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Old 30th Nov 2013, 09:48   #1 (permalink)
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A340. How bad is it?

I keep hearing jokes from controllers about the glacial climb rate of a heavy A340. How bad is it really, both all engines and OEI? What about, horror of horrors, two out?
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Old 30th Nov 2013, 10:35   #2 (permalink)
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The very bad rates of climb were on the first versions. As anyone will tell you a twin climbs better than a quad.(engine out performance,. , etc..)
Problem was that controllers were getting used to twins on long range and expected the same performance or better for the 340, it was not and by far .
But still far better than a DC8 or a 707 for those old enough to remember.
Taking off and staying airborne due curvature of the earth was a common joke back then.

Anyway the 340 is disapearing ( not produced anymore) the 350 will climb better than a 330 , so old era.
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Old 30th Nov 2013, 12:31   #3 (permalink)
 
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From a pax perspective I clearly remember my first ever flight on an A340. As we trundled down the runway I became convinced that the crew intended to drive from Frankfurt to Seoul, so poor was the acceleration. And that was an A340-600, so God knows how bad the CFM engined versions feel.

In all fairness though after it clawed its way into the sky it wasn't a bad aircraft to fly in. Just a little disconcerting the first few times with the apparent lack of acceleration compared to other types.
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Old 30th Nov 2013, 15:54   #4 (permalink)
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Avionker, that what you experienced was I think a so called " flex take off " , i.e using the whole length of the runway, so not putting full power: less wear, less fuel less noise.
The A380 does the same.

A 340-600 climbs OK compared to the earlier versions. At least this is what we observe everyday on our scopes.
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Old 1st Dec 2013, 10:54   #5 (permalink)
 
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Perhaps it was Flex but that was only the first of many flights in A340-600s that I made over a 4 or 5 week period. During that time I was also regularly flying in A330s. (Although I say it was from a pax perspective I was actually working on-board as a "flying spanner" on the IFE system.) I have flown on A310, A330, A340, B747, B767, B777 and all the usual narrow body types and the A340 is still the only one where I have had that disconcerting feeling.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 11:46   #6 (permalink)
 
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Don't want to start a Airbus vs Boeing debate but when we last flew to New Zealand with Emirates, the first leg was Boeing 777 from LHR - Dubai then A340 from Bubai - Christchurch. No comparison between the two - the A340 was just great - plenty of room (in econmomy) and very quiet and comfortable - not so the 777 unfortunately. Yes - very lazy climb out but as someone said - probably a 'flex' take off. The sunrise/sunset lighting was a real treat to watch.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 12:10   #7 (permalink)


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The legroom, seat comfort, aisle width, etc have absolutely nothing to do with the aircraft manufacturer, being purely determined by the choices that the operator makes in respect of seat quality, type, and pitch. Therefore it is absurd to say that Airbus aircraft are more or less comfortable than Boeing, or vice versa..

Noise levels are a somewhat different matter, but partly determined by choice of engine.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 12:55   #8 (permalink)
 
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Even I dragged off one of them early A340's with the little engines which had lined up on YMML/34 using a 1.8 litre Japanese buzzbox. I had lined up adjacent to the aircraft on the perimeter road that lead to the tower.

Mind you I didn't have a full load .
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 13:38   #9 (permalink)
 
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I regularly did LHR-LAX on Virgin's A340-600 for many years (and still occasionally do) and it was by far my most preferred type. For passenger comfort it beats 777, 330, 747. I will miss them the day when they retire them all. Such a looker as well - graceful.

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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 14:33   #10 (permalink)


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Such a looker as well - graceful.
By far the most graceful plane still flying, possibly only beaten by Concorde and the VC10 for looks.
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Old 2nd Dec 2013, 18:57   #11 (permalink)
 
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Not as pretty as the Tristar :-)
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Old 3rd Dec 2013, 21:06   #12 (permalink)
 
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I've little doubt that they perform admirably for the airline and return a pleasing passenger experience. But as a Contoller I [email protected]@dy hate them! The -300's are undoubtedly worse than the -600's but the rates of climb are a joke.

A few weeks ago the South Africa bound Heathrow flight reached the dizzy heights of FL280 as it passed Paris. With continuous climb and a little creative vectoring by my good self to avoid a high sided goods vehicle on the Brighton ring road.....
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Old 3rd Dec 2013, 22:44   #13 (permalink)
 
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But still far better than a DC8 or a 707 for those old enough to remember.
Taking off and staying airborne due curvature of the earth was a common joke back then
I'm not so old to recall the Trident that well but I assume even though it was a Tri Jet performance wasn't exactly fantastic, hence the nickname "gripper"?
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