Some retrospective thoughts of 2012

As the year winds down, we look back and view the year as somewhat anti-climatic.

We thought Boeing would make a decision on what to do about the 777X. Hasn’t happened.

We thought there would be a formal launch of the 787-10. This didn’t happen, either, though there has been a “soft” Authority to Offer.

Bombardier won’t fly its CSeries this month, which was no surprise.

Embraer still hasn’t decided about its re-engining of the E-Jet.

Airbus’ order book will be quite respectable but a new bar had been set last year and the company is well short of matching that. (Wags will suggest that the famed Airbus “fifth quarter” has yet to occur. This refers to the seeming ability of John Leahy, COO-Customers, to announce hundreds of orders in January.)

Farnborough was expected to be so boring that we didn’t bother to go. The only surprise was Mitsubishi’s left-field announcement of an MOU for 100 MRJs with SkyWest Airlines of the USA. (This deal was firmed up this week.) This truly gives the MRJ program the boost it needs.

Boeing did come roaring back with around 1,000 orders for the 737 MAX, but this was also expected. This will return Boeing to the No. 1 spot after years of trailing Airbus.

The 787 program still has its challenges, with rework now said to extend into 2015 and a couple of in-flight interruptions that are more embarrassing to Boeing than substantive issues.

Airbus announced another delay to the A350 and skepticism still swirls around the -800′s future. The A380 remains a financial drag.

Most entertaining, and entirely irrelevant, are the ad wars that broke out between Airbus and Boeing. The churlish bickering is beneath both companies, whose public claims of efficiency for the A380 v 747-8 and A320neo v 737 MAX don’t match the data they show the airlines. We’ve been reduced to cross-checking claims by both companies with customers for reality checks.

EADS-Airbus underwent one of its required changes in leadership. Government interference continued.

Jim Albaugh shocked the industry by stepping down as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes with no advance notice.

Next year will be a lot more interesting. We’ll have our 2013 preview in a few weeks.

A story of interest today:

Airbus decentralizes.

60 comments on “Some retrospective thoughts of 2012

  1. I agree, this has been a ho-hum year for both OEMs, both making, or nearly making expected results. But, I don’t agree the “ad wars” are “entertsining”. I think they are childest.

    2013 more interesting? Perhaps, but some things must change from each OEM to put 2012 behind them. Some events may boost moral for each side’s cheerleader squads (yes, I am one) like the FF of the A-350 (but it may be later than most think), formal launch of the B-787-10, and possibly the ATO of the B-777-9X, better defination of both the MAX and the NEO, the usual surprises from John Leahy, and finally an EK and/or QR surprise at the PAS.

  2. I think 2012 was also the year of the A350-1000 confirmation and the year the 787 finally got going. IMO beefing up the 787-10 was long foreseen and did/will impact the 777X program. Specification creep is already surfacing for a bigger heavier 787-10. 6 wheel landing gears, we can just wait for a wing/engine growth enabling better payload range. It seems a far better idea as 777-200ER replacement/A350-900 competitor then a rewinged, but still heavy 777-8i.

  3. The ‘decentralization’ at Airbus (and EADS in fact) is certainly the most striking & exciting developement.
    I am certain that we won’t see the inpact soon but it will be major and will spread accros other industries (it has started in a few areas).

    The add war is funny for sure ;)

  4. It’s been a pretty disastrous year for EADS. Eurocopter faces one of its greatest crises with the continued scandal surrounding the EC225 grounding. The loss of confidence in Eurocopter particularly with the oil and gas industry has already handed Sikorsky a huge windfall to say nothing of the forthcoming Bell 525. The Tiger attack helicopter continues to be an embarrassment as is the NH90; several European countries have defected to Sikorsky

    Astrium is being slowly strangled to death by SpaceX as European governments have not committed to anything more than an upgrade of the launcher.

