You could call the A380 flight crew the home team.
All four are avid sport pilots, and none of them dreamed they would ever turn up at the Mecca of general aviation in the world’s largest airliner and say: “Look what we (meaning Airbus) built.”
It is, says chief pilot Terry Lutz, a tremendous way to celebrate not only Airbus’s 40th birthday, but also aviation in general.
The A380 is framed at EAA by a Lancaster bomber and a P-51D Mustang.
Lutz, a long-time EAA member, was instrumental in bringing the A380 to Oshkosh, although it seems Airbus’s management didn’t take much convincing. “None of our airplanes could be built without our American suppliers,” says Airbus Americas chief T. Allan McArtor. “This is a good way to say ‘Thank you’ and to celebrate their contribution as well.”
Lutz, a former USAF test pilot (who coincidentally instructed AVIATION WEEK president and former astronaut Tom Henricks at Test Pilot School) finished building an RV-8 homebuilt in 2006. He will be camping during the show in Camp Scholler with his son.
Test pilot Claude Lelaie is also an EAA member. He performed at Oshkosh 18 years ago as half of a two-ship aerobatic display team flying diminutive Cri-Cri aircraft, each powered by two 11 hp chainsaw engines. He was formerly technical director at Socata, where he was responsible for developing the TBM700 turboprop.
Commentator and Airbus test pilot Frank Chapman is a former Royal Air Force test pilot who flies antique aircraft at Britain’s famed Shuttleworth Collection.
Flight engineer Martin Mavers is also an EAA member. He built and flies his own Europa XS homebuilt aircraft.
This is going to be a tough act to follow!