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P O L Y T E C H . N U
Nederlands

Airbus A340 pedestal (100VU)

introduction
imageAn aircraft has a couple of sections for controlling. Like the Main Instrument Panel (MIP) in front of the pilots with the dials and screens, the Overhead Panel above the pilots with signalling lamps an switches and the Pedestal. The pedestal is located between the captain (left) and the First Officer (Right). The pedestal is a 'box' with the throttle for the engines and several other controls and panels. This article is about the A340-313 pedestal.

purchase
I was building the A340 overhead panel and I had some surplus panels that belong to the center pedestal. So I had two options; sell the surplus panels or buy a pedestal. ;-) Since the throttle quadrant is hard do replicate and a pedestal is really cool I planned te buy one. Somebody mentioned that http://www.avoemparts.com in The Netherlands had A320 center pedestals for a fair price. I contacted the company and they had two A340 pedestals. Since the main market is for the A320, the A340 pedestal was not yet in the webshop available. We made a deal and I travelled on a Wednesday morning to Waarland. Since it was a regular working day I got up at 05:00 hour to reduce the lost time for the workday. (Since we have kids the weekends are more valuable...) I also got a nice tour trough the parts stock. And I found also a couple of missing panels for the overhead panel here so we made a package deal for all. The center pedestal (just) fits in the trunk of the car so I was happy. After the drive home the pedestal was unloaded and the result is shown below.

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pedestal assembly 100VU
The pedestal has a type plate that says it's a pedestal assembly 100VU. The Airbus panels are marked with an VU number and apparently the pedestal has also a VU number. (For the record; the A320 pedestal is 11VU.) The part number (PN) is: F270.101030.000.00. The Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) is 194 and it's for aircraft (A/C) number 194. The pedestal was built in may of 1997. Based on the MSN the pedestal served in an A340-300 with registration 3B-NBD named 'Parakeet'. The plane was originally delivered in October of 1997. It flew for 24,8 years, the plane was stored in October 2020 and scrapped in July 2022. And it was bought by me in February 2024. ;-)

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size and shape
The main thing I noticed that was that there's a large portion of mechanics under the floor. The pedestal is not 'just a box for panels'. It's a well engineered state of the art piece. Under the floor is a framework for mainly the trim mechanics. The left and right trim wheel are connected to a belt that interconnects trough an axel under the floor. The pedestal trim mechanism is linked to a sprocket which is linked to the trim mechanism of the aircraft. This mechanism is built very well. Also the link bars for the throttle handles are 'hanging' under the floor level.
The mechanism under the floor is approximately 28 cm high. So for maintaining the original state of the pedestal, a raised floor is needed. (Or just cut a hole in de floor...) For cleaning and rebuilding I made a wooden stand to make things easier. It's also possible to saw away the mechanics, but the link between the trim wheels are lost then. For my setup I think I make eventually a 28 cm high wooden box (with hidden wheels) to raise the pedestal. Than I can move it around and I don't want to modify the original parts.

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panel markings
A clever thing is that there are labels placed at the sides inside the pedestal. So every panel has it's own predefined spot. '20CE XDCR UNIT-SPD BRK CTL' is for example the panel for the speed brake control.

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cooling
A nice thing is that there's also thought of cooling of the electronics. There's a dedicated air hose for supplying fresh air to each of the three MCDU computers. At the bottom is a plate with guidance holes and the air outlet. This can be seen on the right on the image shown below. There's also on each side a tube with holes to supply fresh air to the pedestal body to supply cooling air to the other electronics.

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electrical connections
There are four connectors for electrical connections: 367VC, 363VC, 361VC and 362VC. The connections are for supplying power to the throttle quadrant panel illumination and for example the auto throttle reset knobs. The rest of the wiring has to be find out yet...

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cleaning
First it surprised me how dirty this thing was! But the plane flew for almost 25 years and time is money so the plane flew likely as much as possible which results in little or no 'deep' cleaning. There's a huge amount of dust and dirty stuff in this pedestal. Although, there's fresh air supplied to the center of the pedestal and there are panels on top, it's still possible to collect a large amount of dust and dirt. So I started dry cleaning the pedestal. After removing alle the panels the vacuum cleaner is used to remove all the dust from the pedestal. After that I course cleaned the trim sprocket since it was covered in old grease. The next step will be to disassemble the pedestal and 'wet clean' everything. I guess this will take some time, but the result is probably very good.

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