A380 Oshkosh Visit Details

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Airbus and AirVenture officials say they've done the math and they can barely squeeze the world's largest airliner into Wittman Regional Airport for its first air show appearance in North America. The A380 will arrive in Milwaukee on July 27 for customs clearance and crew rest and take off for Oshkosh the next day for a planned arrival at 3 p.m. The aircraft will do a seven-minute flight display before setting up for landing on Runway 36. In a web conference Friday, Airbus test pilot Terry Lutz said that while the 8,000X150 runway is plenty for the A380, there's only one taxiway that will accommodate the aircraft, although, happily, it's the one that leads to Aeroshell Square. That gives the crew about 5,500 feet before the turnoff, which Lutz said will be plenty, even with a 10-knot tailwind. The aircraft that's coming is a test plane and will land at about 720,000 lbs, about 60 percent of its maximum weight.

It's after landing that things get interesting. EAA had to bring in a tug from JFK in New York to pull the plane into place. The tug driver has one shot to get the plane positioned correctly. Lutz said the wingspan of the A380 is exactly one foot less than the width of the ramp. It will share the pavement with WhiteKnightTwo. The plane will be on static display until Friday and open for tours. Those who brave the inevitable lines will enter the lower deck and walk the full length of the upper deck. Information posters will point out interesting features and Lutz noted that since this is a test plane there are test instruments, ballast tanks and other non-standard items on board. "There's virtually no interior," he said meaning sections of the structure are exposed allowing people to see how it's put together. No cockpit tours will be done because they take too long and the goal is to put 1,200 people an hour through the aircraft. That means about 18,000 people will get the chance to go through. The plane will do a departure show on Friday before heading back to Milwaukee and eventually on to Toulouse.