TYPE: Wide-body, double-deck jet airliner.
PROGRAMME: Engineering work began in early June 1994; known as A3XX until December 2000; separate A3XX directorate (Large Aircraft Division) formed within Airbus in March 1996; concept definition began April 1996; Airbus will allocate approximately 40 per cent of programme to new partners. Full-size mockup of fuselage cross-section shown at Paris in 1997; completed, including partial concept interior, in 2000.
Airbus Industry Supervisory Board authorised programme go-ahead 8 December 1999; commercial launch authorised 23 June 2000; industrial launch and A380 designation confirmed 19 December 2000, on receipt of required 50th launch order. First metal and first carbon fibre lap were cut at Nantes on 23 January 2002. Test programme calls for 2,200 flying hours over 15 months using four prototypes; the first to explore the flight envelope, second to verify performance, third for technical and commercial adaptations and fourth for route proving. Static testing to be carried out at Toulouse from mid-2002 and fatigue testing at Dresden from November 2005. First flight due early 2005, with certification and first deliveries to Emirates and Singapore Airlines by end of first quarter of 2006. Production intended to reach four per month by 2008.
First metal and/or CFRP cut at Nantes (France) January 2002; at Bremen (Germany) March 2002; at Varel (Germany) April 2002; at Filton (UK) August 2002; at Illescas (Spain) February 2003. First metal cut for wing centre-section 'bathtub' by EADS Military Aircraft at Augsburg 18 February 2003; first Saab-built wing leading-edge components delivered 24 April 2003; new Airbus UK factory at Broughton opened 4 July 2003. Six main subassemblies for prototype (front, centre and rear fuselage, tailcone, tail unit and wings) due for delivery to Toulouse in April 2004 for final assembly.
CURRENT VERSIONS (specific): 001: First prototype, for airframe, systems and flight trials; R-R Trent 970 engines (311 kN; 70,000 lb st).
002: Second aircraft (third to be built); fully equipped passenger cabin; early long-range flight trials, then eventual delivery to customer; R-R engines.
003: Third aircraft (fifth to be built); first to Singapore Airlines; R-R engines.
004: Fourth aircraft (second to be built); airframe and systems trials, then eventual delivery to customer; R-R Trent 970 engines.
005: Fifth aircraft (sixth to be built); second for Singapore Airlines; R-R engines.
006: Sixth aircraft (seventh to be built); third for customer airline; R-R engines.
007: Seventh aircraft (fourth to be built); fully equipped cabin; route-proving flights in 2006, the eventual delivery to customer; R-R engines.
008: Eighth aircraft; R-R engines.
009: Ninth aircraft; first with (and used to test and certify) GP7270 engines.
CURRENT VERSIONS (general): A380-700: Potential short-fuselage version, more closely aligned to Boeing 747 replacement market.
A380-800: Baseline version; nominal 555 passengers in three-class layout and range of 8,000 n miles (14,816 km; 9,206 miles). Engine thrust 311 kN (70,000 lb), MTOW 560,000 kg (1,234.585 lb). Lower deck capacity 13 pallets or 38 LD3 containers. Deliveries to begin March 2006.
Following description applies to A380-800 except where indicated.
A380-800F: All-cargo version, carrying 150,000 kg (330,700 lb) of payload over 5,600 n miles (10,371 km; 6,444 miles). Standard layout is 25 pallets on upper deck. 33 pallets on main deck and 13 pallets in cargo hold/lower deck. Optional high-volume configuration offers more than 1,133 m³ (40.000 cu ft) of capacity. Deliveries to begin June 2006.
A380-900: Potential stretched version, initially known as A3XX-200; 656 seats in three-class layout and up to 900 at high density. Increased MTOW and fuel volume.
CUSTOMERS: Total of 129 firm orders by 31 December 2003. Potential market for 1,200 and over 300 cargo aircraft in A380 class up to 2020. Initial launch customer, on 24 July 2000, was Emirates, which committed to five A380s and two A380-800Fs, plus five options, subsequently increased to 20 passenger examples plus 10 options and 2 freighters in November 2001; further 21 of passenger version ordered 16 June 2003. Federal Express became A380-800F launch customer in January 2001.
