Friday, July 22, 2011

A380 pushbacks

When I first showed the Singapore A380 early this month, a comment was posted in which the movement of the A380 off the gate and to the runway was questioned. Specifically, the comment related to towing the aircraft all the way to the runway, since most of the photos I showed included the Supertug with the airplane. While the idea has been suggested, it has not been put into practice at LAX. However, the size of the A380 in conjunction with taxiway restrictions (and construction) at LAX means that the aircraft doesn't just push off the gate. Instead, it gets pushed off and towed to some more convenient spot for the disconnect and engine start. Until Singapore's midday A380 arrived, I couldn't really make a video of the pushback operation because the Qantas A380 flights all depart after dark.

This video shows the Singapore A380 pushing off of gate 123A at the TBIT, for departure off Runway 24 Left. The video runs about seven minutes. The video starts about two minutes after Singapore has been cleared for the pushback - you'll notice that the aircraft is still stationary at the gate. It takes nearly twenty minutes from the time that they call for the push for the aircraft to start down the runway on its takeoff roll.

There is no sound with the video, and I apologize for the relatively poor quality: In order to keep the file size manageable, I shot at 10 frames per second. Since I was working on position at the time, I wasn't able to pan the camera to follow the action and instead had to set the field of view wide enough to catch the entire pushback operation in one frame. Thus, you'll have to look closely to see the tugs when they're separate from the airplanes. It is shot in real time, however - there's no time lapse. It really does take this long to move these big airplanes.


  1. Thanks for posting. That thing is quite a beast! On a similar note, I posted on about some interesting paint markings on the ramp for Gate 105 on the south side of TBIT. Here is the picture in question:
    What is the white dashed line used for? At first I thought it was a guide line for the pushback tugs, but I don't really think that's it. Looking at google maps I noticed there are other white dashed lines on the south alley of TBIT as well, but not like that one, and they don't show up on the north side. Any ideas? Thanks.
    Here is a link to the discussion on

  2. Hi ,, how come the Airbus A380 never use Runway25R for take off's?