All posts tagged: A320
A320 NEO side view no titles

Here we go ladies and gentlemen. Finally, after more than two years of procrastination and kicking the can down the road, I present to you my Airbus A320 NEO side view template set. In my defense, there was a pretty good reason for waiting so long to do these illustrations: the lack of accurate reference material. Now, we all know that these new aircraft have been flying around for a while now, but there is actually very little data out there on the Internet regarding the list of changes that went into this very big update for the Airbus narrowbody series. I found plenty of good information about the new CFM LEAP 1A and Pratt & Whitney 1000G engines, but it was surprisingly difficult to find information about other significant updates to the aircraft (if there were any).

I’d also like to point out that I’m pretty darn far from being an aircraft engineer. As a matter fact, I even struggle when trying to assemble IKEA furniture so it would be in your best interest never to depend on me for thinking too deeply about anything that could crash, burn and kill people. However, after weeks of research, I came to the conclusion that there are actually very few visual differences between the existing version of these aircraft (CEO, which stands for Current Engine Option) compared to the new-engine (NEO) variants. It’s basically the same airplane but with meatier looking and much more efficient engines, which actually surprised me a bit considering how much time and effort Airbus put into this update. I was actually expecting major wing modifications and taller landing gear to accommodate those larger powerplants, but nope. Other than general internal modifications to both, there isn’t much on the outside to differentiate them from the older versions. But wow – it’s amazing how much of a visual difference a big engine can make.

Airbus A320 NEO line drawing

Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A320 NEO with Pratt & Whitney engines over a blank background with and without the landing gear deployed

You should all know my stance on beefy-looking aircraft by now, so it goes without saying that I’m pretty much drooling over the A320 NEO – especially the version with those fat Pratt & Whitney engines hanging under the wing. I was never much of a fan of the A320 before this, but now it may be one of my favorite aircraft in terms of visual appearance. This is what the A320 should’ve looked like from the beginning! I’m also thinking that it’s a bit of a shame that Boeing couldn’t find a way to put larger engines on the next-generation of the 737. Doing so would have required a taller (and all new) landing gear, which would have added significant cost to the program. Airbus got very lucky that that they didn’t have to do that.

The all white and line-drawing templates above are the version with the Pratt and Whitney 1000G engines. Here are the same templates with the CFM LEAP 1A engines. Which do you prefer?

A320 NEO CFM engines side view

All white Airbus A320 NEO with CFM LEAP 1A engines

A320 NEO CFM engines line drawing

Airbus A320 NEO technical line drawing with CFM LEAP 1A engines

buy source file A320 airliner template

To be honest, I actually prefer the look of the LEAP 1A engine, but it’s smaller size compared to the Pratt & Whitney is less appealing to me. And now that I think of it, it’s probably a pretty good thing that I don’t run an airline because the visual designer in me tends to make decisions based more on visual appearances than anything else. That may be very bad for running a profitable business, but I would have one heck of a good looking fleet that’s for sure.

For those of you looking for the A319 and A321 NEO templates as well, you’re in luck. Both are currently in progress and I’m very close to having the A321 ready to upload. The A319 will follow shortly thereafter (hopefully within a week). I’d also like to use this opportunity to ask those of you who know these aircraft well if I have drawn anything incorrectly in my templates. Because hey – if I’m struggling to assemble IKEA furniture, there’s a pretty good chance that I could have overlooked something huge without even knowing it.

A few nights ago I thought it would be fun to create some side view illustrations of a Virgin America A320. It seemed like an innocent enough thought – after all, this livery is basically all white with just a few splashes of red here and there. Right? Not quite. The biggest issue, by far, was the Virgin America titles on the forward fuselage. That typeface was custom designed by Matthew Aaron Desmond, so therefore, it’s not something that is available as a download anywhere on the web. “No problem – I’ll recreate it myself”, is the only thing that an adventurous designer like me thinks when facing a hurdle like that, so I busted out my Wacom tablet and fired up Adobe Illustrator. 10 minutes later, I gave up.

