|Quoting American 767 (Reply 4):|
Why wasn't the A330-200 called the A329? That would have made perfect sense.
Yes, you are right. But Airbus namings never made sense, they just sort of happened. And that is true all way back to the very first Airbus plane.
Of course it all started with various ideas or projects in their early state. The one project, which got momentum, was a short/medium haul airliner for roughly 300 passengers. Somehow the name Airbus 300 stuck to it.
cancelled development of the RB-207 engine for it, they they were faced with two options:
1. Cancel the Airbus 300 project
2. Modify it to fit another engine.
They chose option 2 and shrunk the 300 project to a roughly 250 seat variant which could use the somewhat weaker GE
The only sensible thing would be to rename it Airbus 250. But they didn't do that. They named it A300B (the "B" meaning "shrink to fit CF6-50").
We all know A300B-1, A300B-2 and A300B-4. But But other suffix digits were used for other projects which were more or less based on the A300. As long as they were projects only, then they were called TA
-x ("x" being a sequential digit). TA
means "twin aisle" (there was also an SA
-10 and TA
-11 are especially interesting. TA
-10 was the first to be launched and should have been named A300B-10. (TA
-9 and TA
-11 were shelved due to lack of engines). But since the technicians had already for a long time been talking about the "threehundred-ten", then the name A310 stuck.
So by accident they had initiated the same steps of ten as Boeing had mostly been using (except for the 720).
became A320, and the TA
-9 and TA
-11 finally emerged as A330 and A340 respectively.
Next came A380, another name which doesn't make sense at all.
It's a shame that nobody seems to be able to apply proper names to airliners any longer, like in the good old days of Comet, Caravelle, Trident, Tristar, Concorde, Mercure, Coronado, Concorde etc. Boeing at least tried with Stratoliner for the 707, but waited fifty years with Dreamliner for the 787 - which will hardly stick either.
Saab in Sweden at least admitted that they had no fantasy when after forty years they produced a very much upgraded 34 seat version of the Saab Viking. They thought that Saab 34 was a too low number compared other planes. Three digit names were the norm, so they put a zero behind to become Saab 340.
Maybe in fifty years time the Twin Otter will still be the only airliner with a proper name. Or will it be out of production in year 2061? You think so?
[Edited 2011-10-28 18:22:58]