    Cassidian is limping along after the Eurofighter loss in India to say nothing of the Serious Fraud scandals plaguing the Eurofighter bid in Austria. The predictable failure of the BAE merger guarantees that Cassidian will die slowly and painfully as there are no European plans-of-record on the defense side to sustain it. The A400M and KC-30 programs are not the model for anyone to emulate.

    Airbus is increasingly confronting a Boeing which is willing to take a margin hit to gain market share. Without government loans, Airbus is burning through its pile of cash at an appalling rate. The A380 continues to earn bad press years after its EIS and continues to be a drain on Airbus finances. The A350 is looking less like a family and more like a collection of orphans. The industry is collectively holding its breath for the 777X and the 787-10X.

    EADS response is to engage in some share ownership rebalancing which has convinced no one. Tom Enders really should resign at the end of this year and hand the reigns over to someone who doesn’t engage in such reckless personal and professional behavior.

    • marauder :
      Without government loans, Airbus is burning through its pile of cash at an appalling rate.

      Where do you get this? EADS cash is down by EUR 400M, yes, but that’s from a starting point of EUR 5.2B so they aren’t exactly on the ropes at the moment, as much as you’d like them to be.

      Share ownership changes are initiated by the shareholders, not EADS. And they have nothing to do with the customers.

      • Maybe he got it form a EADS report.. Quoting:

        “European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. (EAD) is losing cash rapidly. In its latest earnings report, Airbus SAS’s parent company reports that its free cash has dropped by about a third during the last nine months. EADS NV (EPA:EAD) had reported net cash reserves of about 11.4 billion euros about a year ago, but today the airline reports approximately 8.1 billion euros in reserves. Because of this loss, EADS NV (EPA:EAD) has decreased its guidance for the year, and company representatives say they expect to break even instead of being on the plus side.

        Company representatives attribute these losses to a line of superjumbo jets that are waiting to be delivered and a major delay in development loans that were promised by the German government. According to a spokesperson for EADS NV (EPA:EAD),”

        OR, we could just make up our own more favorable versions. ;)

      • observer, that notice is from start of november and you forgot to mention that this was described as to be connected to deliveries delayed over the year. ( Airbus delivered ~11 A380 in nov and dec)

    • Eurocopter will remain market leader for the foreseable future. New models are coming on line, The X3 concept works and will be implemented on bigger machines. Airbus militairy looks healthy with A400M the only modern middle of the market multirole platform, and few airforces consider anything else then the MRTT..

      The A380 remains imensly popular, gets customers nobody expected and will break even in a few yrs and has no competition. The A350 XWB looks good, despite the usual complications and the A330, who knows? Production is increased to 11 a month. The NEO, well..

      A disastrous year indeed marauder.

      • Eurocopter can remain a market leader if you ignore only the most important market for just about every helicopter manufacturer namely, the offshore oil and gas industry! Bell’s 525, the S-76D and the recent Augusta Westland products are all targeted at this market.

        The Tiger remains too dangerous for even the Aussies to risk flying and the NH90 is too underdeveloped to be useful to anyone.

        The X3 is a technology demonstrator and a rather weak one at that. Sikorsky X2′s is being transformed into the S-97 with firm backing from all of the suppliers who are willing to spend their own money (GE included) to get prototypes that are useful for operational evaluation. I admit, It’s not quite a fun as touring the US in the X3.

        Eurocopter has shown that all future European heavy lift helicopter design is going to be routed through either Boeing or Sikorsky (though I guess a diversion through Kamov or Mil is always possible) as they are pretty much the only game in town for new heavy lift development (CH-53K, V-22 and CH-148). We’ll see how long the US + EADS tie up lasts.

        It looks quite bad when Germany and the UK are trying to back out of the A400M faster than Eurofighter lost in India.

        If EADS can’t convince its govt. backers to back the projects/products the governments themselves initiated and payed for it creates perception problems.

        Could there be underlying technical and engineering problems provoking government reticence? Probably though we’ll never know until the A400M is deployed operationally whenever that may be.

