Introduction – The Background
After the World War II broke out the need for an aeronautical industry was felt around the globe. Several countries started to test
and manufacture jets. At the same time France, felt the need of an airplane manufacturing units within its ranks. The initial aim of the industry was to compete with the world giants of this arena like Boeing, Lockheed, etc. This aim was fulfilled with the ground breaking of a new company Airbus in 1970. Since then the company has come a long way and has seen many ups and downs during the process. It is rightly said that perfection does not comes in a day – but due to its continuous great efforts the Airbus company has since turned in to a multi-billion dollar giant, a real competitor to the likes of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
After its formation, the Airbus started several mega projects to manufacture an aircraft which would beat the dominance of Boeing in the aircraft manufacturing. The first aircraft, the A300, has easily turned out as the first major success of the company. It has been produced for over 30 years, only recently replaced by a slighter smaller A310. Then came the A320, A330… One of the recent projects of the company – and quite successful one as well – was the Air Bus A380, a commercial jet which was aimed to compete with the widely known Boeing airplanes – mostly the variations of the widely popular Boeing 747.
In the 1990s, the company’s secret project was to first make a design of their jet. For this purpose, four teams from the company were asked to make a prototype design of the jet. The best one would be selected out of them. Work continued on this project and in 2000 the supervisory board of Airbus started a mighty project worth € 8.8 billion. The product was named the Air Bus A380 and when the first aircraft was successfully completed, the developmental costs rose to € 11 billion.
The First Flight
The first A380 Air Bus was made public in January 2005 and the first flight was made on 27 April 2005. After that the company had numerous issues which caused delays, it still managed to live up to the expectations and the Singapore airlines whom were given the first aircraft figured out that the aircraft consumed 20% less fuel than its competitor Boeing 747.
Airbus A380 features
There are numerous features inculcated in to the Air Bus A380. Some of the most notable include the light frame of the plane. Glass-
fibre, quartz and carbon materials are used in the wings apart from aluminum. The aircraft has an IMA architecture which adds to its importance. Apart from this, the aircraft makes 50% less cabin noise which reduces the travel fatigue of the flight and also has better air pressure. The hydraulic systems are improved further and the plane is fitted with two types of engines. With all these features in one plane the company has set new standards for others to follow. Moreover, the company is working on several modifications which are to be released in the future.
The recent incident related to the Airbus A380 happened on 4th of November 2010, when the Qantas airlines’ Air Bus A380 failed to perform properly. The engine of the plane caught fire and sparks were seen arising from the left side engine. The incident immediately caught international attention and raised eyebrows over the engine manufacturing company Rolls Royce. Qantas airlines regarded the problem to be a design failure. The engine failure is not a new fault and is seldom fatal, moreover the Airbus has four engines but can fly properly on two engines only. Still, Rolls Royce said it will investigate the matter – some pessimists expect all Air Bus A380 aircraft will have their engines replaced.
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