British Airways A380 with two training flights per day from Manston exciting the plane spotters

Manston airport has finally got some traffic, even if it is only the BA Airbus A380 doing several training flights per day. Plane spotters are getting very excited about the fact that several times per day they can see the A380 take off and land.  It leaves Manston each morning at around 7am,goes to a mall airfield east of Paris, before taking off and landing again at Chateauroux airport some 80 miles south of Paris, and then coming back to Kent between 11.15 am and noon.  And then the whole thing again starting at 2pm and getting back between 6.15m and 7pm. The training is due to last till September, when the first BA A380s enter service. Pilots are being trained, and also cabin crew. Anyone interested in tracking the A380 at Manston can do so via a number of apps, including flightradar 24. The flight number is BA380.  Some activity at Manston at last. 

The article below from the local press reads like an advertisement for BA and its new plane.  Pure advertorial……

How you can see giant of skies as British Airways’ first Airbus A380 begins training flights over Kent

by Mary Louis (Kent Online)
She is the length of two blue whales, as tall as five giraffes, weighs 589tons and is causing a huge amount of attention as she circles in the skies above Kent.
Training flights on British Airways’ first Airbus A380 have started in earnest after the super plane’s arrival at Manston Airport on Monday.
A distinctive, but unmistakable, roar of her four Rolls Royce engines is already drawing many people outdoors to look skyward.
They are treated to a spectacular view of the A380’s dark blue underbelly at relatively low heights following her local take-off and landing on two daily flights.
Plane-spotters can look out for the A380 – which costs £264million and is the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft – leaving Manston every morning at around 7am, returning between 11.15am and noon.
She will then depart again at 2pm, getting back between 6.15pm and 7pm.
Her route over the Kent coast takes her across the English Channel to France.There the A380 lands at a small airfield east of Paris, before taking off and landing again at Chateau Roux airport north of the French city and coming back to Kent.
The comings and goings of this spectacular “monster” of a plane will continue until the end of July, including weekends. They are all the more awesome for being incongruously quiet despite her awesome specifications.
The A380 can carry 469 passengers over two decks with four cabins, is 238ft (72.7m) long, 79ft (24.1m) high and 261ft (79.8m) wide.
Each A380 has more than 310 miles of wiring. The plane is rated as producing a quarter of the noise level of the Boeing 747 when landing.
It also produces 10% fewer nitrogen oxide emissions and is 16% more fuel efficient than the aircraft it replaces.
The A380’s to-ing and fro-ing is also accounting for other phenomena: plane-spotters parked off road around Manston – binoculars and longlenses at the ready, and great Twitter activity.
The Kent international airport has been chosen by BA for training because of the accessible, capacious runway. It is 2,752m long and 61m wide.
The training programme has demanded six months of extensive planning.
Seventy five senior BA pilots, all captains, will be training at Manston. They are all extremely experienced with at least 10,000 hours flying time each, and drawn from other BA fleets at British airports.
Their conversion from BA’s existing fleet to the A380 has involved using a £10million state-of-the-art, high-tech static simulator at Heathrow.
It is owned uniquely in the UK by BA and uses large screens and computer graphics to give a virtual flying experience.
The Manston training is the final stage of pilot’s preparations before BA’s new fleet of A380s goes into service on longhaul flights in September.
BA cabin crew will also be training at Manston. Their focus will be on safety equipment and procedures, as they familiarise themselves with the cabin and the A380’s distinctive layout and equipment, with airborne time on the Manston flights too.
BA spokesman Amanda Allan said: “Because this is a much bigger aircraft than others in the fleet, it enables them to see and experience how it all physically works out. It is a really critical part of the preparation before we go into service, it takes huge planning.”
Taking off and landing practice is particularly important to meet the Civil Aviation Authority’s stringent requirements.
BA is the first UK carrier to take delivery of the double-decker.
Today the A380 is flying between Manston and France. In September the real business will start with A380 flights from Heathrow to LA and Hong Kong with return prices starting at £621 and £688 respectively for return tickets.
BA has ordered 12 British-engineered A380s to arrive by 2016.
Anyone interested in tracking the A380 at Manston can do so via a number of apps, including flightradar 24. The flight number is BA380.


A local resident commented:

The A280 is quiet in comparison to the usual freight crates we get over, but noisy enough to still cause a nuisance.  It’s like comparing a kick in the groin to a punch on the face. You don’t want either, but you know which one you’d choose if you had to pick one.


Manston Airport Hosts new British Airways Aircraft for Training Flights

June 14, 2013       British Airways has chosen Manston  as a base for its entry into service programme for the new Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.The A380 will be based at Manston this summer while the pilots undergo flying training and the cabin crew carry out familiarisation visits.

Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston Airport, said: “This contract is the culmination of months of hard work so we are thrilled that the UK’s leading airline has shown confidence in Manston’s capabilities.  I am very proud that we will be playing our part in bringing such fantastic aircraft into service.”

Once the A380 training is complete, the airline’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner will also make its way to Manston for part of its ‘entry into service’ programme.