        The MRTT is the only (bad) game until Boeing delivers the first run of KC-46s or the Israelis or others convert more 767s into tankers.

        I’ll leave detailed discussions on Airbus’ future to the more informed pundits. But trying to win “mindshare” with petulant ads rather than being content with winning mindshare with market share both current and projected is generally a sign of
        weakness.

        Guess you don’t want to talk about Cassidian and Astrium.

    • ROTFL!

      What a nice pontificating treatise. It sounds a lot like Fox News’ always entertaining, alternate universe belonging to reality challenged, freedom fries-eating right-wing nutters. ;-)

      • I eat a low carb diet, don’t watch TV and a have a firm grasp on the realities with which all practicing engineers must contend; those of physics and economics (though I’m mildly dangerous with demographics and psychometrics).

        But I do appreciate the kind remark (or implication) that I’m always entertaining.

  5. Observer:


    Maybe he got it form a EADS report.. Quoting:

    EADS NV (EPA:EAD) had reported net cash reserves of about 11.4 billion euros about a year ago, but today the airline reports approximately 8.1 billion euros in reserves.”
    ….
    OR, we could just make up our own more favorable versions.

    Maybe, versions where EADS doesn’t think they are an airline.. ;)

    As anyone can understand the A350XWB has been a cash drain during the last few yrs. Finishing a design, setting up a supply chain and starting producing everything does this. A few A380s on the platform also quickly does a billion.

    Taking a step back, and looking at Eurocopter, A320NEO, A330, A350, A380, MRTT, A400M, CN295, ATR72-600, I say Buy Recommendation. Oh wait, that’s somewhere else..

    • “Maybe, versions where EADS doesn’t think they are an airline..”

      OK Keesje, I’ll play your silly game…

      You are certainly welcome to use EADS own financial reports, which say the same thing, btw.

      The article above states 11.4 billion euros at the start of the period and 8.1 billion euros in reserves at the end of the 3rd qtr. That’s 3.3 billion euros. Now lets have a look at the EADS statements (link below). EADS states 11,681 billion euros at the start of the period and 8,075 at the end. That’s 3.606 billion euros.

      Oh no… Keesje, We just lost another 306 billion euros in cash reserves by using the EADS financial statements. That’s 1.2 billion euros a qtr. Or 400 million euros a month! Anyway you look at it, that is a boatload of cash they are burning though fast. particularly, because they are also delivering aircraft in record numbers. Where is all that money going??

      “Taking a step back, and looking at Eurocopter, A320NEO, A330, A350, A380, MRTT, A400M, CN295, ATR72-600″

      Also from EADS statements…

      “Eurocopter is continuing its high stake discussions with several NH90 and Tiger customers
      seeking to reduce deliveries, the outcome of which is still open.”

      “The CFO also says they’re using their free cash to begin production on their A400M military transport airplane.”

      http://www.eads.com/eads/int/en/investor-relations/events-and-reports/Financial-Statements-and-Presentations/2012.html

    • keesje :

      As anyone can understand the A350XWB has been a cash drain during the last few yrs. Finishing a design, setting up a supply chain and starting producing everything does this. A few A380s on the platform also quickly does a billion.
      Taking a step back, and looking at Eurocopter, A320NEO, A330, A350, A380, MRTT, A400M, CN295, ATR72-600, I say Buy Recommendation. Oh wait, that’s somewhere else..

      But look at the intense competition that EADS faces for virtually all of those models including competitors (some backed by wealthy governments which are benefiting from economic growth) with newer, shinier or more proven, cheaper (fixed and operating cost-wise) designs. Airbus recently whined to the Wall Street Journal about the pricing pressure
      it was facing from a publicly traded company whose majority shareholders are not governments.

      I suspect the Canadians, Brazilians, Italians, Chinese, Russians and Japanese (and probably the Koreans) will be far more aggressive in terms of pricing than publicly traded US aerospace companies.

