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Watching a Miracle Skyward

A 380Watching a Miracle Skyward

I caught just a slice of her as we drove into the Houston airport the other day. The tail was higher than the airport buildings. Big yellow bird insignia – Lufthansa. I’m not sure if any North American airlines have bought the A 380 – just a few of the long haul Europeans, Emirates and Singapore.
Once inside security, and with time to spare before departure, I beat a path to gate D14 to have an up close look.
She ain’t pretty, kind of stubby and thick – chunky. I don’t think the biggest in the world – I think the new Antonov 6 engine cargo plane has it beat by a bit. I’ll look it up. [I did – it’s 587 metric tonnes]

But huge and weighty! Two stories, that’s the big innovation, so you have to have a 2 story boarding gate to accommodate the 550 people you stash on board. 18 rear wheels on the ground as they pushed her back and swung her around. Those are people you see just under the nose by the push tractor. Dots!

Then the boys in charge fired her up and went through their pre-flight. To see those great elevators flip up and down, the tail fin yaw from side to side – must be some actuators to have something that scale react that quick.

Took their time after they’d taxied to “position and hold” [or as air traffic now calls it “line up and wait”]. But finally the lights were all green and they spooled up those giant air-gulpers.

A ponderous trundle down 26R and, wonder of wonders, the nose wheel rises followed by the whole damn monster. Seemed to just hang in the air, but then they got an “immediate right turn” clearance and the behemoth, with seemingly nothing between it and the ground, dipped a wing and majestically rounded off toward Frankfurt.
Well, that’s a thrill for an boy who never lost his reverence for aircraft. It’s just a jawdropping testament to the power of humans to imagine and build the astounding. It’s not that we can’t do it – it’s just that so many limiters get in the way. We can do way more that we are allowed to pull off.
But when it all comes together, wonders can be created. And appreciated!

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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