The Airbus is one of the most recognizable aircrafts that cross the skies globally and daily. There are many different airliners that fly the Airbus, and these are also some of the most reliable in the industry. If there was one thing that you should know about Airbus, it should be the fact that the company is at the ad of the aircraft engineering industry. Time and again, they prove this fact and continue to do so with their many commercial, private, and military products. Here are 20 things you probably didn’t know about Airbus.
1. Rolls Royce engines
When you hear of Rolls Royce, you automatically think of luxury cars. However, Rolls Royce aircraft engines have been a thing since the early years of the 20th century. Rolls Royce aircraft piston engines were prevalent during the World Wars and the years in between. Many of these engines were used to power up a lot of fighter and bomber planes such as the Hawker Hurricane, the Supermarine Spitfire, and many others. The Airbus A380 contains four Rolls Royce engines that are the length of a Mercedes C-series sedan. Each of these engines are also four times as heavy. When in operation, these engines reach a temperature of 3100°F.
2. Takeoff weight
The A380 has two stories. It’s a huge aircraft. When it takes off, it has to take into account all that weight plus the effects of gravity. In fact, when it takes off, the Airbus A380 reaches a maximum takeoff weight of 575 tonnes. That’s about 1,267,658 lbs. If that’s still too difficult to imagine, that number is the rough equivalent of five blue whales taking to flight. It’s quite a feat of engineering to get something of that size off the ground and in the air.
3. Airport accomodations
When it was launched the Airbus A380 was the largest passenger airliner in the world. When it made its first flight, it was already 2005; you’d think that airports were already equipped to manage such large aircrafts. It turned out that the Airbus was too big for existing airports then. So airports had to fund upgrades in order to accommodate to the large Airbus. By 2007, the A380 was flying commercially through Singapore Airlines. Majority of larger airports are now equipped to receive and send off these Airbus aircrafts, but some mid-size to smaller airports are probably not even going to join in the game.
4. Fly-by-wire system
The Airbus A320 was the fastest-selling airliner in the world for many years when it was first released in 1984. It was popular for many reasons; but most of all, it became famous for its flight control system. The Airbus A320 was the first airliner to introduce the fly-by-wire flight control system. The aircraft always knows where it is at all times because the system is fully electronic and computer controlled. There’s no way that the plane or the pilot could exceed flight parameters because of this automation.
5. The first Airbus
The A300 was Airbus’ first aircraft in its product line. It was also the world’s first twin-aisle, twin-engine widebody airliner. It was first announced in 1969 and it took its first flight in October of 1972. Its first commercial flight was on May 23, 1974 for Air France, and the aircraft traveled from Paris to London. That commercial flight launched a huge sales drive for the company for many years. It became the favorite of many airlines including Air France, Lufthansa, Indian Airlines, and Korean Air among many others. The A300 has had several variants since its creation, and it continues to fly today in many markets.
6. Passenger seating
The Airbus A380 can accommodate for a large number of passengers. That’s a given considering that its one of the largest aircrafts in the world. In fact, the A380 can seat anywhere from 538 to 868 passengers. The discrepancy in the capacity is in the levels. The main deck holds 538 passengers while the upper deck can seat up to 330 passengers. Airliners can customize the configuration of their ordered aircrafts. For comfort, Airbus claims that 544 is the optimal seating number. Apart from Emirates’ 615 seats, the only airliner that came close to 544 is Air France’s 538-seater aircraft.
7. Corporate jets
Apart from jumbo commercial aircrafts, Airbus also has a collection of corporate jets. Their jets offer some of the latest advances in aerospace technology. These jets feature reliable Pratt and Whitney engines. Airbus corporate jets also feature advanced specifications that are beneficial to pilots such as extra navigational aids, weight-saving carbon brakes, and a few other features. With a corporate jet, you also become part of a global network of corporate fliers that can offer technical advice when you need it, flight training, and even spare parts.
8. Airbus cockpits
The cockpits are the same across all Airbus aircrafts. This is quite a unique quality that actually makes a ton of sense. All Airbus aircraft production today features the same cockpit layout. All the instruments are the same. All the controls are the same. Even the handling procedures and qualities are the same. This allows all Airbus pilots to be able to switch from one Airbus aircraft to another, which not only helps the pilot but also saves the airliners time and money when it comes to transitioning and training. It’s a wonder why other aircraft manufacturers haven’t adopted similar practices.
9. The Airbus wingspan
The largest Airbus, the A380, boasts a wingspan that is just simply incredible. The wingspan of an A380 measures 79.75 meters. That’s the equivalent of nine London double deckers standing side to side. This is necessary to lift all the massive weight of the aircraft. There are rumors that Airbus might be trying to expand its wingspan further, which might mean that Airbus might be looking to expand its aircrafts even further. A larger aircraft would be another groundbreaking feat for Airbus and the airline industry altogether.
