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US A321 Performance  
User currently offlineXcltflyboy From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 32 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9846 times:

I was on the top parking garage Friday at PHX watching the "birds" blast off. Over the course of a couple hours, I noticed almost all a/c types rotating and breaking ground at roughly the same point on the runway. Except for US's A321s. The two "21s" I saw depart, initiated rotation and had wheels off noticeably farther past the typical rotation/off point on the runway of other a/c types.

This made me think of some comments I heard from A321 drivers when I was a f/a at US back in the early 2000's. Several pilots on the 21 felt that the A321 was a pig, because it lacked the performance to climb to final cruising altitude without stopping on transcon flights. They said they always had to level off at around 30,000 feet to burn fuel, then climb for higher.

With all that said, I would love to hear from members in-the-know about the A321's technical capabilities that may cause these performance issues. Are there any Boeing A/C that experience the same, e.g. 739?

Thanks in advance for the informative replies!

78 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBobloblaw From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1616 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9794 times:
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The wings must be small relative to the body.

User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8664 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9552 times:

US currently has two types of A321's. They have those powered by IAE engines and GE engines. The GE engines were the orignal batch ordered prior to the merger with America West. When US merged, they ordered A321's with the IAE engines.

The first IAE powered A321, N507AY, was delivered in 08. The last GE powered example, N197UW was delivered in 09'. The oldest A321 in the fleet is N161UW which was delivered to US in 2001. The latest A321 is N558UW, which was delivered in 2012.

KH



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlinegigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9505 times:

Quoting Xcltflyboy (Thread starter):
With all that said, I would love to hear from members in-the-know about the A321's technical capabilities that may cause these performance issues.

Its simple - its wings are mostly the same as the rest of the A320 family, but it is much bigger.

It has a different flaps configuration that help it with lift.

Quoting Xcltflyboy (Thread starter):
Are there any Boeing A/C that experience the same, e.g. 739?

The 739 is a runway hog as well. Its wings are entirely too small for its capacity as well, and even the revisions of the 737-900ER don't get it up off the ground much better.

This is one aspect of the 757 that neither manufacturer will be able to address.

Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 3):
The first IAE powered A321, N507AY, was delivered in 08. The last GE powered example, N197UW was delivered in 09'. The oldest A321 in the fleet is N161UW which was delivered to US in 2001. The latest A321 is N558UW, which was delivered in 2012.

... ok?

NS


User currently offlineusflyer msp From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2107 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9463 times:

It must perform okay the missions US uses them on as US has kept on ordering them....

User currently offlinegigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9421 times:

60 now. More coming.

NS


User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3738 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 8837 times:

Take off distance is generally not a good indicator of performance, given that they're rarely operated at maximum thrust.

And then every aircraft is a pig to another. An A321 might not take off or climb as hard as an A320/738, but compared to a fully loaded 747, it might as well be ballistic missile...



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineboberito6589 From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 338 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 8698 times:
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Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 3):
The last GE powered example, N197UW was delivered in 09'.

There will actually be 2 or 3 CFM powered 321s coming into the fleet this year


User currently offlineCRJ900 From Norway, joined Jun 2004, 2172 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 8697 times:
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Perhaps the A321s you saw were scheduled for long flights and thus were heavy and needed the runway length they used.

The A321 seems to be disliked in the US, "everyone" complains about it. Here in Europe, the charter airlines fly them non-stop for 5-6 hours with 200-215 pax onboard without any problems.



Come, fly the prevailing winds with me
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 51
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 8695 times:

Quoting francoflier (Reply 7):
An A321 might not take off or climb as hard as an A320/738, but compared to a fully loaded 747, it might as well be ballistic missile...

You need to remember PHX is 1135' above sea level, so it can be considered a high hot airport. The A-321 is the heaviest member of the A-32X family. Although it can be ordered with engines up to about 32,000 lbs of thrust, it still has a high thrust to weight ratio. Compared to the B-747-8 at a MTOW take-off (a 3.39:1 thrust to weight ratio), the A-321's take-off performance is only slightly better (3.21:1). But that is comparing apples to rocks. The B-747-8 has better and more advanced lift divices and therefore has a much better climb to cruising capability.

A much better comparison would be comparing the A-321 to the B-757, which is a true high performance airplane close to the same size of the A-321, although the B-757 has a MTOW some 50,000 lbs heavier than the A-321.


User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1542 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 8694 times:

Quoting gigneil (Reply 4):
Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 3):The first IAE powered A321, N507AY, was delivered in 08. The last GE powered example, N197UW was delivered in 09'. The oldest A321 in the fleet is N161UW which was delivered to US in 2001. The latest A321 is N558UW, which was delivered in 2012.

