Airbus A380 - Luxury and Comfort as first rule
The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, an EADS subsidiary. The largest passenger airliner in the world, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight on 25 October 2007 from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines. The aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX during much of its development phase, but the nickname Superjumbo has since become associated with it.
The A380’s upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage. This allows for a cabin with 50 percent more floor space than the next largest airliner, the Boeing 747-400, and provides seating for 525 people in standard three-class configuration or up to 853 people in full economy class configuration. The A380 is offered in passenger and freighter versions. The A380-800, the passenger model, is the largest passenger airliner in the world, superseding the Boeing 747. The A380-800F, the planned freighter model, is designed as one of the largest freight aircraft, with a listed payload capacity exceeded only by the Antonov An-225. The A380-800 has a design range of 15,200 kilometres (8,200 nmi, sufficient to fly from New York to Hong Kong nonstop), and a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (about 900 km/h or 560 mph at cruise altitude).
The new Airbus is sold in two models. The A380-800 was originally designed to carry 555 passengers in a three-class configuration or 853 passengers (538 on the main deck and 315 on the upper deck) in a single-class economy configuration. In May 2007, Airbus began marketing the same aircraft to customers with 30 fewer passengers (now 525 passengers) traded for 200 nmi more range, to better reflect trends in premium class accommodation. The design range for the -800 model is 15,200 km (8,200 nmi). The second model, the A380-800F freighter, will carry 150 tonnes of cargo 10,400 km (5,600 nmi). Future variants may include an A380-900 stretch seating about 656 passengers (or up to 960 passengers in an all economy configuration) and an extended range version with the same passenger capacity as the A380-800.
The A380’s wing is sized for a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) over 650 tonnes in order to accommodate these future versions, albeit with some strengthening required. The stronger wing (and structure) is used on the A380-800F freighter. This common design approach sacrifices some fuel efficiency on the A380-800 passenger model, but Airbus estimates that the size of the aircraft, coupled with the advances in technology described below, will provide lower operating costs per passenger than all current variants of Boeing 747. The A380 also features wingtip fences similar to those found on the A310 and A320 to improve performance.
Airbus used similar cockpit layout, procedures and handling characteristics to those of other Airbus aircraft, to reduce crew training costs. Accordingly, the A380 features an improved glass cockpit, and fly-by-wire flight controls linked to side-sticks. The improved cockpit displays feature eight 15-by-20 cm (6-by-8-inch) liquid crystal displays, all of which are physically identical and interchangeable. These comprise two Primary Flight Displays, two navigation displays, one engine parameter display, one system display and two Multi-Function Displays. These MFDs are new with the A380, and provide an easy-to-use interface to the flight management system—replacing three multifunction control and display units. They include QWERTY keyboards and trackballs, interfacing with a graphical “point-and-click” display navigation system.
The Best Materials
Composite materials make up 25% of the A380’s airframe, by weight. Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, glass-fibre reinforced plastic and quartz-fibre reinforced plastic are used extensively in wings, fuselage sections, tail surfaces, and doors. The A380 is the first commercial airliner with a central wing box made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic, and it is the first to have a wing cross-section that is smoothly contoured. Other commercial airliners have wings that are partitioned span-wise in sections. The flowing, continuous cross-section allows for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. Thermoplastics are used in the leading edges of the slats. The new material GLARE (GLAss-REinforced fibre metal laminate) is used in the upper fuselage and on the stabilizers’ leading edges. This aluminium-glass-fibre laminate is lighter and has better corrosion and impact resistance than conventional aluminium alloys used in aviation. Unlike earlier composite materials, it can be repaired using conventional aluminium repair techniques. Newer weldable aluminium alloys are also used. This enables the widespread use of laser beam welding manufacturing techniques — eliminating rows of rivets and resulting in a lighter, stronger structure.
The A380 produces 50% less cabin noise than a 747 and has higher cabin air pressure (equivalent to an altitude of 1500 meters (5000 feet) versus 2500 meters (8000 feet)); both features are expected to reduce the effects of travel fatigue. The upper and lower decks are connected by two stairways, fore and aft, wide enough to accommodate two passengers side-by-side. In a 555-passenger configuration, the A380 has 33% more seats than a 747-400 in a standard three-class configuration but 50% more cabin area and volume, resulting in more space per passenger. Its maximum certified carrying capacity is 853 passengers in an all-economy-class configuration.
Compared to a 747, the A380 has larger windows and overhead bins, and 60 cm (2 feet) of extra headroom. The wider cabin allows for 48 cm (19 inch) wide economy seats instead of 43 cm (17 inch) seats on a 747. Singapore Airline’s economy-class seats feature 27 cm (10.6 inch) LCD screens in each seatback, as well as an AC power supply in most seats; business-class seats are 84 cm (34 inches) wide, can lay flat for sleeping, and have 39 cm (15.4 inch) LCD screens.
Airbus’ initial publicity stressed the comfort and space of the A380’s cabin, anticipating installations such as relaxation areas, bars, duty-free shops, and beauty salons. Virgin Atlantic Airways already offers a bar as part of its “Upper Class” service on its A340 and 747 aircraft, and has announced plans to include casinos, double beds, and gymnasiums on its A380s. Singapore Airlines offers twelve fully-enclosed first-class suites on its A380, each with one full and one secondary seat, full-sized bed, desk, personal storage, and 58-cm (23-inch) LCD screen at a 20% to 25% price premium over standard first class seating. Four of these suites are in the form of two “double” suites featuring a double bed. Emirates and Quantas plan to offer similar suites on their A380s.
Tell me if you don’t think this is a picture of a hotel room?…
Sources: Wikipedia, Cualquiera