10. Made in Europe
Airbus is a pan-European product. Its many parts are made in different areas of the continent. Most of the major structural sections of their aircrafts are made in various countries such as the UK, Spain, Germany, and France. England makes the engines and some fuselage parts; Germany and Spain collaborates on the tails. The wings are made in North Wales. Fernando Alonso, Airbus’ test engineer, says that the Airbus A380 alone is a symbol of Europe and all its engineering ingenuity. These parts are shipped from all these countries by land, air, or sea to be assembled and finished in France.
11. The Lufthansa A380
By now, we get the picture that the Airbus A380 is absolutely massive. With the possibility of 500 to 600 people on board, you can imagine that the typical 15-person crew of a Boeing 747 will just not suffice. In fact, the Lufthansa A380 has to have at least 21 flight attendants at all times. These flight attendants work a total of 5 galleys. They all have rest compartment areas located at the rear of the aircraft. Part of flying an Airbus A380 is the feeling of luxury in flight. The only way to get that is if there’s enough staff to man the cabin appropriately.
12. Airbus helicopters
Many people might not know this but Airbus actually has a comprehensive line of helicopters. These helicopters are available for private use, corporate use, or even military use. Many police and military groups utilize Airbus’ helicopters as part of their arsenal. All their helicopters are built for performance and boasts excellent visibility and low vibration levels. Some of their helicopters are design13. ed specifically for various service-related work such as firefighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, and others. These helicopters feature a flat floor that’s easy to reconfigure depending on necessity.
13. Airbus and the military
The aircraft manufacturer has always been the go-to manufacturer for various armed forces groups throughout the world. Airbus has a collection of different kinds of aircrafts that serve different purposes when it comes to military use. They could be airlifters, tankers for refueling, Eurofighters, and a few others. These aircrafts use state of the art weapon systems using an integration of European and American weapons. Airbus’ military aircrafts are ready for combat or mission at any time. Some of Airbus’ customers include Austria, Kuwait, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among others.
14. The Zephyr
Airbus is so ahead of the game that they even have a pseudo-satellite in their product line. The aircraft is called Zephyr, and it’s a High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS). It’s the world’s first unmanned aircraft of its kind to fly the stratosphere of the planet, and it’s also the world’s leading solar electric and solar-powered satellite. It uses solar power exclusively, and it can go on flying for months at a time. The Zephyr is useful in both military and commercial platforms. Among its many capabilities, the Zephyr can perform voice and data communications, optical imagery, and real-time mapping.
15. Worldwide leaders
The reach of Airbus is extensive. Foremost, it’s a commercial aircraft manufacturer. However, the company has so many extensive and comprehensive divisions that make it the largest aeronautics, aircraft, and space company globally. As a matter of fact, Airbus is the worldwide leader in all things involving flight. They have about 180 locations all over the world and have about 12,000 direct suppliers. Their company is all about flight and how it can be improved.
Airbus worldwide is all about innovation. The engineers at Airbus are nonstop in trying to improve their products or in trying to come up with new products altogether. The company is simply nonstop. This is the reason why the company currently has 37,000 patents worldwide. These patents help fuel the company’s products and visions. But while that may be the number, there are probably a few thousand more patents that are currently pending. There really is no stopping innovation and for Airbus, it’s something that happens daily.
17. Sustainable goals
Being an expansive global workplace, Airbus employs about 130 different nationalities worldwide. The company feels that it has a responsibility not only to its people but also to the physical world. Headed by a strong leadership, the company looks beyond its resources in order to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The company also has a foundation that seeks to inspire and educate the younger and future generations on how to conduct science and engineering responsibly. Airbus is also known to provide aid in times of disasters all over the world. The company involves its people and utilizes its resources in order to make this happen anywhere help might be needed.
18. Impressive range
Given the aircraft is so massive, you can expect the larger Airbuses—the A380-800—to have extensive range. These aircrafts are designed to have a range of 8,500 nautical miles. That translates to 15,700 km or roughly 9,755 miles. The A380 can fly from Dallas to Sydney nonstop with a cruising speed of Mach 0.85, about 900 km/h or 560 mph. This makes the flight from Dallas to Sydney take about 17 hours to cover. That’s definitely an impressive nonstop flight.
19. Luxury cabins
People love Airbus cabins because of the luxury feeling that they bring. Some airliners have gone above and beyond to provide their passengers with extras on the Airbus planes. For example, one Emirates cabin features a full sized bar and a full sized shower. Etihad also has space for apartment-style and luxury residence-style spaces on some of their aircrafts. In some of their aircrafts, Singapore Air offers double suites that come with a double bed, chairs, and a hotel experience you’d never get on any other type of aircraft.
20. Flight path
The Airbus only flies to certain continents and certain countries mainly due to the fact that not all airports are equipped to handle the size of their aircrafts. From US, the Airbus A380 flies from the New York area to parts of Europe including London, Paris, Milan, and Luxembourg. From these places in Europe, the A380 flies to various parts of Asia including the Middle East. The flight paths are only expected to expand as time goes on. For now, if you want to experience the Airbus A380, you’d have to fly to or from one of these places.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker