jrdioko From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 2 posts, RR: 0 Posted (7 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2610 times:
I'm new to the forum (and new to spending a lot of time looking at planes). I'm trying to find the characteristics that will definitively identify the various Airbus airliners:
I know those can be drilled down to even further subtypes, but that's as far as I'm interested in going (at this point ). The A380 and A340 are obvious, and some are obviously much longer than others, but otherwise I'm having trouble making a list of the differences. I've found some tips on other sites involving counting exit doors or looking at winglets or sets of main gear, but the gear isn't always visible and it sounds like the exit doors and winglets can vary even within the same type.
Does it just come down to looking at a ton of photos and getting an intuitive feel, or are there characteristics that will 100% distinguish each type from the others?
If we take the a300 and a310 as a separate family, then until the A319/20/21 sharklets are in service, that statement is not true.
Personally, the best way I find of telling the difference between the A300 and A310 is by fuselage length. Most A300s still flying are the -600 variant and they are about 20ft longer than the A310s. This gives the A310 a chubbier appearance.
If looking fuselage length doesn't work for you, the winglets should. The A300 winglets are much smaller and are a different shape:
Presumably, you can tell the A320 narrow body family from other airbus types.
The A318 should be easy to spot as it's the "baby bus" and is the shortest and has the largest tail.
The A319 and A320 are harder to tell apart, but for the keen eyed should not be too difficult to differentiate by comparing fuselage lengths. The A320 is the most proportional of the family and looks "right". Conversely, the A321 is the longest and with IAE engines is sometimes mistaken for the 757-200.
The A330s most distinguishing feature is it's ridiculous wingspan:
Alternatively, you can spot an A330 by it's 747-esque winglet it only shares with the A340: A330 winglet. by A380spotter, on Flickr
There are other distinguishing features such as gear tilt, gear design, thrust reverse type etc but the ones I listed above are most obvious for me.
If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty, check out the dimesions using:
vhqpa From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 1382 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (7 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2529 times:
The best way is probably looking at pictures and looking for differences but I'll summerise.
This was Airbuses first aircraft. The A300 is a short-medium haul widebody typically seating 250-300 passengers. These look somewhat fat and chubby. All A300's have four doors on each side. The earlier A300B2/B4 lack winglets while the A300-600 series has tiny wingtip fences facing up and down. The majority of A300's have been retired from airline service while many are still used as freighters only a handful are in passenger configuration
The A310 is a shrink from the A300 for customers who wanted greater range at the expense of capacity. They typically carry 200-220 passengers. These have quite a distinctive look due to the short and wide fuselage they look very stubby. They have three doors along each side. The original A310-200 series have no winglets while the A310-300 has wingtip fences like the A300-600 but are much larger. Like the A300 the majority have also been retired.
This is a single family of narrowbodies with varying lengths.
The A318 is the shortest member seating around 100-110 passengers. This wasn't a commercial success and only a handful were built. these have two doors and a single exit hatch on each side of the fuselage. These have a small pair of wingtip fences
The A319 is the next size up seating 130-150 passengers. Most of these have the pair of doors and a single exit hatch however high density operators like Easyjet and Germanwings have an additional exit hatch. A better way of telling it from a A320 is the wing fairing extend 1/2 way down the rear cargo door where on the A320 it only extends a tiny bit onto the rear cargo door. These have small wingtip fences.
A319 take note of the wing fairing and cargo door in realtion to the A320 underneath.
The A320 is the next size up and the first member of the family. It carries 160-180 passengers and has two doors and two exit hatches on each side. The very early models lacked winglets (these have all been retired now) . Almost all have the signature wingtip fences however large blended winglets or "sharkets" as airbus calls them have recently become an option for the A320 family.
This is another family this time with widebodies having either two (A330) or four engines (A340). The initial models came in two sizes 250-300 passengers (-200) and 300-350 passengers (-300). The A340 was designed to be longhaul aircraft while the A330 was designed as the short-medium haul high density "asiaplane" however the efficiency of the A330 and it's engines has allowed it to grow and is now replacing older A340 aircraft. The A340 also has two extra models the A340-500 which only a few were built is maginally (but not noticeably) larger than the A340-300 it is capably of flying the longest flights possible. The A340-600 is a stretch seating 400-450 passengers. The easiest way of telling a original A340 from the later two models is the -200 and -300 have smallish CFM engines where the -500 and -600 have much larger Rolls Royce engines. The A340-600 has five exit doors where the rest all have four on each side. All have large winglets pointing upwards only
The A380 is a quad engined very large aircraft it is the easiest to identify as it's the aircraft with two passenger decks running the entire length of the fuselage. it typically seats 480-550 however can seat over 800 passengers in an all economy layout. it has three doors on each side of the upper deck and five doors on each side of the lower deck.
Viscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 21465 posts, RR: 24 Reply 9, posted (7 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2132 times:
Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 3): If looking fuselage length doesn't work for you, the winglets should. The A300 winglets are much smaller and are a different shape:
And the original A300B4 did not have the winglets (more accurately, wingtip fences) so that's an easy way to tell the difference between the A300B4 and A300-600. Rear fuselage profile of the -600 is also different as it uses the same slightly deeper rear fuselage section as the A310.