Business Aviation Now

The official blog of B/CA magazine
See All Posts
  • Oshkosh and the A380
    Posted by Christopher Fotos 2:38 PM on Jul 28, 2009

    Frances Fiorino posted this item last week about the A380's arrival at EAA AirVenture in Things With Wings. That's scheduled for today and John Morris, the Show News editor whose blogging and photos are part of our coverage, wanted to make sure you saw Fiorino's piece.


    Christopher Fotos, Web Managing Editor

    blog post photo


    Wittman Regional Airport, RWY 18-36

    Slide from of EAA/Airbus Presentation


    It’s a bird, it’s a plane, a really, really big plane. The world’s largest passenger aircraft is about to descend at Oshkosh, Wisc., Wittman Regional Airport--Airbus A380 test vehicle No. 004.

    The A380 is an aircraft guest of honor at this year’s EAA AirVenture 2009 (July 27-Aug.2), representing the epitome of technology and innovation – what Oshkosh is all about, says Experimental Aircraft Assn. President Tom Poberezny.


    EAA expects about 18,000 show visitors to tour the aircraft – and for most, seeing the innards of a test aircraft “up close and personal” will be a unique, and unforgettable, experience, notes Poberezny.

    No. 004 is due to land Oshkosh on Tues. July 28, with an arrival flight demo (sorry, no acrobatics involved) and say au revoir with a departure flight demo on Fri. July 31. In between, the aircraft’s doors will be open to show attendees for walkthrough tours.

    At a July 17 press conference with Poberezny and Airbus-Americas Chairman T. Allan McArtor, A380 test pilot Terry Lutz described the logistics of setting the aircraft down at Wittman’s 8,000- ft. long, 150-ft.wide Runway 18-36. Oh, and did we mention the logistics of turning an A380 onto a narrow taxiway and getting a tow to Aeroshell Square, the main static display area.


    Extracts from Lutz’s narration

    Planning started at the end of AirVenture 2008. We first looked at what weight the A380 could operate at and land on Runway 36 with a 10-kt. tailwind, and decelerate and turn off taxiway “Pappa 2” (P2 on diagram). And we had to do the same calculations in the opposite direction for departure.

    The maximum certified weight of the A380 is 561 metric tons, up to 569 metric tons (1.25 million lb.)  At Oshkosh, though, we will be quite a bit lighter, at about 300 metric tons (725,000 lb.), at both arrival and departure.

    The aircraft is certified to fly on a 150-ft. wide runways, but the taxiways at Wittman are a little bit narrow --except for P2. The taxiway joins Aeroshell Square, and we can stop the aircraft just short of the square and have it tugged the rest of the way.

    In order to land and decelerate to a taxispeed where we can turn off to P2, we needed 5,500 ft. of runway. We also had to determine where we needed to stop in order for the tail to be clear of the obstacle free zone.

    There have been reports that the A380 crumbles runways. But pavement loading of the A380, with its weight spread over 20 main gear, is less than the Boeing 747. And its turn radius is not unlike that of longer aircraft, such as the Boeing 777-300 and our A340-400.  Only the two inboard engines have thrust reversers so that we don’t kick up anything on the edge of the runway.

    EAA borrowed a towbar-less tug from New York-JFK Airport suitable for moving the A380. The difficulty comes when we pick up the nosewheel of the A380 with the tug and [push the aircraft] into position on Aeroshell Square.

    While the airplane has plenty of margin for its size, the tug operator has to conduct a turn in just the right way, so that he can pull the airplane 90 deg. to the south and back it up toward the north, so that it is in its final parking position. The taxiway and runways will be marked so that the driver knows exactly when the aircraft is on center line.

    When the A380 is ready to depart, the tug will pull the nose for a short distance down Runway 18 and push it back about 500 ft-800 ft back up Runway 18  to begin our takeoff roll. Even with a 10-kt. tailwind from north, we will still have the runway performance needed to meet all the emergency situations that may occur on takeoff roll and climbout.

    One concern has is the possibility of a jet blast hazard to people on the field or to aircraft parked to the north of Runway 18-36. To address the issue, EAA plans to move all aircraft off the runway for the A380’s takeoff. (Nor will people be allowed in the area.)

    The A380’s flight demonstrations will be very simple and aim to highlight the agility of the airplane. The arrival demo, about 7-min. duration, will consist of a pass down the runway in landing configuration. Power will then be applied and gear retracted, and the airplane will remain in configuration 3, within one flap setting of full flaps.

    Next, we will probably do a 90-deg. turn away, and a 270-deg. turn back, to the show line, followed by a 360-deg. turn at medium bank. The A380 will then reposition for a pass at minimum speed and fly down the runway at about 125 kt. We then plan to do a very steep climb at maximum thrust, turn away from the runway, reposition and extend gear and flaps and come in for a landing.[The A380 will take up most of the real estate of Aeroshell Square, its wing span almost exactly within a foot of the 264 ft. width of the squareIts sole parking mate will be the WhiteKnight2. The C-5, usually on display at square, will not arrive until after the A380 departs.]


    The A380 No. 004 Tour


    Tours will be conducted 10am-4pm, Wed., July 29, and Thurs, July 30, and 9-12 noon on Fri., July 3, says Poberezny. EAA anticipates moving about 1,200 people an hour on the walkthrough.

    Based on past experience, Airbus is prohibiting visits to the cockpit, as they can significantly slow down crowd movement.  But Airbus and EAA have arranged to show continuous-loop video of the cockpit and instrumentation on a Jumbotron screen, which visitors can view while waiting in line.

    Visitors will enter rear door No. 4 right, in the aft section, proceed to the aft of the aircraft and up the rear set of stairs. They will walk thru the entire length of the upper deck forward to the main stairs in front, and move back a short distance to Door 2 right and exit. Along the way information panels will detail what visitors are seeing.

    The aircraft in full flight test configuration, with a number of ballast tanks in the cabin on both decks (looking a little like a micro-brewery, says Lutz). The tanks are large metal containers filled with water and can be used in test to change CG for different flight test regimes.

    Full flight test instrumentation is positioned in the mid-section of the main deck and a smaller instrumentation package in mid-section of the upper deck. People will see the miles of test wiring as well as the carbon fiber structure of the airplane.

    Ready for takeoff?  For more details about EAA AirVenture 2009 and the A380’s visit, click here

    Tags: tw99, osh09, A380, EAA, AirVenture, Oshkosh

  • Recommend
  • Report Abuse

Comments on Blog Post