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The Magnificent Airbus A320 Cockpit

The Airbus Company

Airbus is a popular aircraft manufacturer having changed its name from EADS (European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co.). The Airbus headquarters is based in Toulouse, France, but has a global footprint and is responsible for the sale of almost half of the world’s jetliners. In addition to marketing jetliners, the company also produces military aircraft, aeroplane parts and defence systems. The Airbus A320 is one of its top sellers.

Airbus A320 in flight

Airbus launched its single-aisle product line with the A320, which continues to set industry standards for comfort and operating economy on short to medium haul routes. The A320 is in widespread use around the globe, with a range of up to 6,480 km.

The A320 typically seats 150 passengers in a two-class cabin or up to 180 in a high-density layout for low cost and charter flights. As a result of an optimised cabin space and increased exit limits, the A320neo (new engine option) accommodates 165 passengers in two classes or up to 189 in a high-density configuration.

The Airbus A320 was the first civil airliner to include a full digital fly-by-wire flight control system. This design included a full glass cockpit rather than the hybrid versions found in previous airliners.

Airbus A320 Cockpit Standardisation

The A320's flight deck is equipped with Electronic Flight Instrument System with side-stick controllers. At the time of the aircraft's introduction, the behaviour of the fly-by-wire system was a new experience for many pilots. The A320 features an Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor which gives the flight crew information about all the systems of the aircraft.

Airbus A320 Cockpit

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 best of all is that Airbus incorporates commonality in its A320 family. With a “Cross-crew Qualification ”, a pilot can transition to any Airbus jetliner , while still operating any one of the A320 family, commonly referred to in aviation as “mixed fleet flying”.

Differences between the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737-800

Many different types of planes have been introduced over time, but the current market is being dominated by two of the largest aircraft manufacturing companies, Airbus and Boeing. These two companies differ from each other in many ways including the design of their jetliners.

The difference between the two manufacturers designs lie in the front of the planes. Airbus planes have a curved and rounded nose, while the Boeing planes are round but slightly pointed. Similarly, the cockpit windows are also different; Airbus planes have square windows that are in a straight line to the body on the plane. Boeing has designed the windows in a slight ‘v’ shape, which cuts of the windows’ corners to create a different shape.

Other differences include engine placement, where Airbus generally places the engines under the wings, while Boeing mounts them on the forward of the wing. However, this placement changes depending on the design of the planes.

One major difference is the electronics that is used in the planes. Airbus planes are controlled using sidestick, this is similar to a joystick that is used to play computer games. Boeing uses a central yoke and has a steering wheel design that is used as the main controller. Airbus also has incorporated hard protection using the fly by wire systems. This means that the system of the Airbus cannot be fully overrun. The pilot cannot assume full control of the system and do something drastic such as stall it or overstress the airframe.

Each pilot has their preferences in terms of flying, but Airbus certainly make it easy to fly various models in the family of aircraft.

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