“I (heart) A380”

People in the aviation business have a warped sense of humor (except for one aerospace company, apparently, which could be characterized as the Grinch of Aerospace).

At the Paris Air Show, Airbus planned a big roll-out of its new A380 promotion.

Airbus image

But it didn’t quite work out that way.

Thanks to a Le Bourget ground controller sending the A380 down the wrong taxi-way on the Sunday arrival of the aircraft, the freshly painted A380 wingtip clipped a building (leased by Embraer), shearing off the wing fence and requiring repairs. The “house” A380 couldn’t perform its air show aerobatics on Monday and Tuesday.

Nobody was hurt, except perhaps some pride and egos.

A fresh A380 yet to be delivered to Korean Air Lines filled in, giving Airbus the A380 air show performance it wanted and KAL millions of dollars of free, global publicity.

But it was an embarrassing start to the air show. An Airbus official was quoted as saying Airbus started off the show on its left foot. Hey! We’re left-handed and left-footed, and accordingly we’re in our right mind. (Go figure that one out.)

Flight International’s editors couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a little fun at Airbus’ expense. For its Monday show daily, here is part of the front page.

This is one of the cleverest parodies we’ve seen–and total indicative of the industry’s warped sense of humor.


12 Comments on ““I (heart) A380”

  1. What you fail to mention is that the Airbus teams worked hard to get the aircraft back to Le Bourget as fast as possible.

    The aircraft was back from Toulouse on the wednesday at the Airshow. I actually believe this is quite a feat, and good publicity.

    And again, the Le Bourget organizers/controller should be embarassed, not Airbus.

  2. I don’t see why anyone would blame Airbus for that incident. IIRC, the airplane was actually under tow when the wingtip hit the building.

    • I don’t think anybody “blames” Airbus per se but even if it wasn’t their fault, it is disappointing and embarassing, especially with all of the pictures that were published of the event.
      Fortunately nobody got hurt, the damage wasn’t too great (both physically and publicity wise) and Korean Air got some inexpensive publicity.

  3. A classic pun from Flights, Le Bourget daily rag, with its first rate editorial team & a lovely illustration of the British sense of humour.

    Someone certainly needs their wrists slapped over this gaff.

  4. Further this incident highlighted to facts:
    – the wingtip is merely a piece of plastic bolted on the real wing, it is no real structural item. Therefore replacement is very easy. This is true for all wing tips, either Airbus or Boeing.
    – the airshow display of the A380, which I find rather impressive, can be flown by any aircraft off the line, no special preparations are necessary. Experts know that the maneuvers flown in these displays are not extraordinarily difficult or dangerous, still interesting to note that you pull out that performance out of any Airbus (the flight control laws of the A380 or only slightly different than those of the A320).

  5. The story goes that the pilots asked the controllers twice if they had been given the correct instructions, as the taxiway was known to be too narrow. They were assured… At least Airbus got a bit of PR out of it by bringing it back so quickly.
    The KAL A380 flight display looked excellent.

  6. For a final touch of parody a trail of red airbus wingtip fences (which are heart shaped) flowing in the wake of the A380…

  7. Trial and failure at humor aside, does anyone have an idea who this aerospace industry grinch is?

  8. Maybe customers somehow found Airbus’ hard luck heartbreaking.
    How else would you explain that Airbus sold twelve A380 aircraft during the show ?
    At times negative advertisement can yield positive results …

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