Random thoughts about Airbus, Boeing and related issues

We’ve been traveling on business all week and naturally the conversation was all aviation. We spoke with lessors, aerospace analysts, hedge funds and private equity. In what amounts to a data dump, here is what is being discussed “out there.” This is in no particular order.

  • The new outbreak of ad wars between Airbus and Boeing is viewed largely with eye-rolling and disdain that two world-class companies are behaving like two year olds.
  • Nobody, but nobody we talked with believes the public numbers advanced by either Airbus or Boeing.
  • Boeing will have virtually a new airplane with the 737 MAX by the time it’s done, similar to the design creep of the 747-8 and the magnitude of change between the 737NG and the 737 Classic.
  • Airbus pulled a coup with the NEO, forcing Boeing to do the MAX….
  • But there is some sentiment that Airbus and Boeing should have resisted doing a re-engine and stuck with the the current airplanes. Airbus should have let Bombardier proceed with the CSeries for the niche 100-149 seat market unchallenged, having bigger fish to fry.
  • Bombardier doesn’t know how to effectively sell the CSeries and it is unwilling to cut deals that would sell the airplane.
  • Operating leasing is a ticking time-bomb, largely (but not entirely) due to book values of the aircraft on the balance sheet far exceeding current market values.
  • Boeing claims the 787-10 will “kill” the A330-300. The market agrees–but only by the middle of the 2020 decade. Boeing can’t deliver enough 787-10s to make a dent in the global fleet before then. By then, the A330 will be about 30 years old and broadly at the end of its natural life cycle anyway. So what’s the big deal?
  • Airbus is doing a good job enhancing the A330 to keep it competitive with the 787.
  • There remains skepticism that the LEAP engine development is proceeding well. The buzz on the street is CFM still has a lot of challenges with the development.
  • There is some feeling the MAX will be late–not because of any concrete knowledge, but because of Boeing’s performance on the 787 and 747-8 programs.

Unrelated to Airbus and Boeing, our colleague Addison Schonland has this first-hand account of Isreal’s Iron Dome.

66 comments on “Random thoughts about Airbus, Boeing and related issues

  1. “Operating leasing is a ticking time-bomb, largely (but not entirely) due to book values of the aircraft on the balance sheet far exceeding current market values.”

    Another market floating on pimped values? Nothing learned.

    • “Operating leasing is a ticking time-bomb, largely (but not entirely) due to book values of the aircraft on the balance sheet far exceeding current market values.”
      Anyone care to make an informed/inspired/wise suggestion of exactly what this will mean in practice?

  2. Boeing claims the 787-10 will “kill” the A330-300. The market agrees–but only by the middle of the 2020 decade. Boeing can’t deliver enough 787-10s to make a dent in the global fleet before then.

    Hmm, it will then have taken Boeing some 20 years to kill off the A330-300. That’s indeed a long march…. ;-)

    http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/odds-and-ends-787-ramp-up-istat/

    Mike Bair: We are in a march to put Airbus out of business in the twin-aisle space: 777 vs A340, 787 vs A330, 747-8 vs A380

    • who is in advance and who is in retreat ?

      With the other long march, while all were always winning,
      one party ended on a small island ;-)

      • A small island which became and remains one of the preeminent global hubs for semiconductors and electronics. Also note, that unlike the other long march, both participants have significant domestic and foreign (MHI, KHI, Alenia) government backing.

  3. “•Airbus is doing a good job enhancing the A330 to keep it competitive with the 787.”

    What????

    The latest announced version, activating the center wing fuel tank (CWT) and increasing the gross weight to 242 tonnes on the A-333 is all smoke and mirrors. It is a 4 tonne increase, yet to do it requires at least 1 tonne in increased empty weight due to the modifications of adding plumbing, sealing, pumps, and valves to the CWT. That is only a 3 tonne increase in capability, at best.

