Airbus brought its A380 to the north-central U.S. city of Milwaukee today on a stopover before its starring role at this week's 2009 AirVenture Oshkosh gathering in Wisconsin - which is one of the world's largest aviation events.
Completing the 3,800 naut. mile trip from Airbus' Toulouse, France headquarters, the A380 made a smooth afternoon touchdown on Runway 19R at Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport after a flight of 8 hr., 40 min.
Milwaukee is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, and its airport is a growing medium-hub facility that serves the state of Wisconsin, the northern Chicago area, and part of America's Great Lakes Region.
"Not too many years ago, we handled fewer than six million passengers annually here, while last year - when most airports across the country had stagnant traffic or experienced a drop-off - General Mitchell International Airport logged nearly eight million passengers," said Scott Walker, the County Executive for the airport's home district. "So we are pleased to have the A380 here today for what it represents in air travel, and hope to welcome it back in the future."
The aircraft - which is one of two flight test and development A380s utilised by Airbus - received a warm welcome on its Milwaukee stopover. Local, state and federal government representatives met the aircraft, while aviation enthusiasts and airport employees used vantage points atop the airport's six-storey parking garage, on terminal rooftops and along the runway approach to watch its arrival.
Aboard the A380 were Airbus flight test team members, support personnel, company managers and Airbus President and CEO Thomas Enders - all of whom will be attending the AirVenture Oshkosh event this week. After its overnight stay at Milwaukee, the aircraft will fly tomorrow to the AirVenture venue at Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport, where it will remain through Friday afternoon.
AirVenture attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, along with some 10,000 aircraft of all types. For the A380's appearance this year's AirVenture, Airbus is allowing the first-ever self-guided public tours of the aircraft's interior - and the company's week-long presence also will include presentations by programme officials and flight crew.
"The A380 represents the next step in air transportation for a generation that values its environment," Enders said in planeside comments at Milwaukee. "We have decided to open the A380 for such unprecedented access because we want the U.S. public to experience our flagship jetliner firsthand."
-ends- The A380 is Readied for its Participation in America's Renowned AirVenture Oshkosh Aviation Event