YouTube – Airbus A320
Max. Cruise Speed:
Initial Climb Rate:
US$77 – 119 million
2 x 26,500 lbs. ea.
123 ft. 3 in.
111 ft. 10 in.
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.
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.