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Welcome to our We Make It Fly podcasts where we bring you the fascinating stories of the people that have played a part in making Airbus the extraordinary company that it is today. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and use the hashtag #AirbusPodcast to get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you! 

Episode 7 - "Reaching the Peak" - Didier Desalle

Episode 7 Didier Delsalle

We are delving into the fascinating world of Airbus Helicopters and our guide for this episode has been with the company for over 30 years.

Didier Desalle is an experimental test pilot, who spends his days pushing the limits of aviation technology. He is known for being the first and only person to land a helicopter, the Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel, on the world's highest mountain, Everest, back in 2005. He has accumulated over 10,000 hours in the air and has flown about every helicopter in the Airbus world.

"As a prototype test pilot, you are always working with the latest technology. Even to the very last day, you want to see new systems or to fly new helicopters. Even to the very last day, you are still at the top."

Episode 6 - "Waking up CIMON" - Till Eisenberg

Episode 6 Till Eisenberg

For many people, Airbus is associated with aircraft, but it also does much more. In all that it does, the company always aims to reach beyond the clouds.

Till Eisenberg is one of those who have helped Airbus make its mark in the final frontier of Space. He led an Airbus team that designed a floating electronic brain – called CIMON – that was sent to the International Space Station to help astronauts with their work. CIMON floats freely in zero gravity with its computerized facial screen watching, listening and communicating by voice with the astronauts. A future version is even being designed to read the mood of those on board in order to help them cope with the psychological demands of being in orbit.

Till came to Airbus with a fascination for space, which came from watching Star Wars and Star Trek as a child, and in this episode, he tells Martin Aguera how he made science fiction into science reality.

Episode 5 - "Reach for the stars" - Shashwath Vummidilakshman

Episode 5 Shashwath

Being international is at the heart of Airbus – from its European beginnings to its current global reach. And its workforce is no exception! There are more than 130 thousand people working at Airbus, drawn from over 120 countries.

Shashwath Vummidilakshman’s journey eventually led him to Airbus. But it wasn’t easy realising his dream, coming from the bustling streets of Bangalore in Southern India, to verdant Toulouse in Southern France.

Episode 4 - "Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3" - Fernando Alonso

Episode 4 Fernando

The introduction to this episode comes from Paris Air Show where aircraft are on display in the air and on the ground. But before they reach Le Bourget’s tarmac, or even go near any runway, they go through intensive testing procedures. “Safety first” is Airbus’s mantra in all it does.

Fernando Alonso has been central to this process for three decades, and he has a real passion for every aspect of getting aircraft from the design stage into operation. Over the course of his career he accumulated more than 4,300 hours of flight tests, and notably, he was key in the organisation and development of the Airbus’s flight test campaigns.

Episode 3 - "A knight at the museum" - Jacques Rocca

Episode 3 Jacques

Jacques Rocca is Airbus’s History Man. He sees the company’s achievements as part of a heritage that should be preserved. His passion to ensure that the past can be put on display now, led him to join the ‘AIRitage Project’ that collects and preserves aviation history from documents to whole aircraft. For the past ten years, he has also been the director of Airbus’s heritage department.

So who better than him to take us on a private tour of Aeroscopia, the incredible aviation museum in Toulouse.

"When I joined Aerospatiale in 1997, I understood that there is a very important history, heritage, which should be protected."

Episode 2 - "Technically speaking" - Grazia Vittadini

Episode  2 Grazia

The Paris Air Show is the place where the industry and the public gather every two years to discover what’s new and exciting in the world of aviation. Airbus’s Chief Technology Officer is always in demand during the show, meeting with potential customers and others. The current CTO, Grazia Vittadini had a particularly busy week. Among other things, she signed an agreement with six other CTOs committing to sustainable goals for the aerospace industry.

Grazia has ascended through Airbus’s ranks to reach the position she finds herself in today. She started off as an engineer designing window frames and now oversees the whole range of technological development for Airbus’s fleet. We spoke to her about her career and what she envisions for Airbus’s future.

“Imagining the impossible is the subtitle of my job.”

Episode 1 - "Badge 007 - stirred, but not shaken" - Barbara Kracht

Episode 1 Barbara

In this episode Barbara Kracht – one of Airbus’s original employees – number 007 – goes down memory lane recalling how the company grew from a modest start-up to a global aviation giant. The daughter of Felix Kracht, who was one of the company’s founders, she spent almost 40 years with Airbus, notably as head of Media Relations.

Barbara tells us about Airbus’s beginnings, including witnessing the A300 first flight and some of the challenges commercially and technically of the early years.

“We did not exist, we had to fight for everything.”

 

erratum: the A330 crash happened on 30th June 1994 and not 1974.

Podcast: Introducing We Make It Fly

From Startup to Aerospace Giant: The Story of Airbus

Airbus is turning 50 this year! So join us as we launch a new podcast, We Make It Fly.

At Airbus, we make commercial aircraft—you’ve probably been on one. But we also make helicopters, fighter jets, space rockets and even the Mars Rover. In this podcast, you will meet the people who have played a part in turning the company into a global giant in the aerospace industry.

Get on board, sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

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