HAMBURG, GERMANY – Three years ago – on December 13, 2017 – Airbus A380 test pilots were getting into the Christmas spirit by ‘drawing’ a giant Christmas tree on a flightpath in the sky over Germany and Denmark during a test flight. This was only to be seen on radar, as you can watch in the next flightradar24 video by Jerry Taha Aviation. Who could have thought at that time that the mighty A380 Super Jumbo would have been almost completely retired worldwide within 3 years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to aircraft with only two engines, which are also more fuel-efficient.
Creating the Christmas tree in the sky
The A380 took off from Hamburg Airport in Germany at 11:45 AM local time on December 13, 2017 to do the 5 hour test flight and arrived back into the same airport at 5:07 PM. The outline of the flightpath at 41,000 ft was shared by flightradar24 – a real time air traffic tracking site. The Christmas tree was rendered in several colors, reflecting the A380’s varying altitudes.The tree – complete with decorations – stretched for hundreds of miles from Hamburg in the north to Stuttgart in the south of Germany, where the trunk of the tree was formed. After the testpilots finished their Christmas tree, the A380 headed towards northern Denmark to create the Christmas tree top, before returning to Hamburg Airport in Germany. The tree was almost perfect, except for that one odd round branch on the left side of the tree. Nevertheless, the pilots created something really special during the Christmas season.
Airbus’ test flights
An Airbus spokesperson explained that it was a normal internal test flight, before the delivery of a new aircraft. “There are hundreds of these flights every year. They take off and land at the Airbus Airport in Hamburg, but the routing of these flights are flexible. Thanks to the co-operation of the air traffic controllers of Eurocontrol and DFS, it was possible to fly that Christmas tree flight path,“ the spokesperson said. It was the idea of test pilots and engineers – an Airbus greeting to all aviation fans during this Christmas season.
(Head image: © flightradar24)
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