Ground crews at Munich International Airport were facing the daunting task of trying to house what is called the world's largest passenger plane, an A380 Airbus, recently purchased by Lufthansa.
Then there was the one about an airline that had a plane that was so big...
Well, how big was it?
Let's just say a punchline isn't necessary. The main image in this piece illustrates the size. Even if you can't articulate it in terms of measurement, the fact that the tail sticks out of the hangar indicates, that this craft is mondo oversized.
It turns out that the plane couldn't fit into the hangar. The fact that the craft is 240 feet long wasn't the issue. It was that the vertical tail fin was far too tall to clear the top of the hangar entrance, which is 72 feet long.
Keeping the beast outside or in the hangar with the doors open was non-negotiable. Staff working on the plane need shelter to keep up with the maintenance of aircraft, especially in the winter.
So the airport brain trust in Munich opted for a Plan B. They couldn't alter the doors to make them higher, so they went for the next best thing. German-based Butzbach, which specializes in designing and building doors and facades for industrial complexes, was contracted to create a set of custom doors.
Butzbach came up with a solution that would allow for a tight fit around the rear part of the Airbus fuselage. The space between the doors and the plane had to be tight enough not to let any harmful weather elements, especially cold, from creeping into the hangar so that mechanics and other maintenance crews could do their jobs without any draft exposure.
Once designed, Butzbach spent four weeks creating the doors which measured 72 feet tall and 36 feet wide. After they were installed on Nov. 9th, the airport marketing staff posted the results on Facebook, including a video with the caption, "This butt is our definition of perfect."
In Munich, Lufthansa has four other A380s, jetliners capable of accommodating 853 passengers, although most airlines recognizing issues related to space and comfort prefer to fly up to 500 at a time. Many airports are bracing for larger aircraft such as the Stratolaunch, slated to enter service in 2019. Boeing plans to make its 777 craft commercially available in 2020, although its 213-foot wingspan can be reduced by folding its wingtips to fit through hangar entrances.