(Following yesterday's modern jetliner blog ...)
It's very tempting to imagine that these mighty A330 flying machines swallowing 300 and more passengers are so modern, surely they can have been conceived only in the last few years.
|Where the clever men hide ... The cockit of an A300 airbus. Thanks to Wikipedia and Alex Beltyukov - RuSpotters Team - Gallery page|
This enormous surprise comes from Wikipedia's review of the extraordinary A300 air bus made by Airbus.
During the 1960s! Getting on for sixty years ago! 'Air France, the launch customer for the A300, introduced the type into service on 30 May 1974,' Wikipedia reports. That's 45 years ago. Many readers here won't have been present on the planet back then.
|Airbus number 2 ... The second of the airbuses. Wikipedia reports, 'This A300B1 was the second A300 built and one of the first to enter airline service in November 1974. It was operated by Trans European Airways of Belgium until retirement from service in November 1990.' Thanks to Wikipedia: RuthAS [CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons|
In fact, it seems that the astonishing distances in such quick time is really so yesterday.
Wikipedia reports: 'Development of the A300 began during the 1960s as a European collaborative project between various aircraft manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany.'
During the 1960s! At least, almost, 50 years ago. Fifty years! 'Air France, the launch customer for the A300, introduced the type into service on 30 May 1974,' Wikipedia reports.
On 19 July 2013, Airbus delivered the 1,000th A330. The A330 became the first Airbus wide-body airliner to reach 1,000 deliveries.
Extraordinary! And imagine the amount of finance changing hands through this remarkable machine.
The ultra negative
However, what about the other side, though, the ultra negative, which I confess is what I look for when I am about to book a flight somewhere.
Wikipedia reports that of June last year, the Airbus A330 had been involved in 33 major aviation occurrences, including 11 confirmed hull-loss accidents and two hijackings, for a total of 339 fatalities.
I remember well following the news of the A330's second fatal and deadliest accident, and its first while in commercial service. It happened on 1 June 2009, 10 years ago almost to the day.
An Air France A330-200 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris carrying 228 people crashed in the Atlantic Ocean between 350 and 430 nautical miles northeast of the islands of Fernando de Noronha – an area of ocean that I have sailed often and know well.
There were no survivors. Malfunctioning 'pitot tubes' were blamed early on. Investigators later blamed the pilots for 'inadequate response' for a loss of airspeed data from malfunctioning equipment and subsequent autopilot disengagement.
They said it caused Flight 447 to enter into an aerodynamic stall.
What it can be like when the penny drops among passengers? What appalling scenes for those few minutes as an airliner falls out of the sky. I find it hard to imagine a worse horror.
Hence my note here: Within an hour of being sentenced to 19 years for a smuggling crime I most certainly did not do, and I believe the prosecution knew I could not have done, I heard on BBC radio news that the Lockerbie bomber who slaughtered all 243 passengers and 16 crew on a Boeing 747–121 was serving 17 years.