The green light
In 1969 at Le Bourget the A300 B was given the green light by France and Germany, this was the beginning of the A300. Jean Chamant and Karl Schiller signed an agreement which officially launched the worlds first twin-engine widebody airliner. The aircraft was to be design to be more economical than its competitors by making it lighter and smaller. In actual fact it was approximately 25 tonnes lighter than the A300 by design! Development of the A300 began back in 1960’s. In 1969 just before the A300B was agreed upon France and Germany created Airbus Industrie.
They decided to create 2 variants, the A300B1 and A300B2. The A300B1 being the 250 seat airliner. The A300B2 which would have the fuselage stretched to be larger than the 250 seat variant. The first flight of the A300 took place in Toulouse on 18th October 1972. The flight lasted one hour and 23 minutes. There were several delays due to bad weather, the captain of the aircraft Max Fischl. During the flight testing of the A300B2 Airbus were in talks with Korean Air with the aim of developing a longer-range version of the A300 which would be known as the A300B4.
Off to America
The first flight was a success however Airbus then faced a challenge of convincing airlines that it had designed the worlds most economical, innovative and comfortable aircraft. In an attempt to drive sales Roger Béteille and Henri Ziegler decided to take the A300 on a six-week odyssey across South and North America. As well as crew, engineers and spares that were required for the journey the A300 was loaded with crates of the best champagne!
The A300 took of from Toulouse in September 1973 for Dakar in West Africa and the flew across the Atlantic to Sao Paulo, Brazil. It then flew on to Florida, Mexico City and then Chicago. Enroute to Chicago they encountered a problem where a birdstrike caused minor damage to an engine which subsequently replaced in Chicago. This replacement impressed the U.S airlines that the product support was an excellent standard….
Find out what happened next in chapter 2! Coming soon!