The historic first flight of the Airbus A380 in April would not have been possible without some of the biggest names in fluid power being on board.

Parker Aerospace, Irvine, Calif., a business segment of Parker Hannifin Corp., and Eaton Corp.'s Aerospace division, also of Irvine, both played integral roles in the development of the A380, the largest passenger airline and the first commercial aircraft to use a 5000-psi hydraulic power generation and fluid conveyance system. Previously, all commercial passenger aircraft were limited to 3000-psi systems, apart from the Concorde, the only commercial aircraft to feature a 4000-psi system.

Eaton Aerospace's work with the military led to its involvement on the Airbus project. Utilizing Eaton higher-pressure technology reduced the weight of the entire system by a metric ton, compared to the 3000-psi system. In the higherpressure system, all of the critical control valves and actuators are smaller and lighter.

Eight Eaton Vickers brand engine-driven pumps (EDPs) provide the main hydraulic power for the 5000-psi system. Each 11-piston rotating group EDP is powered by the engine accessory gearbox and delivers a rated flow of 160 lpm at 3775 rpm. The A380 pump also includes a clutch mechanism system that allows the unit to be disconnected from the engine gearbox in flight or on the ground.

The 21.3 kW ac motor-pump is the largest ever designed to date for an aircraft. Each Eaton Vickers brand unit is powered by 115 Vac 400Hz constant frequency and can deliver a maximum flow of 38 lpm with a constant horsepower characteristic. Each aircraft contains four ac motor-pumps. Eaton also supplied the hydraulic lines, brake lines, and electrical wiring harnesses and components for the landing gear.

Several of Parker's divisions were involved in the project, including its Control Systems Div., Dublin, Ga., which designed electrohydraulic servovalves. The Abex Division, Kalamazoo, Mich., supplied hydraulic motors, and the Abex Aerohydraul Division, Mainz-Kastel, Germany, supplied variable-displacement hydraulic motors for the A380's flap system.

The two-deck, four-aisle A380 will seat 555 passengers. It will begin commercial flights in 2006.