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Information about Airbus A300.

The Airbus A300 is a wide-body twin-engine jet airliner that was developed and manufactured by Airbus. Formally announced in 1969 and first flying in October 1972, it holds the distinction of being the world's first twin-engined widebody airliner; it was also the first product of Airbus Industrie, a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers, now a subsidiary of Airbus. The A300 can typically seat 266 passengers in a two-class layout, with a maximum range of 4,070 nautical miles (7,540 km) when fully loaded, depending on the model.

Development of the A300 began during the 1960s as a European collaborative project between various aircraft manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany. In September 1967, the participating nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to manufacture the aircraft. The British withdrew from the project on 10 April 1969. A new agreement was reached between Germany and France on 29 May 1969, and Airbus Industrie was formally created on 18 December 1970 to develop and produce the A300. The type first flew on 28 October 1972.

Air France, the launch customer for the A300, introduced the type into service on 30 May 1974. Following a period of limited customer demand, the A300 achieved several large sales in 1978, after which the type was viewed to have proven itself and orders came in at a steady rate across the next three decades. During the 1990s, the A300 became popular with various freight operators, and several different cargo aircraft variants were produced. Production of the A300 ceased in July 2007, along with its smaller A310 derivative. The freighter sales for which the A300 had previously competed in later life are instead fulfilled by the A330-200F, a derivative of the newer Airbus A330.

Design of Airbus A300

The Airbus A300 is a wide-body medium-to-long range airliner; it has the distinction of being the first twin-engine wide-body aircraft in the world. In 1977, the A300 became the first ETOPS-compliant aircraft, due to its high performance and safety standards. Another world-first of the A300 is the use of composite materials on a commercial aircraft, which was used on both secondary and later primary airframe structures, decreasing overall weight and improving cost-effectiveness. Other firsts included the pioneering use of center-of-gravity control, achieved by transferring fuel between various locations across the aircraft, and electrically signaled secondary flight controls.

The A300 is powered by a pair of underwing turbofan engines, either General Electric CF6 and Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines; the sole use of underwing engine pods allowed for any suitable turbofan engine to be more readily used.

The lack of a third tail-mounted engine, as per the trijet configuration used by some competing airliners, allowed for the wings to be located further forwards and to reduce the size of the vertical stabilizer and elevator, which had the effect of increasing the aircraft's flight performance and fuel efficiency.

Airbus partners had employed the latest technology, some of which having been derived from Concorde, on the A300. According to Airbus, new technologies adopted for the airliner were selected principally for increased safety, operational capability, and profitability. Upon entry into service in 1974, the A300 was a very advanced plane, which went on to influence later airliner designs.

The technological highlights include:

Advanced wings by de Havilland (later BAE Systems) with:
Supercritical airfoil section for economical performance.
Аdvanced aerodynamically efficient flight control surfaces
5.64 m (222 in) diameter circular fuselage section for 8-abreast passenger seating and wide enough for 2 LD3 cargo containers side-by-side.
Structures made from metal billets, reducing weight.
First airliner to be fitted with wind shear protection.
Advanced autopilots capable of flying the aircraft from climb-out to landing.
Electrically controlled braking system.

Later A300s incorporated other advanced features such as the Forward-Facing Crew Cockpit, which enabled a two-pilot flight crew to fly the aircraft alone without the need for a flight engineer, the functions of which were automated; this two-man cockpit concept was a world-first for a wide-body aircraft. Glass cockpit flight instrumentation, which used cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors to display flight, navigation, and warning information, along with fully digital dual autopilots and digital flight control computers for controlling the spoilers, flaps, and leading-edge slats, were also adopted upon later-built models.

Additional composites were also made use of, such as carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), as well as their presence in an increasing proportion of the aircraft's components, including the spoilers, rudder, air brakes, and landing gear doors. Another feature of later aircraft was the addition of wingtip fences, which generated greater aerodynamic performance (first introduced on the A310-300).

In addition to passenger duties, the A300 became widely used by air freight operators; according to Airbus, it is the best selling freight aircraft of all time. Various variants of the A300 were built to meet customer demands, often for diverse roles such as aerial refueling tankers, freighter models (new-build and conversions), combi aircraft, military airlifter, and VIP transport. Perhaps the most visually unique of the variants is the A300-600ST Beluga, an oversize cargo-carrying model operated by Airbus to carry aircraft sections between their manufacturing facilities. The A300 was the basis for and retained a high level of commonality with, the second airliner produced by Airbus, the smaller Airbus A310.


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