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How Ikea inspired a 'flat pack' Airbus A380 cockpit

By David Flynn     Filed under: Airbus A380

Aprils 27th marks the 10th anniversary of the first flight of the Airbus A380, the world's largest commercial jet.

It's a marvel of modern engineering – a double-deck behemoth weighing as much as 575 metric tons, capable of flying almost 500 passengers over 13,000 kilometres (around 8,000 miles), a feat it performs on Qantas' Sydney-Dallas A380 service.

But in the early stages of the superjumbo's development, Airbus engineers turned to Ikea for inspiration.

With the A380 demanding a raft of new technologies and innovations, especially on the flightdeck, Airbus needed a way to quickly build and trial each concept.

The result: a "flat-pack cockpit kit", based on Ikea's ready-to-assemble furniture.

Although looking more like the basement project of an aviation enthusiast with a bit too much time and money on their hands, it led directly to the final cockpit which is the 'office' of hundreds of A380 pilots from the 13 airlines flying the superjmbo.

Also read: Take a ride in the Emirates Airbus A380 flight simulator

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 18/4/15 by Serg

For me that "office" looks like anything, but pilot seat. As uninspired as all Ikea stuff.

1 on 20/4/15 by Viscount

What do you want,a crystal chandelier hanging centrally over the pilots? -)🚬

1 on 20/4/15 by Serg

There was (and is) plenty of controversy about Airbus decision to use joysticks instead of traditional yoke for example. This alone takes away “connection” with aircraft and make whole experience as flying MS Flight Simulator. And while I as a passenger do prefer some Airbus offering over Boeing ones (A330 vs 767 probably most noticeable example), Airbus planes never excite me aesthetically from outside. IMHO A380 is indeed pinnacle of ugly design -  worst looking aircraft ever enter production and story continues inside cockpit. You welcome to have opposite opinion.

1 on 26/4/15 by John

Dumbing it down for the Airlines to have some argument that Pilots have less "piloting" to do these days and more of a systems-control job. 

You're right, it isn't a pretty plane but Form follows function, and it's about making it work within the confine of airport gate setups, airstrips and take off weight. 

Airbus has refused to develop the A380 with double width doors for Chinese airlines demanding this. Being the major choke point slowing down the embarkation / disembarkation process. There WILL be a A380 sized Chinese commercial aircraft within 10 years. 850-900 pax. It won't be a pretty sight inside or out!

2 on 20/4/15 by cdinoz

In the mock up... did Airbus nip down the road to Ford and steal a drivers chair from a Mondeo?

1 on 20/4/15 by Viscount

What do you want,a Mondeo Ghia seat!!!!!?


Just joking. 🚬(:

1 on 20/4/15 by cdinoz

Thats not a Ghia seat. I'd say more the LX model...



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