back to article Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

The A380 may be able to haul hundreds of people across oceans and continents in considerable comfort, but aerosexuals* find it hard to love on aesthetic grounds. And now Airbus has signalled it intends to make even uglier planes next year. You'll need to be a very dedicated aviation enthusiast to see the new ugly birds, …

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Alien

Re: Ugly, beautyful or purposeful.@James Hughes 1

You mean the Spruce Goose? Built by the guy that also designed Jane Russell's bra? This impressed him so much, he refused to cut his fingernails anymore!

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Re: Ugly, beautyful or fallacious

For me the most beautiful aeroplane will always be the Hawker Hunter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Hunter

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Re: The A380 is not ugly!

Presumably in much the same way that bricks don't ?

Bricks fly if enough thrust is provided, look at F-4 for instance.

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"English Electric Lightning."

One of the ugliest plane ever.

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Re: The A380 is not ugly!

Bricks can fly, it all depends the the size of the engine!

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Re: "Oh, and F4 Phantom FTW for modern."

F-104 Starfighter - I recall that the only "airplane" with a worse glide ratio was the Space Shuttle. Was it 1:3? I recall that they used starfighters with wheels down as escorts on early landings of the shuttle. It was the only plane that could fly both fast enough and badly enough to stay with it.

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Anonymous Coward

Meanwhile....

The heads of various low cost airlines are salivating at the thought of packing 1000+ plebs into one of these and sending them off on their holidays.

Standing room only, no windows or loos. What is there not to like about it?

Only needs three crew and one runway slot at each end. V. cheap to operate.

Only need one flight a day to the costas.

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Re: Meanwhile....

If you could safely sedate people without side effects/complications I always thought that would be the best way to fly long haul.

Turn up at airport, check bags in, get put to sleep, wake up in receivers lounge, customs, bag collection (which've been unloaded before you wake).

Goodbye queues, waiting to sit down, sitting down for hours, more queues - plus, not much worry on terrorists if everyone's asleep, cut down cost of cabin crew, stack people in three/four high strapped into beds.

Certainly make my return trips home to the UK from Australia better than spending a day flying and queuing...

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Need enough cabin crew to shove self-loading-cargo out the doors

Anecdotally that's what stops Ryanair from squeezing a few more seats in: They'd then need another trolley-dolly to help hurl SLC out in an emergency. Remove those pesky safety requirements and you can stack them like firewood...

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Re: Meanwhile....

Sampler, have you recently been watching The Fifth Element?

Multipass!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Meanwhile....

> Turn up at airport, check bags in, get put to sleep, wake up in receivers lounge, customs, bag collection (which've been unloaded before you wake).

Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

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Re: Meanwhile....

Hmmm, I've often sedated myself FOR the flight (particularly when some airlines used to provide free booze non-stop) but would like to be awake to ensure I got to the right destination. It's bad enough when your baggage ends up in Banff...

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Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

I wouldn't trust the TSA any time, they have somehow managed to ensure every suitcase can be opened without needing to break it by enforcing special keys!

You cannot buy a decent hard case without a TSA lock, so if your travelling to anywhere that isn't the USA, expect your bag to be rummaged through and anything even partially valuable stolen.

I have hard cases over 10 years old, they are very tough, I've seen evidence that someone tried to get in, but never has anyone opened them... The few times security wanted to look inside, they asked me to come open them...

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Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

I flew to the US (FRA-EWR, EWR-DEN and DEN-FRA) last November and out just before Thanksgiving. It was during the elevated terrorism alert just after the attacks in Paris.

It was my first flight to the USA.

Either people working for TSA are meticulous and pedantic to a fault and managed to pack my bag exactly as I did, or they have not opened my bag. And I haven't even locked the bag in any way -- just tied a shoelace between the two zippers so that they don't accidentally open, but nothing else.

Am I missing something?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

A bit of epoxy in the TSA lock would stop that.

Then they'd destroy the case just because they could.

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Trollface

Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

Its the good ol' "If he needs a lock on his case, he must be a terrorist! So we better check it out to make sure there's nothing inside! For evidence of course. *cough* What's that? No lock on that suitcase, nah, cant have anything valuable in it, leave it alone."

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Re: Meanwhile....

(particularly when some airlines used to provide free booze non-stop)

Some still do, I was on a BA flight to Montreal last year when we cleaned them out of gin. Had to revert to Jack Daniels, the hardship!

