Airbus A300

Airbus A300 - SDASM Archives
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Airbus A300's first flight. The airliner was developed in the 1960s by a consortium of European companies, which included Aerospatiale, Deutsche Airbus, British Aerospace, Casa and Fokker-VFV. In December 1970, Airbus Industrie was founded to produce and market the aircraft, which completed its maiden flight on 28 October 1972. The first example of the A300 entered service with Air France in May 1974. A smaller derivative, the A310, completed its first flight eight years later. Over the next three and half decades, about 560 A300s were built.

From the outset, one of the most significant goals in developing the A300 was that it had to be technologically advanced. As a result, it made use of glass-fibre reinforced plastics for the leading and trailing edges of the vertical tailplane, pioneering the use of composites. The aircraft also had an advanced wing that increased lift and allowed a higher climb rate. It was also the first commercial aircraft to feature wind shear protection. As the A300 slowly became more popular, Airbus began to focus on expanding its range of aircraft. In doing so, it focussed on commonality, which allowed pilots to switch between different Airbus aircraft easily, due to the fact that the aircraft had similar controls and cockpit layouts. Ultimately, the A300 was the first step in making Airbus one of the two largest aircraft manufacturing companies in the world.
Did you know?

The A300 was the world’s first twin-engined widebody airliner.

It was the first aircraft produced by Airbus.

The Beluga is a variant of the A300-600, which has been modified to carry oversized cargo.