Where is the very first produced Airbus A380 now?

Where is the very first produced Airbus A380 now?

The very first Superjumbo is now 18 years old. After completing its role as a prototype and test aircraft used to certify the A380 model, the aircraft has been actively involved in testing the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines for the Airbus A350.

Unfortunately, the number 1 A380 is no longer flying almost a year. Its last flight to date took place on May 20, 2022. It was almost a two hour test flight from Toulouse.

Prior to this last flight, the A380 regularly performed test flights from the Airbus group's base in Toulouse. Perhaps not very often, but he took to the skies at least a few times a month. During the first few months of 2022, he was seen at the former airbase, and today the small international airport of Chalons-Vatry in France, in Birmingham,  in Nice on the Cote d'Azur and at Monastir Habib Bourguiba Airport in Tunisia.

< p>Already in December 2022, the first ever A380 was parked in Toulouse without engines. Experts believe that the lack of power plants is due to the fact that Airbus is preparing the liner to test the hydrogen engine — it was announced in early 2022.

«A380 — obvious choice as a “host” for demonstrating a hydrogen fuel cell engine, — according to an Airbus press release dated November 2022. It has a number of undeniable advantages over other candidates: sufficient interior space and stable aerodynamics for this kind of test.

“There is enough space inside, so there are no restrictions in terms of accommodating everything that is needed, besides it is possible to test several configurations», — continue to Airbus. And this A380 is already fully equipped with flight test equipment, which “becomes a major factor in terms of cost and planning.”

A380 number 1 will undergo minimal structural changes inside, and only two frames will need to be strengthened aircraft to install an external gimbal for a test engine.

In general, it looks like the legend will be on the ground for a few more years, as Airbus plans to begin test flights of a modified A380 by 2026. All these developments and tests are aimed at achieving the main goal of Airbus — to create an airliner with zero emissions, the full-fledged flights of which are promised to open in 2035.

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