  6. Uwe :
    observer, that notice is from start of november and you forgot to mention that this was described as to be connected to deliveries delayed over the year. ( Airbus delivered ~11 A380 in nov and dec)

    Correct me if I’m wrong, But the beginning of November is when they publish the 3rd qtr. results… No? As for any additional deliveries, I guess we will have to wait for the 4th qtr. results in early January. The A380 is only one of the contributing factors.

  7. marauder :
    Eurocopter can remain a market leader if you ignore only the most important market for just about every helicopter manufacturer namely, the offshore oil and gas industry! Bell’s 525, the S-76D and the recent Augusta Westland products are all targeted at this market.
    Interesting that the S92 gearbox problems with heavy loss of life seem to be forgotten.

    • Uwe :

      marauder :
      Eurocopter can remain a market leader if you ignore only the most important market for just about every helicopter manufacturer namely, the offshore oil and gas industry! Bell’s 525, the S-76D and the recent Augusta Westland products are all targeted at this market.
      Interesting that the S92 gearbox problems with heavy loss of life seem to be forgotten.

      The Cougar Helicopters S-92 tragedy has not been forgotten but it was avoidable given that Sikorsky had prior to the crash issued a directive instructing all S-92 users to replace the titanium studs with steel studs. Cougar Helicopters had not yet complied with that directive.

      I think the S-92s continued strong sales since the incident are an indication that as much fault was assigned to the operator as to the manufacturer. Note, Sikorsky did not blame the operator and conducted itself in a rather different manner to Eurocopter’s behavior in the ongoing EC225 grounding.

  8. marauder :

    Eurocopter can remain a market leader if you ignore only the most important market for just about every helicopter manufacturer namely, the offshore oil and gas industry! Bell’s 525, the S-76D and the recen a sign of
    weakness.
    Guess you don’t want to talk about Cassidian and Astrium.

    Re X3: compared to the X2 it needs less rotors, shorter torque axes and be applied to existing platforms. If DoD / NASA doesn’t invest the required billions quickly in X2 technology via various pipelines I wonder if we aren’t witnessing the next brilliant Comache project..

    Re A400M: I expect LM, NG or L3 to start a JV with EADS after their next ten year planning schedule / the next round of (serious) defense cuts.

    Re Heavy lift helicopter. I think the Vertol tandem rotor concept proved hard to beat, even after 50 years. EADS seem to take a pragmatic approach. If Boeing decides they want to keep the cake for themselves, no doubt a plan B will come on the table. I don’t think they will.

    Re Tankertransport. I think it has become painfully clear what is the best tanker transport platform. US congress changed the rules & bypassed DOD to support / protect their #1 export champion and strategic airpower partner. Buy American. That’s how the rest of the world sees it.

      • keesje;
        “Re Tankertransport. I think it has become painfully clear what is the best tanker transport platform. US congress changed the rules & bypassed DOD to support / protect their #1 export champion and strategic airpower partner. Buy American. That’s how the rest of the world sees it.”

        Oh no, not this “Airbus lost because the rules were changed” argument again?

        Airbus entered the 2010 compitition after the DOD had changed the requirements, in accordance with the 2008 GAO report. Airbus knew what the new rules were and agreed to them. DOD even made a choice to allow Airbus to compete without a US contractor. Airbus knew all of the mission requirements, basing requirements, and cost requirements, and put in their “best deal”. On the day that Boeing won the contract to develope and build the the USAF and DOD both said “the compitition wasn’t even close”.

        But, there was an unfair KC-X compitition. That was the 2008 contest, and the GAO protest caught the USAF, Gen. Light, and NG/EADS red handed.

      • Uwe :
        heavy lift helo:
        http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/history/aircraft/F_Models/08-08042/08-08042_Halo_lift_Master.jpg
        http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/helicopters/size/mi26_01.jpg
        SCNR

        Funnily enough, the CH-47F just bested that Mi-26 that’s lifting an earlier model CH-47 n the Indian heavy lift helicopter tender. Battlefield expedient does not a competitive heavy lift option make.

        But since you like pretty pictures, here’s a USMC CH-53E lifting a CH-47:

        Sikorsky Vs. Boeing Heavy Lift

    • “Re X3: compared to the X2 it needs less rotors, shorter torque axes and be applied to existing platforms. If DoD / NASA doesn’t invest the required billions quickly in X2 technology via various pipelines I wonder if we aren’t witnessing the next brilliant Comache project..”

      1st- The X3 is horrible design for Military use, at least as far as troops and ground support personnel are concerned. Can you even imagine soldiers entering and exiting this contraption on a battlefield without someone getting killed? Never mind, things like inclement weather, night operations and the rotor-wash dust and debris. Additionally, Combat helicopters have to be able to land in rugged uneven terrain. These two rotors are far to close to the ground to allow safe operation, on anything other then flat ground. To say nothing of tall grass, shrubs or deep snow. No sir, this is Not a well conceived design!

      2nd- The X2/S-97 Raider is being developed with Sikorsky’s own money. In fact, they are already building it.

      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/sikorsky-starts-construction-of-s-97-raider-prototypes-377868/

      • An X2 type helo should be easier to mature than forex the osprey. But still it adds significant complexity over a basic helicopter without imho gaining all that much ( performance, economy, savety ). It may have its merits for a military design.
        ergo the S97. But that levy may run dry sooner than later.

        For a civil application I see more potential in the X3 type arrangement.

      • “ergo the S97. But that levy may run dry sooner than later.”

        I’m guessing it run dry right after they replace about 700 light helicopters for the US Army and another 2-3 hundred in foreign sales. :)

        “For a civil application I see more potential in the X3 type arrangement.”

        I don’t. And for some of the same reasons as already stated. Its just too dangerous a setup.

      • Observer :
        I’m guessing it run dry right after they replace about 700 light helicopters for the US Army and another 2-3 hundred in foreign sales.

        You’re obviously optimistic as you assume that the S-97 is going to win pretty much all tenders it enters against its competition (EADS and otherwise). Noting that for most of these tenders (e.g. AAS), not even the RFPs have been sent out.

        Observer :“For a civil application I see more potential in the X3 type arrangement.”
        I don’t. And for some of the same reasons as already stated. Its just too dangerous a setup.

        How so? Just because the X3 prototype doesn’t have a ramp to allow for boarding while the engines are running?

      • @anfromme

        “You’re obviously optimistic as you assume that the S-97 is going to win pretty much all tenders it enters against its competition (EADS and otherwise). Noting that for most of these tenders (e.g. AAS), not even the RFPs have been sent out.”

        My reply was to Uwe’s, shall we say less then optimistic view.

        “But that levy may run dry sooner than later.”

        We will have to wait and see of course, to see who is closer the mark. I was having a bit of fun with the numbers… but, there is real interest in this bird with the US Army and SOCOM aviation.
        ——————————

        “How so? Just because the X3 prototype doesn’t have a ramp to allow for boarding while the engines are running?”

        I just replied to Uwe’s comments down the page a bit that should answer this question.

        rgrds,

    • @keesje,

      The need for a low observable scout helicopter like Comanche was dictated by the prospect of confronting Soviet armored divisions escorted by advanced self-propelled AAA and SAM batteries. In that sort of threat environment, you absolutely need something like Comanche if you want to have any rotorcraft close air support.

      Is the US or virtually any other US ally facing such a threat these days? No. Hence the cancellation. However, many of Comanche’s technologies got rolled into other Sikorsky and Boeing birds including one of the stealthy spec ops infiltration birds that wiped out Bin Laden.

      keesje :
      That’s who the rest of the world sees it.

      The rest of world (particularly BAE and EADS which motivated the ill-advised and humiliatingly failed tie-up) wants a piece of the US defense budget since even with the prospect of looming cuts it’s still the best game in town. Why? Because the US is funding future development of many aerospace platforms to the benefit of almost all US primes.

