April 27, 2005
In the skies over southeastern France, the largest-ever passenger plane made its first flight. The 308-ton (279.4-metric ton), double-decked Airbus A380 — with a length of 238 feet and seven inches (72.7 meters) and a wingspan of 261 feet and eight inches (79.8 meters) — made it back to Toulouse Blagnac International Airport three hours and 54 minutes after the flight had been initated there.
There was a six-person crew on board for this maiden flight. The flight was jointly captained by Claude Lelaie, senior vice president of Airbus’s flight division; and Jacques Rosay, chief test pilot for that multinational aerospace corporation.
The Associated Press reported, “About 30,000 spectators watched the white plane with blue tail take off and touch down, 101 years after the Wright brothers achieved the first controlled, sustained flight.” Those spectators included 60-year-old plumber Jean-Claude Antoine. “There is nothing comparable to this in the universe,” he said in describing the flight he had witnessed. Rosay, who piloted the Airbus A380 during that inaugural takeoff, highlighted the relative ease of the trial run by noting that the plane behaved “immaculately” and that “you handle it like you handle a bicycle.”
Photo Credit: Public Domain
For more information on the first flight of the Airbus A380, please check out https://airwaysmag.com/first-flight-airbus-a380/ and https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1862984/Video-Airbus-A380-flies-Toulouse-flight-2007.html