Sunday, January 25, 2009

Now that's a beeg plane!

This caught my eye, the biggest commercial jet plane in the world, the Airbus A-380. Quantas Air flies them mainly West Coast to and from Australia. It is so large that Los Angeles Airport (LAX) must stop all plane and ground transportation movements when one approaches or takes off. The local LAX officials like the business but treat the A380 as a royal pain because the wing span intrudes into all of the FAA safety zones.

Four Rolls Royce turbo-fans each output 70,000 foot-pounds of thrust and share a 80,000 fuel tank system. These engines are so large they required special sound dampening controls, or the passengers and crew would go deaf on a take-off. It creates such a turbulent wake effect that other planes must stay at least 10 miles away from it - smaller planes even further away.

Need to hit the restroom or make a fast destination when you've landed? With 500 to 800 passengers, the aircraft takes over 45 minutes to unload unless a third gate is added. Other US airports are looking to allow the A380 to land there (Kennedy does already), but the expense for taxiways and terminals is over 100 million dollars.

Ah, now that's living large, huh? I wonder if Sandy Feet rode one of those to Aussie Land or not.

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