COSTS: Estimated development cost US$10.7 billion for whole A380 family given during June 2001; of which US$3.1 billion was sought from risk-sharing partners. Projected unit cost at launch was US$217 million for passenger version and US$233 million for freighter; revised to average unit price for A380-800 of US$265 million by mid-2002.
DESIGN FEATURES: First version, designated A380-800, is conventional in external appearance except for two rows of windows, but incorporates new developments in structures, materials, systems, landing gear design and aerodynamics. Dassault CATIA and IBM computer-aided design. Flight deck commonality with in-service Airbuses permits cross-qualification.
Fuselage is vertically orientated oval three-deck arrangement; this 'vertical ovoid' accommodates 10 passengers abreast on main deck and eight-abreast on upper deck, offering greater space per passenger than Boeing 747. Seating ranges from a nominal 555 (22 first class and 334 economy on main deck and 96 business and 103 economy on upper deck) in three-class layout 840 in high-density, shorter-range applications. Typical launch customer layouts are for about 525 passengers. Dual-lane boarding stair allows four-aisle boarding and deplaning through main deck.
Lower deck can accommodate shop, bar, restaurant and/or normal range of 38 LD3 cargo containers or 13 pallets and 18.4 m³ (650 cu ft) of bulk freight; main deck is large enough to accommodate two 2.44 x 2.44 m (8 ft 0 in x 8 ft 0 in) containers side by side in the freighter version.
Modifications to engines, nacelles and aerodynamics at customer request late in the launch phase have resulted in major reductions in noise levels.
Wing sweep 33° 30' at 25 per cent chord.
FLYING CONTROLS: Single-slotted flaps incorporate droop-nose device to improve climb performance. Two ailerons and two actuators on each wing, plus eight spoilers with individual actuators. Elevators have two panels and actuators on each side; rudder also has two panels and actuators. Flaps, ailerons and engines have all been specifically positioned to keep wake vortex at a minimum.
STRUCTURE: Extensive use of composites for all flaps and spoilers, rear pressure bulkhead, centre wing box (first in CFRP on any Airbus), all tail surfaces, tailcone aft of fin leading-edge intersection with fuselage and engine cowlings. New 'Glare' material, consisting of alternate layers of aluminium and glass fibre-reinforced adhesive which offers significant weight reduction and fatigue/damage resistance, developed by Stork Aerospace with Technical University of Delft and Netherlands National Aerospace Laboratories; tested on a German Air Force A310 since October 1999 and used for upper fuselage shell. Laser beam welding, which reduces cost and weight, used to attach stringers to lower fuselage panels. Wing leading-edge constructed of thermoplastics. Outer wings metal bonded.
Upper floor beams on A380-800 constructed of composites; those in A380-800F aluminium; throughout the structure, lighter 2524 aluminium alloys used in place of more traditional 2024.
Work allocation of major subassemblies is Airbus france (St Nazaire): flight deck and centre fuselage; Airbus Deutschland (Hamburg): forward centre fuselage, rear fuselage; Airbus Deutschland (Stade): fin and rudder; Airbus UK (Broughton): wing main panels; Airbus España: wing/fuselage fairings, belly fairing and fixed horizontal tail; Airbus France (Toulouse): engine pylons and final assembly.
Transport of major components undertaken by purpose-built ship from Hamburg via UK and St Nazaire (forward centre fuselage disembarked, joined to flight deck and re-embarked, accompanied by centre fuselage), the aircraft set then transferred to barge at Bordeaux and joined by Spanish-built elements for river transport to within 80 km (50 miles) of Toulouse, completing journey by road. New component assembly hall at Airbus Deutschland's Hamburg site started 6 December 2001 and inaugurated 21 May 2003; Airbus France's final assembly hall at Toulouse to be completed in 2004.
Once completed, 'green' aircraft will be flown to Hamburg for internal fitting out. European and Middle Eastern aircraft will be delivered from Hamburg; those for the rest of the world will return to Toulouse before despatch to customer.