    The added fuel in the CWT is some 9440 US Gallons of fuel (41,500 l), or some 64,000 lbs. That alone is about 29.2 tonnes, so how do you squeeze 29 tonnes into a 4 tonne gross weight increase? So the A-333 becomes like the A-332, you cannot take advantage of full fuel tanks, and increased range because the full tanks, with a decent revenue payload will exceed the MTOW of the airplane, by a lot? That is wasted airplane capability, and at what costs? Airbus “hopes” the increased fuel capability will add some 500 nm to its max range….bringing it out to 6100 nm. Yet, 29 tonnes of additional fuel will add about 1500 nm to the range, and 3.5 to 4 additional flying hours. It only takes an airliner about 1 hour and 15-20 minutes to travel 500 nm. So this entire concept falls into th “WTF” catagory.

    The advantages of the B-787-10 over this new ‘enhanced’ model of the A-333 are just insurmountable for Airbus, and they know it.

    So, in just this past week, Airbus has unvieled its “Pinoccchio” ad against Boeing, and announced a BS “modification” to on of its top of the product line model.

    Sounds more like a company making desprite moves than intellegent corproate decisions.

    • ” It is a 4 tonne increase, yet to do it requires at least 1 tonne in increased empty weight”
      You have absolutely no clue what you are talking about, ZERO! You need to look at it as a whole package:
      – Weight saving
      – Enhanced Load Alleviation Function (significantly reducing the impact on the structure due to the MTOW increase)
      – Structure optimisation

      The effect on MWE will be negligible.

      “That is only a 3 tonne increase in capability, at best.”
      At least you have something to hope for…

      “The advantages of the B-787-10 over this new ‘enhanced’ model of the A-333 are just insurmountable for Airbus, and they know it.”
      They know it, so give them credit. This development isn’t aimed at killing -10, it is aimed to:
      – show that Airbus hasn’t abandoned the Programme and is still working to improve the offering, which should help the values of the in-service frames.
      – existing customers from switching to the 787 in the near future, given that the frame is available far, far sooner than -10. Add to that commonality and existing maintenance infrastructure.
      – to buy Airbus time…. I fully expect another iteration of the A350-800, they need to get that right.

      Given that the Programme is paid for long ago and the costs associated with this development are minimal, the price difference between A330 and -10 will be significant, allowing airlines to earn money earlier and for Airbus to get significant returns.
      A330 is here to stay for a long time, despite you might hope for…

      “So, in just this past week, Airbus has unvieled its “Pinoccchio” ad against Boeing, and announced a BS “modification” to on of its top of the product line model.”
      If there is any BS, it’s your posts….

  4. “It is a 4 tonne increase, yet to do it requires at least 1 tonne in increased empty weight due to the modifications of adding plumbing, sealing, pumps, and valves to the CWT.”

    More then 1 tonne? That an awfull lot for the additional sealing and a few pumps.. the piping can’t be too long. Do you you have any, any source for that?

    “Airbus “hopes” the increased fuel capability will add some 500 nm to its max range….bringing it out to 6100 nm. Yet, 29 tonnes of additional fuel will add about 1500 nm to the range, and 3.5 to 4 additional flying hours. It only takes an airliner about 1 hour and 15-20 minutes to travel 500 nm. So this entire concept falls into th “WTF” catagory.”

    Help me out KCT. The added 3-4 tonne MTOW increase in it self would be good for an extra 50-60 minutes of flight wouldn’t it? Without any additional fuel tank..

  5. Mike Bair:
    “We are in a march to put Airbus out of business in the twin-aisle space:
    777 vs A340, 787 vs A330, 747-8 vs A380.”

    Sorry Mike, the time for wishful thinking at Boeing, has long past!
    “Boeing in a march to put Airbus out of business?” You must be kidding!

