When an Airbus flight test crew took the A320 to the sky for the first time, they must have known they were flying a special aircraft. For sure, as this video shows, that 1987 sortie was a sight to behold. But what must have surprised even its flight crew and engineers is just how much the A320 “got it right”.
Thirty years later, not only is Airbus still in the airliner business (and insiders felt vulnerable at the time), it is a market leader rivalled only by Boeing and its A320 is the world’s most popular narrowbody.
On top of that, the fly-by-wire flight control laws that drove the first A320 are, essentially, unchanged to this day. So when flight crews made maiden flights in the other A320 family aircraft seen in this video, there were no surprises – indeed, as there have been no surprises for operational flight crews ever since. And that, in civil aviation, is the very definition of “modern”.