What Model Is EgyptAir MS804? The Plane Suddenly Went Missing

EgyptAir flight MS804 disappeared from radar just under four hours into its scheduled flight plan from Paris, France, to Cairo, Egypt. One of the first questions that get asked during a situation like this one is very often simply what kind of aircraft model is EgyptAir MS804? Update: On Thursday morning, Egyptian aviation officials confirmed with the Associated Press that the EgyptAir plane has crashed. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with AP, said the "possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed," since flight MS804 never arrived at any of the airports. The officials told AP they will now be searching for debris from the plane.

There are conflicting reports in American news media, but according to EgyptAir's official Twitter account, the aircraft make and model in question is the Airbus A320. It apparently ceased radar contact at a height of 37,000 feet at 3 hours and 44 minutes of flight.

EgyptAir's Twitter account reported that the plane was journeying with 56 passengers and 10 crew members on board. According to FlightRadar24, the average flight time of this route is 3 hours and 47 minutes.

Social media reporting from the airline says that the plane was manufactured in 2003, making it 13 years old.

Airbus' A320 series have been in service since 1988. This series of aircraft is notable for being the first generation of commercial airliners to use digital fly-by-wire flight control systems. In layman's terms, this allows pilots to manually enter coordinates into a flight computer to program the aircraft on its route. Other things equal, this allows for a flying experience that is less subject to pilot error, and has become standard on commercial and freight airliners.

FlightRadar24's official Twitter account says that the last point of radar contact with the jetliner occurred just after it crossed into Egyptian airspace, while it was flying at an observed 36,975 feet. There is no word on whether or not this truly was the last reported flight ceiling of the plane, or whether EgyptAir rounded up to 37,000 feet in its earliest reporting on social media.

According to social media postings, "EGYPTAIR crisis center is following up with the concerned authorities [and] will issue any additional information once available." No word yet on whether the crisis center mentioned is coordinating a search and rescue mission to attempt to locate an intact aircraft, or if they are operating under the assumption that the aircraft has been destroyed.

As of the most recent report, EgyptAir is reporting on Twitter that "Special teams from the Egyptian Armed Forces were are [sic] at site located for inspection and rescue were are at site located for inspection and rescue."

EgyptAir is the national flag carrier, and a member of the StarAlliance network of airlines. The last reported incident involving an EgyptAir airliner was resolved peacefully, with no loss of life, in March of this year.