    . The A340 sold in reasonable numbers to major carriers and it was NO
    loss to Airbus at all, because it almost killed the 777, before GE agreed
    to increase the thrust on the CF6 engine to 120K+ from 86k thrust AND
    the A340 had near total commonality with the 2 engined A330.
    . Two-engined A330 killed the 767 program and continues to give Boeing
    headaches in the 777 AND 787 categories, way into the next decade.
    . The 747-8 was launched in 1993 and was much to late and a “CHEAP”
    response by Boeing to the A380, which Airbus launched in Jan. 2001.
    . Boeing Management totally underestimated the appeal of THE ALL NEW
    and MODERN 747 replacement a/p for the 21st century!
    . Boeing CEO Phil Condit in Nov. of 1997, in response to my personal war-
    ning to him about the serious challenge I saw to the 747 program from
    the all new A3XX, based on very strong encouragement from 20 major
    world airlines to Airbus to build the A3XX, as follows:
    “Rudy, I’ll give you my personal guarantees, that Airbus will NEVER get
    the A3XX launched”! Famous, but entirely faulty, last words!

    • Rudy, public quotes like these, but also from Randy Tinseth, Jim Albaugh and McNerney make me often wonder. Very smart, skilled and experienced guys. Overconfident, often proven wrong only months later. Who is responsible for providing them with bluntly objective info, painfull SWOTs, worst case scenarios, risk analyses, airline perspectives. Do they really think they can sell 737-9 at reasonable prices with A321 NEO’s around? That the A350-1000 is undefined and 777 customers don’t like it? That the 747-8 really has better CASM then A380? Or is it an advanced communication tactic?

    • Boy, some sour apples still in there? I will take B over A profit wise any day! A it looks is going to be like that for a long while.

      • Have you ever been at Airbus? Clean efficient new facilities, short haired young guys / girls and 1.6l cars on the parking lot.

    • Rudy –
      back in August Leeham said:
      “ sales of the A330 have far exceeded Airbus expectations. Sales have now hit 1,215 with a backlog through July of 2018”.

      That made the A330 the only successful Airbus twin-aisle program to date. Sales exceeded the combined total (1191 airplanes) of all the A330’s out-of-production predecessors:
      • (250) A300’s
      • (255) A310’s
      • (311) A300-600’s
      • (28) A340-200’s
      • (218) A340-300
      • (32) A340-500
      • (97) A340-600

      The A340 was a victim of Boeing competiton and of fratricide. It was done in by the superior performance and economics of a twin vs a quad, both the 777 and the A330. Once Airbus and its customers discovered the economic benefits of long-range twins, A330 sales had nowhere to go but up. Airbus’s 2002 “4 engines 4 long haul” ad campaign quietly vanished, despite Richard Branson’s efforts.

      The A330 and A340 went into service in 1993; the 777 in 1995. During 1995, Airbus delivered 30 A330’s vs 19 A340’s. A340 deliveries peaked at 33 airplanes in 2003 vs 31 A330’s. From then on every year A330 deliveries went up and A340 deliveries went down. In 2011 Airbus delivered 87 A330’s vs zero A340’s. Two white-tail A340-500’s remained; Airbus recently announced they finally sold.

      What about the A340-500 and -600? Both had a heavy enlarged wing; the short-fuselage A340-500 was an 800,000 lb MTOW airplane with 50,000 lb SLST engines – a modern version of the 747-200B with a lot fewer seats, but lots more range, especially (like Singapore) with lots of business class and reduced tourist class. The A340-600 was a stretch too far of a cross-section dating back to 1972, sort of a DC-8-61/63 on steroids. Neither could compete with the 777-200ER, the -300ER and -200LR. Both are out of production.

      Long-range airliner history is full of dead-end derivatives that cost too much to develop, were too late to the market, and/or were not competitive. Examples include the DC-7C, the 1649 Starliner, the DC-8-62, the 747-200C, the 747SP, and the 767-400ER. The A340-500 and -600 are in that group.

      .

      • Can anyone provide the sales numbers for 777-200, 777-300, 777-200ER, 777-200LR, 777-300ER and 777-200LRF. Then I can suggest those are relatively low numbers and so the 777 is not really successful.. come on..

