Height limit put on superjumbo flight

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2007, 12:00am
 

A minimum altitude limit of 304 metres, or 1,000 feet, has been imposed on a flight across Victoria Harbour by the world's biggest passenger plane on Monday.


The limit, imposed on the Airbus A380 for safety reasons, and equivalent to about the 68th storey of the city's tallest building, Two IFC in Central, was announced by the director-general of civil aviation, Norman Lo Sung-man.


The plane, which will fly across the harbour between 8am and 8.30am, would also keep a distance of more than 548 metres from the 88-storey building, Mr Lo said.


The flight will help launch the four-day Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress at AsiaWorld-Expo near the airport, where the plane will be one of about 10 aircraft on display.


'When we design the flight path and flight profile, we are in constant and regular discussions with the Airbus flight test pilots and simulation team,' Mr Lo said.


All the points for the flight path had been tested at the Airbus simulation facilities in Toulouse, France, and it was considered a safe flight path over the harbour, he added.


Weather permitting, the plane is due to take off from Chek Lap Kok airport at 7.30am, fly over the Tsing Ma Bridge, head east across the harbour, and round the south side of Hong Kong and Lamma islands before returning to the airport.


Mr Lo said that in order for the flight to go ahead on Monday the cloud base should be just over 600 metres, with visibility of about 5 to 9km.


The plane will not carry passengers but the pilot will be accompanied by a Civil Aviation Department staff member who is a qualified pilot and air traffic controller.


Two government helicopters will fly alongside the plane during its flight.


A two-hour flight in the afternoon has been arranged for members of the government, Airbus and the aviation industry, which will circle Hong Kong airspace.


The A380 requires 10 per cent less runway to take off than a Boeing 747 and can gain altitude quicker. By 2011, about 70 airports worldwide will be able to handle A380 flights. The plane can fly non-stop for 14,966km.


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