... ok?

I think the point here is that we're dealing with potentially very different performance depending on which frame is in question. As with most planes, a 2010 model has numerous improvements over a 2002 model, and that's to say nothing about the V2500 vs CFM engines.


User currently offline93Sierra From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 8693 times:

I understand why other large A320 family operators did not order the 321 ( PMUA, NW ) due to the large number of 757 aircraft in their fleets.

The 321 seems to be a good fit for US out of PHX


User currently offlinemigair54 From Spain, joined Jun 2007, 1658 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 8693 times:

Quoting gigneil (Reply 5):
60 now. More coming

That´s a better indication of the good performance of the model with them.


Usually when a plane is taking off to save some life for the engines airlines use flex take off power, so they use the minimum required thrust for a given runway and conditions. and of course the heavier the plane the longer the runway needed.

The only plane that nobody can call a pig is the B757, that´s a rocket always!!!! I love to see it taking off....


User currently offlinefokkerf28 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 152 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8692 times:
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The Primary reason for the long takeoff roll is the temps in PHX. I deal with the A321 daily. Anything going to the East coast is usually at MTOW. Weight restriction are very common on the the A321. Even a one degree increase in temp can equate to having to take off an additional 1000 to 1500 lbs of weight. We usually give the A321 the north runway due to it being the longest in PHX.
Over all a good aircraft for the shorter routes but add the higher temps and longer distances and unfortunately the aircraft struggles. There really is no true replacement for the B757.


cheers......


User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5313 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8695 times:

Quoting Xcltflyboy (Thread starter):
With all that said, I would love to hear from members in-the-know about the A321's technical capabilities that may cause these performance issues. Are there any Boeing A/C that experience the same, e.g. 739?

Yes, the A321 needs quite a bit of runway in high/hot conditions such as those at PHX in the summer. Its unique flaps actually help it considerably -- the 739 needs yet more runway and is the worst runway hog among modern narrowbodies.

But there is *enough* runway, and it's an excellent aircraft economically and from a customer perspective.


User currently offlinePRAirbus From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2005, 1129 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8696 times:

Too bad US A320 family has no IFE! A missed opportunity; not even boarding music! It's awful to be stuck on a US A321 on a 5+ hrs flight on a transcon; just wifi is not good enough! At least AA will have state-of-the-art IFE on its A321s! (let's hope a US acquisition doesn't kill those innovative fleet plans!); that would truly suck!

User currently offlineDesertFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 515 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8693 times:

Does anyone know how common fuel stops are for them anymore? Westbound PHL-SFO in the winter is always over 5.5 hours in the air and often the flight is full (of passengers at least), but it hardly ever seems to need to stop. I would think that's a decent measure of performance.

User currently offlineROSWELL41 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 776 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8694 times:

A321's can have vastly different fuel capacities as well. I'm fairly certain that US's new A321's have the larger capacity fuel option. For example, NK's A321's actually hold less fuel than their A319's and A320's. This ultimately affects the capability of the aircraft. I'd imagine US's are taking off at heavier weights due to the longer legs they fly on average.

User currently offlinetommy767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8700 times:

Quoting gigneil (Reply 3):
The 739 is a runway hog as well. Its wings are entirely too small for its capacity as well, and even the revisions of the 737-900ER don't get it up off the ground much better.

Yeah I watched the UA 739s take off out of EWR about a month ago. Absolutely terrible take off performance compared to a 757.



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8405 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8707 times:

Quoting fokkerf28 (Reply 13):
Over all a good aircraft for the shorter routes but add the higher temps and longer distances and unfortunately the aircraft struggles. There really is no true replacement for the B757.
Quoting seabosdca (Reply 14):
But there is *enough* runway, and it's an excellent aircraft economically and from a customer perspective.

The A321 carries the same passengers and bags as the 757 at the end of the day. In greater comfort, lower noise and 25% less fuel or so. The fuel is very, very expensive now, so that's checkmate.


User currently offlinewarreng24 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 707 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8701 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):
Compared to the B-747-8 at a MTOW take-off (a 3.39:1 thrust to weight ratio), the A-321's take-off performance is only slightly better (3.21:1). But that is comparing apples to rocks. The B-747-8 has better and more advanced lift divices and therefore has a much better climb to cruising capability.

Also don't forget that the A321 is only a twin (vs the 748, a quad). Engine out capability factors into the takeoff performance as well.


User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1542 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8696 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 19):
The A321 carries the same passengers and bags as the 757 at the end of the day. In greater comfort, lower noise and 25% less fuel or so. The fuel is very, very expensive now, so that's checkmate.

