Saturday, October 27, 2007

Capt. Robert Ting: PIC of Airbus A380 inaugural commercial flight

The pilot in command (PIC) of this week's inaugural commercial flight of the A380 was Singapore Airlines Captain Robert Ting. According to some news reports, Capt. Ting was treated like a rock star -- at least for the day -- as journalists interviewed him, passengers asked for his autograph, and everyone wanted him to pose for pictures.

Singapore Flight SQ 380 from Singapore to Sydney, the first commercial flight of the A380, took place yesterday. There were 455 passengers and 35 crew on board, including four pilots. Capt. Ting was in command of the historic flight.

According to Capt. Ting, the A380 handles a lot like the A340-500. Here are a few operational details about the inaugural flight, from an interview with Capt. Ting published in The Australian:
  • Takeoff weight was 468 tons. The passengers and crew accounted for just 8% of that total, with fuel making up another 28%.
  • The aircraft rotated at 154 knots. It took 40 to 45 seconds for the aircraft to rotate, using about 76% of maximum engine thrust.
  • "At max landing weight of this plane compared to the max landing weight of a Boeing 747-400, we are at a lower landing speed, 138 knots. This is mainly because of the size of the wings," said Capt. Ting.
In addition to being the PIC for the A380's first commercial flight, Captain Ting also commanded the aircraft on its delivery flight from France to Singapore earlier this month.

The 56 year old Singaporean joined Singapore Airlines in 1971, and has logged over 15,000 flying hours. Captain Ting holds eight different type ratings.