      • Scott – since the earlier Airbus numbers were by model, isn’t Keesje saying (in his 6.55 a.m. entry) that for individual 777 variants the totals would be relatively low..?

        • 777-200: 88
          777-200ER: 427
          777-200LR: 58
          777-300: 60
          777-300ER: 620
          777-200F: 128

          Try and spin it any way you want. The 777 is a runaway success. The A300 (All) was a very respectable 816. The A340 was an also-ran. And the point still stands: Keejse and TopBoom are two extremes.

      • The Airbus cabin cross-section dates from 1972 precisely because they got it right first time; 222-inch across, which I heard one senior executive describe as a “magic” dimension. Hence it was sufficient for A300/A310, A330 and A340. Likewise, its initial single-aisle dimensions weren’t too bad, were they?
        Come to think of it, didn’t the American Airliner Company have a similar experience — starting (well, almost) with a crosss-section for a quad-jet that then could be retained for a trijet and later a twinjet (although that is not to say that the fuselage of its 189-seat twin today is exactly the same as that of its 189-seat variant of the original quad…The real trick had been to recognise the need (albeit I believe only after a competitor emerged) to slightly widen the original fuselage from that used on the initial aircraft. But nobody’s purrfikt!

      • Hmm, 1985 was also the year that Thomas Bacher & Co were getting very damn mad.

        Well, angry and hubristic behaviour is perhaps not the best mental state for which to build the foundations for the future. ;-)

        http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/cit-sweetman.html?c=y&page=6

        Between 1978 and 1985, the A300 and A310 sold as well as the 757 and 767, and Boeing became more concerned. In a 1985 presentation to visiting aviation reporters in Seattle, Boeing declared that Airbus would lose $18 billion by the early 1990s. “We’ve been very patient for the last 10 years,” said, on that same occasion, Boeing vice president Thomas Bacher of the prolonged trade dispute, “but now we’re getting more impatient. In fact, we’re getting very damn mad.” Publicly, European leaders pointed out that Boeing had received government support in the past—the company’s jetliner business had been founded on the back of Pentagon orders for bombers and tankers—and the company was still allowed to charge research and development work to the Pentagon.

        From the U.S. point of view, just because the subsidies were hard to find didn’t mean they weren’t there. Beteille and his colleagues were right: There was no way to make money with less than 30 percent of the market. Without subsidies, Airbus would never have reached that point and would eventually have disappeared—which would have been all right by Boeing’s Bacher. “Europe builds beautiful trains and systems like that,” he said in 1985. “I challenge the concept that everyone has to build everything.” If Airbus could not show a profit it should do the right thing and disappear.

      • From the same November 2003 Sweetman article (p1) in ‘AirSpace’ mag quoted [below?] by OV-099:
        “Today Airbus is thriving, but success was never a certainty. In 1974, Boeing vice president Jim Austin described the first Airbus product as “a typical government airplane. They’ll build a dozen or so and then go out of business.” Austin spoke from experience, and he was almost right…”.

  6. keesje, the pumps alone could weigh 500 kg, each depending on what types of pumps are required. and you need at least two. These pumps must be stronger (more pressure) than the main pumps in the main wing tanks. The valves can weigh anywhere from 50-100 kg each, and you need several, depending on if the CWT pumps feed the engines directly through the main fuel manifold, or simply transfer fuel from the CWT to the main wing fuel tanks, and they feed the engines. Sealing the CWT might add about 10-12 kg, depending on how many seams must be sealed. I have not even mentioned the fuel quantity system for the CWT, although some of it may just be a software change and a new fuel indicator and updated fuel totalizer. The additional plumbing, depending on how it needs to be routed and how much pipe needs to be added is an unknown weight factor. But generally, 1 ft section of 4″ fuel mainfold weighs about 2 lbs, not including the couplings or brackets to secure it to some structure.

