Airbus A380 Makes Historic Maiden Flight

Airbus A380 Makes Historic Maiden Flight (AP)

The world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, successfully took off on its maiden flight Wednesday, a milestone for aviation and for the European aircraft-maker’s battle with American rival Boeing Co. The giant plane’s four engines hauled its double-decked, 308-ton fuselage aloft at 10:29 a.m., an achievement watched by thousands of spectators 101 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.


The flight capped 11 years of preparation and $13 billion in spending. Spectators camped out by the airport to be there for what some said was Europe’s biggest aviation event since the first flight of the supersonic Concorde in 1969. The A380, with a catalogue price of $282 million, represents a huge bet by Airbus that international airlines will need bigger aircraft to transport passengers between ever-busier hub airports.

But some analysts say signs of a boom in the market for smaller wide-body planes, such as Boeing’s long-range 787 “Dreamliner,” show that Airbus was wrong to focus so much time and money on its superjumbo.

A superb engineering achievement, regardless of the economic viability.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    The A380 is not the heaviest airplane to fly. I believe that honor goes to the Antonov 225. It was designed to carry the Soviet Buran shuttle. According to its max takeoff weight was 600,000 kg. The A380’s max takeoff weight is 590,000 kg. I had a chance to go inside the An 225 a fews years ago and its cargo hold is HUGE.

  2. surffreak says:

    Nobody said ” the biggest plane” but “the biggest airliner”. And it’s indeed the biggest airliner up to now.