The Airbus A318 is a member of the family of narrow-body, twin-engine aircraft. It was jointly developed by aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing as part of an agreement to share certain technologies. The first prototype made its maiden flight on September 30th 1991. It has since gone through many different iterations including the latest version, the A318 Elite, which features improved aerodynamics for higher fuel efficiency and better passenger comfort.
The Airbus 318 is a single-aisle medium-range airliner and a short-bodied version of the A319. The development was launched in the spring of 1999 and its maiden flight took place in January of 2002.
This was with the Pratt and Whitney PW6000 engines. The first flight with the CFM56-5 engines took place in August of 2002. This particular plane received the European JAA certification in May of 2003 and deliveries began in July of that year to launch customer Frontier Airlines.
The plane with the PW6000A engines received its certification in December of 2005 and the first A318 to take flight with the PW6000A engines launched in Chile in June of 2007.
Orders and Deliveries
Among the companies ordering the Airbus A318 are Air France, America West, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, GECAS, Comlux Aviation, LAN, Mexicana, TAROM, and CIT Aerospace. British Airways ordered two A318s in May of 2008 and then launched services between New York City and London. The first A318 equipped with step approach was delivered to British Airways in September of 2009. In December of that year, one A318 was delivered to Saudi Red Crescent Authority.
In November of 2005, a version of the A318 called the A318 Elite was launched by Comlux Aviation. Now other airlines are jumping on the bandwagon and ordering their own A318 Elites. The Elite version of this plane has the largest cabin cross-section of any of the A300 planes and deliveries of these planes began in May of 2007.
The A318 has a very wide cabin that allows for high-density single-class seating for a total of 129 passengers. Other aircraft that offer mixed-class seating provide only 99 economy seats, which shows how much bigger the A318 is. In late 2007, the A318 with a digital head-up display system was certified by EASA, increasing the pilot’s situational awareness.
In the fall of 2010, the company notified everyone that the A318 will now be fit with sharklet wing tips for fuel-saving capability.
Much the same as the Airbus A320, the A318 has fly-by-wire controls made by Thales/SFENA. It doesn’t have a control column; instead, the pilot and co-pilot each have a side-stick controller. The control system is controlled by five computers and operates all primary and secondary flight controls. It does this through a combination of hydraulic jacks and electronic signaling.
Speaking of the flight control systems, very high safety standards have been applied to them, including flight envelope and system redundancy protection. This prevents maneuvers from exceeding the plane’s aerodynamic and structural limitations. Its flight speed is maintained safely above the stall speed while the throttles are automatically opened in order for a successful positive climb to take place.
With the A318, you can order two Pratt and Whitney PW6000 engines or two CFM International engines. The fuel tank capacity is 23,860 liters, which means that the plane has a range of 2800 kilometers when the maximum number of passengers is realized. The first PW6000 engine A318 plane was delivered to LAN Airlines in August of 2006.
The A318 has digital avionics and a digital automatic flight management and flight control system. The automatic flight control is integrated with the SFENA autopilot and the flight management system, which is made by Honeywell. The same company also supplies the air data and inertial reference system.
The fuselage is laser-welded instead of riveted, saving both weight and cost. The aircraft sections are made by companies such as EADS Spain, EADS France, the Belgian Belairbus, BAE SYSTEMS, and EADS Germany and they are transported to Hamburg for assembly.
The main cabin consists of both service doors on the starboard side and two passenger doors on the port side and the cargo can hold up to 21.21 square meters. Liebherr and ABG-Semca make the air-conditioning system and the primary electrical systems are powered by two Sundstrand constant frequency generators. A third generator can be used during ground operations or in flight if necessary.
The Airbus A318 has hydraulically retractable tricycle landing gear. The main landing gear units are supplied by Dowty and retract inwards into the body fairings and wings. The Messier Bugatti nose gear is steerable and retracts forward. In addition, the wheels are made with carbon brakes.