…the pinnacle of aesthetic disregard was achieved upon rollout of Airbus’s biggest and most ballyhooed creation: the enormous, double-decked A380. With maximum takeoff weight of more than a million pounds, the Airbus A380 is the largest, most powerful, and most expensive commercial plane in history.
And possibly the ugliest. There is something grotesquely anthropomorphic about the from of the A380, its abrupt pitched forehead calling to mind a steroidal beluga. The rest of the plane is bloated, swollen, and graceless. It’s big for big’s sake, yet at the same time conveys an undignified squatness, as if embarrassed by its own girth. It is the most self-conscious-looking airline I’ve ever seen.
That is definitely not the most useful bit from Cockpit Confidential, a book by Patrick Smith, but it is so juicy that I couldn’t resist excerpting it. Patrick Smith is a pilot, former Salon blogger and answerer of all your queries concerning flying at www.askthepilot.com. I bought the book after reading this from David Pogue, and I didn’t stop until I finished it. Fittingly, I read it on a flight. The book does everything to allay your fears about flying, explains a bit about the economy of the airline industry and the workings of an airplane, and tries to breakdown the jargon of the airline industry. It really comes highly recommended. You can start by reading Pogue’s article.