      Meanwhile, European governments only kinda, sorta agreed to properly fund the upgrades to the 80′s era Eurofighter-2000 (we are going to party like it’s 1999). Other joint European military projects are stumbling, dead or so immature that the hapless buyers are forced to look elsewhere to satisfy the requirements that the joint projects were supposed to address.

      EADS is pragmatic because it can’t afford to do anything else except technology demonstrators in the hopes that someone (anyone!) will fund them. The world could benefit from an advanced prototype house but I don’t think European governments want to fund even that.

      • The share price rising for BAE during the merger offer would indicate that the general view is differently.
        The US local defense market will see a contraction and a strong “buy US” move boyed on protections while demand elsewhere is growing. (actually helped from the US. Only the US will continue to loose significance in the international defense market)

  9. keesje :
    “Can you even imagine soldiers entering and exiting this contraption on a battlefield without someone getting killed? ”
    Yes. http://www.key.aero/central/images/news/2811.jpg
    Regarding the S-97, it seems small. Read my lips..

    What is this? Some sort of stupid bait and switch deal… Since you obviously don’t know what the X3 is, here is a real picture of one for you. Notice the lack of a ramp and the troop killers on both sides!

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=At5rjR7RERdqR4A9xMUWqn.bvZx4?fr=yfp-t-701-s&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&p=x3%20helicopter

    As far as the S-97 Raider is concerned, It primary role is armed reconnaissance. So its size is appropriate for the mission.

    I suppose the EADS version of a ARH would be much lager… Introducing the new NH-380… It takes an NH-380 to compete with a NH-380 for armed reconnaissance. ;)

      • I did stop and think about it. And my conclusion is, that the two outboard rotors would still limit this configurations landing capabilities in rugged uneven terrain. And provide additional hazards on the ground.

        Then, we would also need to look at possible damage to these side rotors. Whether it be caused by mechanical, ballistic or impact with something on the ground (hopefully not one of your own troops) and or the possibility of one of these two rotors throwing a blade. Because the X3 doesn’t have a tail rotor, it uses these two side rotors for maneuverability and stability control (as well as increased sprint speed). The X2 design doesn’t require the the tail rotor (pusher prop) for maneuverability and stability control. As that those functions are provided by the counter rotating main rotors.

        Loose of control of the X3 side rotors (for whatever reason) means this bird is going Nowhere. While the loose of the X2 pusher prop would only mean that is sprint speed would be reduced. It would otherwise function as a normal helicopter.

        Another thing to consider, is how these side rotors would effect door gunners ability to adequately provide covering fires (as the fan arch would be great reduced) while supporting the various mission profiles that require a Military helicopter to be Armed. (hint: most of them)..

      • Continue thinking:
        Loosing “something” from the main rotor(s) is deadly in both cases. X2 has more parts exposed.
        Loosing a single tailrotor is equivalent to loosing both side pushers ( any better nomenclature? ). I would put shrouds around them anyway. for landing you can set both for
        differential _reverse_ thrust for using doors in front.
        For using a rear ramp put them in forward thrust.

        The danger footprint on the ground should be smaller for the X3.
        Finally I see more of a civil application than a military one
        as it allows fuel ( and noise?) efficient highspeed transfer.

      • @Uwe

        Are you getting mad because my conclusions are different form yours? “Continue thinking:”

        “Loosing “something” from the main rotor(s) is deadly in both cases. X2 has more parts exposed.”

        I said nothing about loosing Main rotor parts or control because, I thought it would be brazenly obvious that No helicopter would function with missing main rotor blades.
        ———————
        “Loosing a single tailrotor is equivalent to loosing both side pushers”

        Yes, in a conventional helicopter. Where the tail rotor provides directional input. Not so with X2. The main Coaxial rotors provide the main directional input.

        The X3 Would Not fly without its pusher props directional input.

