Airbus A320 Specs – What is behind one of the most popular short haul airliners?

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Airbus A320 Specs

Airbus-A320

An Airbus A320 in Airbus house colours.

The A320 family of aircraft are configured as a low wing monoplane sporting a cantilevered wing with a sweep back of 25 degrees. The single-aisle narrow-body jet is powered by two

Airbus_A320_demensions

Some basic dimensions of the Airbus A320.

engines located one under each wing. The A320 specifications make it a direct competitor to the Boeing 737 family of aircraft, as well as the McDonnell Douglas MD80/90.

The A320 was the first narrow body airliner to use an appreciable amount of composite materials in its construction. The tail, manufactured by CASA is in fact made up mostly of such materials. Composite materials are a combination of several different materials brought together to form something stronger and often lighter than any of the original components on their own.

To make the A320 more attractive to passengers, and therefore airlines, Airbus decided to make a wider cabin than their competitors. With an outside cabin diameter of 3.95 metres (12 feet 11.5 inches), the A320 stacks up well against the Boeing 737 at 3.8 Metres (12 feet 4 inches) or the Boeing 717 with 3.34 metres (10 feet 11.6 inches). In addition, they made a larger cargo door so that loading and unloading of luggage or cargo could be performed faster assisting with Airbus_A319_A320_A321_flightcontrol_surfacesquick turnaround times at airports.

As has been mentioned on previous pages, the A320 pioneered “Fly by Wire” technology. This system of digitised flight control systems, allows the pilot to input to the control surfaces using a side control joystick, as opposed to the accepted quadrant method with a joystick or half wheel located in front of the pilot. This system was already in use in some fighter jets, but this was the first time it was employed in a commercial airliner. Fly by Wire went beyond the mere control of flight surfaces but was computer based technology that was designed to protect the aircraft through flight envelope protection by preventing pilots from being able to put the aircraft in configurations or attitudes that compromised flight safety. Through the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) which features a full glass cockpit, once again the first commercial airliner to be so equipped, the Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitor (ECAM) would display information on all aircraft systems. This made the pilot’s job much easier with all the information in a central location. The early A320s were equipped with Intel 80186 and Motorola 68010 computer processors and in 1988 moved on to the Intel 80286. Each flight management computer had six processors arranged in three pairs. As well as the benefits of simplified control, system redundancy, weight saving and safety, it is very simple to upgrade these systems and keep the aircraft advanced even after a decade or two.

In an effort to keep improving their narrow-body workhorse, Airbus now have on offer the A320 NEO (New Engine Option) as opposed to the A320 CEO(Current Engine Option). As part of the modernisation program started in 2006, Airbus have been working on the A320E (Enhanced) of which the New Engine Option is the last step. The enhancements include aerodynamic improvements, large winglets which Airbus refer to as Sharklets, larger luggage bins, new look cabin, weight savings and the choice of two new engine types; the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G or the CFM International LEAP-1A. The benefits of these combined improvements deliver an 8% improvement in operating costs derived from a 15% improvement in fuel consumption and the ability to carry around 20 more passengers through a re-arrangement of the cabin. In addition, operators can expect a 500 nautical mile increase in range.

All these enhancements will make the already popular aircraft even more attractive. So-called Low-Cost Carriers who already predominantly use the A320, will find even more to their liking in the more economical version of the A320. Larger luggage bins will also aid them with quick turnarounds at airports as passengers opt to take smaller carry-on bags into the cabin to try and avoid unbundled fares which require them to pay for baggage. Passengers will also enjoy the improved air purification system which will enable them to arrive more refreshed.

Air_Asia_Airbus_A320_200

An Airbus A320-200 of Air Asia.

Air_New_Zealand_Airbus_A320_232

An Air New Zealand Airbus A320-232 climbs out



A320 Specs

Airbus A318
Airbus A320 Family A318

Airbus A319Airbus A320 Family A319

Airbus A320Airbus A320 Family A320

Airbus A321
Airbus A320 Family A321

Type
A318
A319
A320
A321
Range 5,750Km (3,105NM) 15,000Km (8,100NM) 15,600Km (8,400NM) 15,000Km (8,100NM)
Seating (Typical) 107 124 150 185
Length 31.44 Metres (103ft 2in) 33.84 Metres (111ft 0in) 37.57 Metres (123ft 3in) 44.51 Metres (146ft 0in)
Wing span
34.10 Metres (111ft 11in) With Sharklets 35.8 metres
(117ft 5in)

Wing Area
122.6 Square Metres (1,320 sq ft)

Wing Sweep Back
25 Degrees

Tail Height 12.51 Metres (41ft 1in) 11.76 Metres (38ft 7in) 11.76 Metres (38ft 7in) 11.76 Metres (38ft 7in)
Fuselage Width
(Exterior)

3.95 Metres (13 ft 0 in)

Cabin Width
3.70 Metres (12 ft 2 in)

Fuselage Height
4.14 Metres (13 ft 7 in)
Freight Capacity 21.21 Cubic Metres (749
cu ft)
27.62 Cubic Metres (975
cu ft)
37.41 Cubic Metres
(1,321 cu ft)
51.73 Cubic Metres
(1,827 cu ft)
Cruising Speed
Mach 0.78 (828KPH / 511 MPH at 11,000 Metres / 36,000
ft)

Maximum Operating Speed
Mach 0.82 (871KPH / 537 MPH at 11,000 Metres / 36,000
ft)

Operating Empty Weight
(OEW)
39,500 kg (87,100 lb) 40,800 kg (89,900 lb) 42,600 kg (93,900 lb) 48,500 kg (106,900 lb)
Maximum Zero Fuel
Weight(MZFW)
54,500 kg (120,200 lb) 58,500 kg (129,000 lb) 62,500 kg (137,800 lb) 73,800 kg (162,700 lb)
Maximum Landing
Weight(MLW)
57,500 kg (127,000 lb) 62,500 kg (138,000 lb) 66,000 kg (146,000 lb) 77,800 kg (172,000 lb)
Maximum Take-off
Weight(MTOW)
68,000 kg (150,000 lb) 75,500 kg (166,000 lb) 78,000 kg (172,000 lb) 93,500 kg (206,000 lb)
Engines
CFM International CFM56-5 series

Engines
Pratt & Whitney PW6000 series

IAE V2500 series

Thrust x 2
96 to 106 kN (22,000 to 24,000 lbf)
98 to 120 kN (22,000 to 27,000 lbf)
111 to 120 kN (25,000 to 27,000 lbf)
133 to 147 kN (30,000 to 33,000 lbf)
Type
A318
A319
A320
A321

If there is more you want to learn about this airliner, please visit: A320 Home, A320 AssemblyA320 Interior, A320 Order Book and A320 History.
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