My first thought
of going to
When I woke up
the next day (23 April), I received a notice from
Airbus via an important email citing the strong possibility
of an A380 takeoff during the week starting 25
April. I knew I was in the money and I was now all ready to go!
I flew a United B747-400 (N127UA), 13hrs-20min across the Pacific, and arrived into LAX with a few hours on the ground and some photography at the airfield. I then boarded a very full Lufthansa A340-300 flight (D-AIMF) on my way to
The Lufthansa flight took almost 12 hours to get to
About 1740 on 24 April, I set foot on the ground in
I had a great
sleep overnight and felt rather good in the morning. About I was at one of
the vantage points near
the end of runway 14L in
In the afternoon I was able to meet up with more local spotters and enthusiasts. I picked up Denis and his collague from a Lufthansa flight and met Yannick, Stepane and Jerome, members of French Frogs Airslides. A photographer from the local newspaper La Dépêche du Midi offered us chance to appear in the newspaper as plane spotters. We posed for the paper, pretending to be taking pictures. I was also informed that the first flight of the A380 would take place on Wednesday, 27 April. It was now confirmed!
There were quite a lot of test flights being conducted that afternoon. I was able to capture a few new Airbuses, including a Kingfisher A320, an SAA A340-600, a NWA A330-300, in addition to the daily Belugas, 4 on approaches that afternoon, plus an unusual A340 mounted with one A380 engine on a test flight! Weather was much better in the afternoon and the sky remained clear all evening.
|Beluga return to base.
||Test Flight of the day.
||Test Flight of the day.
very funny about this A340,
1. The Oversized engine
2. No middle landing gear.
|White Belgua 5 on taxi.
|The "one" large engine A340!
this side looks normal!
||Saw 2 Cebu Pacific A320 takeoff
she really took everyone's breath away!
a Go Around!
can say is, nice, very nice! I am well known
to have affections on Thai.
2 returned to Toulouse.
nice surprise, Eva Air, will become
1 on climb out of Rwy 14R.
the Media Centre
Grand Stand in the morning
presenter in action.
on the hill outside of Toulouse Airport!
||Crowd on the hill outside of Toulouse Airport!|
employee on the tarmac awaiting!
||Media at mid-field awaiting!|
Airbus was kind enough to take the photographers out by bus onto the mid-field area to get a better view of the A380 takeoff. I was thrilled!
We waited there for 20 minutes, until , when the A380 appeared on the runway. The excitement, anticipation and tension all started to build. My hands and legs were also starting to shake!
Finally, at about , the first flight took place!
about 1020am, the A380 appears to the crowd!
10:29am, she starting to speed down on the runway
the point of lift off! What an impressive sight!
strongl climb out of Toulouse
crowd already went mad, cheering to the A380
a feeling! Seeing the A380 fly in reality!
a performance, and in its own class!
CEO Noel Foregeard speech after A380
successful first takeoff at the press conference.
I was speechless after seeing the A380 rotate
in front of me and take off. It
all very quiet and efficient.
The engines seemed very powerful. It
was now time to head back to
the media centre to pass on the images to the world while awaiting more briefing on the A380 and her estimated time of
return. We were informed of a possible fly-pass of the A380 at 1000 feet before she landed!
At I was back on the airfield to see the A380 returning.
At she emerged from the sky again! Welcome back!
Helicopters around the field broadcasting
live of the event!
14:15, after 3hrs 45 mins test flight, she
returned! And the crowd went mad!!!!!
Around/Fly pass at 1000 feet!
view that can see all the main gears on the
nice and unusual angle!
|An nice and unusual angle!||Banking
away from the airport for final arrival!
chase plane with the A380 together!
|The chase plane with the A380 together!||Final
landing at 14:25!
arrived with the small chase plane on top,
compare the sizes!
on the runway to slow down!
from any angles!
construction workers also stopped working to
see her taxi pass!
clean side view of the A380 F-WWOW
and the Toulouse control tower!
landing she taxied arond the whole airport to
salute to the crowd!
nose front on shot.
body and landing gears!
on look, note the very wide wingspan!
||Launch carriers of A380 prioudly displayed!|
After a spectacular fly-pass at 1000 feet and returning for landing, she taxied around the whole field to acknowledge the crowd. Her crew brought her slowly to a stop in front of the media grand stand and the stage for a celebration.
to the stand, brief with the media and guest!
pilot Claude Lelaie recording the
says it all!
come the crew!
crew! 3 pilots and 3 enginners!
CEO came up to congratulate the pilots!
to the crowd! Flawless first flight!
on the stage!
Airbus test pilot Claude Lelaie
the stage, the people to the Megajumbo!
the flight and process to the media!
and their family posting in front!
family in front of the A380 he piloted.
the A380 left alone on display in front!
The test pilot gave the guests and media a
good briefing: The flight took off with about 420 tons,
which already exceeded the MTOW that a B747
can handle. The 2nd test flight will go up to 560 tons
in weight! They believe this plane has huge potential, and
is also extremely comfortable and easy to handle, "like a bicycle". The first flight met all
targets and was said to be flawless! After 10+ years of a dream
from a bare artist's conception to building it to today's
first flight, it is truly remarkable!
I was very fortunate that BBC Radio contacted me via email and did a live interview with me on their program Europe Today. They asked me how I felt about seeing the A380 take off and if it was worth coming all the way to
I was totally overwhelmed, even after the ceremony, dazzled by the sheer size of the A380 and feeling her great potential. It’s clear that a new era of commercial aviation travel has begun with the A380’s first flight! I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend the first flight ceremony in brilliant weather. I couldn't have asked for better, and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was my best career project to date. To sum up the event, as the CEO of Airbus said, "Today is
I went to celebrate with friends that night with some gourmet French food and they showed me the city of