11:34 PM


Headlines around the world today are shouting that the Airbus A380 “passed” a crucial evacuation test held on the grounds of the company's production site in the northern German city of Hamburg.

You’ve seen the photos of the behemoth superjumbo, now imagine what the ride might be like as you careen nearly 30 feet down the evac slide with 872 other dudes following you out of the cabin. If the pile-up at the bottom doesn’t kill you, the friction on the way down might at least fry your tail:

In the simulated emergency, 873 people were able to exit the Airbus A-380 super-jumbo in 80 seconds, 10 seconds less than required. However, one man broke his leg and 32 other people suffered minor injuries. An Airbus spokesman says some people suffered friction burns while sliding down the escape ramps.
It just seems odd that the company’s “spin” calls 32 people who volunteer to injure themselves in the name of aviation research a success. You know, when I think about it, ZERO seems like a great number to show that the plane “passed” the test.

This was a crucial test for the Goliath three-eighty in order to receive certification by European and U.S. authorities in time for delivery by the end of 2006. So far, 159 planes of the super-sized double-decker (which also is available as a freighter model) have been ordered, which is good considering it cost Airbus nearly $15 billion to develop. That might explain the flowery report, eh?

Airbus might want to ask the guy who broke his arm about the Spin Doctor version of the test results. And if you need to evac a three-eighty any time soon, I recommend timing your exit to be the last guy out the door, so there is a nice soft pile of tourists to land on.

And that seat cushion which doubles as a floatation device? It can be lubed up with the Merlot found in the beverage cart to slide quite nicely on those mondo inflatable slides.


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