The major aircraft manufacturers have to do a lot of test flying. While I feel being an Airbus or Boeing test pilot is a pretty awesome job, there’s something about flying without a destination that might seem boring to some. So I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some pilots like to have fun with this.
For example, in August Boeing had to test the new Rolls Royce engines for their 787s, so they needed to take a roughly 17 hour flight. Rather than just zig-zagging all over the country, they decided to “draw” a 787 in the sky. Amazing!
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) August 3, 2017
Well, earlier today Airbus had to do some testing on an A380 that will shortly be flying for Emirates. The plane departed from Hamburg for the roughly 5hr20min flight. No, this time around they didn’t draw an A380 in the sky, but rather they decided to make their flight path seasonal — Airbus drew a big Christmas tree in the sky.
An early Christmas gif from the @Airbus A380.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) December 13, 2017
It’s not the most even Christmas tree I’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty darn impressive nonetheless! Here’s the Flightradar24 page where you can track the plane’s route.
Whenever there’s a story about one of the cool patterns a plane makes, the first response from many is “what a waste of fuel.” So I think it’s worth emphasizing that these test flights needed to be made regardless of the pattern flown. Hopefully we can all appreciate the value in having aircraft manufacturers test planes before putting hundreds of passengers on them. They just figure that if they have to be in the air anyway, they might as well have some fun with it.