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  • Timo Kiviluoma

The new airplane smell


Everybody knows the new car smell. It’s the promise of a better life, an essential part of buying a new car. But does a new airplane have the same kind of scent? I had the chance to sense the smell of a brand new airplane on its maiden flight.

Finnair called journalists and bloggers to take part in the delivery ceremonies at the Airbus factory in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, and take a facility tour in the huge factory area.

Airplanes are extremely expensive vehicles and while making and delivering them, everything is taken very seriously. Airbus is no exception to this, and we saw an amazing composition system where airplanes are aggregated on a huge scale, step-by-step.

The real news was that the airplane delivered to Finnair, the first of five aircraft on order, is the world’s first Airbus A321 equipped with Sharklets, arrow-shaped surfaces attached to the tip of each wing. A Sharklet is a wingtip fence, which helps reduce the spiral-shaped vortices that form at the wingtips of any aircraft during flight, creating aerodynamic drag. It enhances the overall efficiency of aircraft, saving fuel by reducing drag while also lowering noise emissions by improving take-off performance.

But the new airplane smell? A disappointment or not, but there’s no such scent. Sure, everything was brand new, but the scent was like any other very clean space. Maybe it's better that way, as there is a doubt the very same chemicals causing the new car smell pose a health risk.

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