Airbus A340 lands in Antarctica on first flight

If you’re hoping to fly in the transoceanic 787 Dreamliner, this video will help you know you’re not going to fly all that far. Airbus just finished a flight of its one-year-old A340-300 aircraft…

Airbus A340 lands in Antarctica on first flight

If you’re hoping to fly in the transoceanic 787 Dreamliner, this video will help you know you’re not going to fly all that far. Airbus just finished a flight of its one-year-old A340-300 aircraft to Antarctica for the first time — and with the help of a helicopter, the Airbus A340 landed on the plateau’s touchdown line on Thursday.

You can tell that the plane landed in the right spot from the light blue grass clover, which is the starting point for the aircraft’s takeoff. But this wasn’t an easy feat.

The aircraft was actually visiting Tarawa, a Pacific island that is some 6,000 miles from Antarctica and a huge transport hub for the International Space Station. That fact led to some mumbling throughout the crew, as if the crew were embarrassed to be there.

So what does the ice at Tarawa look like in comparison to Antarctica? It’s a lot more sharp and green. And it took many test flights before the A340 land in the parking lot in Antarctica. And just for good measure, the Airbus A340 — which was originally designed as a big cargo plane — also tried out flying to Antarctica.

Will this Airbus A340 run again? It sure hopes so. Other companies like Thales Aerospace and Airbus North America are negotiating to potentially use the Airbus A340 as part of their winter commercial air operations in Antarctica.

A 2-hour flight from Kobe to Kobe, at least on the ground.

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