ACJ320: scope and status

Status requires much. To drive certain brands of cars, and use the special category of aircraft ... ACJ320 was established specially for the VIP-persons. The expensive luxury business jet, inside of which you have a feeling that you are in a large well-designed room with a variety of areas: for sleeping, eating, work, and leisure...

The history

ACJ foto

First you work on a name, then the name works for you” — this formula is fully applicable to Airbus. With the only one specification: have earned the name, the corporation did not rest on its laurels — competition is too strong, you souldn’t relax. The numbers speak for themselves: today more than 440 private owners and operators run the Airbus worldwide, there are over 11 thousand orders for the new vehicles, 52.5 thousand employees of staff, and the annual turnover of about € 30 billion. In the business aviation Airbus immediately took the premium segment, offered the world VIP- version of wide-body liners (330th , 340th, 350th, 380th model) and the single-aisle ones (318th, 319th and 320th models). In June 1997, a program of 319 (he “started” the first in line) and almost two years later the liner made its first flight. In 2000, the first delivery of the 320th took place, which has been purchased by the “Qatar Airways”, and Comlux received the 318th in 2005. Initially to the name of liners the epithets Elite, and Prestige were added. This May, apparently deciding that the VIP-family does not need such a clarification, it was given the general name ACJ (Airbus Corporate Jets).

A bit of statistics

Nowadays more than 170 business-jets ACJ are sold, over 110 of them — ACJ318, ACJ319 and ACJ320. The majority of sales falls to Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region.

The main advantage

The main advantage of ACJ318, ACJ319 and ACJ320, due to which Airbus outstripped all the competitors, including the main rival Boeing, is the width and height of the cabin. None of the existing or projectible business jets do not have such a spacious salon. The largest of the narrow-bodied ACJ trio is 320th. Its salon length is 27.5 m, width — 3.7 m, height — 2.25 m, and the total area of 97 m². In total volume the liner exceed by three times the popular Gulfstream G550 and Global Express XRS. With the main rival BBJ2 the difference is smaller without doubt. The dimensions of the Airbus luggage compartment is also unique for the aircraft of business aviation. On the area of 37.4 m³ can be accommodated up to 200 items of bulky luggage. Maximum take-off weight of 320th is 77 tons.

Gulfstream 550's compartment foto Global Express XRS's compartment foto Airbus's compartment foto
Gulfstream G550 Global Express XRS Airbus

Technical peculiarities

As for the technical equipment, it also couldn’ t do without exclusive. On the VIP-family Airbus for the first time in the world the electric distance control system FBW (fly-by-wire) was applied. In practice this means that the pilots control the various systems not directly, but by means of a computer which receives information from sensors, adjusts the actions of the crew and does not permit in-flight emergencies. The technology is certainly not simple. Nevertheless, it is usefull as for pilots (as it’ s easier to manage than standard systems, which, for example, Boeing, Bombardier, and Gulfstream use), and for operators (as it appreciably reduces their costs).

“Theoretically, the disadvantage of the 320th, compared to the BBJ, is a slightly shorter flight range of 7800 km, — says Edward Queffelec, sales manager of the airline Masterjet. — However, in fact it is not a problem, as there are not much routes, which will reach Boeing and the flight range of Airbus won’t be enough.” The maximum speed of the 320th is 978 km per hour. The flight from Moscow to London takes 4 hours, to Beijing it takes 7.5 hours.

Design and materials

The developers of Airbus have made quite a few efforts to improve the aerodynamics of the aircraft. The fuel-efficient wing tips have been designed. The fuselage is almost by 1 / 3 is made of carbon fiber, the polymer composite material; lighter, but no less durable, than the traditional ones. The brakes of all ACJ are carboxylic. It is possible to install the additional fuel tanks.

For the convenience of the passengers there is a built-in loading bridge.

With care for pilots

According to Rudolf Hofer, the pilot of Comlux ACJ318, in the cabin all is done so that the crew feels the most comfortable: " It is spacious and ergonomic, digital displays are large enough. There’ s even a sliding table for work. Instead of a steering wheel is a side-stick. This plane is very easy to operate, even in turbulence". The management and control systems are universal for all the Airbus aircraft. " It is very important from the standpoint of pilots, who can safely " change" from one aircraft to another without any additional training. It saves time and money. From a perspective of the owner to find the pilot for such aircraft is quite simple," — says the marketing director of Airbus Corporate Jets, David Velupillai.

Maria Agafonova

The article is published abridged. Read the full article at Top Flight N8 (30) 2011

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