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A380 too quiet, moan Emirates pilots

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Airbus A380 operator Emirates has encountered an unexpected problem with the aircraft - it's "too quiet" for pilots to enjoy a quick kip in the crew rest area.

According to Flight International, the company's flyboys complain the lack of background engine noise means they can hear every wailing infant and flush of the vaccuum toilets from their sanctuary situated at the back of the cattle-class main deck. To add to pilots' woes, passengers also mistake the rest area for a toilet and continually pull on the door handle.

Emirates senior vice-president, fleet, Capt Ed Davidson, said: "We're getting a lot of complaints. It's not something we expected. On our other aircraft, the engines drown out the cabin noise. [On the A380] the pilots sleep with earplugs but the cabin noise goes straight through them."

Emirates opted to move the rest area from its traditional location behind the flight deck as that "would have compromised the design of the airline's upper deck first-class cabin". The cargo hold was rejected as an alternative because crew might find it claustrophobic.

The airline has ruled out insulating the walls of the rest area on extra weight grounds, and has asked Airbus for another solution. One option on the cards is to install "lightweight generators to create ambient noise". ®

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