Airbus A320

YouTube – Airbus A320

Primary Function:
Engine type:
Weight Empty:
Max. Weight:
Fuel Capacity:
Cruise Speed:
Max. Cruise Speed:
Initial Climb Rate:
First Flight:
Year deployed:
US$77 – 119 million
2 x 26,500 lbs. ea.
93,000 lbs.
170,000 lbs.
53,625 lbs.
148 (typical)
123 ft. 3 in.
111 ft. 10 in.
522 mph
560 mph
2,400 fpm
39,000 feet
3,500 miles

Airbus A320

Airbus A320

The Airbus A320 is the aircraft that introduced fully digitized fly by wire to sub-sonic commercial aviation flying. It was deployed in the late 1980’s to compete with popular short and mid range medium size jet aircraft of the time.

Initially the new aircraft was able to obtain sales due to its advanced technology. The technology resulted in greater fuel economy than competing airliners. However, as other aircraft incorporated similar technologies, this advantage was quickly negated.

On April 5, 2019 Airbus announced it was improving the alerts systems on its A320 aircraft by properly prioritizing alert levels when multiple warnings are present. This was prompted by the results of an investigation involving an incident aboard a Virgin Australia Regional Airlines A320 aircraft  flying out of Perth Airport on September 12, 2015.

According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, while the A320 was climbing through 8,500 feet, numerous warnings occurred after systems on the aircraft disconnected its auto pilot and auto-thrust simultaneously. Manual control of the aircraft was initiated and the pilots were able to land the jet safely.

Blocked pitot tubes causing erroneous speed readings were found to be the cause of the disconnect. While the pilots did not detect the bad speed readings, the aircraft’s systems had. They issued a number of warnings including a “NAV ADR DISAGREE” alert. When receiving the alert, pilots are required to check the aircraft’s three airspeed indicators against one another to see if the alert was triggered due to improper air speed or angle of attack.

The ATSB determined that due to an insufficiently large alert message area, the alert was not shown. Engine related messages were shown instead, as they were programmed to have a higher priority. The ATSB found this may have led the pilots to assume the problem was angle of attack. It took the pilots about eight minutes to determine what had happened. By that time the pitot tubes had cleared and readings returned to normal.

ATSB Executive Director Mr Nat Nagy said, “The ATSB’s safety message from this investigation is, where there is erroneous information from an information source, it is important that alerts and procedures be designed to ensure that the pilots can correctly diagnose the source of the erroneous information. Further, unless it is absolutely clear that it is erroneous, pilots should appropriately respond to stall warning alerts.”

A total of some 8,675 Airbus A320 aircraft of all types have been built to date.

Airbus A320

RC Airbus A320

The RC Airbus A320 built from Norbert Rauch plans by Heinz Ernstberger is also available as a short kit. Its has a wingspan of 84 in. and a length of 93 in. Construction is a foam fuselage, balsa over foam wings, and a fiberglass nose. Power comes from 90 mm EDF units, but can also be a pair of 5 1/2 lb. thrust turbines. All up weight is about 18 lbs.

Tian Sheng has the RC Airbus A320 as a kit, ARF, or RTF.  It has a 53 in. wingspan and 60 in. length. Power is by a pair of 3200 Kv motors turning 56 mm fans. Weight is around 4 lbs.

4 thoughts on “Airbus A320”

  1. I used the plans for building my A320 by Aerosquare. However, I chose not to follow the building sequence outlined, as I have been building for some 20 years. Its not that I found anything wrong with what was shown, its just that I’m set in my ways.
    I like to start with airplane easiest parts first. For me that is the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, elevators and rudder. They are made out of balsawood and built over the plans. Building them is a great way to get warmed up for this project.
    Next comes the wings. If you are used to building straight wings, building the wings of the Airbus A320 will take just a bit more attention. Mainly it is important to get the spars sanded to the proper swept back angle of the wing. I measure, and remeasure. It’s important that the engines are properly positioned on the wing so pay careful attention to where they are to be mounted. I also diverted a bit from the plans of the A320 in that I like to cap all of the spars and ribs.
    With the wings completed, its time to assemble the center section that mates the wings to the fuselage and attaches to the outer wings. This is the ideal place for the electronics.
    I like the set-up shown in the plans engine nacelles. Using props instead of EDF’s keeps everything simple. Yet you don’t even see them at a distance.
    Now epoxy everything you assembled. I like to use fiberglass cloth soaked with epoxy around the wing joints for extra strength.
    For simplicity, I built my A320 with fixed landing gear. Before building the fuselage you should decide if you are going to use retracts.
    The fuselage is probably the most challenging part of the build. It is composed of halves that are built separately and joined. Getting each half to match the other completely just takes a little extra time and effort, but is well worth the results when done correctly.
    Although the plans show Depron used in the construction of the fuselage, I prefer balsawood and hardwood. Construction is very straight forward, just time consuming. After framing and joining the halves, the nose cone is shaped from solid balsa.
    The curved fuselage needs to be covered with light balsawood sheeting. Steaming the balsa will help it better go around the tighter curves.
    Flying the airplane is a pleasure. The A320 goes exactly where it is pointed. Cross winds don’t seem to bother it. It is more responsive to control inputs than an airliner should be, but I like that. It is not at all twitchy to fly.

  2. I really appreciated that the A320 from Tian Sheng arrived well packaged in a smaller box protected by a larger box on the outside.
    The airplane has been described as a smaller version of the four engine jumbo jet produced by the same company. Of course, having two less motors makes it somewhat easier to put together.
    I love the great looks of the airplane. It looks just like the real aircraft when in the air, flying over our field.
    A nice touch is that I can take the landing gear off for storage.
    The only negative thing I found was that, with the supplied battery, the airplane balanced a little nose heavy. That was easily remedied by moving the battery back about 1/2 of an inch.
    The A320 from Tian Sheng is good for experienced pilots. It will get lots of admiration at the flying field and I am happy with it.

  3. Tian Sheng’s A320 is a really nice flying airplane. The EDF units have a very scale-like whine that I like. I have read some comments about a wing dropping if the speed gets too low. Well, my airplane has a very gentle straight ahead stall. A wing dropping could be an indication of an airplane that is not built straight. Also, you have the wingspan and length reversed. Mine has a wingspan of almost 60″. I just wanted to set the record straight on that one.


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