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Airbus A320/21/19

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The Airbus A320 single-aisle medium-range airliner first entered service in 1988 and more than 5,000 aircraft of the A320 family are in service today, with more than 8,600 ordered.

The A320 was only the second ever airliner to have a fly-by-wire flight control system, the first being Concorde.

FLY VFE operates a fleet of 12 A320 aircraft which, alongside the Boeing 737-800, deliver the bulk of our mainline short to medium haul operations. 


Airbus A320 design

The A320 includes a wide single-aisle cabin of 155.5in (3.94m). It has large above head bins including fly-by-wire technology. Spacious cargo hold is provided. The aircraft is fitted with large doors to help in loading and unloading of goods.

It also consists of an ECAM (electronic centralised aircraft monitor) which gives information about the aircraft systems to the crew. Most of the A320s can be improved and upgraded to improved avionic measures. The ECAM helps in keeping the aircraft improved and upgraded even after 20 years in service.

The new winglets named ‘sharklets’, produced by Korean Air Aerospace, are being added to A320 family from 2012. These will reduce fuel usage by approximately 3%. These will also increase the payload to 500kg and increase the range of the aircraft by 100nm at the actual payload. This also reduces CO2 of 700t for each aircraft annually.

A320 flight deck

The flight deck is fitted with two seats, one for each pilot, with primary flight and navigation displays for the Thales / VDO electronic flight and information system, (EFIS). The primary flight display shows speed, altitude and heading data. In the centre section between the pilot’s and co-pilot’s instrument displays are two Thales / VDO electronic central aircraft monitor displays.

The aircraft is the first subsonic commercial aircraft to be fitted with fly-by-wire controls. Instead of having a central control column and aileron wheel, each pilot has a sidestick controller.

The fly-by-wire system is supplied by Thales / SFENA. The digital fly-by-wire system is controlled by five dedicated computers.

All the primary and secondary flight controls operate by a combination of electronic signalling and hydraulic jacks. Very high safety standards were built into the flight control systems, including extensive system redundancy.

Flight envelope protection is embedded in the flight control system that will not allow manoeuvres to exceed the aircraft’s structural and aerodynamic limitations. It is, for example not possible for the aircraft to exceed the designated g-limits nor to fly beyond the maximum operating speed for longer than a few seconds.

The aircraft’s flight speed is maintained above the stall speed even if the pilot were holding the sidestick fully back, and the throttles are automatically opened to achieve a successful positive climb.


The aircraft is offered with two IAE V2500 engines or two CFM International CFM 56-5 developing 111kN to 120kN. The fuel tanks have a capacity of 23,860l giving the aircraft a range of 5,000km with the maximum number of passengers.

A320neo is a new engine option for A319, A320 and A321 models of the A320 family. It is expected to enter service in October 2015. It features two tons of additional payload, 500 nautical miles of additional range and better control of engine noise and emissions. The new engine options will include CFM International LEAP-X and Pratt & Whitney PW1100G. The new engines will deliver 15% more fuel savings.

A320 fuselage

The primary structures of the A320 are of composite construction with aramid fibre (AFRP), glass fibre (GFRP) and carbon fibre (CFRP) reinforced plastics. The A320 is the first subsonic aircraft to incorporate composite primary structures.

Large completed sections of the aircraft are built by EADS France (formerly Aerospatiale Matra), the Belgian Belairbus, BAE Systems, EADS Spain (formerly CASA), and EADS Germany (formerly Daimler Chrysler Aerospace Airbus).

BAE Systems has subcontracted the building of the wing root shroud box to Mitsubishi. The completed aircraft sections are transported to France for assembly.

The main cabin has two passenger doors on the port side and service doors on the starboard side. The cargo hold has a capacity of 27.69m³ and can hold bulk cargo or containers. Up to seven 46in-high LD3W containers can be carried, three in the forward hold and four in the aft hold.

Technical Specifications


  • Exterior Height: 38 ft 7 in

  • Wing Span: 111 ft 11 in

  • Length: 123 ft 3 in


  • Cabin Height: 7 ft 4 In

  • Cabin Width: 12 ft 2 In

  • Cabin Length: 90 ft 2 In

  • Cabin Volume: 6,825 cu ft

  • Door Height: 6 ft 1 In

  • Door Width: 2 ft 8 In

  • Internal Baggage: 128 cu ft


  • Crew: 3

  • Passengers: 19

Operating Weights

  • Max T/O Weight: 169785 Lb

  • Max Landing Weight: 145505 Lb

  • Operating Weight: 97653 Lb

  • Empty Weight: 82078 Lb

  • Fuel Capacity: 52830 lbs Lb

  • Payload W/Full Fuel: 20117 Lb

  • Max Payload: 40136 Lb


  • Normal Range: 4950 nm

  • Max Range: 5250 nm

  • Service Ceiling: 39000 ft


  • Takeoff Distance: 6070 ft

  • Balanced Field Length: 6900 ft

  • Landing Distance: 4460 ft


  • Max Speed: 486 kts

  • Normal Cruise: 470 kts

  • Economy Cruise: 445 kts

Power Plant

  • Engines: 2

  • Engine Mfg: CFM International

  • Engine Model: CFM56-5B4

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