The Airbus A380
is the world's largest and widest passenger aircraft.
A wide-body aircraft is a large airliner with two passenger aisles, also known as a widebody aircraft or twin-aisle aircraft. The typical fuselage diameter is 5 to 6 m (16 to 20 ft). In the typical wide-body economy cabin, passengers are seated seven to ten abreast, allowing a total capacity of 200 to 850 passengers. The largest wide-body aircraft are over 6 m (20 ft) wide, and can accommodate up to eleven passengers abreast in high-density configurations.
By comparison, a traditional narrow-body airliner has a diameter of 3 to 4 m (10 to 13 ft), with a single aisle, and seats between two and six people abreast.
Wide-body aircraft were originally designed for a combination of efficiency and passenger comfort. However, airlines quickly gave in to economic factors, and reduced the extra passenger space in order to maximize revenue and profits.
Wide-body aircraft are also used for the transport of commercial freight and cargo and other special uses, described further below.
The largest wide-body aircraft, such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380, are known as jumbo jets due to their very large size.
The Bristol Brabazon was a widebody transatlantic design that first flew in 1949 but never reached production. Following the success of the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 in the late 1950s, airlines began seeking larger aircraft to meet the rising global demand for air travel. Engineers were faced with many challenges as airlines demanded more passenger seats per aircraft, longer ranges and lower operating costs.
Early jet aircraft such as the 707 and DC-8 seated passengers along either side of a single aisle, with no more than six seats per row. Larger aircraft would have to be longer, higher (such as a double deck), or wider in order to accommodate a greater number of passenger seats. Engineers realized having two decks created difficulties in meeting emergency evacuation regulations, with the technology available at that time. They opted for a wider fuselage as one solution (the 747, and eventually the DC-10 and L-1011). By adding a second aisle, the wider aircraft could accommodate as many as 10 seats across.
The engineers also opted for creating "stretched" versions of the DC-8 (61, 62 and 63 models), as well as longer versions of the B-707 (-320B and 320C models), B-727 (-200 model) and DC-9 (-30, -40, and -50 models), all of which were capable of accommodating more seats than their shorter predecessor versions. The full length double-deck solution had to wait until the twenty-first century, in the form of the Airbus A380.
The widebody age began in 1970 with the entry into service of the first widebody airliner, the four-engined, double-deck Boeing 747. New trijet widebody aircraft soon followed, including the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar. The first widebody twinjet, the Airbus A300, entered service in 1974.
After the success of the early widebody aircraft, several successors came to market over the next two decades, including the Boeing 767, Airbus A330-A340 Series and the Boeing 777. In the jumbo category, the capacity of the Boeing 747 was not surpassed until October 2007, when the Airbus A380 entered commercial service with the nickname Superjumbo.
Cross-section comparison of Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400
cross-section, showing cargo, passenger, and overhead areas
Although widebody aircraft have a larger frontal area (and thus greater form drag) than a narrow-body aircraft of similar capacity, they have several advantages over their narrow-body counterparts:
- Larger volume of space for passengers, giving a more open feeling to the space
- Lower ratio of surface area to volume, and thus lower drag on a per-passenger basis. The only exception to this would be with very long, narrow-body aircraft, such as the Boeing 757
- Twin aisles that accelerate loading, unloading, and evacuation compared to a single aisle
- Wider fuselage that reduces the overall aircraft length, improving ground manoeuvrability and reducing the risk of tail strikes.
- Greater under-floor freight capacity
- Better structural efficiency for larger aircraft than would be possible with a narrow-body design
British and Russian designers had proposed widebody aircraft similar in configuration to the Vickers VC10 and Douglas DC-9, but with a widebody fuselage. The British Three-Eleven project never left the drawing board, while the Russian Il-86 widebody proposal eventually gave way to a more conventional wing-mounted engine design, most likely due to the inefficiencies of mounting such large engines on the aft fuselage.
