Here we go – now we are getting into the “fun” variants of the A340! The A340 templates I posted last April were of the -300 variant which, to be quite honest, isn’t a very remarkable airplane. The biggest issue is how underpowered it is (despite having 4-engines), and quite a few airlines have voiced their disappointment in it’s overall performance over the years. It’s a well-built and reliable aircraft no doubt, but it just didn’t live up to it’s promises.
But then the stretched and re-engined -500 and -600 variants came along, and the A340 became relevant and competitive again. These aircraft were so much more capable than the -300 and -200 in pretty much every regard. More power, more range, and higher payload capabilities are just a few of the things which gave new life to this aircraft family. Unfortunately, most of the airline industry is moving away from 4-engined aircraft and the future isn’t looking good for the A340. The twin-engine A350 is simply the better option for most airlines that need an aircraft of this size.
Regardless of the A340’s future, the -500 and -600 are my favorites of this series. They are both long and lean, and the larger engines and wings help to make these things look like proper long-range wide body airliners. Of course I realize that’s a very subjective statement, but to me, bigger is better when it comes to long haul air travel. I’d be a horrible airline CEO, wouldn’t I? Buying large aircraft just because they look cool is a recipe for disaster. Just ask pretty much any airline who has bought the A380…
The beefy engines on the -500 and -600 are exactly what the A340 needed to make it fit the image of a capable high-performance airliner. The -200 and -300 variants had tiny engines which didn’t really fit the proportions of the fuselage all that well, but these big Rolls Royce Trent 553’s hanging under the wings balance things out nicely. You already know my stance on big-engined aircraft (the bigger the better!) so there’s no point in spewing off about that again.
This post is for the -500 templates only, but I’ll be posting the -600 very soon. The wireframe line drawing is complete, and I’m almost done creating the all-white rendered version. There are a few minor details that I’m having a hard time verifying, so I’d rather spend the time to make sure that I get it right before rushing though it and posting something that is incorrect. Look for those templates soon!