An A380 visits Vancouver
Airbus' new behemoth was on proving flight
By JAMES WALLACE
P-I AEROSPACE REPORTER
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Steven Halinen was supposed to be in school Wednesday, but instead he abandoned his college classes to brave lousy weather and watch what will soon be the world's biggest commercial jetliner make a brief stop at the Vancouver International Airport.
Dawn was breaking as the double-decker A380, which will carry about 100 more passengers than a 747 in most airline configurations, approached the airport from the north over the Strait of Georgia after a flight of 14 hours and 25 minutes across the Pacific from Sydney, Australia.
"Oh, man, just look at that thing. It's huge," said Halinen, an airplane buff and would-be pilot who hopes to make a career in aviation management after he graduates from University College of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C.
The A380 left around 4:30 p.m. for its return via the North Pole to Toulouse, France, the home of Airbus.
This was the first time an A380 -- five have been built for the test flight program -- visited an international airport in North America, and the event attracted a lot of local interest, despite the weather.
The A380 has been to Canada before. Last winter, it landed in Iqaluit, the territorial capital of Nunavut, for cold-weather testing.
No word on the Straphangers.