Re: Airbus threatens to sue Boeing

From:         Rick Hughes <rmhughes@iinet.net.au>
Organization: iiNet
Date:         15 Mar 96 01:05:26 
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Brad Gillies wrote:

> What about the lack of climb and time to cruise performance?  I know The A340
> in particular has a power problem that limits the aircraft to a step climb
> which is more pronounced than it's competitors.
> Any comments on this?

We don't experience a lack of climb performance that we find limiting in
our A340-200 aircraft, although I suspect your comments may stem from some
early A340-300 aircraft, being heavier with lower thrust C2 engines. I
know of one airline operating this type out of HKG which in summer seems
to take a considerable distance to get to height (in ISA+15 to 20
conditions) and commences cruise a step lower than we do. The -200s we
operate don't exhibit this problem.

We use a normal step climb procedure, which usually has us commencing
cruise a step above our company 747-400s heading to Europe with us. We
tend to remain a step above the -400 until they can reach our final
FL390/410 cruise level.

Yes, the A340 does take longer to get to its initial cruise level and a
-400 or similar will outclimb the A340 in pure time to height terms. It
gets back to matching thrust on the wing to required cruise thrust. The
A340 is well matched in the cruise, the competition could be considered
to be overpowered in the cruise.

We certainly haven't found this to be limiting around Asia, and it hasn't
been limiting on the ULH sectors out of Europe/North America either. The
aircraft makes it to height within the limits prescribed at most places
we operate. We don't anticipate that our A340-300s (commence delivery in
June) will exhibit these problems either, as they will be fitted with
higher thrust derivatives of the CFM56-5C family.

The "power problem" (as you call it) was in fact a design feature of the
aircraft, which allows it to achieve its excellent ULH specific fuel
consumption figures. You can't have your cake and eat it too ;-)  Yes,
the aircraft uses most of the available runway, takes time to get to
height, but normally commences cruise (ATC permitting) at the same
level/generally higher than the competition, and benefits from this for
the next 14 or so hours as its SFC is so much lower.

Apologies for the delayed reply ... have just returned from a trip to
Toronto/Anchorage with no access to the News Group.

Regards,

Rick Hughes