Building a Bigger Bird

| | Courtesy airliners.net | Having passed its emergency-evacuation test last weekend, the Airbus A380 is officially certified to haul … Continued

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| | Courtesy airliners.net |

Having passed its emergency-evacuation test last weekend, the Airbus A380 is officially certified to haul a staggering 853 passengers—that’s how many people safely escaped a darkened test aircraft in less than 80 seconds. The A380’s capacity puts it well past its next-largest rival, Boeing’s venerable 747, which has held the title of world’s largest active commercial jet for almost 36 years. When the A380 takes to the skies on its first commercial flight with Singapore Airlines later this year, it will probably max out at around 500 people (800-plus is for a nightmarish single-class setup).

So how does an aircraft this big get itself built, let alone get in the air? Check out this cool time-lapse video of an A380 assembly to find out, and stick around for the end—the double-time painting process is amazing to watch. —John Mahoney