As jet engine power and reliability have increased over the last decades, most of the widebody aircraft built today have only two engines. A twinjet design is more fuel-efficient than a comparable trijet or four-engined aircraft. The increased reliability of modern jet engines also allows aircraft to meet the ETOPS certification standard, which calculates reasonable safety margins for flights across oceans. The trijet design has been effectively dismissed due to higher maintenance and fuel costs, and only the heaviest widebody aircraft today are built with four engines (the Airbus A340, Airbus A380 and Boeing 747).
The Boeing 777 twinjet features the largest and most powerful jet engine in the world, the General Electric GE90, which is 128 inches (3.25 m) in diameter. This is almost as wide as the entire fuselage of a Boeing 737 at 148 inches (3.76 m).
The massive maximum takeoff weight of the Airbus A380 (560 tonnes (1,200,000 lb)) would not have been possible without the engine technology developed for the Boeing 777 (such as contra-rotating spools). The Trent 900 engine pictured, used on the Airbus A380, has a fan blade diameter of 116 inches (2.95 m), only slightly smaller than the GE90 engines on the Boeing 777. An interesting design constraint of the Trent 900 engines is that they are designed to fit into a Boeing 747-400F freighter for relatively easy transport by air cargo.
The interiors of aircraft, known as the aircraft cabin, have been undergoing evolution since the first passenger aircraft. Today, between one and four classes of travel are available on widebody aircraft.
Bar and lounge areas which were once installed on the Boeing 747 have mostly disappeared, but a few have returned in first class or business class on the Airbus A340-600, Boeing 777-300ER, and on the Airbus A380. Emirates Airline has installed showers for first-class passengers on the A380; twenty-five minutes are allotted for use of the room, and the shower operates for a maximum of five minutes.
Depending on how the airline configures the aircraft, the size and seat pitch of the airline seats will vary significantly. For example, aircraft scheduled for shorter flights are often configured at a higher seat density than long-haul aircraft. Due to current economic pressures on the airline industry, high seating densities in the economy class cabin are likely to continue.
A comparison of interior cabin widths and economy class seating layouts is shown below under widebody specifications. Further information can be found under external links.
Wake turbulence and separation
Aircraft are categorized by ICAO according to the wake turbulence they produce. Because wake turbulence is generally related to the weight of an aircraft, these categories are based on one of four weight categories: light, medium, heavy, and super.
Due to their weight, all current widebody aircraft are categorized as heavy, or in the case of the A380 in U.S. airspace, super.
The wake-turbulence category also is used to guide the separation of aircraft. Super and heavy-category aircraft require greater separation behind them than those in other categories. In some countries, such as the United States, it is a requirement to suffix the aircraft's call sign with the word "heavy" (or super) when communicating with air traffic control in certain areas.
Widebody aircraft are used in science, research, and the military. Two specially modified Boeing 747 aircraft, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, were used to transport the U.S. Space Shuttle. Some widebody aircraft are used as flying command posts by the military, such as the Boeing E-4, while the Boeing E-767 is used for Airborne Early Warning and Control. New military weapons are tested aboard widebodies, as in the laser weapons testing on the Boeing YAL-1. Other widebody aircraft are used as flying research stations, such as the joint German-U.S. Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. Airbus A340, Airbus A380, and Boeing 747 four-engine widebody aircraft are used to test new generations of aircraft engines in-flight. A few aircraft have also been converted for aerial firefighting, such as the DC-10-based Tanker 910 and the 747-based Evergreen Supertanker.
Some widebody aircraft are used as VIP transport. Canada uses the Airbus A310, while Russia uses the Ilyushin Il-96 to transport their highest leaders. Germany replaced their Airbus A310 by Airbus A340 in spring 2011. The specially modified Boeing 747-200 used by the President of the United States is known as Air Force One, or the Boeing VC-25. More information can be found under: Air transports of heads of state and government.
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (April 2012) |
Airbus and Boeing are racing to market with two new widebody designs, currently in development. Both manufacturers have been under significant pressure to see which obtains the most orders.
In 2005, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner had received more orders than Airbus, and was scheduled to be the first to enter into airline service. The 787 is also the first large commercial aircraft to utilize a monolithic composite fuselage.
The initial Airbus A350 design was only a minor upgrade to that of the A330/A340 series, but Airbus was forced to make significant design changes in response to feedback from the airlines. In addition to being a few inches wider than the Boeing, Airbus claims that the A350 final specifications will be better than that of the 787.
The article on competition between Airbus and Boeing further discusses the rivalry, while order counts between the two aircraft can be compared under Airbus A350 orders versus Boeing 787 orders.
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- ^ Note: See table in this article for wide-bodied passenger-aircraft fuselage widths.
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- ^ Note: As of 2008-11-30 published Airbus data, only a handful of Airbus A340-500 aircraft orders are still pending. See Airbus A340#Deliveries and 
- ^ Note: This fact can be viewed in the Specifications section; click arrows under MTOW to sort by weight.
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- ^ Guy Norris, Mark Wagner (2005). Airbus A380: superjumbo of the 21st century. Zenith Imprint. p. 111. ISBN 0-7603-2218-X, 9780760322185. http://books.google.com/books?id=KcaYjPhRnWUC&pg=PA111.
- ^ 
- ^ "International Business Class". Vaustralia.com.au. 2010-08-18. http://www.vaustralia.com.au/in-flight-services/international-business/index.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
- ^ "A380 First Class Social Area & onboard Lounge | Emirates A380 First Class | The Emirates A380 | Our Fleet | Flying with". Emirates. 2009-06-02. http://www.emirates.com/uk/english/flying/our_fleet/emirates_a380/first_class/social_area_onboard_lounge.aspx. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "A380 Shower Spa | Emirates A380 First Class | The Emirates A380 | Our Fleet | Flying with". Emirates. 2009-06-02. http://www.emirates.com/uk/english/flying/our_fleet/emirates_a380/first_class/shower_spa.aspx. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "Double luxury — how the airlines are configuring their A380s". Flightglobal.com. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/09/01/315369/double-luxury-how-the-airlines-are-configuring-their.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
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- ^ "EUROCONTROL — Revising wake turbulence categories to gain capacity (RECAT)". Eurocontrol.int. 2008-11-21. http://www.eurocontrol.int/eec/public/standard_page/EEC_News_2008_3_RECAT.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ Posted by B. N. Sullivan (2008-08-04). "Professional Pilot News: Airbus A380 requires new 'super' wake separation category". Propilotnews.com. http://propilotnews.com/2008/08/airbus-a380-requires-new-super-wake.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ 
- ^ "PICTURES: Airbus prepares A340-600 testbed for GTF ground runs". Flightglobal.com. 2008-09-29. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/09/26/316574/pictures-airbus-prepares-a340-600-testbed-for-gtf-ground-runs.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "R-R prepares to ground-test Trent XWB ahead of A380 trials next year". Flightglobal.com. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/04/29/341141/r-r-prepares-to-ground-test-trent-xwb-ahead-of-a380-trials-next.html. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
- ^ "GE — Aviation: GE90-115B Prepares For Flight Aboard GE's 747 Flying Testbed". Geae.com. 2002-02-26. http://www.geae.com/aboutgeae/presscenter/airshows/singapore/singapore_20020226c.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "Firefighting DC-10 available to lease". Flightglobal.com. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/03/30/324526/firefighting-dc-10-available-to-lease.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "Evergreen International Aviation - Supertanker Services Inc". Evergreenaviation.com. http://www.evergreenaviation.com/supertanker/index.html. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
- ^ a b "Airbus’s Boeing 787 dossier could have wider implications for both airframers". Flightglobal.com. 2008-12-09. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/12/09/319833/airbuss-boeing-787-dossier-could-have-wider-implications-for-both-airframers.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Search — Global Edition — The New York Times". International Herald Tribune. 2009-03-29. http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/10/business/airbus.php. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
- ^ "Qatar picks A350 over 787, but makes $4.6 billion 777 order". Seattlepi.com. 2005-06-14. http://www.seattlepi.com/business/228341_qatar14.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ Norris, G.; Thomas, G.; Wagner, M. and Forbes Smith, C. (2005). Boeing 787 Dreamliner — Flying Redefined. Aerospace Technical Publications International. ISBN 0-9752341-2-9.
- ^ "Airplane kingpins tell Airbus: Overhaul A350." Gates, D. Seattle Times. 29 March 2006.
- ^ "Redesigning the A350: Airbus’ tough choice." Hamilton, S., Leeham Company.
- ^ Airbus's A350 vision takes shape Flight International December 2006
- ^ "Commercial Airplanes - 787 Dreamliner - Program Fact Sheet". Boeing. http://www.boeing.com/commercial/787family/programfacts.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Taking the lead: A350XWB presentation" (PDF). EADS. http://www.eads.com/xml/content/OF00000000400004/7/19/41508197.pdf.
- ^ Note: Entry into Service through Final Production Year
- ^ Note: Maximum MTOW of heaviest passenger version, in metric tonnes. Data have been rounded up to nearest tenth of a metric ton. Margin of error should be assumed. Use for comparison only.
- ^ a b Note: Original airframe manufacturer source data specified in feet, inches, or meters, without error margin information. Thus, due to rounding and conversion errors, a margin of error of 2 inches should be taken into account. Compare with automotive specifications, currently published to within 2 millimeters. Maximum interior cabin width is measured at chest or eye level when seated, as is usually a few inches wider than the cabin floor.
- ^ Note: Airlines custom-configure the interior layout as per their objectives. Isle width and armrest width also affect layout but are not shown here.
- ^ Note: Seat-width specifications are not always represented accurately; multiple sources are encouraged, as well as the comparison of multiple airlines. Unexpected widths may be in error and should not be included here.
- ^ Note: The lightest widebody aircraft ever built was the Airbus A300B1 with a maximum take-off weight of 291,000 lb (132,000 kg).
- ^ a b c 27 September 2012 (2012-09-27). "Aircraft Families: passenger aircraft, corporate jets, freighter aircraft, military aircraft | Airbus | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". Airbus.com. http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a300a310/a300-600/specifications.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ Note: There appears to be a unit conversion error on the Airbus webpage for the A300 O.D. specifications. 222 inches (5.64 m) is presumed to be correct.
- ^ "SeatGuru Seat Map Thai Airbus A300-600 Vers. 1 (AB6)". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Thai_Airways/Thai_Airways_Airbus_A300-600_36R1.php. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ 
- ^ "Lufthansa: Best Seats". SeatGuru. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Lufthansa/Lufthansa_Airbus_A300-600.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
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- ^ 
- ^ "Air India Airbus A310-300 (310)". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Air_India/Air_India_Airbus_A310-300.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ a b 27 September 2012 (2012-09-27). "A330 Family: A330-200, A330-300 - A330 photos, pictures, A330 videos, A330 3D view | Airbus | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". Airbus.com. http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a330a340/a330-200/specifications.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "SeatGuru Seat Map Emirates Airbus A330-200 3-Class (332)". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Emirates_Airlines/Emirates_Airlines_Airbus_A330-200_3class.php. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "AirAsia X Airbus A330-300". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/AirAsia_X/AirAsia_X_Airbus_A330-300.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ 
- ^ a b 27 September 2012 (2012-09-27). "A330 Family: A330-200, A330-300 - A330 photos, pictures, A330 videos, A330 3D view | Airbus | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". Airbus.com. http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a330a340/a340-200/specifications.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Etihad Airways". Etihadairways.com. http://www.etihadairways.com/sites/etihad/SiteCollectionDocuments/global/Documents/Call%20Centre/October07/A340-600%20FAM%20.pdf. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "AirAsia X Airbus A340-300". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/AirAsia_X/AirAsia_X_Airbus_A340-300.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ 27 September 2012 (2012-09-27). "A350 XWB: A350-800, A350-900, A350-1000 - A350 photos, pictures, A350 videos, A350 3D view | Airbus | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". Airbus.com. http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a350/efficiency/a3501000_specifications.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ a b 27 September 2012 (2012-09-27). "A350 XWB: A350-800, A350-900, A350-1000 - A350 photos, pictures, A350 videos, A350 3D view | Airbus | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". Airbus.com. http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a350/efficiency/specifications/a350-900_specifications/. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ Note: Possible error on original Airbus webpage, conversion of metric to imperial off by 1 inch on Airbus webpage.
- ^ a b "PICTURE: 10-abreast A350 XWB 'would offer unprecedented operating cost advantage'". Flightglobal.com. 2008-05-19. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/05/19/223853/picture-10-abreast-a350-xwb-would-offer-unprecedented-operating-cost-advantage.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ Note: Possible unit-conversion error in article, 48 cm used as source.
- ^ Note: Published article indicated most airlines will choose the 9-across configuration
- ^ a b c d 27 September 2012 (2012-09-27). "A380 Family: A380-800 - A380 photos, pictures, A380 videos, A380 3D view | Airbus | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". Airbus.com. http://www.airbus.com/en/aircraftfamilies/a380/a380/specifications.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
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- ^ Boeing 747 specifications
- ^ Boeing 747 specifications, Boeing 747 airport planning report, Boeing
- ^ Note: Interior width for Boeing 747 main deck shown as 239 inches (6.07 m) or 240 inches (6.10 m) in different Boeing documents.
- ^ a b "Microsoft Word - 7474s2_062008.doc" (PDF). http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/7474sec2.pdf. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ "Northwest Airlines Boeing 747". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Northwest_Airlines/Northwest_Airlines_Boeing_747-400.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Commercial Airplanes - 767-400 Technical Characteristics". Boeing. http://www.boeing.com/commercial/767family/pf/pf_400prod.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ 
- ^ Note: An extensive Internet search did not reveal any original Boeing source for the actual O.D. of the B767.
- ^ "United Airlines — B767-300". United.com. http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,50976,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "United Airlines Boeing 767-300". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/United_Airlines/United_Airlines_Boeing_767-300_D.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "SeatGuru Seat Map US Airways Boeing 767-200 (767)". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/US_Airways/US_Airways_Boeing_767-200.php. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "Legroom Guide". Cheapflights.com. http://www.cheapflights.com/travel-tips/legroom-guide/. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "Thomson Airways B767-300ER (328 seats) v4". SeatPlans.com. http://www.seatplans.com/airlines/Thomson-Airways/seatplans/B767-300ER-%28328%29/. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
- ^ "777 Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning". Boeing. http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/777.htm. Retrieved on 2008-12-08.
- ^ a b Boeing 777 specifications, Boeing
- ^ Note: Boeing specifications for B777 O.D. do not convert precisely between inches and metric. Margin of error is unknown based on published Boeing material.
- ^ "United Airlines — B777-200". United.com. http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,50977,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "United Airlines Boeing 777-200 WW 1". SeatGuru. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/United_Airlines/United_Airlines_Boeing_777-200_1.php. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
- ^ "United Airlines Boeing 777-200 WW 2". SeatGuru. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/United_Airlines/United_Airlines_Boeing_777-200_2.php. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
- ^ "Continental Airlines — Boeing 777-200ER with 48/235 Configuration (777)". Continental.com. http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/aircraft/777.aspx. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "Continental Airlines Boeing 777-200". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Continental_Airlines/Continental_Airlines_Boeing_777-200_B.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Air France Boeing 777-300". Seatguru.com. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Air_France/Air_France_Boeing_777-300_C.php. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Seating arrangements for specific aircraft". Airfrance.us. http://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/guidevoyageur/classeetconfort/plan_cabine_boeing.htm. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Fact Sheet". Boeing. http://www.boeing.com/commercial/787family/787-9prod.html. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
- ^ a b "787 Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning" (PDF). http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/7878.pdf. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ "Note: some Boeing B787 source material indicates 227 inches (5.77 m) outer diameter, while other Boeing sources indicate 226 inches (5.74 m)". Boeing.com. http://www.boeing.com/commercial/787family/787-8prod.html. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ "Sktyrax ANA Seatmaps 787-8". Airlinequality.com. http://www.airlinequality.com/Experience/NH_B787.htm. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- ^ a b "Ilyushin Il-86 commercial aircraft. Pictures, specifications, reviews". Airlines-inform.com. http://www.airlines-inform.com/commercial-aircraft/Il-86.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
- ^ Note: Other references for the Ilyushin Il-86 MTOW ranged between 206 and 215 metric tonnes.
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