Back to Squawk list
  • 39

How fast can an Airbus A380 superjumbo jet be evacuated?

The website Quartz has video of an Airbus A380 being evacuated during an on-ground emergency test, and it shows the massive passenger jet unloading a reported 853 passengers. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

78 seconds is a standard set for any aircraft.
Of course in a real emergency this time cannot be made.
But this requirement is one of many improvement brought to Aviation for safety issues.
We may not have had so many people alive in Asiana crash , if safety standards had not been raised in everything, from procedures to resistance to impact,to fire and so on.....

This makes it safer to fly.
Bueautiful link, I have to see this movie. It's seem to be close the The Wall "teatcher leave the kids alone".
Nevertheless at the end of this "work" evrybody clap... i'm not sure that it was the Mood of Fritz Lang and Pink Floyd band during there movie!
Mike Bartlett 1
In the US, per 14 CFR 25.803 and Appendix J, para (h): A representative passenger load of persons in normal health must be used as follows: (1) 40% female; (2) 35% over 50 years of age; (3) 15% female over 50; (4) Three life-size dolls … to simulate live infants 2 years old or younger; and (5) No Crewmembers, mechanics, and training personnel… (essentially no professionals). Evacuation must be demonstrated in less than 90 seconds from a seated, belted in position in the dark with only ½ of the available exits, with simulated carry-on bags blocking aisles, but without rehearsals. Still, everyone involved is aware of the task, not grabbing a PC or purse, and likely not wearing flip-flops or high-heel shoes. Injuries don’t count against the manufacturer – “any landing you can … crawl away from”?

(for the real nerds who want to see all the requiremtns, see (hope the link works)
Hello Gentlemen,

This drill occured in regard of the regulation to certify a plane. According that: 1/2 doors where closed (to simulate a fire in a side of the plane), In a complete darkness (just evacuation light, the one whish is presented by all the steward before the flight). Population was fix beetween young and more old
Certification inspector was part of the evacuate personn

Even if this exercice was made in an optimize situation: a team "stunter and sportive men) was set at the bottom of the slide to help the "slider to evacuate the "drop zone". Wall of Cardbox was fix each side of the slide to securize if someone miss the slide

As far as I known, none passager's Jumbo go through the same exercice.

Finally, 873 persons where evacuate in 75s. What is allowing A380 to raise is capacity up to >1'040 persons on board.

Source: this video is an extract from A380: l'aventure des essais en vol" certainly available in english language... but My level of english isn't good enough to look >2h of technical documentary inb english (but enough for: Be kind, rewind ;-)) )

I think remind that 1 leg was broke during the drill (Reminder from Air et Cosmos magasine)

Finally US as a part of this success: Slide are make by Goodrich (now United Technology Corporation)

Complete video of A380 evacuation: (in French, sorry, I could translate some part if you ask)

Thank for the video about Pan Am 747 evacuation

Bon vent les amis,

MimosaDrive 3
Here is a grainy video of a Pan Am 747 evacuation from an incident at SFO in the 70s.
James Howard 4
There was a whole segment on this on a TV show about the A380, I think it was on PBS or the Discovery Channel. It was right before it started passenger service. It was at Goodrich in the Phoenix area. They had to have a certain diversity of people, that is, elderly, children, and maybe overweight. My memory is getting hazy, but I thought it was interesting the slides were designed in the USA.
This is from Germano-French channel call "Arte"
sparkie624 2
It is doable... But as long as you have at least one idiot, it will never happen... there will be one lady that has to grab her purse... one business man that can't afford to lose his laptop and everything will slow to nothing. The 78 seconds is fantasy land... Will work when rehearsed... So lets change the test... You have everyone ready, knowing exactly where to go, and just as the test starts, all the right side doors cannot be used due to fire.. Now lets see that 78 seconds when people have to change their planed route.
toolguy105 2
I agree the test is a farce. In a real emergency some doors won't open. Others will be blocked by fire. Some passengers will panic and there will be a stampede. I wonder how long it took for the 777 to empty at SFO. By FAA regulation the AFR trucks have to be out the door in under a minute and on scene in no more than 3 minutes from time the bells go off. In SFO people were still exiting when the AFR trucks arrived.
sparkie624 2
Yup.. And they actually had an extra exit seeing how the captain was so kind as to give them an extra exit by carefully removing the tail.. @@
Dee Lowry 1
Tha Asiana Cabin Crew waited 90 seconds to receive an "Evacute" notification from the Cockpit. During those 90 seconds, fire broke out..So instead of evacuating the second the aircraft came to a complete stop...the cabin crew were fighting fires in the cabin. They did get the green light from the Cockpit and they did evacuate under 90 secs, once the evacuation commenced, dispite the fact that one slide inflated inside the cabin and that exit was deemed unusable and people were redirected to another available exit.

