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Airbus Identification  
User currently offlinejrdioko From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 2 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3956 times:

Hello all,

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:

  • A300
  • A310
  • A318
  • A319
  • A320
  • A321
  • A330
  • A340
  • A380


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?

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinecrapper1 From United States of America, joined Sep 2012, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3902 times:

ive always used the wing fences on the wing tips to ID them from boeing products that have the winglets on them.
Not always foolproof now with the sharklets coming into the market

http://arunrajagopal.com/2010/08/12/identify-airbus-from-boeing/ this is a good tip site to show u what to look for and even has the 737 and a320 side by side in a photo


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3621 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3901 times:
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try google, flight global for cut away views, the aircraft data section on the top of the home page.

User currently offlineimiakhtar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3897 times:

Quoting jrdioko (Thread starter):
winglets can vary even within the same type.

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:

A300


A300B4-605R MSN 723 EP-IBA IR by A380spotter, on Flickr

A310


German Air Force A310 by 360 Photography, on Flickr

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:

http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/8/0/7/1133708.jpg

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:

http://www.airliners.net/aircraft-data/
http://www.airbus.com/support/mainte...cal-data/aircraft-characteristics/
http://www.airbus.com/aircraftfamilies/

Wikipedia is pretty accurate too.

Quoting jrdioko (Thread starter):
Does it just come down to looking at a ton of photos and getting an intuitive feel

That's pretty much it. If you're not near an airport, use youtube.

Some of my favourite channels:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn2jqSFbXXQ&feature=plcp (LAX airport ops)

http://www.youtube.com/user/Elktest/videos?view=0 (Airbus assembly and outfitting at hamburg)

[Edited 2012-10-12 18:42:58]

User currently offlinevhqpa From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 1476 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3875 times:

The best way is probably looking at pictures and looking for differences but I'll summerise.

A300
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


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Photo © Jordi Grife - Iberian Spotters
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Photo © George Canciani



Left: A300B2
Right: A300-600

A310
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.


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Photo © Tim Rees
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Photo © Marc Lehmann



Left: A310-200
Right A310-300

A318/A319/A320/A321

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


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Photo © Allan Martins Antunes



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.


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Photo © Petru Dimoff



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.


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Photo © Manuel Mueller
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Photo © Clément Alloing



Left: A320 with wingtip fences
Right: A320 with blended winglets

The A321 is the largest member of the family seating 200-220 passengers. It has similar proportions to the Boeing 757. These have four doors on each side.


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Photo © Mehmet Mustafa Celik

A330/A340

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


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Photo © Eko Triatno - Indospotter
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Photo © Tong Xian



Left: A330-200
Right: A330-300


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Photo © Esa Kaihlanen
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Photo © Sergey Kustov



Left: A340-200
Right A340-300


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Photo © Jason Whitebird
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Photo © Allen Zhao



Left: A340-500
Right: A340-600.

A380

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.


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Photo © D Langusch

A350

The A350 XWB is in deveopment and will be a true A340/ early 777 replacement it will come in three models (-800/-900/-1000) seating from 250-450 passengers.




"There you go ladies and gentleman we're through Mach 1 the speed of sound no bumps no bangs... CONCORDE"
User currently offlinecrapper1 From United States of America, joined Sep 2012, 18 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3865 times:

Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 3):
The A330s most distinguishing feature is it's ridiculous wingspan

They could have made the wingspan bigger you can never have too much wing.

  


User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5591 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3802 times:

The A330-200 (and rare A340-200) is the gorgeous one with a wingspan wider than the aircraft is long. 

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3659 times:

Quoting crapper1 (Reply 5):
Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 3):
The A330s most distinguishing feature is it's ridiculous wingspan

They could have made the wingspan bigger you can never have too much wing.

The apparent huge wingspan is due to:
- Relatively high aspect ratio.
- Engines mounted far inboard, in the same location as the 340 inboards.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineimiakhtar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3580 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):

The apparent huge wingspan is due to:
- Relatively high aspect ratio.
- Engines mounted far inboard, in the same location as the 340 inboards.

I'm fully aware of that thanks.

I was just pointing out the distinguishing features, NOT the rationale behind them.  

For the OP, there is an aviation quiz section on a.net where you can practice identifying aircraft:

http://www.airliners.net/quiz/


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25626 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3478 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.


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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.



The lack of winglets/fences is also about the only way to tell the A310-200 from the much longer range A310-300.

A310-200 - no fences.


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Photo © Gerhard Plomitzer




A310-300 - fences


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Photo © Marc Hasenbein



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