The Airbus A380 fatigue-test reached an important milestone this week by passing 15,000 simulated flights. This is three times the 5,000 flights needed for certification. In total 47,500 flights will be simulated to test the fatigue strength of the A380 structure, which corresponds to two-and-a-half times the aircraft designed service goal.

Inside a scaffolding of steel girders, hydraulic actuators are attached to the aircraft structure. Loads are applied to the wings and the fuselage to simulate forces during a typical flight. The test, which started in September 2005 in Dresden, Germany is the most extensive fatigue test ever done on a commercial aircraft. It allows Airbus to demonstrate that the structure of the aircraft is good for many years in service.

The Airbus A380 is the most technologically advanced commercial aircraft and is designed to carry an average of 555 passengers over distances up to 8,000 nm/15,000 km. To date, 159 A380s have been ordered by 16 customers, with the first due to be delivered to first operator Singapore Airlines before the end of the year.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.