The 90 second evacuation certification is basically a "Beat the Clock" excercise. Not realistic by any means. Some components were there. Blocked exits, darkness but many components are not present, as many of you have cited. Fire, dense smoke, overhead bins that are not overhead anymore, seats that have broken away...just to name a few. But the human factor comes in at #1. Panic, stampedes, taking their luggage with them and puncturing a slide. Their are several scenarios where the human factor can and will impede an evacuation. 33 people were injured on the A-380 Evac. All but one were slide burns. Don't know what happened to the one. So when you're flying to the tropics, keep that in mind and don't wear shorts. Really is a nasty burn.

There are so many more variables in an actual evac compared to a "mock" evac. All this does is satisfy the FAA that 853 people get out of an aircraft in 90 secs, therefore, the a/c is officially certified.
joel wiley 2
For a more realistic picture of response, please refer to the evacuation of the Costa Concordia off the Italian coast- I know it was not an aviation incident, but it points up the human points of failure.
Also might want to add a couple hundred gallons of jet fuel on fire at the end of the chutes as well.
ceoch255 2
This is too ''clean'' In a real evacuation the law of the jungle applies...
MimosaDrive 2
It's a standardized test to make sure 90 second goal can be met. I believe the test also includes a requirement that 1 or 2 of the exit doors unusable and the flight attendants directing passengers to other exits.
In a real emergency of course you have people trying to take their carry-on bags like in the Asiana 777 crash at SFO. Or you have slides blowing in the wind or the plane's tail settling on the ground raising the nose, like the Pan Am 747 incident at SFO in the early 70s.
joel wiley 2
I was reminded of the Furnace scene from the 1927 movie Metropolis
Josh Preston 2
Really cool video. The cheering at the end really gives a feel to how many pax that bird can hold.
I'm definitely no expert, but shouldn't they be escorted far away from the AC after the slide? Most are just standing there watching others evacuate.
adambear8 2
i think that if there were a real emergency people would back up further on their own. Also the test is to see how fast people can get off not off and away.
This evacuation was not realistic as none of the passengers seemed to be over 25years or infirm.
joel wiley 1
Consider it a preliminary 'smoke test'. If they can't beat the buzzer with young healthy people expecting the evac, then it's back to the drawing board.
toolguy105 1
I'm told by an airport firefighter that a base number is needed. That while in reality, based on circumstances, the number of passengers on board, the number of doors available for egress and other factors. The base number is a good starting point. He went on to say in one accident he was aware of with a Super Jumbo only four doors on the right side were available for evacuation and the flight crew was still able to evacuate the cabin with over 200 people in under 90 seconds at night without any interior lighting.

I guess it is possible if people will listen to the flight crew and not panic. Panic is the trump card. If panic ensues mayhem happened.
sparkie624 1
Listening is another Trump Card.
Pete Schecter 1
how come all of the test subjects are fit, capable of purposeful movement, and not morbidly obese (like the ones I get to lucky enough to sit next to)? Pay attention to the incredibly ill prepared people permitted to occupy exit row seating next flight. kind of scary.
Nice exercise but bears little resemblance to real life emergency. These people knew what they were going to do and were all able bodied. Must be going for a Guiness bit of fame.
Jim Anderson 1
Correct. Suggestions for how to make the test more realistic, then? Every airliner designed as to meet a certain criteria for evacuation time. That's why you have a specific number of doors on any airframe. Guinness has nothing to do with it.
I doubt realism was even a goal. The exercise may satisfy some reg. somewhere. Guiness remark was tongue in cheek.
Tim Marks 0
Ideal conditions with no airframe damage and no fires. Change the conditions and give 201 of those 853 passengers $1000 to be the first ones out the door, scatter then around the cabin, and then see how well and organized the evacutation will be, will not be 78 seconds. This would be a more realistic scenario and demonstrate how hundreds of people will die in a real world example.
BC Hadley 2
Tell the pretend pax they are there for another reason, like testing the onboard entertainment features, then spring the evacuation drill as a surprise. The financial incentive is interesting, but could lead to really bad results.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
This website uses cookies. By using and further navigating this website, you accept this.
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.