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8th of May 1973

48 years ago on this date, the prototype of the Airbus A300B made the first Autoland of the type.

What became the A300 started in September 1967, when aircraft manufacturers from the UK, France and Western Germany signed an initial agreement to develop a large airliner. When the UK withdrew from the agreement in April 1969 the seeds were planted for the formal creation of Airbus Industrie on the 18th of December 1970 with the aim to develop and produce what would be the A300. The first prototype flew its maiden flight on the 28th of October 1972. In total 6 variants were developed 1. A300B1

Two of these initial A300's were built, powered by CF6-50A engines. They were 5 fuselage frames shorter than the later production models.

2. A300B2

The Initial production version, powered by GE CF-6 or PW JT9D engines. The first flight of the model was on the 28th of June 1973, with the entry into service with Air France of the first production aircraft (A300 number 5) on the 23r of May 1974. Between Paris and London.

3. A300B4 The main production version of the A300 series. The first A300B4 was the 9th A300 build, and first flew on Christmas day/ 1974 The main differences with the earlier versions are:

- Addition of a center fuel tank

- New wing root Krüger flaps

4. A300-600 Officially designated as an Airbus A300B4-600 the A300-600 is a bit longer than the B2 and B4 models. Powered by the GE CF6-80 or P&W PW4000 engines it included an improved wing, simplified flap system and removal of the outboard aileron.

Using a similar cockpit then the A310 with digital technology and electronic displays the A300-600 also has a 2 man cockpit crew

5. A300B10 The development name for what would be the A310

6. A300-600ST

Better known as Airbus Beluga although its official "name" is Super Transporter. the 5 A300-600 aircraft are heavily modified to ferry Airbus aircraft sections between the various airbus factories, and odd size cargo like satellites

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