The Airbus A320
Narrow bodied Airbus scheduled maintenance.
The launch of the single-aisle A320 involved not just the penetration of a new market segment, but also a great technological leap. By introducing a fully computerised flight control system and redesigning the cockpit around new CRT technology, Airbus sought to take a major step in differentiating its products from those proposed by its competitors. Airbus introduced fly-by-wire on the A320, not in the analogue form used on Concorde, but in a digital form linked to new levels of automation in the aircraft flight management system (FMS).
Fly-by-wire meant that the pilot’s inputs to control the aircraft’s moving surfaces were electronic, rather than directly hydro-mechanical. The traditional yoke was replaced by a side-stick allowing more space in the cockpit. These changes, plus the use of more composite materials, meant significant weight savings; all adding up to significant operational savings for the customer.
Although a single aisle aircraft the A320 had a 3.95m wide cabin offering passengers more room than the US competition. But such an advance would have implications beyond the merely technological: ‘With this airplane Airbus Industrie attempted, in making a generational advance, to impose upon the market its own rhythm of generational change, and to establish in its turn the market standard, which would confer upon it leadership in that segment. The US government and US manufacturers were clearly shocked. It was one thing to watch smaller American producers lose market share as a result of a wise European decision on the size and range of the A300, it was quite another to watch Airbus challenge Boeing with a new technology.
Airbus A321 overhaul with two engine types.
The advent of new technology inevitably means advances in Airbus scheduled maintenance and aerospace composites repair. Re-engining is not without precedent as a means of Airbus keeping ahead of its competitors. Airbus A320 overhaul has incorporated both V2500 aero engine maintenance and CFM56-5B maintenance came along with the advent of Airbus A321 overhaul.