Presuming it's a route the 321 can fly, sure. But that only works as long as you don't the field performance and/or extreme range capability of a 757. For those missions, there is only one plane that will suffice. There are of course a dwindling number of those, but they do still exist.


User currently offlinecaljn From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 207 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8695 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 19):
In greater comfort, lower noise

i get so tired of the subjective noise factor equalling better argument. Just flew transcon yesterday on a UA 757 and enjoyed every minute of it. From the best in the biz take off to the solid, secure, "no need to be concerned, I am in total control" feeling one gets while cruising in the mighty '57.
The humm of the engines are part of the experience, the 321 quite dull in comparison.


User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1542 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8697 times:

Quoting caljn (Reply 22):
i get so tired of the subjective noise factor equalling better argument. Just flew transcon yesterday on a UA 757 and enjoyed every minute of it. From the best in the biz take off to the solid, secure, "no need to be concerned, I am in total control" feeling one gets while cruising in the mighty '57.
The humm of the engines are part of the experience, the 321 quite dull in comparison.

In fact, didn't Boeing just release a PR recently stating that their studies had shown that people were disconcerted by TOO LITTLE ambient noise in the 787 cabin? I may be wrong on the specifics there, but I do recall a recent PR to that effect, that people find some level of noise reassuring.


User currently offlinewn676 From Djibouti, joined Jun 2005, 1031 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8694 times:

Quoting ROSWELL41 (Reply 17):
I'm fairly certain that US's new A321's have the larger capacity fuel option.

All US A321s (pre- and post-merger aircraft) can carry up to 52,000 lbs of fuel as they have two ACTs installed in the aft cargo bin.

Quoting boberito6589 (Reply 7):
There will actually be 2 or 3 CFM powered 321s coming into the fleet this year

Are they going to start delivering CFMs with 500-series tail numbers? I know 198 is one of the new ones coming but I didn't see any others...



