A380

A lot of flying today, but as a passenger. One of the lengthiest flights around with 22 hours in the air, Chicago to Singapore. Since there was a delay heading through Tokyo, I was given the option of flying East instead of West since either direction is half way around the globe. I was lucky enough to snag a flight on Singapore airlines from Paris to Singapore, the 14 hour leg. Further, this would be flown in a new A380, the same plane featured at Oshkosh this year. It’s immense. Sort of like the 747 with the double deck stretching all the way down the fuselage. Still had that new plane smell, which was in stark contrast to the Charles De Gaulle airport which is pretty tired and worn out .

There are two types of people: those whose job includes flying as part of their job responsibilities, and those who believe it would be really cool to do so. There is very little overlap between these two groups. Those in the “fly” group quickly realize that long-haul airline travel is akin to a day-long ride in a overcrowded school bus, with the only chance of excitement coming from the possibility of catching the tropical disease infecting the overweight guy stuck next to you.

It still is a unique plane. I noted that the overcrowded waiting area might take forever to board, hundreds of  passengers (It will take on 555 and lift off with 1.2 million pounds). However, with multiple jetways it went quickly. Hanging underneath were the four huge Roll Royce Trent engines, each with 76,500 pounds of thrust.  Which is a lot of push.

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The boys at Kill Devil Hill would have been amazed. The distance flown by the original Wright Flyer was 120 feet. That’s less than half the wingspan of an A380.  Bigger is better.  Unless you’re flying low and slow for the fun that’s in it.

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2 responses to “A380

  1. I took my wife to England for her 1st time in 85 out of Pittsburg on British Air 747 via USAIR out of New Orleans. We and two other fully loaded 747s were unloading at same concourse at same time at Heathrow herded in ramps to wait in line for customs. Talk about a cattle run in the stockyards! Thought I was in Chi-town! Like everybody exiting a football game at once, slogging down stadium ramps. Potential for things like transmission of Swine flu optimal–couldn’t be better if it was designed on purpose to spread to max# of people. Something to think about in terms of travel this fall–and YOU”RE smack dab in the middle of it Big Guy!!

    • I suspect a few things have changed since your last trip. There are a number of people in both planes and airports sporting surgical masks. Looks plenty uncomfortable for long durations. It was thirty hours from time I departed to the time I arrived. The other change is infrared screening for passengers arriving in China / Korea / Singapore. Of course this doesn’t help if you’ve just travelled in a confined aluminum tube with a passenger who’s hacking and wheezing.

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