    No, 3-4 tonnes of additional fuel will give you about 25-30 minutes of extra flying time for an A-333. The A-333 burns about 8 tonnes of fuel per flying hour at cruise altitude and airspeeds. In 30 minutes of flying time the A-333 will travel between 125 and 210 nm at a ‘normal cruise altitude and airspeed’ (about 7 nm per minute, depending on winds at altitude).

    Even then you are trading fuel for revenue payload by up-loading th additional fuel and not using that capability to put paying butts in the seats, or carrying additional cargo.

    The aerodynamic improvements should improve the gas mileage by abvout 1%-1.5%, unless you go with the blended winglets. They may give you another 2%-3% improvement over the current winglets on the A-330 family. Don’t get me wrong, an (up to) 4.5% aerodynamic improvement is a huge advantage, but it is not enough to catch up with the B-787.

    • Very unqualified dribble, a current jettison pump, the largest capacity on an Airbus weighs approx 15 kgs. A valve is in the range 5-8 kgs. Piping, which currently runs through the dry bay on current A330’s would see only an additional 10kgs added to the weight. There are already access points and wiring looms in place to allow this modifications on all A330’s. also the dry bay as it is known is currently sealed and fitted with a drainage system.
      I’m not pro Airbus or Boeing, I have maintained these aircraft for nearly 30 years, but I will not let these lies be put out into the media.

    • And the “economical cruising speed” of the A330 is quoted as 464kt (7.7 nm/min) … 250kt would be close to the stall speed, not sure where you are getting those numbers.

  7. Fuel consumption seems to be ~ 5t per hour in cruise.

    Sharklets are expected to give 3% better fuel consumption on long flights.

    A340 dedicated structure is removed to save weight.

    Low pressure fuel transfer pumps seem compact to me. Folks can lift them onto test benches.

  8. kctb, keesje, et al – A gross weight increase will often require a fuel capacity increase because of the fuel break in the payload range curve. For an on-line example pull up the 747-400 Airport Planning document’s performance section at http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/7474sec3.pdf (you may need firefox)

    You’ll see that if you want to use GW above 850000 you need extra fuel; if not you run out of fuel volume. For the 747-400, the extra space was in the horizontal tail, where 3300 gallons could be added. 870,000 lbs with tail fuel and 420 passengers gave about 500 nmi more range [move right on the plot]. The extra GW could also be used to carry higher payload the same distance [move up]

    Those who have access to the latest A330-300 payload range would see a similar curve that shows why more fuel is needed for the higher GW

    Here are some actual weights for adding 747-400 tail fuel into an existing volume without any previously-installed provisions, not even tank sealant. The airplane changes to install a 3,300-gallon fuel tank in the horizontal stabilizer were: add fuel lines between the center wing tank and the horizontal stabilizer, seal the tank space, and install all required system components including pumps, vents etc inside the tank. Revise fuel indication and management systems plus associated aircraft documentation.

    The actual weight increase was +555 lbs MEW and +854 lbs OEW. The 299 lb difference is due to the weight of unusable fuel in the tail tank.

  9. “The A340 sold in reasonable numbers to major carriers and it was NO
    loss to Airbus at all, because it almost killed the 777, before GE agreed
    to increase the thrust on the CF6 engine to 120K+ from 86k thrust AND
    the A340 had near total commonality with the 2 engined A330.”

    The GE90 and the CF6 is not the same engine right? News to me at least!

  10. I have see a editorial reasoning it was more the A330 that killed the A340. The 773ER’s being sold in large numbers is bigger then the vast majority of the A340s sold, the -300s. The A340 was killed, but the 777-200/ER/LR was killed too in the process. One of the best ignored realities in Boeing land. It’s the reasons the HGW 787-10s are rushed in.

  11. Reoly to Keesje #14:

    “Who is responsible for providing them with bluntly objective info, painfull SWOTs, worst case scenarios, risk analyses, airline perspectives.”

