"Airbus makes me proud to be a European"
Most major aircraft manufacturing companies have been founded by flying enthusiasts who combined the properties of an innovator, engineer, and entrepreneur. This was the case with Boeing, Douglas, De Havilland, and Fokker. But not so with Airbus, which was started by pan-European political-economic interests to counteract the U.S. dominance of the airline industry. Today, the company with its main plant in Toulouse, France, competes with mighty Boeing for the world dominance.
This rare DVD tells the full history of the company and its different models, not just its latest super-jumbo, the A380.
A passenger airplane is supposed to last for at least 20 years. To introduce a new company with only one new model is almost impossible, because the airlines will prefer established and reliable manufacturers to get spare parts in the decades to come. The first Airbus, the A-300, did succeed but not without problems. The parties involved had agreed on a large twin-aisled, twin-engine airplane with 200-300 seats to compete with the American Boeing 747, Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed Tristar. Back in 1972, airlines in the U.S. still maintained that at least three engines were necessary for secure operation, whereas Airbus was designed with only two. This made the airplane more economical than any other, especially after the oil crisis of 1973 with soaring fuel prices.
History of aircraft:
A 300 (228â€“361 seats) first flight 1972. Two engines, two aisles.
A 310 (187-279 seats) first flight 1982 â€“ a shortened version of the A 300, thereby lighter and still more economical.
A 320 (150-180 seats) first flight 1987 â€“ to compete with Boeing 737 and DC-9 (later called the MD-80 family). Revolutionary "fly by wire" and "glare screen" technology reducing cockpit crew to 2 persons, thereby reducing operation costs for the airlines. Quickly became one of the world's most-selling aircraft. The "A 320 family" later included shorter versions (318, 319) and longer (321). Two engines. Single aisle.
A 330 (253-440 seats) first flight 1993 â€“ short to medium-haul, two engines, two aisles.
A 340 (239-440 seats) first flight 1991 â€“ Four-engined version of the A 330 to provide greater security for long-distance flights over water.
A 380 (555-853 seats) the "Superjumbo". Five prototypes flew from 2005, first deliveries in 2007.
Airbus' technology using composite materials (glass fibre, honeycomb) to reduce weight was introduced gradually from the very first model. The "fly by wire" or fully computerized technology with "glare screens" was fully utilized in the A 320. All other manufacturers have later been forced to follow these pioneering inventions.
A DVD like this is often supported by promotional interests, and it's interesting to note what it does NOT tell. Here are some examples:
â€¢ The Airbus consortium was originally set up after a model meant for French wine farmers.
â€¢ It took five years before the first A300 flew. Production continued without corresponding orders, and a great number of unsold planes piled up outside the factory.
â€¢ One of the first A 320s crashed in June 1988, followed by more crashes in 1990 and 1992. The reason turned out to be a lack of understanding by the pilots of how the automatic systems actually worked and what they tried to do.
â€¢ British Airways has always refused to buy Airbus models, and has for some unclear reason been addicted to Boeing.
â€¢ Britain had an ambivalent attitude towards this project, as in many other cases. British minister Tony Benn decided (again!) in 1969 that Britain would not be a participant in Airbus after all. One commentator writes: "This was without doubts one of the stupidest industrial policy decisions ever made by a British government." But Britain eventually had to join at less favourable terms.
â€¢ Boeing tried with many tricks and threats to hamper the advancement of Airbus. Europe and the U.S. were at the brink of a full trade war several times.
People who are interested in more details (also the nasty ones) may appreciate this book, available at Amazon:
Matthew Lynn: Birds of Prey â€“ Boeing vs. Airbus.
Duration : 1h 49mn
Overall bit rate : 888 Kbps
Codec ID : XVID
Width : 608 pixels
Height : 448 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 4:3
Frame rate : 25.000 fps
Source: Retail PAL DVD, no subtitles. Note that PAL/NTSC has no significance for .avi files.