In this episode of Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections Richard sets out on a quest to find the amazing engineering connections behind the Airbus A380, the largest passenger airliner in history.

His journey reveals that this state-of-the-art aircraft owes as much to weapons of war, Mother Nature and household objects as it does to high technology. He discovers that a bicycle pump, a 19th-century rocket, an ancient Mongolian bow and an eagle’s wing are all hidden in its secret DNA.

Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections is a documentary series broadcast on the National Geographic Channel. It is presented by Richard Hammond, and looks at how engineers and designers use historic inventions and clues from the natural world in ingenious ways to develop new buildings and machines.

Note: This video is owned by National Geographic, credit to them for this great documentary.


  1. Did he expent 13 minuts just explaining the concept of Winglets? wich has been well known and used since WWII?

    Airbus has been using winglets since the A310 in the early 80s..

  2. Lets be realistic, the A380 limited itself in the market because it is so big. It isn't going to ever be a plane to go 300 miles and land, it has to be fully loaded and travel thousands of miles to select destinations only, and it has to be nearly full. They cost like 450 million dollars, what company is going to invest in one of these knowing they can only fly to certain areas, and they HAVE to be full to break even. The A380 will probably be discontinued at some point, smaller aircraft that can land almost anywhere will always beat it out, even if it costs more for passengers. No one wants to fly to a specific airport because that's the only close place the A380 can go, then have to commute or change planes to where they wanted to go. They would rather get on a smaller jet and be there. The A380 is like the guy who built a ship in the basement, when it's finished, you can never get it out to use it.

  3. Small objection: The Boeing 747-8 is longer and faster than the A380 and as a result, the Boeing is the longest and the fastest

  4. Am I the only one ranting about how they explain the lift of the wing??? ARE THEY FUCKING SERIOUS???? UNIVERSITY OF KINGSTON??? MY ASS

  5. These BBC documentaries seem to be long-winded, because they stoop to the kindergarten level, explaining things in minute practical detail. It may gain a few new viewers at the bottom-end, but it loses much of the core base of viewers who have an interest in this sort of knowledge.


  7. Shame it's all in feet and inches – difficult to understand old fashioned units of measurement, but otherwise good.

  8. I was about to cry foul but back in 2008 when this was released, the A380 was indeed the longest airliner delivered up to that date.

    Then came the A340-600 and the Boeing 747-8F in 2010.

  9. geez, i thought they were going to come up with some space age composite. Iike i dont know, carbo-titanium, or carbon fiber and kevlar, magnesium titanium aluminium alloy, graphene or something..
    But no its just fiberglass and aluminium.

  10. Couple of things that annoyed me about this;

    The long-windedness to explain everything

    Using imperial units. We use metric in the UK now- Get with the times!

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