    I’m sure they have this info one way or another. The problem is the culture of lying. This arose in part from the national (and inter-national) culture of lying about money and investing which existed when the 787 and it’s production system were created. The common fault of each was the refusal to face and account for real risks. There was little difference between what was happening on Wall Street then, which fought any attempt thru governmental regulation or other means to bound their greed, and B’s creation of it’s huge out-sourcing production system without recognizing the obvious risk that such an unprecedented plan was likely to fail spectacularly unless B put in place vigorous supervisory mechanisms. I can still remember how clueless and stupid Bear seemed when he publicly expressed shock and dismay that the first sections of the plane were arriving with 10s of thousands of travelled work items. (“I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find gambling going on at Rick’s Place,” quoth Louie, the Vichy police inspector, upon being presented with his winnings (Casablanca).) Once the truth dawned, IMHO B had no choice but lie and bend the truth, because the truth of how awful their failure was and the very real risk that the Company would fail if it got out, deserved nothing less (or more).

  12. The CSeries still has the potential to take a huge chunk out of the market. It has a newer wing than the MAX or the NEO, it will be flying and in production several years ahead, and it will be unmatched in the size category below the A320.

  13. leehamnet :
    777-200: 88
    777-200ER: 427
    777-200LR: 58
    777-300: 60
    777-300ER: 620
    777-200F: 128
    Try and spin it any way you want. The 777 is a runaway success. The A300 (All) was a very respectable 816. The A340 was an also-ran. And the point still stands: Keejse and TopBoom are two extremes.

    Airbus builds Two wide body families, the A300/310 and the A330/340. The A300 being the first Airbus/ big twin

    se18pl splits it up and leaves out the A330 to claim it is the only succesfull widebody Airbus ever made. Apparently a plausible theory? When I comment this is nonsense (it aint different programs/ aircraft) by suggesting we could do the same with the different 777 versions ( also non-sense) this is “anti Boeing bias”..

    • your problem comes from trying to include the A300 and A310 in with the A330 and A340. They are different airplanes, different type certs, different flight decks. Airbus doesn’t even claim that the A330 is a derivative of the A300, they claim it is a new model, hence the completely separate type certification. The 777 versions are all on the same type cert.

      The 777 is a massive success. Deal with it.

      • A300/A310 and the LR family have different TCs but quite a lot of the common structure elements. I always viewed all models subsequent to the A300 as re winged, improved versions. But that’s purely my opinion.

        “The 777 versions are all on the same type cert.”
        I highly doubt that they will be able to keep the same type certification if they launch a ‘re wigned’, re engined and re materialed version aka 777X. Although you never know, they managed to grandfather the same rules for the MAX as the original 60s concept.

        “The 777 is a massive success. Deal with it.”
        You will not find anybody who seriously suggests it isn’t.

  14. leehamnet :
    777-200: 88
    777-200ER: 427
    777-200LR: 58
    777-300: 60
    777-300ER: 620
    777-200F: 128
    Try and spin it any way you want. The 777 is a runaway success. The A300 (All) was a very respectable 816. The A340 was an also-ran. And the point still stands: Keejse and TopBoom are two extremes.

    Thank you Scott!

    I was beginning to think this website was strictly a Boeing bashing blog…

    As a side note to the A340 / 777 sales numbers are what they are… The A340 numbers are final. However, the 777 numbers will continue to climb. Just a fact… Nothing worth spinning.

    • #18 was a clear anti Airbus rant. I responded. Boeing took some flag in recent days. Apparently some compensation is needed so the good old A340 is dragged in. Fine. I do not see this Scott blog as tilted to either A or B.

      • The question is why do you feel the need to respond? You don’t work for Airbus. You don’t have any skin in the game. Why do you feel the overwhelming need to “respond”? Besides the Fanboi aspect, I mean.

      • to quote YOU
        “Then I can suggest those are relatively low numbers and so the 777 is not really successful”

        At least try to be intellectually honest.

      • Keesje, lesson learnt 101: when making quite a valid point, try to use less sarcasm, as it is likely to go over people’s heads…

      • Howard, you leave out half the post. Is that intentionally?

