new member of the Airbus flight test team and for him this is the best job he could ever have. “I feel so very lucky to fly the A380, the best aircraft and the best job in the world for me!” he said.

His experience as a test pilot ranges over more than 30 years and 75 different types of military and civil aircraft, yet for him the A380 is special. Like Matthieu he was amazed by all the messages other pilots sent them as the A380 was flying to Dubai. “When you are flying this aircraft, all the airline people are watching you. It is generating a huge interest,” he said.

Having only recently joined the flight test team in Toulouse, he has only 50 flight hours on the A380 but has already flown all three A380s currently participating in the certification campaign. Dubai is his first air show with Airbus. “The A380 is completely natural to fly,” he said.

“For an aircraft of that size, it feels like a light aircraft. The wing loading is relatively low compared to the larger Airbus aircraft such as the A340-600 and the handling qualities are more like those of a light aircraft. The control laws are very well tuned already, there is very little that needs to be done and the fact that this A380 is flying at the Dubai Airshow is a testimonial to how good this aircraft is.“

When he joined Airbus five years ago, he was attracted not only by the products but by the ideals Airbus stands for. “I am in love with European ideals, particularly for European aviation,” he said and added: “The most exciting thing for me about Airbus is not only that it makes the best planes but that it has a real vision.”