Airbus A320 vs Grumman Avenger
I was offered the opportunity of a free week in Berlin, which is fabulous but I’ve been travelling so much, I haven’t had the time to write something new. What I did write, for reasons that are difficult to explain, was a comparison of the Grumman TBF Avenger and the Airbus A320.
These two planes are not something I ever thought anyone would want to compare but I have to admit, I found it interesting. It made me look at both aircraft in a very different way.
Here’s what I found:
- The number of aircraft produced is surprisingly similar: 8,074 Airbus A320s compared to 9,835 Grumman Avenger TBFs (including TBMs).
- Airbus has never designed a torpedo bomber and Grumman has never designed a passenger airliner (to be the best of my knowledge, anyway).
- The A320 is pretty gorgeous. The Avenger isn’t the best looking of planes and probably doesn’t even have a good sense of humour.
- There are two flight crew in the A320 and a variable number of cabin crew. Meanwhile, the Avenger has three crew (pilot, bombardier, rear gunner).
- You can take up to a max of 180 passengers in an A320. You can take one passenger in the Avenger, in the middle cockpit seat, if it hasn’t been removed. However, I suspect that if you do, you’ll need to leave one of the crew behind for weight and balance.
- The Mystery Of The Middle Seat is an interesting article about why that middle seat exists. I don’t think anyone has written about middle seats in the A320, other than to complain about getting stuck in one.
- The A320 has a side stick and a million switches, knobs and instrument gauges, the Avenger has a really flimsy looking centre stick and half a dozen instruments, a number of which probably don’t work.
- The A320 has adjustable pedals but it doesn’t matter because the Avenger is one of few single-engine aircraft where I can reach the rudder pedals without needing a pillow behind me.
- Having said that, I couldn’t fly the Avenger anyway as the autopilot consists of holding the stick in place with elastic cords that you attach to the back of your seat. The autopilot in the A320 is… a bit more advanced.
- The A320 is huge in comparison (six times the size); it is three times the length and twice the width of the Avenger.
- The A320 has two turbofan engines. The Avenger has one three-bladed propeller engine.
- The Avenger weighs just 4,527 kilos in the nude while the A320 weighs 42,600 kg — almost ten times as much.
- Despite the weight, the A320 is quite a bit faster, cruising at 870 kph as opposed to the Avenger at 436 kph.
- The A320’s manoeuvrability sucks.
- The Avenger was colloquially known as The Turkey because it was so big and lumbering compared to the Grumman F6F Wildcat. But it’s still more manoeuvrable than an A320.
- The range of the A320 is about 5,700 km while the Avenger has a range of 1,955 km.
- The Avenger can carry up to 1000 kg of bombs. A320 does not have a bomb bay.
- The Avenger originally had a machine gun mounted to the nose, along with one rear-facing ventral gun (under the tail), and another rear-facing gun in an electrically powered turret. The A320 does not, as standard, have a turret nor does it come pre-supplied with machine guns.
- Later the Avenger dropped the nose-mounted machine gun, replacing it with machine guns on each wing. The A320 has never had anything but engines mounted to its wings.
- Airbus have A320 simulators where I could recreate the experience of flying one. Grumman are experimenting with military training using virtual reality but I don’t think they’d accept my application to join the testing team.
- Not that anyone would ever allow me to have an aircraft with the ability to strafe the parking lot anyway… but a girl can dream, can’t she?
I’m sure there are other obvious differences that I missed. Leave them in the comments!