No, it’s not a particularly difficult font to recreate. The problem is that my time is scarce these days, and I thought it was a pretty poor use of what precious little down time I have. But then I had a thought…

During a recent trip that involved air travel, I took a few pictures at the airport to pass time between flights. One of those photos just happened to be a perfectly side-on view of a Virgin America A320. I could extract the title from that! And that’s exactly what I did. What you see on these illustrations are not graphic representations of the main titles, but actually parts of the photo I took and blended in with the rest of the drawing to look natural. I should point out that the slight white “halo” you see around that text in these small 1024-wide samples are not part of the larger source illustration. That’s just an unfortunate artifact from compressing these images for web viewing.

Anyway, here is the same illustration as above without the dark / watermarked background. Feel free take these and use them however you wish:

Virgin America A320

Two side view illustrations of a Virgin America A320 over a white background

Pan Am A320 side view

Every now and then, the 80’s airline nerd in me grabs hold and I start reminiscing about the “good ‘ol days” in the airline industry. I was just a teenager in the mid 80’s, but my interest in commercial aviation was strong (despite the fact that I never got to travel much) and I really enjoyed watching the contrails in the sky above. Northwest Orient, Pan Am, Eastern – man…those were the days.

The other night I was putting the final touches on an Airbus A320 template illustration, and I couldn’t resist the temptation of painting the old Pan Am livery on it. Yeah, I know that this version of the livery had been unveiled long before the 80’s but I do remember seeing it often at my home airport of DTW whenever I was lucky enough to actually get out there.

I did have to take a few artistic liberties with it, namely painting the engines white instead of keeping them bare metal which was common back in the day. I’m not sure why, but an A320 with bare metal engines just looks…odd. I also made the conscious choice to use cfm56 engines. And of course, it just had to have sharklets!

As far as fantasy liveries go, I almost like this one better than the Saul Bass United 787 I created last week. There’s just something so cool about the Pan Am livery that can make any airplane look good.

A320 blank illustration

I’ve already created blank side view templates of all of the most interesting widebody commercial aircraft (DC-10, 777-200, 787-8, A380-800, and A350-900), so I thought it would be good to start getting practical and tackle more of the smaller and more common stuff. It’s not as much fun, but it needs to be done!

First up is this Airbus A320. Now, you’d probably think that creating a template of a smaller aircraft such as this would be much easier than some of the bigger airplanes I’ve been doing recently, and you’d be right – to a point. The difficulty comes when you factor in all the variants of the A320. There are two engines available (v2500 and cm56) and two different types of wingtips (rakelets and sharklets) – and any combination of all this stuff is available from Airbus today. So that means once I had the basic template created, there were a handful of variants I needed to create to make this a complete set.

The aircraft at the top of this post is an A320 with cm56 engines and rakelets. And here is the associated line drawing:

A320 cm56

Airbus A320 technical line drawing with cm56 engines and rakelets

Next up is the all white rendering and wireframe line drawing for the variant with the cm56 engines and the new sharklets:

white a320 with sharklets

All white Airbus A320 drawing with cm56 engines and sharklets

a320 line drawing with sharklets

Airbus A320 technical line drawing with cm56 engines and sharklets

Now, here are the templates for the v2500 version with rakelets:

a320 v2500 rakelets

All white Airbus A320 drawing with v2500 engines and rakelets

a320 rakelets v2500 engines

Airbus A320 technical line drawing with v2500 engines and rakelets

And finally, here is the v2500 version with sharklets:

white a320 with sharklets

All white Airbus A320 drawing with v2500 engines and sharklets

v2500 a320 line drawing with sharklets

Airbus A320 technical line drawing with v2500 engines and sharklets

buy source file A320 airliner template

While a bit confusing, all these different variants help to make the Airbus A320 one of the best selling commercial aircraft of all time. And they’re not even done tinkering! There are rumors floating around of a new engine option (NEO) coming soon, which will help to keep the A320 competitive for years to come. And you can be sure I’ll create a template of that one as soon as I can get my paws on some decent (and accurate) reference material.