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Airbus A360

Airbus apparently conducted market research when looking for a name for the A380 super-jumbo, originally known as the A3XX. The number 7 [ie, A370] was immediately eliminated since it is so closely associated with rival Boeing. For whatever reasons, the numbers A350 and A360 were also deemed unpopular and appear to have been skipped, at least initially in the case of A350. A380 was eventually selected because the cross-section the fuselage resembles the digit 8, and because 8 is considered a special number in Asian cultures, the primary market for which the A380 is intended. This has not halted public speculation as to the possible indentity of an A360 and an A370.

An Airbus A360, with a design based on the Airbus A350, could be an Airbus A320 replacement. Some thought that the A350 should have been called the A360. The A350 could be the A320 replacement and the A370 could be the big twin between the A350 and the A380. That way, the third generation of the Airbus family could have the same sensible naming as the second generation.

International Lease Finance chief Steven Udvar-Hazy said in early 2008 that the leasing company had been "advocating" the development of twin-aisle narrowbody aircraft with seven-abreast seating - which the lessor dubbed "Airbus A360" and "Boeing 797" - but added that such an aircraft would depend on progress with new technology and would be a long-term prospect.

There is a gap between the A340-600 and A380-800. Some think the A340-600 has been stretched to its limits and A380-700 is not going to be efficient since it is too heavy). This suggests that sooner or later Airbus would come up with something to fill the gap to complete with the B744Adv and B773ER. This could be a new model with a new cross section and it could be an A360 with four engines (as it would be beyond the abilities of two engines).

One commentator suggested that "Airbus would counter-attack with an Y3 competitor that would be developed just out of synch with the A350 (EIS 2012). This new aircraft, the A360(?), would be a single-deck widebody with 10/11-across seating in Y-class. However, the circular fuselage of the A360 would maximize the usage of A380 fuselage components, namely the circular lower and upper fuselage. However, Al-Li would be used extensively and large fuselage panels would be friction stir welded together longitudinally. Since the lower lobe of the A380 is cylindrical up to just below the floor of the main deck, the A360 would reuse the nose gear and part of the unique single-body landing gear bays of the A380, though the four-wheel main gears on the wing should be swapped to six-wheel gears."

Airbus has investigated multi-engined aircraft of the type in which one of the engines is more particularly placed at the tail of the fuselage, which comprises the rear tail units, and in the vertical longitudinal plane of symmetry of the fuselage. Such is the case in particular with tri-jet aircraft such as the Lockheed L1011, and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, or MD-11., In fact, whilst two of the engines are respectively carried by the wings, the third engine is structurally and geometrically located between the horizontal tail unit with its two symmetrical stabilizers and the vertical tail unit with its vertical stabilizer disposed on the nacelle or the fairing of this third engine. Other aircraft integrate the tail engine at the end of the fuselage, directly in its structure.

Whatever the type of aircraft equipped with such an engine at the tail of the fuselage may be, particular maintenance problems arise due to the location of said engine compared with that of a very accessible and easily removable wing engine. In fact, when it is desired to remove the engine for an important overhaul, or even to replace it, it is necessary to previously carry out the removal of numerous surrounding components and devices that are independent of the engine in order to gain access to the latter, which results in particularly long, tedious and costly interventions.

Furthermore, it is necessary to provide complex and heavy lifting and/or handling installations (considering the height of the intervention) in order to be able to carry out in complete safety the various movements (horizontal and vertical) for taking out and moving the engine from the rear tail units or the fuselage to a receiving stand placed on the ground.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:50:25 ZULU