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Thu, Mar 22, 2007

A380s Head Home Following US Proving Flights

But They'll Be Back... As Soon As Sunday

They're now heading home... but judging by the crowds of fervent planewatchers and curious bystanders alike who clogged streets around New York's JFK International and Los Angeles International Airport this week to witness the arrival of 555-passenger, double-deck Airbus A380 on US shores, it's safe to say the massive airliner created quite a stir across the US this week.

As ANN reported, a Lufthansa A380 landed at JFK Monday morning, followed a short time later by a second A380's touchdown on the other side of the country, at LAX.

Despite the best efforts by Airbus to have both planes land simultaneously -- thus easing protests that LAX got gypped out of its original agreement with Airbus to host the first A380 landing -- the west coast plane touched down about 15 minutes after the JFK plane. Those holding patterns can be a pain.

Both aircraft were in the US for the first time for a series of route-proving exercises. First delivery of the A380 is slated for October 2007 to Singapore Airlines.

After a visit to Chicago to display the plane to interested customers at O'Hare, the fully-outfitted Lufthansa A380 departed JFK Wednesday evening. The plane will make a return visit to the US Sunday night, however. The LAX A380 -- a stripped-down test model lacking an interior -- departed the day before, bound for Toulouse, France.

On March 26, Washington Dulles International Airport will host a group of invited guests in a tour and demonstration flight of the Lufthansa A380 around the Washington area.

What Happened At LAX?

ANN received several emails from curious readers who watched video of the A380 land at LAX -- an arrival accompanied by prodigious white smoke from the 22 mainwheels, and a decided swerve to starboard as the nosewheel touched down. As best we've been able to ascertain, it appears the landing was not indicative of any problem with the superjumbo -- but rather simply a less-than-ideal landing by the Airbus test pilot at the controls, who perhaps had a bit too much right rudder in on touchdown.

Alas, that landing will be forever immortalized on video (yes, it's on YouTube). Think about that, the next time you beat yourself up for that hard arrival in your Bonanza or Skyhawk...

FMI: www.airbus.com

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