        “Can anyone provide the sales numbers for 777-200, 777-300, 777-200ER, 777-200LR, 777-300ER and 777-200LRF. Then I can suggest those are relatively low numbers and so the 777 is not really successful.. come on..”

        And the you say something about intellectual honesty..
        How flexible.

      • Rudy has a wealth of first hand aerospace experience, is married to Boeing & I’ll forgive him inaccuracy’s like these automaticly..

      • Observer – will not the Trent XWB engine type certificate include the expression “RB211″, as do other Trents to date, I think? When is an RB211 not an RB211: didn’t the Trent “brand” begin with what started life as an RB211-524L?

  15. “Bombardier doesn’t know how to effectively sell the CSeries and it is unwilling to cut deals that would sell the airplane.”
    Scott, just wondering if you agree with this sentiment? Does this point come from only the airlines?

    Of course the airlines would prefer the same sort of slashed prices that they get from Airbus and Boeing but that would force Bombardier to seek more funding from governments to offset the losses from such reduced prices.

  16. Okay, forget that one question. Lessors and analysts.

    But the point still stands, discounted prices guarantee more demand for government funding.

  17. keesje :
    Have you ever been at Airbus? Clean efficient new facilities, short haired young guys / girls and 1.6l cars on the parking lot.

    Did you even read his post? It’s a simple post about profit margins, Airbus has LOW single digit profits, Boeing has HIGH single digit, near double digit. As an investor, it’s a no brainer. His post wasn’t about clean factories, young workers, or any of that crap. It was about pure profit margins. The difference between EADS and Boeing profit margins is NOT SUBJECT TO DISPUTE. Boeing wins. Deal with it.

  18. Howard, you leave out half the post. Is that intentionally?

    “Can anyone provide the sales numbers for 777-200, 777-300, 777-200ER, 777-200LR, 777-300ER and 777-200LRF. Then I can suggest those are relatively low numbers and so the 777 is not really successful.. come on..”

    And the you say something about intellectual honesty.. Amazing.

  19. Pundit :… didn’t the American Airliner Company have a similar experience — starting (well, almost) with a crosss-section for a quad-jet that then could be retained for a trijet and later a twinjet (although that is not to say that the fuselage of its 189-seat twin today is exactly the same as that of its 189-seat variant of the original quad…The real trick had been to recognise the need (albeit I believe only after a competitor emerged) to slightly widen the original fuselage from that used on the initial aircraft. But nobody’s purrfikt!

    The original prototype 360-80 and KC-135 had a 144″ upper lobe. B had to respond to the competion (DC-8 at 146″ 5 across) with the 707 at 148″ 6 across. The 07/27/37/57 all have the same upper lobe dimensions (only the 57 has different lower lobe). So your point is right, but the wrong competitor.

    The 330/330 fuselage is a good cross section; the 787 uses a similar upper lobe diameter (227″ vs 222″) but it has a second smaller lower lobe diameter that is even closer fit for LD-3’s. The double cross section puts more of the full diameter in the main cabin and leaves enough room in the crown to fit overhead crew rests.

    • GT62 – It was the DC-8 that I had in mind; I’m not sure what else there was around then that could have been an alternative competitor to the 367-80/707…Can anyone comment on how similar/different are 737 189-seat fuselages to/from 189-seat 707 fuselages?

      • It is almost always better to be second – DC-8 was an unplanned reaction to the 360-80 and they were 2″ upping the 707 since they considered B committed to 144″, but it was still 5 across seating. Upping the DC-8 by two inches and narrowing the aisle made 6 across seating and a huge improvement in economics for the airlines. Since that time B SA’s stayed the same and 737 cross-sections are identical, as is the nose shape. The 707 and 757 have almost the same length (~153 ft), but the cabin on the 757 is longer due to the aft pressure bulkhead vs. pressure dome and a quicker transition to constant section on the nose. The 737-900 is a bit shorter at 138 ft.

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