The first test flight of a new plane is always a risky and unpredictable event. More so when that plane is the Airbus A380 - the largest passenger airline in the world.
It began with a mission to take on Boeing's queen of the skies, the mighty 747. The plan: to build the world's first superjumbo, a double-decker jetliner. Building it would be no small undertaking, and failure could mean the end of the Airbus. This is the story of the A380, from its planning to its building to its first big test. It was a high-stakes gamble, with engineering and logistical challenges on a scale never seen before. Engineers wondered if a plane this size could ever get off the ground, and they risked everything to find out.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.