AIRBUS A320

TYPE: Twin-jet airliner.

PROGRAMME: Launched 23 March 1984; four-aircraft development programme (first flight 22 February 1987 by F-WWAI); JAA (UK/French/German/Dutch) certification of A320-100 with CFM56-5 engines, for two-crew operation, awarded 26 February 1988; first deliveries (Air France and British Airways) 28 and 31 March 1988 respectively; JAA certification of A320-200 with CFM56-5s received 8 November 1988, followed by FAA type approval for both models 15 December 1988; certification with V2500 engines (first flown 28 July 1988) received 20 April (JAA) and 6 July 1989 (FAA), deliveries with this power plant (to Adria Airways) beginning 18 May 1989; FAA approved common type rating on A320 and A321 without further training in early 1994; 500th A320 delivered, 20 January 1995, to United Airlines; 1,000th member of family (an A319) and 1,001st (A320 for United Airlines) were delivered 15 April 1999. Chosen by Thales as platform for its competitor in the South Korean Air Force's E-X AEW&C requirement. In 2000, Airbus agreed to transfer A320 assembly from Toulouse to Hamburg, where A319 and A321 already produced.

CURRENT VERSIONS: A320-100: Initial version (21 ordered). Superseded by A320-200. Max T-O weight 68,000 kg (149,940 lb); fuel capacity (usable) 24,090 litres (6,364 US gallons; 5,299 Imp gallons).
A320-200: Now called simply A320. Basic version from third quarter 1988; differs from initial A320-100 in having wingtip fences, wing centre-section fuel tank and higher maximum T-O weights.
Detailed description applies to A320-200.
MPA 320: Proposed maritime patrol version as replacement for Dassault-Breguet Atlantic 1.
A320 research: An A320 was used for riblet research 1989-91. In mid-1998 Airbus Industrie began testing an experimental laminar-flow fin on an A320; air is sucked through small holes in the leading-edge to reduce drag and save fuel.
A320 Freighter, Convertible and Quick-Convertible: Freight variants under consideration by Airbus and Hindustan Aeronautics; cargo capacities would be 20,000 kg (44,090 lb), 22,000 kg (48,500 lb) and 30,000 kg (66,140 lb), respectively. EADS EFW began feasibility studies in 2001 into producing freight versions of the A320 and A321; considering the start of a conversion line in 2008.
A318: Shortened version of A320; described separately.
A319: Shortened version of A320; described separately.
A321-100 and -200: Stretched versions of A320; described separately.

CUSTOMERS: Total 1,679 sold by 31 December 2003, of which 1,247 then delivered.

COSTS: Average cost of A320-200 is US$53.7 million, depending on choice of engines, customisation and design weights (2001).

DESIGN FEATURES: First subsonic commercial aircraft to have composites for major primary structures, and centralised maintenance system; advanced-technology wings have 25o sweepback at quarter-chord, 5o 6' 36" dihedral plus experience from A310 and significant commonality with other Airbus aircraft where cost-effective; 6o tailplane dihedral.

FLYING CONTROLS: A320 is first subsonic commercial aircraft equipped for fly-by-wire (FBW) control throughout entire normal flight regime, and first to have sidestick controller (one for each pilot) instead of control column and aileron wheel. Thales/SFENA digital FBW system features five main computers and operates, via electrical signalling and hydraulic jacks, all primary and secondary flight controls; pilot's pitch and roll commands are applied through sidestick controller via two different types of computer; these have redundant architecture to provide safety levels at least as high as those of mechanical systems they replace; system incorporates flight envelope protection features to a degree that cannot be achieved with conventional mechanical control systems and its computers will not allow aircraft's structural and aerodynamic limitations to be exceeded; even if pilot holds sidestick fully forward, it is impossible to go beyond aircraft's maximum operating speed (VMO) for more than a few seconds; if pilot holds sidestick fully back, aircraft is controlled to an 'alpha floor' angle of attack, a safe airspeed above stall and throttles opened automatically to ensure positive climb. Nor is it possible to exceed g limits while manoeuvring. If a bank angle of more than 30o is commanded with the sidestick, the bank angle is automatically returned to 30o when pressure is released.
Fly-by-wire system controls ailerons, elevators, spoilers, flaps and leading-edge slats; rudder movement and tailplane trim connected to FBW system, but also signalled mechanically when used to provide final back-up pitch and yaw control, which suffices for basic instrument flying. Each wing has five-segment leading-edge slats (one inboard, four outboard of engine pylon), two-segment Fowler trailing-edge flaps, and five-segment spoilers forward of flaps; all 10 spoilers used as lift dumpers, inner six as airbrakes, outer eight and ailerons for roll control and outer four and ailerons for gust alleviation; slat and flap controls by Liebherr and Lucas.

STRUCTURE: Generally similar to A310, but with AFRP for fuselage belly fairing skins; GFRP for fin leading-edge and fin/fuselage fairing; CFRP for wing fixed leading/trailing-edge bottom access panels and deflectors, trailing-edge flaps and flap track fairings, spoilers, ailerons, fin (except leading-edge), rudder, tailplane, elevators, nosewheel/mainwheel doors, and main gear leg fairing doors. A320 was first airliner to go into production with CFRP tailplane.
Airbus France builds entire front fuselage (forward of wing leading-edge), cabin rear doors, nosewheel doors, centre wing box and engine pylons, and is responsible for final assembly; centre and rear fuselage, tailcone, wing flaps, fin, rudder and commercial furnishing undertaken by Airbus Deutschland; Airbus UK builds main wings, including ailerons, spoilers and wingtips, and main landing gear leg fairings; Belgian consortium Belairbus produces leading-edge slats; Airbus Espana responsible for tailplane, elevators, mainwheel doors, and sheet metal work for parts of rear fuselage; Mitsubishi builds wingroot shroud box under Airbus UK subcontract; AVIC I of China provides wing components and signed an MoU in November 2000 to increase its participation, possibly leading to complete wing production by 2007; GKN Aerospace providing cargo door actuators from January 2002. Final assembly undertaken at Toulouse until 2000; now at Hamburg.

