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It was the 1970s, and airlines began looking for new short-to-medium range airliners with the capacity of about 250 passengers (to replace their fleets of mostly Boeing aircraft dating from the 1960s). An amalgamation of Aérospatiale and Deutsche Airbus (along with the then Hawker Siddeley Aviation – later British Aerospace –  as a commercial partner) formed Airbus Industrie in 1970 and came up with a real winner.

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They proposed a wide-bodied, twin-aisle, twin-engined aircraft carrying between 220 and 336 passengers. It was, initially, to be Rolls-Royce powered but the production version, renamed A300B, was powered by two General Electric CF6-50 engines rated at 51,000 lbs st. Each Airbus Industrie partner was assigned a part of the structure (in Hawker Siddeley’s case – and their successor, British Aerospace – it was the advanced and very efficient wing). All of the manufactured sections were brought together and assembled at a new facility at Toulouse, France. The first Airbus A300B flew on 28th October, 1972, and was quickly followed by other, improved, versions. The Airbus A300B4 first flew on 26th December, 1974, and was a longer-range A300B with a centre-section fuel tank and Kreuger flaps (leading-edge devices which increase wing camber, and therefore, lift). A300B4′s quickly joined the world’s airline fleets in numbers, initially being produced at the rate of two a month.

The aircraft shown, A300B4-103F, EI-OZA, has been an extremely busy aircraft. It was built in 1981 as construction number 148, (with a ‘test’ registration of F-WZMB), then delivered to Olympic Airways. It flew as SX-BEG, in their blue/white livery of the time complete with Olympic rings on the fin, in standard passenger configuration. The aircraft was named ‘Diomedes’, after a hero in Greek mythology. During the next 17 years, ‘Diomedes’ flew all over the Olympic Airways route system; it flew the Athens (LGAV) to London-Heathrow (EGLL) route in 1981, was seen at Amsterdam-Schipol (EHAM) in 1986, and Frankfurt-Am-Main (EDDF) in 1991. Unfortunately, at the end of one journey SX-BEG developed a nasty leak from the port-side aft lavatory, which showed up on landing at Frankfurt!

In 1998 the aircraft was converted to freighter configuration (becoming an A300B4-103F) and leased by L’Aéropostale as F-GOZA. The French carrier used -ZA on its contract postal routes as well as carrying freight for Air France. December 2002 saw the aircraft moved to Air Contractors (part of ASL Aviation Group, based in Ireland) who currently manage all the Airbus A300B-4 freighters for the DHL line; it was also placed on the Irish Civil Register at this time as EI-OZA. DHL Express (and its European Air Transport division) are a German-based freight carrier, notable for the provision of ‘small packet’ services on a worldwide basis.

After a short while on the Belgian Civil Aircraft Register as OO-DIF, the aircraft finally reverted to its Irish identity just in time to be consigned, in 2010, to Air Salvage International at Cotswold Airport, Kemble, Gloucestershire. Here it is seen, with the DHL titles painted out, awaiting its fate. It is highly likely that any reuseable parts will be removed, and the remainder scrapped.

Whether carrying passengers or freight, A300B4, EI-OZA, has had a long and hugely productive life – typical of the breed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ancient Chinese curse: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortfinals, kevinpdx, Wheever
    May you live in interesting times.  
    Good landing if you can walk away from it.  Great landing if you can use the airplane again.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:32:41 PM PST

  •  So any idea of miles / cycles ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:33:17 PM PST

    •  Duty cycles approximately 36,000. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortfinals, eztempo

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:48:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Prototype testing was 47,500 cycles. (0+ / 0-)

        That is about twice as many as a normal airliner would be expected to make in 25 years of regular service. The lower figure represents the safety margin.

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:55:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And that's a funny photo . (0+ / 0-)

    Do you see it ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:34:22 PM PST

  •  I never flew the B4 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortfinals, Wheever, Otteray Scribe

    But I was on the A300-600 (two person cockpit) for a couple years. Nice airplane.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 06:44:39 PM PST

    •  If I remember correctly.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, eztempo

      ...the -600 had C of G control via fuel displacement. Strangely enough, the Concorde had the same capability (plus the fact that it was approximately 6" LONGER at Mach 2, than it was on the ground at ambient temperature).

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:11:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correct (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortfinals, Otteray Scribe, eztempo

        It has a trim tank in the tail. As you climbed through FL200 or so it would pump gas back there to get an aft CG for better fuel economy.

        On the way back down it would pump the fuel back forward.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:37:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Note that the A300 is not a copy of the 767 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shortfinals, Otteray Scribe

    The A300 came first.

    American Airlines wanted a twin-engine wide body and the US manufacturers were busy with other products at the time (DC-10, L1011, 747).

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:44:08 PM PST

    •  ..and Lockheed were busy helping R/R along.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, eztempo

      ..the road to bankruptcy! Admittedly, it was the company's idea to make the primary fan blades on the RB.211 from epoxidized carbon fibre (for massive weight savings and fuel efficiency) but they ran into terribly technical problems. I was living in Derby at the time (which had R/R plants and test sites in various places), and the city took a beating financially. The Government had to step in, as the RAF had almost every aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce engines!

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:59:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On the occasions I had to call traffic… (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, shortfinals

      …to someone and the traffic was one of those Americans, I'd say, "traffic 12 o'clock, 10 miles, an American Airbus, which is a contradiction in terms."

      It was one of my rare departures from mostly standard phraseology.

      P.S. there's an 18 minute clip of me working an inbound rush sometime in the '90s at my ATC website in my sig line. Sorry for the whoring, but it's at least a little relevant in this thread.

      •  Ex EGNX, here! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exatc, Simplify

        Slightly off topic, I was in the VCR one day, when the shift supervisor was handling a British Midland Airways Viscount, and an Air Bridge Carriers A.W. Argosy.

        Both of these aircraft were powered by four R/R Dart turboprops, but the Argosy, was, of course a portly freighter, whereas the Vickers Viscount was a slim 75-passenger regional airliner.

        The ATCO asked the Argosy if he had visual contact with the Viscount; the reply caused everyone to chuckle....

        'Castle Don Tower, I have the light aircraft in sight'

        'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

        by shortfinals on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:39:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes...the RB.211 was the first of the.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe, AshesAllFallDown

    ....triple-spool engines. Hugely complex (due to the three concentric shafts running inside each other), but smooth as smooth can be (due to the rigidity this gives).

    They are still around in huge numbers, of course, (on lots of 747s, for example) but their descendent, the Trent family of engines, will be with us for decades.

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