A320 3-seaters

From:         brunnstein@rz.informatik.uni-hamburg.dbp.de
Date:         06 Jan 93 04:26:41 PST
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Robert Dorsett recently requested information about the existence of some 
3-seat A-310/-320's. I have contacted DASA (German Airbus) experts in North 
Germany. Here are details of the A-320 "3-seaters" (there have also been A-310 
"3-seaters" but due to some misunderstanding, I have yet to get details).

To clarify a possible misunderstanding, I interpret Robert's question as 
concerned with the *seats occupied by personnell* actively involved in flight
management. Indeed, *every A-320 has at least 3 seats*, 2 for the pilot and a 
spare one (not used for active flight management personnel). But there a 
SEVERAL A-320 which are equipped with 4 sets, 3 of which are used by 2 pilots 
and one for a flight engineer (called OMN). Among others, the converted 
prototype (A-320 #2) and the machines A-320 #5,7,9 and 14 (and several others) 
in service for Air France have 4 seats and are controlled by 2 pilots and 1 OMM;
this is due to requests of the French pilot's association. Such planes are 
equipped with special EFCS technology and have undergone a special registration 
procedure; but all of them can be converted to the normal 2-pilot version by 
replacing the EFCS (I hope to learn yet more about the difference). 

Besides Air France, Air India also flies such OMN-equipped A-320, which have
also a different landing gear system. France's Air Inter and Lufthansa had
also planned, due to similar requests of pilot unions, to fly such models but
made last-minute arrangements with them and now fly 2-pilot versions.

Information on A-310 will follow. I moreover try to learn more on the differen-
ce between OMN-equipped and "normal" EFCS.

Finally, one remark about my attempts to get Airbus experts involved in email
discussion. First, French and German Airbus experts seem to use digital communi-
cation "less" (if at all!) than there competitors in other parts of the world.
Second, the "enterprise culture" is even less open than in other parts of this
economic slot; when trying to get information about IT-related concepts and
implementation, I often learned that "we are sure that our systems are safe but
we can give you no details". Knowledge about basic EFCS concepts and problems
seems restricted to French experts, and they seem to regard their knowledge as
national wealth not sharable with non-French parts of there own enterprise!.
Third, I understand that actually some organisational "re-arrangememts" are
going on, which have also implications for availability of some experts. (But
honestly, this may only be a "wrong assessment of a bloody outsider" -:) 

Nevertheless, I'll continue to make one expert available for international
scientific information exchange via email.

Klaus Brunnstein (January 6,1992)