The super-massive Airbus A380 has had another run in with a stationary object, but this time it was a building at Le Bourget Airport on the eve of the Paris Air Show rather than a commuter jet. Still, the taxiway incident, in which the A380’s right wingtip was sheared off on June 19 as it cut into a Le Bourget Airport building, was eerily reminiscent of an incident at JFK in April. In that made-for-YouTube-episode, an Air France A380’s wing was seen clipping the tail of a Bombardier regional jet and spinning the smaller airplane a full 90-degrees.
Nobody was hurt in either incident, but the mishaps prove what many detractors predicted when the Airbus super-jumbo jet entered service in 2007: the A380 is simply too big to safely maneuver at many airports.
That was certainly the case at Le Bourget on Sunday. Cleared onto Taxiway Victor, the A380 was rolling on the centerline when it ran afoul with a building owned by Aeroports de Paris. In a statement, Airbus explained that its A380 demonstrator’s wingtip had “touched” a building at the show site. Perhaps there was some error in translation from French to English, because photos of the incident clearly show the A380’s wingtip deeply dug into the building just below its roofline. The event prompted a reader to quip on Flying’s Facebook page, “The A380 Death Star claims another victim.”
Korean Air allowed Airbus to perform in the Paris flying display with one of its A380s, at the show to feature a new interior. That airplane fared better while taxiing, but still barely cleared an observation deck near the aircraft parking area.