Airbus is bringing its big, new A340 model from the skies above Singapore to the frozen ground of Antarctica for the first time.
A340s are the world’s largest commercial passenger planes, and they are used by airlines around the world. The cargo version of the plane, the A340-500, is also joining the mission to Antarctica, where it will pick up approximately 4,000 metric tons of supplies for a polar research station.
Airbus is bringing the A340 from its Airbus Operations Centre in Singapore to the Research Station Station at Lambert Ross, in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The plane will remain in McMurdo station for about a week, and during that time, the A340 will transport sea ice harpoons, a special camera and some other equipment that will be used to measure atmospheric pressures in McMurdo Sound. The equipment will be attached to the bottom of the A340 by two long thin lines, and the efforts to secure it to the plane will be monitored via underwater robotic probes.
A380s are also making appearances on the Antarctic mission. The super-sized aircraft, which is officially the largest passenger plane by the seating capacity, will be part of the Airbus Logistics Support services team for the month of April.
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