Global Aircraft -- Airbus A320
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Airbus A320 Specifications
Primary Function: Commercial Transport
Contractor: Airbus
Crew: 164 single class, 150 double class
Unit Cost: N/A
  Two CFM56-5 or IAE V2500 engines rated at 25,000-27,000 lb thrust
Length: 123 feet, 3 in
Wingspan: 111 feet, 10 in
Height: 39 feet, 7 in
Empty: 92,400 lb
Maximum Takeoff: 169,800 lb
Speed: Mach 0.82
Ceiling: N/A
Range: 3,050 nm

Airbus A320 Achievements
No known major achievements

Airbus A320 Features
The Airbus A320 family are low-wing cantilever monoplanes with a conventional tail unit with a single fin and rudder. They have a retractable tricycle landing gear and are powered by two wing mounted turbofan engines.

Compared to other airliners of the same class, the A320 features a wider single-aisle cabin (155.5 inches (3.95 m) outside diameter, compared to 148 inches (3.8 m) in the Boeing 737 and 131.6 inches (3.34 m) in the Boeing 717) and larger overhead bins, along with fly-by-wire technology. In addition, the aircraft has a spacious cargo hold equipped with large doors to assist in expedient loading and unloading of goods.

The A320 features a computerized on-board maintenance system. With the exception of the very earliest A320s, most can be upgraded to the latest avionics standards, keeping the aircraft advanced even after two decades in service.

The flight deck is equipped with EFIS with side stick controllers. At the time of the aircraft's introduction, the behavior of the fly-by-wire system (equipped with full flight envelope protection) was a new experience for many pilots.

Two suppliers provide turbofan engines for the A320 series: CFM International with their CFM56, and International Aero Engines, offering the V2500.

The Airbus A320 family is the first to fully feature the glass cockpit and digital fly-by-wire flight control system in a civil airliner. The only analogue instruments are the RMI (backup ADI on earlier models, replaced by digital ISIS on later models) and brake pressure indicator.
The Airbus A320 family is the first to fully feature the glass cockpit and digital fly-by-wire flight control system in a civil airliner. The only analogue instruments are the RMI (backup ADI on earlier models, replaced by digital ISIS on later models) and brake pressure indicator.

Technology used in the A320 includes:

* The first fully digital fly-by-wire flight control system in a civil airliner.

* Fully glass cockpit rather than the hybrid versions found in aircraft such as the A310, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767.

* The first narrow body airliner with a significant amount of the structure made from composites.

* The ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring) concept, which is included in all Airbus aircraft produced after the A320. This system constantly displays information concerning the aircraft's engines, as well as other key systems such as flight controls, pneumatics and hydraulics, to the pilots on the two LCD displays in the centre of the flightdeck. ECAM also provides automatic warning of system failures and displays an electronic checklist to assist in handling the failure.

* Airbus recently started installing LCD (liquid crystal display) units in the flight deck of its new A318, A319, A320, and A321 flight decks instead of the original CRT (cathode ray tube) displays. These include the main displays and the backup artificial horizon, which was an analogue display prior to this. LCDs weigh less and produce less heat than CRT displays, this change saves around 50 kilos on the plane's total weight

* Even though the A320 family is technologically advanced, some of the computers at the heart of the fly-by-wire system are built around CPUs roughly equivalent to the Intel 8086. While these chips may not offer anywhere near the performance of modern processors, especially on Personal Computers or servers, they are incredibly stable and reliability

In 2006, Airbus tested three styles of winglet, intended to counteract the wing%u2019s induced drag and wingtip vortices more effectively than the previous wingtip fence. Adoption of the new winglets was expected to reduce fuel consumption by one to two percent. The first design type to be tested was developed by Airbus and was based on work done by the AWIATOR program. The second type of winglet used a more blended design and was created by Winglet Technology LLC, a company based in Wichita, Kansas as well as the third type.

Two aircraft were used in the flight test evaluation campaign, the prototype A320 F-WWBA, which had been retained by Airbus for testing, which was fitted with both the first type and second type of winglets. JetBlue Airways provided the second aircraft, retrofitted by Airbus with both types of winglets.
Despite the anticipated efficiency gains and development work, Airbus announced that the new winglets will not be offered to customers, claiming that the weight of the modifications required would negate any aerodynamic benefits. In addition, the change in forces from winglets add additional stress to the wing which would require long-term study to determine if structural integrity is compromised.

Airbus A320 Background
After the initial success of the A300, Airbus began developing a new model aimed at replacing the world's most popular aircraft at the time, the Boeing 727. The new Airbus would be of the same size, yet offer improved operating economics and various passenger capacities. The digital technology in the A320 would herald a two-generation technological leap over the all-analogue Boeing 727 and be a generation ahead of the Boeing 737-300/-400/-500 series. The A320 was targeted at the global fleet replacement requirements for the 727 and early variants of the 737.

After the oil price rises of the 1970s, Airbus needed to minimise the trip fuel costs of the A320. To that end, Airbus incorporated advanced features including fly-by-wire flight control, composite primary structures, centre-of-gravity control using fuel, glass cockpit (EFIS) and a two-person flight deck. The end result was that the A320 consumes 50% less fuel than the 727. According to a study cited by the Stockholm Environmental Institute, the A320 burns 11,608 kilograms of jet fuel flying between Los Angeles and New York City, which is about 77.4 kilograms per passenger in an A320 with 150 seats.

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