Did you read that Airbus is going to land an A380 at Bradley? Maybe you don’t care. But for serious aviation enthusiasts – binocular-wearing, plane-spotting aerogeeks – this is a major event. People from all around the country are already plotting to be there.
I would have to know 100 times more about aviation to consider myself a true aerogeek. These guys – and they are almost all guys – know their stuff. But I sure would like to see that jet. I’m a fan of big metal, and metal doesn’t get bigger than this.
The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger jet in the world, a four-engine double-decker that can be configured to carry more than 800 people. So far, though, most airlines that have ordered them seem to be opting for luxurious seating in first and business classes that cuts the total seat count down to 500 or 600. Each A380 will cost about $275 million.
The A380 that will come to Bradley on Oct. 2 won’t have any passenger seats at all. It’s one of two test-flight A380 aircraft that are on demonstration tours. One has Rolls Royce engines, but the other – the one that is coming to Bradley – is powered by engines manufactured by a consortium that includes East Hartf0rd-based Pratt & Whitney. Hence the stop in Connecticut.
Airbus plans to deliver the first A380 for commercial service to Singapore Airlines in October.
The A380 is one of those projects that has gone way over budget and way behind schedule. It has also been challenged by Boeing’s very popular new 787 "Dreamliner," a smaller, lighter, less expensive jet scheduled to start deliveries next year. At last count, Boeing had 683 orders for 787s, compared with 173 for the A380.
But that’s all about economics. Plane spotting is all about aesthetics. And, damn, but that’s an impressive hunk of metal: