Wednesday, February 11, 2009

LAX aircraft spotters' guide: Airbus A330 (Re-revised)

March, 2011: It's been two years since this originally was published, and there have been some notable changes that called for another revision. Notably, Aeroflot and Hawaiian both now bring A332s into LAX; Northwest no longer exists but their fleet still flies in Delta colors; and LTU is now Air Berlin.

This entry has been revised a couple of times since I first posted it, and now features technical data on the A330. In addition, this will be the first part of an occasional aircraft spotters' guide series on the aircraft types seen at LAX.

The title for this piece was originally going to be something along the lines of "Something Old, Something New", but the old got away before I could catch it with the camera. So instead, I'll just cut straight to the new, seen recently at LAX: Our first Northwest Airbus in Delta colors. Not only an Airbus, but it's a heavy Airbus: the first A330-300 I've seen at LAX. Northwest replaced its DC-10s (finally) with Airbus A330s, both -200s and -300s. I got to see both while I was in Memphis, but this is the first heavy Airbus that Northwest has brought into LAX. We have seen A330s here before, but only the -200 model, which is the shorter of the two: LTU and Aer Lingus, both of which have disappeared from the LAX scene, flew them to Europe, while Qantas occasionally uses one to Auckland.

Our first A333, seen here at gate 26, with an A320 and a B744 for comparison.

Here it is again, pushing off the gate for departure. That's an American Eagle E140 in the background on runway 24 left.

An Eva Cargo MD11 touches down as this Delta A332 taxis out for departure

A Delta (formerly Northwest) A332, with a Korean B773 and a Continental B753

Delta A332, United B772, Air France B773, Southwest B737

Delta A332 with a United B763 and a Skywest E120

That's an A332 on the corner gate, with American MD80 and B752 on the taxiways; in the foreground is a B764, not often seen at LAX these days, along with the smaller B752 at the gate next door.

Almost the same picture, but with a B753 in the foreground instead

Here's a rogue's gallery of A332's that I've seen at LAX:

Aer Lingus (callsign: Shamrock) just arriving. They stopped service here in November, but had plans to return in the spring. Two years later, we have yet to see Aer Lingus again at LAX.

LTU, in Air Berlin colors, arriving a few minutes before. This was the last LTU scheme I saw here. Haven't seen them at all since last fall. Like Aer Lingus, LTU currently considers LAX a seasonal destination. LTU was taken over by Air Berlin in 2007, but continued to use the 'LTU' callsign, at least on the flights I've seen. Air Berlin still operates to LAX on a seasonal (summer) basis; the LTU brand and callsign are no more.

Here's LTU again, this time in their own scheme. The Air France is a B772.

LTU's previous livery.

Qantas seasonally (winter) brings in an A332 on the flight to/from Auckland, New Zealand. The A330 and A340 models were developed concurrently, and in some ways are the same airplane, with a choice of two engines or four, and various fuselage lengths. The Air Tahiti in the background at gate 102 is an A343.

Qantas A332 bearing the Oneworld livery and a Delta B752

Qantas A332 with a Hawaiian B763

Qantas A332 with an El Al B772

Sandwiched between a pair of B744s

Aeroflot now uses A332s on the LA - Moscow route, replacing B763s

The A330 is built on the same production line with the A340 in Toulouse, France. The -200 and -300 differ in length (193 feet vs. 209 feet) and, oddly enough, tail height (the -200's tail is 2 feet taller to counter for the reduced effectiveness caused by the shorter fuselage). They share the same engines, wingspan (198 feet), and maximum takeoff weight (233 tons). The shorter -200 carries more fuel (36,746 gallons vs. 25,669) and thus has a 1000 miles greater range than the -300: 6749 miles vs. 5669. The -300, however, has more seating capacity: 295 in a 3-class configuration, compared to the -200's 253. The -300 also needs more runway: A maximum weight takeoff in the -300 requires 8,200 feet, while the -200 gets airborne in 7,300 feet. Both models have a normal cruise speed of 541 MPH at 35,000 feet; maximum cruise speed at the same altitude is 568 MPH. These speeds are 82% and 86%, respectively, of the speed of sound at that altitude, and might be filed on a flight plan as .82 Mach or .86 Mach. The aircraft type on the flight plan will be listed as A332 or A333. Besides Northwest, the only other US carrier operating the A330 is US Airways, but they don't bring them into LAX. No longer true: Hawaiian has added A332s to their fleet:

Hawaiian has added 294-seat A332s to its fleet; the Airbuses have thirty seats more than Hawaiian's B767-300s.

An interesting side note is that last year, Northrop Grumman won the Air Force aerial refueler competition with a tanker version of the A330-200, which was to be called the KC-45 and assembled in the US. The Boeing entry was based upon the smaller B767. Airbus had already developed the A330 MRTT tanker and it is operated by Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the UK. The results of the US Air Force competition were challenged and as far as I know the outcome has yet to be resolved. It has now: The USAF has chosen Boeing to supply new tankers. Tanker article Another tanker article


Airbus Industries


And now, an addendum:

After the piece about the crash that killed Buddy Holly, et al, a friend of mine told me about a tribute done that weekend on A Prairie Home Companion. Here's a link to that weekend's show: PHC

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