LANDING GEAR: Hydraulically retractable tricycle type, with twin wheels and oleo-pneumatic shock-absorber on each unit (four-wheel main-gear bogies, for low-strength runways, optional); Dowty main units retract inward into wing/body fairing; steerable Messier-Bugatti nose unit retracts forward; nosewheel steering angle ±75o (effective turning angle ±70o). Tyre size 46x16 or 46x17.0R20 (30 ply) on main gear and 30x8.8 or 30x8.8-R15 (16 ply) on nose gear; optional tyres for main gear are 49x17 or 49x17R20 or 49x19R20 or 46x16-20 or 49x19-20. Tyres for main-gear bogie option are 915x300R16 or 36x11 or 46x17.0R20. Carbon brakes standard. Minimum ground turning radius 13.80m (45 ft 3¼ in) about nosewheels, 22.90 m (75 ft 1½ in) about mainwheels. Minimum width of pavement for 180o turn 23.1 m (75 ft 9½ in).

POWER PLANT: Two turbofans. Options comprise IAE V2500-A1, V2527-A5 or V2527E-A5, all 110.3 kN (24,800 lb st); CFM International CFM56-5A1 of 111.2kN (25,000 lb st); CFM-56-5A3 of 117.9 kN (26,500 lb st); or CFM56-5B4, -5B4/P or -5B4/2P of 120.1 kN (27,000 lb st). Nacelles by Rohr Industries; thrust reversers by Hispano-Suiza (pivoting door type) for CFM56 engines, by IAE (cascade type) for V2500s. Dual-channel FADEC system standard on each engine.
Standard usable fuel capacity in wing and wing centre-section tanks is 23,860 litres (6,303 US gallons; 5,249 Imp gallons); further 82 litres (21.6 US gallons; 18.0 Imp gallons) unusable. One or two additional centreline tanks (ACTs), each holding 2,900 litres (766 US gallons; 638 Imp gallons); can be fitted in rear underfloor baggage/cargo hold.

ACCOMMODATION: Standard crew of two on flight deck, with one (optionally two) forward-facing folding seats for additional crew members; seats for four cabin attendants. Single-aisle main cabin has seating for up to 179 (FAR) or 180 (JAR) passengers, depending upon layout, with locations at front and rear of cabin for galley(s) and lavatory(ies). Multiple customer choice of four-, five- and six-abreast layouts and standard or double-width aisle. Typical two-class layout has 12 seats four-abreast at 91.5 cm (36 in) pitch in 'super first' and 138 six-abreast at 81 cm (32 in) pitch economy class; alternative 152 six-abreast seats (84 business + 68 economy) at 86 and 78 cm (34 and 31 in) pitch respectively; single-class economy layout could offer 164 seats at 81 cm (32 in) pitch, or up to 179 in high-density configuration. Compared with existing single-aisle aircraft, fuselage cross-section is significantly increased, permitting use of wider triple seats to provide higher standards of passenger comfort; five-abreast business class seating provides standard equal to that offered as first class on major competitive aircraft. In addition, wider aisle permits quicker turnrounds. Overhead stowage space superior to that available on existing aircraft of similar capacity, and provides ample carry-on baggage space; best use of underseat space for baggage is provided by improved seat design and optimised positioning of seat rails.
Passenger doors at front and rear of cabin on port side, forward one having optional integral airstairs; service door opposite each of these on starboard side. Two overwing emergency exits each side. Fuselage double-bubble cross-section provides increased baggage/cargo hold volume and working height, and ability to carry seven containers derived from standard interline LD3 type. As base is same as that of LD3, all existing wide-body aircraft and ground handling equipment can accept these containers without modification. Forward and rear underfloor baggage/cargo holds, plus overhead lockers; with 164 seats, overhead stowage space per seat is 0.06 m3 (2.0 cu ft). Mechanised cargo loading system will allow up to seven LD3-based containers to be carried in freight holds (three forward and four aft). Additional bulk cargo hold at rear, underfloor.

SYSTEMS: Liebherr/ABG-Semca air conditioning, Hamilton Sundstrand/Nord-Micro pressurisation. Honeywell 36-300 APU standard; Honeywell 131-9(A) or APIC APS 3200 available as standard options. All are interchangeable on A318/319/320/321 family. Primary electrical system powered by two Hamilton Sundstrand 90 kVA constant frequency generators, providing 115/200 V three-phase AC at 400 Hz; third generator of same type, directly driven at constant speed by APU, can be used during ground operations and, if required, during flight. Hydraulic system pressure 207 bar (3,000 lb/sq in).

AVIONICS: Flight: Fully equipped ARINC 700 digital avionics including advanced digital automatic flight control and flight management systems; AFCS integrates functions of SFENA autopilot and Honeywell FMS; Honeywell air data and inertial reference system.
Instrumentation: Each pilot has two Thales/VDO electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS) displays (primary flight display and navigation display); PFD was first on an airliner to incorporate speed, altitude and heading. Between these two pairs of displays are two Thales/VDO electronic centralised aircraft monitor (ECAM) displays developed from the ECAM systems on A310 and A300-600; upper display incorporates engine performance and warning, lower display carries warning and system synoptic diagrams.

 

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