Undoubtedly the Airbus A320 ist the most successful model of Airbus at all. And this, though the project which also includes the A319 and A321 (as well as the developing A318) got into terrain which was already satisfied with Boeing 737 and MD-80. But against the expectations, the A320, firstly presented in 1984, could establish very well and is nowadays -not even 15 years after the first delivery for Air France in March 1988- behind the Boeing 737 the most-builded aircraft of the world.
The most successful Airbus took off for its first flight in February 1987. To establish in the well-equipped market of Boeings 737, Airbus had to have different advantages. Undoubtedly this was the flight deck. Instead of the common instruments, Airbus used many screens for displaying the instruments. A complete novelty was the use of a side stick for having free views on the instruments instead of a common yoke. Another feature: The Fly by Wire system. The aircraft is piloted via impulses which are passed on to the rudders via a computer. Piloting via hydraulics was past. A disadvantage of this system is however that the computer doesn't allow very daredevil manoeuvres with the A320. That means that the pilot has not a 100% control over his plane, so if an aprupt turn would be the only chance to escape a crash, the barrier of the computer could prevent that. This change in technic caused some negative comments from the pilots sid as the new systems weren't used to them, and some spectacular crashes of the "foolproof aircraft" even strengthened this negative headlines.
Nevertheless the A320 became a great success and even the Fly by Wire system has broken through in many civil airliners.
Only 21 A320-100 were built when the improved A320-200 with improved range, an additional tank and wingtips at the end of the wings succeeded. Launching customer was Ansett Australia. Most A320 fly with CFM56-engines. The A320 is created for up to 180 passengers.