Incredible remote-control A380 takes to the skies

Soaring over the airshow, the A380 looks as it should -- its double-decker fuselage wowing the crowd watching from below.

But while Airbus' A380 is the world's-largest passenger plane, this aircraft doesn't even have a pilot, at least not one on board. In fact, this is a remote-control scale model of an A380. Built by Peter Michel, the model, made to look like a Singapore Airlines A380, took eight "months, 5,000 working hours, and a whole lot of Styrofoam and lightweight balsa wood" to take air. Plus what appears to be some very cool scale-model … Read more

Google Maps tours the world's largest passenger airliner

You don't need to book a flight to check out the neon-lit bar, fancy snacks, or leg room aboard the world's largest passenger airliner -- just use Google Maps.

Google Maps has taken its virtual Street View mapping inside the Emirates Airbus A380, a massive and luxurious airplane that docks at Dubai International Airport. The plane has a wingspan that's 261.8 feet long and can carry 517 people, according to Google. It is the most fuel-efficient jet in its class and can cover more than 9,320 miles in a single flight. … Read more

At long last, Boeing delivers the first next-gen 747

EVERETT, Wash.--Get ready, aviation fans. Seats aboard Boeing's new 747-8 Intercontinental are almost ready for you. And today, at an event here, Boeing finally handed over the keys to the first of the next-general planes to a commercial airline customer.

The new airplane, which Boeing first unveiled at a huge ceremony here a year ago, has been in testing since then. But today, Lufthansa became the first airline to officially own one of the aircraft, the first of 20 it has ordered, and of 130 total orders Boeing has received for it. … Read more

How you, too, can ID that airliner

I live in a place that a lot of big airplanes fly over just after taking off from San Francisco International Airport. While I'm by no means perfect at it, I can often tell you what kind of jet is overhead, and even where it's going. There's a lot of people like me.

But there's also people who don't know anything about planes, and who can't tell the difference between very distinct behemoths like Boeing's 747 and Airbus' A380, let alone jets that on quick inspection look very similar, like Boeing's 737Read more

World's largest passenger plane may be unsafe, some say

The world's largest passenger plane may not be sky-worthy, some aircraft engineers in Australia are saying.

The BBC reports that the engineers are concerned about small cracks that have appeared on the wing ribs of some Airbus A380 airplanes, and that they're calling for the whole fleet to be grounded for investigation.

The cracks were found on A380s operated by Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airways, the BBC reports, and Singapore Airlines says it has repaired the wings of two of its A380s.

Airbus recommends that airlines check for cracks but says they present no real danger. The BBC … Read more

Culture: Five predictions for 2012

Here at Geek Gestalt, every day is different. The world of geek culture is broad--sometimes bewilderingly so. A typical year's coverage can easily include stories on everything from Burning Man to Lego, aviation to 3D printing, NASA to tech startups, MythBusters to Pixar movies, and so on.

That makes coming up with predictions for next year in culture a difficult task--but we're here to serve, so that's just we're offering. Of course, trying to settle on just five ideas for 2012 means leaving a lot of things out.

Still, prognosticating culture's next steps meant talking … Read more

The giant Airbus A380 and the tiny French village

LEVIGNAC, France--I'm looking up toward the sky at two things you wouldn't expect to be right next to each other. One is the "boulangerie" sign outside the bakery in this tiny French village. The other is the "Airbus A380" logo emblazoned on the protective cover on one end of a segment of giant airplane fuselage.

Why would two such things be next to each other? Because late Friday night, a truck convoy carrying all the major components of the next A380 that Airbus will build--the world's largest passenger plane, a full double-decker … Read more

Building the A380, the world's largest passenger plane

BLAGNAC, France--What would you do with nearly 6,000 square feet of private airplane?

That's the question I'm asking myself as I look up at what will soon be one of the largest private planes in the world--an Airbus A380 slated for an unknown buyer. Two full decks of luxury in the sky, right in front of me, and sadly, I won't get to see what it looks like.

But I do get to see how A380s are made. As part of Road Trip 2011, I've come here to Airbus' Jean-Luc Lagardere plant, just outside Toulouse, … Read more

In Paris, the 747-8 Intercontinental paints the town orange

PARIS--As he neared the end of the nearly 10-hour flight from Everett, Wash., to the French capital and the Paris Air Show here, Boeing chief pilot Mark Feuerstein got some unexpected gratification.

"It was a real quiet flight over," Feuerstein said of the trip that began just an hour north of Seattle, where Boeing builds many of its biggest passenger planes. "But as we approached Paris, it became a big deal. People knew who we were, on the radio. It was exciting. A lot of the pilots in the area saw us and were commenting, asking, 'Is … Read more

SFO to welcome first scheduled A380 flight

Update (Tuesday, 1:12 p.m. PDT): Lufthansa's A380 has landed at San Francisco International Airport, making the airline the first to offer regular service of the world's-largest passenger plane to SFO. But Air France is said to be ready to begin its own A380 service here on June 8.

Though I mostly write about cell phones at CNET, you may have noticed that I'm rather passionate--some would say obsessed--over commercial aviation. I was lucky enough to attend the first flights of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 747-8, so I jumped at the chance to witness … Read more