Re: A300/A310

From:         rdd@cactus.org (Robert Dorsett)
Date:         28 Nov 93 16:39:05 PST
References:   1 2 3
Followups:    1
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

>I have a lot of trouble who lump these two aircraft together as one!
>If you look at the A300B4 and its "derivative" the A310, there really
>is not that much in common.  New wing, new engine choices, new glass
>cockpit, new rear fuselage, new tailplane, many new systems, etc.
>About all the two share is a common  cockpit structure and fuselage
>diameter.  The A300-600 came *after* the A310 and does share the
>same engines, cockpit, rear fuselage, etc with the A310, but it would
>still be a stretch to group them.  OK, so they come down the same
>production line, too.  But does *this* make them the same aircraft?

>From a marketing standpoint, they can be grouped for three major reasons:

1.  A300-600 and A310 cockpits are identical (thus allowing cross-typing).
2.  As you report, there's substantial commonality in the airframe, but also
    in heavy components, such as hydraulics, generators, etc.
3.  They *look* similar.

The first one's probably most important, from a recurring-cost standpoint:
the ability to cut down on pilot training expenses is very important, and 
being able to maintain a fleet for which one can inexpensively rate a 
pilot with the ability to fly *everything*, is very important: this is one
reason the cockpit of the A3[2-4]* is frozen in stone, and hasn't even 
reflected improvements in technology or design philosophy since the mid-
80's: if they change *anything*, they drive up the training costs.  Custom-
ers don't like that.

Clearly, Boeing's been less concerned with standardization.  But the 757
and 767 have common cockpits for similar reasons.

Another take on this is that much of the industry literature is oriented 
around operations, and the cockpit IS the most visible fixation point.  So 
the cross-training requirement is, at least, excusable.

What gives me heartburn is seeing the 777 grouped with the 757/767.  :-)
The A3[2-4]* are a linear family; so is the A300/A310; so is the 757/767.
The 777 is a new airplane, with a 747-400-ish cockpit, new engines, and
other innovations.



---
Robert Dorsett
rdd@cactus.org
...cs.utexas.edu!cactus.org!rdd