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How Do You Build an A380?

There’s a fantastic article in the WSJ today looking at how Airbus will build the A380. The plane is so big that they can’t ship its parts on an airplane. That’s big.

For those of you without access, this is the most interesting section:

The massive wings and fuselage sections — some of which stand four stories tall and weigh more than 100 tons — will travel by sea on a custom-built ferry. They then will move along a river on barges that can lower themselves several feet in the water in order to dip beneath a Napoleonic stone bridge, and finally down roads on tractor-trailers with self-leveling hydraulic suspension. The barges navigate using electronics similar to an airplane’s autopilot guidance equipment, while the trucks orient themselves with Global Positioning System satellites. The trailers carrying A380 wings, which are half the length of a football field, were tested in a wind tunnel because an unexpected strong gust might toss an entire vehicle off the road.

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