Before saying anything else, I need to declare that NO – this Airbus A340-200 illustration is not the next “all new” template I was referring to in my last post. It just so happened to be that I had a very busy week and I only did this one because I knew it would be simple and quick. And considering that it might be two or three weeks before my next post (I’ve got lots of travel coming up), I figured that it would be good to post something (anything) before that pause. I figure that anything is better than nothing to ensure that nobody is worrying that I’m lying dead in a ditch somewhere…
Of all the side view aircraft templates I’ve already created, the A340-200 was easily the lowest hanging fruit in terms of “aircraft I can draw as quick as humanly possible without going completely insane”. There are no major visual differences between the A340-300 and the -200 other than fuselage length, so it’s something I was able to whip up quickly without too much effort.
The A340-200 been on my to-list for far too long anyway, so getting it done and posted feels a lot more satisfying to me than it does to you – I’m absolutely sure of that! I can’t imagine this being a very popular template at all, but at least I can go into my travels next week feeling satisfied that I was able to scratch another one off my list. That is until I get a message from one of you informing me of an all new aircraft has just been announced and that I need to create a template for it. It’s a reoccurring theme actually. As soon as I get one done, two more new ones end up on the list.
A brief history of the A340-200
As I was doing the research to create this template, it became very obvious to me as to why nobody has been asking me to do it. I never knew this, but the A340-200 was the lowest-selling model in the entire A340 lineup. I would have thought that the stretched (and re-engined) -500 and -600 variants would be the slowest selling models, but nope. Not even close. Only 28 of the -200s were produced, and there are no more in commercial service at this time.
This is an airplane that had a nice long run though. It first entered service with Air France in 1993, and the last one was retired by Air Leisure in 2017. Of course there are still some flying around in VIP and government configurations, but for the most part, it’s the end of the road for the shortest version of the A340.
Just for the sake of reference, there were 218 A340-300’s built. The ultra long haul -600 variant came in with 97 total airframes, with the -500 totaling 34. It’s definitely not surprising seeing the -300 as the king of the A340 family, but before doing the research I would’ve assumed that the -200 would hold the number two spot.
As far as I could tell, there have only been two major incidents involving the A340-200. The first one was destroyed by fire while on the ground at CDG in 1994. The other incident involved a hard landing at BRU in 1998. That aircraft (operated by Sabena) was eventually repaired and returned to service.
Considering that there were only 28 of these airframes produced, it’s hard to dispute that two incidents can be considered a significant amount. But it’s necessary to remember that this was an aircraft with a 25 year lifespan over tens of thousands of flights. When thinking about it from that perspective, I have no issues with its safety record. I think. I’m terrible at math, but that “crash to flight time” ratio seems legit to me.
Wrapping it all up
Even though the A340-200 isn’t a very exciting aircraft, I hope there are at least a few of you out there who can use these side view illustrations for something productive. And I do believe that this puts a cap on my A340 series for good. There aren’t any more major variants that I know of, and we all know that Airbus isn’t making any more, so…that’s all folks.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to tell you how deflated I feel about trying to get my 747 series completed. The further I dig into the research, the more I discover how monstrous of a project it really is. Each variant has a multitude of engine options, and…well…it’s going to be a lot more work than I was expecting. I’m still going to do it of course, but I have no estimated time of completion. I hate when that happens.
And on that totally depressing note, this will be my last post for a few weeks due to upcoming travel (and the inevitable task of catching up on other work once I return). There will be lots of new and exciting templates to work on over the coming months though, but until then, you can follow along on my adventures via my SANspotter Instagram account. I’ll be posting lots of travel updates on my stories along the way so I hope to see some of you over there!