LANDING GEAR: Goodrich main landing gear; each four-wheel wing-mounted unit weights 2,310 kg (5,093 lb) and each six-wheel underfuselage unit weights 4,080 kg (8,995 lb). Messier-Dowty twin-wheel nose landing gear. Michelin AIR X NZG tyres: 1400x530 R 23 (40 ply) on A380-800 main units, 1270x455 R 22 (32 ply) on nose unit; corresponding sizes for -800F are 56x22.0 R24 (40 ply) and 1400x530 R23 (40 ply). Bridgestone (Japan) is alternative tyre supplier. Underfuselage main gear set slightly aft underwing units. Normal steering on nose gear and rear axle of body gear; back-up steering of nose gear in event of hydraulic power loss. Carbon brakes on all main group wheels. Manoeuvring compatible with 45 m (148 ft) wide runways and 23 m (75.5 ft) wide taxiways; U-turn possible on 60 m (200 ft) wide runways, by differential braking of asymmetrical thrust.
POWER PLANT: A380 is offered with a choice of Alliance (GE/P&W) GP7200 or Rolls-Royce Trent 900 series; Airbus Industrie and Rolls-Royce signed an MoU specifying the Trent as favoured power plant in November 1996; due for first flight in late 2004 and certification in 2005; ILFC, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Virgin and Qantas have selected R-R power plant; Air France, Emirates and FedEx have selected GP7200, which will make its first flight in 2005. trent 970 will be initially certified at 311 kN (70,000 lb st) but derated to 302 kN (68,000 lb st), with eventual growth to 374 kN (84,000 lb st). FADEC for GP7270 under development by BAE Systems Controls and Hispano-Suiza.
Alliance GP7200 uses same core as power plants for Boeing 747X and long-range 767. Detailed design work was due to have started in August 2001 but slipped to early 2003, with a first run due in April 2004, certification at 363 kN (81,500 lb st) in July 2005 and first flight in early 2006.
Standard fuel capacity of both models is 310,000 litres (81,893 US gallons; 68,192 Imp gallons); extra fuel tanks would be fitted in wing centre box for long-range models.
ACCOMMODATION: Flight deck crew of two; rest areas are provided for crew in flight deck area; see Design Features for details of passenger cabins. Five main deck and three upper deck emergency exits on each side of fuselage; Goodrich evacuation slides, those for upper decks stored within the airframe rather than the door. Seat pitches: first class 173 cm (68 in), business class 122 cm (48 in), economy class 81 or 84 cm (32 or 33 in).
SYSTEMS: Integrated modular avionics (IMA) system provided by Thales Avionics in conjunction with Diehl Avionik Systeme using computing modules slotted into cabinets throughout aircraft. Rockwell Collins supplying Ethernet avionics communications infrastructure at 100 Mbit/s speed with full duplex networking. Variable frequency AC electrical generating systems to be incorporated. Cameras fitted to top of fin and under fuselage for taxying assistance. Fuel management systems provided by Parker Aerospace including in-tank sensors and wiring, avionics and software to fit into IMA system.
Two 241 bar (3,500 lb/sq in) hydraulic systems (yellow and green) and two electrical systems (red and orange) for flight controls, each of the latter using at least two different systems in case of failure of any one; each system fully independent. Hydraulic systems use lighter, more compact pipework compared with earlier Airbus products. Wing-mounted landing gear powered by green system; underfuselage main gear runs on yellow system. Power generation with 180 kVA generators for each engine to be provided by Hamilton Sundstrand, which has also been selected (with P&WC) to provide APU. Eaton 345 bar (5,000 lb/sq in) hydraulic generators using eight engine-driven pumps and four electric pumps.
Onboard oxygen generator (OBOGS) optional.
AVIONICS: Honeywell flight management system, with Thales/Diehl displays; Rockwell Collins com/nav standard (includes VHF-920 and HF-900 data radios, multimode receiver, VOR-900 omnirange/marker beacon receiver, DME-900 and ADF-900. Dual Thales HUDs optional. Cockpit layout, by Airbus Toulouse division, will be compatible with other Airbus family members. Eight new-generation 15 x 20 cm (6 x 8 in) LCDs form centre of package. Onboard information system (OIS) will integrate databases with operator's in-house software packages and enable flight planning and documentation updates while en route, plus ancillary operations including passenger credit card validation, Internet access and entertainment. Onboard maintenance system (OMS) provides real-time information to ground crew. Honeywell terrain guidance and on-ground navigation will be integrated into FMS.