Tiny, unreadable text leaves ample room for interpretation.
25 wn676 : Depending on which 757 fleet you're talking about, they actually carry more. US A321s seat 183 (soon to be 187); US East 757s seat 176 and US West 75
26 lucky777 : I see you conveniently left off the cargo capabilities of the A321 versus the 757. Good luck making it to SFO from PHL with 5,000 lbs of cargo in the
27 southwest737500 : No it's not, read a book play with and IPad, get on the gogo, you guys hate on US to much. They get you from point A to point B
28 tommy767 : It's actually worse than that. US A320s had IFE but RIPPED OUT the systems after HP integration in 2006/2007!!
29 Aesma : And would that cargo bring enough revenue to pay for the difference in fuel burn and maintenance ?
30 wn676 : The monitors were removed/deactivated starting in November 2008 and had nothing to do with the integration of the two airlines.
31 seabosdca : I think US's choice of equipment for that route (all A320/A321) answers that question convincingly in the negative. Yet again people are too emotiona
32 tommy767 : It did -- "weight savings" which we all know is BS when they were small LCD monitors. This was around the same time US was charging for water.
33 lucky777 : Remind yourself this winter when you see the obligatory fuel stops for the LCC A321's headed to the west coast with nothing but passengers and bags a
34 seabosdca : I don't think Parker is too ashamed of those few fuel stops when he compares the profitability of his A321s with that of the competition's 757s -- wh
35 Post contains links RyanairGuru : Actually IFE systems are incredibly heavy. It's not the screens, it's the significant amount of cabling. Scoot claim to have reduced the weight of th
36 Post contains images CPDC10-30 : The second most powerful jetliner takeoff I've ever experienced was on an A321. It was an AC flight YYZ-YYC..so not a short flight at all. Brake relea
37 kgaiflyer : There seems to be some kind of 321 thread just before there is a "When will they reopen the 757 line" thread." I'm sure a little of that is Boeing-fa
38 seabosdca : NW and UA never used their early A320s on transcons. NW had almost no transcons, while UA had tons of 757s which it used on those flights. And AC's tr
39 Flighty : From a hobbyist perspective, maybe the Spruce Goose should be selected to fly the route. People talk like that until it's their wallet paying to fill
40 tommy767 : Even during the winter the 739ER can divert on transcons. It was a particularly dumb move because at this point US is the only legacy carrier in the
41 wn676 : They cut back not only on weight, but also with maintenance and licensing costs. It was projected to save about $10 million annually. And again, it h
42 USAIRWAYS321 : I used to fly CLT/PHL/PIT-SEA very regularly on US when the A320 family was new to the US fleet, and never experienced a fuel stop on the A321, or any
43 gigneil : Really? How many of those really happen. Their A320s seem to stop much more. NS
44 KPDX : Hahahaha at mentioning noise in the A321. I sat in the front/back on two different flights this summer. It's hillarious when people mention noise on
45 HPRamper : Wifi and the public love for tablets/laptops/smartphones are quickly making IFE an outdated and non very cost effective system especially given the a
46 lucky777 : I doubt that VERY much. With a range of 3200nm versus 3060 nm for the 737-800 which also does its fair share of transcons year round without trouble.
47 seabosdca : Stated range tells you little to nothing about actual operating conditions. The stated 3200 nm range is with two AFTs. No US airlines are taking thei
48 gigneil : The range of a 737-800 is 3115nm vs a 737-900ER with two tanks at 3200. Nobody has ordered two tanks that I am aware of. NS
49 lucky777 : You keep trying to gloss over the fact that a couple of winters ago LCC was having to make what damn near became regularly-scheduled fuel stops to ma
50 gigneil : US's A320s were stopping, not their A321s. The A321 offers two ACTs, just like the 737-900ER. Their ranges are practically identical. In practice, mos
51 womenbeshoppin : I have personally worked flights from PHL to SFO that have had around 9 grand in the belly. All on 321. Im sure CLP would not assign that much cargo
52 kgaiflyer : About the same time, US did away with complementary soft drinks and water. I understand they were considering dropping their frequent flyer program,
53 tommy767 : Oh it has and will continue to happen. Come winter winds, I recall even seeing CLE-LAX divert once or twice during the winter on flight aware.
54 seabosdca : And you are overlooking that the weather conditions during that period, themselves, were a once-in-a-blue-moon type of event. Hell, I saw a few 757s
55 gigneil : Facts are totally unimportant. You know that. NS
56 Post contains links hz747300 : I notice it to when flying a 73G (737-700?) with WN too. The takeoff roll seems long versus the many Cathay flights which I take from HKG. I am wonder
57 maxpower1954 : Another A-nutter myth. I've been flying the A321 transcon on a regular basis as a F/O and captain since 2003. With almost 200 knot winter headwinds a
58 RyanairGuru : I'm not doubting that it was part of a broader cost-cutting drive at US that resulted in a devaluing of their product, I was merely suggesting that t
59 Aesma : IFEs are not just screens and cabling but also media servers.
60 drerx7 : If the plane is paid for...especially yes.
61 lucky777 : When your relegated to flying PHL-MIA or MCO of course not. Try flying PHL-SFO/LAX in a 200 knot headwind and tell me you won't need to make a fuelst
62 seabosdca : He just did. He said:
63 col : Put the bias away and read what people write. I too have done many US transcons on 321's and never had a fuel stop.
64 RyanairGuru : That statement is so insulting I'm speechless, and it doesn't even pertain to me
65 PHLapproach : The whole A321 "Tech-Stop" in winter is not an issue for US anymore. I worked for them from for four years from 2007 to 2011 and when I first started
66 DesertFlyer : It's shocking just how difficult it is for a handful of people to admit that the A321 is a good airplane for how US use them. Based off this thread yo
67 drerx7 : I haven't flown the 321 and I am quite anxious to now that US flies them here to IAH regularly now on the CLT runs. I prefer 757s of course but the 32
68 wn676 : I believe by then they were already reconfigured to the current 16F/167Y, but along with the IFE didn't they also remove the ovens from the aft galle
69 PHLapproach : Yea, your right that's another item that was removed. That's why I was shocked when I read you say they are adding more seats. We'll see. Maybe the o
70 Post contains images Mainliner : What an uneducated comment . I fly CLT/PHL to LAX/PHX/LAS several times per year (even during the winter, during heavy headwinds!) and have never onc
71 Post contains images ghifty : About 70% of all the flights I've been on for the past two years have had in-seat AVOD, the rest just in-seat audio. For all of these flights I resor
72 PHLwok : Yup - in the past decade I've flown (as a passenger) on PHL-SAN/PHX/LAX/LAS/SFO/SEA hundreds of times on US A321s, including plenty in the winter, an
73 Post contains images sweair : I will go on a A321 soon, Iberia from ARN, never had the pleasure to fly on one before. I booked a nightmare ticket, the normal ones were sold out or
74 Post contains images SQ22 : Last week I returned from the US. I made all my trips there with US (12), A319/320/321 and 757 (usually PHL-SJU, but one time PHL-PHX). I have to adm
75 maxpower1954 : US 321s are not EOW (extended over water) equipped; you must remain within 100 nautical miles of land to roughly Wilmington, NC and 162 nm below that
76 tommy767 : .....or just not fly US Airways?
77 SQ22 : Maybe they are planning to do this on some future deliveries?
78 fokkerf28 : The reason you don't have any fuel stops is because we weight restrict the flight and you as a pax are not aware. Alot goes on behind the scene that
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