The cockpit of the 747 is on the upper deck, but the cockpit of the A380 is situated on the lower deck. Is there any reason (be it engineering or anything else) for the location of the cockpit?

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    $\begingroup$ the A380 cockpit is above the lower deck, as it can be seen in this image, you have to walk up some steps to reach the cockpit level from the lower deck. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 6:03
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    $\begingroup$ Um, how safe is the first seat row in the lower deck? On other throughts, if they could have made the nose of glass, it would have provided a great view from the lower deck. $\endgroup$
    – Firee
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 10:07
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    $\begingroup$ The lower deck is the first-class cabin, and the seating in that cabin depends on the airline, but as one example, United's 747-400s have only 12 first-class seats on a flight. As far as safety, the first-class sections on most planes tend to have relatively low survivability in a crash; first class is where it is on planes primarily for convenience. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


Boeing actually never expected the 747 to be so successful. They thought supersonic aircraft were the future. But Boeing knew that an aircraft the size of a 747 would be great for the cargo market. So they designed one aircraft that could be easiy converted into a cargo version.

The cargo 747s can literally open their nose. It is quite impressive. To accomodate this, the cockpit needed to be on the upper deck. Hence the passenger version had the same requirement.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @Ben, but does that mean Airbus does not intend to make a cargo version of the A380? $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2015 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ @MadhavSudarshan not necessarily it just means that loading will be through a standard cargo door in the side. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2015 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ According to Wikipedia, Airbus does intend to market an A380F variant, but the passenger version is receiving the lion's share of orders, and Airbus is betting the VLA market (400+ seats or 130 tonnes) will deal primarily with passenger traffic between highly-congested airports so they're working full-tilt on the passenger variant. Boeing is thinking that cargo between those same airports will be a much bigger component of the VLA market, and its venerable 747 platform currently has no practical competition in the VLA cargo class. $\endgroup$
    – KeithS
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ @KeithS - The A380F was launched at the same time as the A380 passenger version. It initially received a few orders, from Fedex, UPS and ILFC, however as the A380 program began to experience problems prior to first flight, they scrapped the freighter so they could concentrate resources on getting the passenger version in the air. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ The A380 wasn't particularly popular as a freighter, due to a few design constraints. First off, the split deck is structurally required, and cannot be removed. This limits the physical dimensions of freight that can be loaded. Additionally, the upper deck is not terribly strong, and cannot carry much weight. Therefore the A380F was only ever of use for parcel carriers, hence the orders being limited to UPS and Fedex. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 15:44

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