Moments after emerging from the cockpit of the A380 after its successful first flight, chief test pilot Jacques Rosay said flying the world’s biggest passenger jet had been “like handling a bicycle.”
As captain for the take-off and the initial part of the test flight, he lavished praise on the aircraft for its performance: “This aircraft is very, very easy to fly. Any Airbus pilot will feel immediately at ease with this aircraft, a pure member of the Airbus family.”
He described the take-off as “totally perfect” and paid tribute to the Airbus designers and the customer pilots who worked together to design the cockpit. “The cockpit makes the work for the crew easier and safer. It’s an excellent cockpit – and an excellent aircraft.”
Other members of the flight test crew also praised the aircraft’s performance. Claude Lelaie, senior vice president flight division at Airbus, who took over the captaincy for the second part of the test flight including the landing, said: “It was a great pleasure to perform this first flight on this marvellous aircraft.”
Fernando Alonso, chief flight test engineer and vice president flight test division, said the A380’s take-off weight for the first flight, at 421 tonnes, was the greatest take-off weight of any aircraft in the world. “In terms of systems everything worked fine,” he said. “It’s an extremely comfortable aircraft.”
Noël Forgeard, Airbus president and CEO, said he and Charles Champion, executive vice president for the A380 programme, were “extremely proud of everyone who made this happen”.