Making the most of a test flight over Germany and Denmark earlier this week, an Airbus A380 drew a giant Christmas tree on the map – ornaments included.

The five and a half hour flight started and ended at Hamburg Finkenwerder airport. The A380 flew in a straight line towards the southwest, making a loop just south of Bremen.

After a zig in easterly direction and a zag to resume its southwesterly course, another loop produced another bauble. At Cologne, the plane took a nice round bend towards the northeast, produced another ornament, looped back in southwesterly direction, performed another loop, and so on. 

The base of the tree is a line running from Karlsruhe to the east. After zig-zagging past Brunswick and Wolfsburg, the plane set course back for Hamburg, only to continue north towards Denmark.

Its long straight trajectory ended over Aalborg, where the plane made a few more loops to finish off the tree-topper, after which the plane returned to Hamburg. 

The giant Christmas tree over Germany and Denmark was not the result of a rogue pilot's actions (like the giant penis that recently appeared over the U.S.), but was an intentional season's greeting by Airbus to planespotters everywhere.

“This was a standard test flight for internal purposes at Airbus, prior to our delivery of a new aircraft to one of our customers. Its curious pattern was made possible thanks to the friendly and cooperative spirit of Deutsche Flugsicherung (the company in charge of air traffic control for Germany) and Eurocontrol (the international organisation monitoring air traffic management across Europe)”.

The curious trajectory can be spotted here on

Strange Maps #875

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