The no. 1 A320 performed its maiden flight 30 years ago, on 22nd February 1987. The first flight lasted 3 hours 23 minutes.
The flight, performed from France’s Toulouse-Blagnac Airport adjacent to Airbus headquarters, marked the first use of digital computerised fly-by-wire controls on a civil airliner, and the introduction of a wider fuselage cross-section that enabled airlines to offer passengers more spacious seats and a wider aisle.
Today total ordes for A320 family aircraft have passed the 13,000 mark. Final assembly operations have emigrated from France and Germany to the U.S. and China. An aircraft comes off one of the Airbus final assembly lines every seven hours.
The no. 1 A320 was flown by 110 different Airbus test pilots, with its tasks including the in-flight evaluations of 29 different jet engines, as well as the development and certification of many Airbus systems.
Prior to its retirement in 2016, the no. 1 A320 became “Flight Lab 1,” utilised for tests in support of the European Union-sponsored Clean Sky research initiative and the SESAR Single European Sky research programme.