The A380, largest airliner ever built, made its maiden flight today. What's to say? It was designed and tested in computer simulation, and flew as it was designed to. The chief test pilot described the take-off as "perfect" and defined the aircraft, based on its handling characterists, as "a true member of the Airbus family." He also said it was like "handling a bicycle." Maybe he means like the bicycles in the movie E.T.
Another year of testing stretches ahead, involving five A380s. At least one of them is expected to come to northern Canada next winter in order to discover whether it breaks in half at arctic temperatures. I had a bicycle once that had a chain guard made out of plastic and it shattered one winter morning when my boot hit it on the way to school. Designed in California, or somewhere where it never occurred to the engineers that it might be used when the weather was twenty below. I want a picture of the massive double-decker A380 taxiing in at Yellowknife, past Buffalo's DC-3s.