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Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

@ Toughluck. You were probably only missing having something dodgy looking in your bag. Just like hand luggage, check in baggage is X rayed and only opened and checked manually if the X ray check suggest further investigation is required. Often its the delay caused by manual checking that results in bags not making it on to the flight and only turning up days later. So if you want hassle free travel don't pack anything unusual in your check in bags, and always put a change of clothes and anything else essential in you hand luggage.

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Re: Meanwhile....

Would also make my fear of flying irrelevant. I would be able to see more of the world.

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Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

@Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip: Really? I was led to believe that TSA are checking each and every bag for the fun of it; because they love inconveniencing people; because they are pervy and looking for stuff to get off on or because they are jerks in general.

And you mean to tell me they're normal people that are just doing their jobs?

Unthinkable!!!!111ELEVENTYONE

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Re: Meanwhile....

Not forgetting that Michael O'Leary could then achieve his RyanAir dream of stacking passengers on top of each other like a woodpile.

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Stop

Re: Meanwhile....

> Had to revert to Jack Daniels,

Eww. As a wise man once said, the reason it's called sippin' whiskey is that only a fool would take more than a sip..

(My favourite tipple [other than red wine] is Chapter 7 from The English Whisky Company. Really, really nice).

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Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

> and always put a change of clothes and anything else essential in you hand luggage.

Even in the old pre-9/11 days I did that (well, clean underwear, spare contact lenses & fluids and spare medication).

As well as a couple of good novels.

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Re: Would you trust TSA (and other counterparts) while you're asleep?

"Just like hand luggage, check in baggage is X rayed and only opened and checked manually if the X ray check suggest further investigation is required"

Anecdotes from people within airports suggest that xrays showing "interesting" (and expensive) electronics are most likely to be targetted for "inspection".

More worryingly, TSA agents are routinely being busted for stealing from luggage AND SMUGGLING THE STOLEN GOODS OUT. Here's a big hint: If security allows that to happen then it's probably just as easy to smuggle things in.

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Silver badge

The A380 isn't ugly

NFT

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

A 380 turning flying low on approach around LHR is a pretty awesome site. I think large aircraft are more about spectacular than prettiness. Airbus 380 in flight is spectacular, hundreds of tons of metal at 200 knots, 2000 feet above the ground, masses of energy and engineering premier league awesomeness. I stop what I'm doing and watch them.

Though I think I'd stop and watch if I saw this Beluga thing too.

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

Toulouse is the place to go to see Beluga's, always a couple of them around when you land.

It's also where I saw my first A380 and I must agree with you it really is quite spectacular to see them take off or land: enormous but graceful.

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

Just as spectacular from the inside as well. I was upper deck, over the wing when I got on in Dubai and I recall looking out across an aluminium peninsular and thinking: "Bloody hell! Is that really one of our engines all the way over there?".

Some hours later, waking up to sunlight, it was like being in a cathedral in the sky. The word "enormous" seemed inadequate.

Rating: 10/10 - would fly on bloody huge plane again.

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

Or Broughton...

You see them coming over Chester humping wings about the place. Its quite awe inspiring.

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

Agree they are pleasant places to be inside. They're a lot quieter than older aircraft, at least when you're inside one, especially upstairs. Not so sure about outside: I'm a few miles from Heathrow and they're still quite loud.

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

@TeeCee,

"Just as spectacular from the inside as well. I was upper deck, over the wing when I got on in Dubai and I recall looking out across an aluminium peninsular and thinking: "Bloody hell! Is that really one of our engines all the way over there?"."

In a way this is going to guarantee that the A380 will be a long term commercial success for Airbus. Airlines such as Emirates are operating them, making good money, and have built up a very loyal customer base on the back of the A380's pleasantness (and probably the A350 will too, which is reportedly just as quiet).

My reasoning is this. If you're Emirates, and you've worked out that a lot of your profit is coming from A380 operations, and your current fleet is getting too old, what you going to do? Boeing have nothing anywhere near big enough to replace it, and laying on extra flights of smaller aircraft is not going to be as cost effective (landing costs, staff costs, maintenance costs, etc). So it'd be another A380.

We'll know for sure if Airbus ever say that the production line is closing; that might spur a lot of last minute orders all of a sudden as airlines evaluate what the replacement for their A380s might otherwise be.

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

Rating: 10/10 - would fly on bloody huge plane again.

Just don't pick the BA versions. Economy seats that make church pews seem confortable, only 2 hours into a 10 hour flight and my backside was already numb. Crappy fixed headrests that don't give you any neck support, but get in the way of the pillow anyway. And then you arrive at immigration with 400 grumpy jetlagged people in front of you. Give me small point-to-point planes over giant hub&spoke whales any time.

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Re: The A380 isn't ugly

That's why Emirates is trying to persuade Airbus to look at an A380 NEO.

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Holmes

Turn one into a passenger aircraft

Having the whole front section of the aircraft just lift up would certainly make getting off the aircraft a s*ite lot easier! No need for one at a time disembarking then!

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Re: Turn one into a passenger aircraft

Except the narrow aisles between the seats would still be there, wouldn’t they?

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Re: Turn one into a passenger aircraft

"Having the whole front section of the aircraft just lift up "

Would be a bit of a problem if that section happened to be pressurised - and somewhat of a problem in flight if it wasn't although the passengers would be quiet at any rate. (Clue: It isn't)

The AN225 is the only aircraft with a huge _pressurised_ cargo bay and if you could perfect a rapid pod (un)loader for it, it might fit the bill :)

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Re: Turn one into a passenger aircraft

C5 bay is pressurized and air conditioned. it can be used to transport troops although (iirc) not used for that often.

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Re: aerosexuals

Didn't know that, thank you El Reg! One of my friends is a planespotter and he works for Airbus at Hamburg Finkenwerder, so, once again thanks! ^-^

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Re: aerosexuals

Before I read the footnote I assumed that this referred to members of the mile high club.

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Pint

Re: aerosexuals

Shirley should be "aerophile" like Anglophile and Francophile but definitely NOT like paedophile. PP

icon 'cause it's Fridayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

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A380 ugly?

Heresy to aerosexuals, I'm sure, but they're all just big tubes with wings, right? On the ground the A380s are clearly much bigger, but in the air they're fairly indistinguishable from any large passenger plane that isn't a 747.

They are significantly quieter than some, though. And the more capacious they get the less need there is for a third runway at Heathrow. (Disclaimer: blatant NIMBY.)

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Re: A380 ugly?

Sadly the carriers (well most of them) want to operate smaller aircraft more frequently. gone are the days of one flight per day to popular destinations. 3,4 or even 5 are the norm. These all require airport space. viz,

runway slots

Apron space

Gate/airbridge/bussing

Checkin desks

Departure holding areas

etc

etc

with larger aircraft (up to a point) then a two runway EGLL would work. Perhaps they could try using the same runway for two A319/737's to take off at the same time. One from the very end, and one from halfway down.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: A380 ugly?

I've lived under the flightpath for 16R in Sydney for 10 years now and never tire of seeing aircraft go past. The A380 looks like a 6-year-old's lumpen plasticine failure. It's nicely quiet on landing but rather strident on takeoff. The few 747s still in use are far louder. The 777 is splendidly quiet. The more new-gen aircraft come into service the easier it is to live here.

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Facepalm

Re: A380 ugly?

There is a very obvious problem with Boeing's "Hub and spoke is sooo over" strategy that led to the 787.

You try working out how many flights are required to go point-to-point from everywhere to everywhere else. There's a very good reason why commercial aviation went hub and spoke in the first place (even when all planes were small ones).

Apparently Boeing still wonder why the 380 sells, having done all the research to prove that big aircraft were dead before Airbus even started the 380 project. All this shows is that you can prove black is white in a business case........

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Happy

Re: A380 ugly?

@Simon Sharwood, Is the noise not more about the number of engines, type and generation than the plane. Some sound competition in that field too, luckily. A bit fugly but not ugly.

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Coat

Re: A380 ugly?

That 'Beluga' pic would look better with a number '2' on the tails- and a dark green with yellow piping paintjob.

Mine has the keys to Fab 1 in it...

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Re: A380 ugly?

@Lars,

"Is the noise not more about the number of engines, type and generation than the plane."

I'll try and beat Simon to it!

On take off noise is all about engines.

On landing it's also significantly about the sound the air makes through the speed brakes, flaps, etc. as the aircraft tries to slow down. It'd still be bloody noisy even if the engines were off.

A lot of work has gone into quietening down airframes in landing configuration (flaps down, slats out, gear out) to help this, as well as making quiet engines.

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