        The X2 Could fly without its pusher prop. That’s a big difference…

  10. marauder :
    I eat a low carb diet, don’t watch TV and a have a firm grasp on the realities with which all practicing engineers must contend; those of physics and economics (though I’m mildly dangerous with demographics and psychometrics).
    But I do appreciate the kind remark (or implication) that I’m always entertaining.

    But marauder,

    The A350 is looking less like a family and more like a collection of orphans. The industry is collectively holding its breath for the 777X and the 787-10X.

    sounds more like that of a fanboi comment — or something cooked up in a fleetbuzz-type-editorial for that matter — than an analysis from someone having an astute grasp of the technical and financial realities in the LCA business. ;-)

    If anything, the 777-9X — if launched — will in all likelihood become an “orphan” (using your term), since the 777-8X/8XLR looks set to become a nice aircraft. Also, I’m not sure if a 270 tonne 787-10X having a triple bogey MLG and a wing with an area some 20 percent less than that of the A350-900 — leading to a significantly higher wing loading – is something the industry is collectively “holding its breadth” for.

    • “since the 777-8X/8XLR looks set to become a nice aircraft”

      Both models would probably become “nice” aircraft, but niche was the intended word. :-)

      • OV-099 :
        “since the 777-8X/8XLR looks set to become a nice aircraft”
        Both models would probably become “nice” aircraft, but niche was the intended word.

        Why? they are intended to compete directly with the A-359/10 and the A-332/3. They will possibly replace all current B-777 models, except of course the B-77F.

      • KC, I said 777-8X/8XLR and not 777-9X.

        IMO, a 777-8X would have a very hard time competing with the A350-900, and a 777-8XLR would, of course, be designed to replace the 777-200LR — a niche aircraft. I’m not sure why you’re bringing the A332/A333 into the equation. A 777X program would clearly not compete with the A330.

    • I never claimed to have an “astute grasp of the technical and financial realities of the LCA business” hence the word “looking less like.” But if you insist on building a strawman I shall call you Dorothy.

      Isn’t the 777-300ER essentially an orphan? What about the A380? Perhaps my “collectively holding its breath for” was a bit overwrought but it does at least encapsulate the present reality that many airlines are waiting to see what Boeing does with the 787-10 and the 777X.

      • Yes, using the words “looking less like” is quite revealing. ;-) It sort of demonstrates a lack of insight into what actually is an aircraft family nowadays.

        The A350-900 was designed as a replacement aircraft for the A340-300 and the 777-200ER. For example, the A350-900, in contrast to the latter aircraft, is designed to have a double bogey MLG “maxed out” at a MTOW just short of 270 tonnes. A higher MTOW would require more MLG wheels which equals higher empty weight. In fact, the A350-900 is a significantly more optimised aircraft than the original 777-200, which due to growth requirements built into the triple seven design had to “cope” with a triple bogey MLG and a MTOW more than 20 tonne less than what’s the case with the A350-900; and incidentally, only some 5 tonnes more than the 242 tonne MTOW version of the double bogied A330.

        Also, the 777-200ER and the 777-300ER are the big success stories of the 777 program. However, the 777-200ER’s prime was essentially over when the 777-300ER entered into service, so yes, in that sense one could categorize the 777-300ER as an “orphan”. In contrast, the A350-900 and the A350-1000 will, like any successful aircraft family before it, be produced concurrently — and in all likelihood — with a significantly higher output than what has been the case for the A330/A340 and 777 program.

        As for the A380-800, I wouldn’t be too surprised if two new stretched versions were to EIS a decade or so hence (i.e. A380-900 and A380-1000).

  11. Uwe :
    An X2 type helo should be easier to mature than forex the osprey. But still it adds significant complexity over a basic helicopter without imho gaining all that much ( performance, economy, savety ). It may have its merits for a military design.
    ergo the S97. But that levy may run dry sooner than later.
    For a civil application I see more potential in the X3 type arrangement.

    I suppose based on that reasoning we should resurrect the autogyro but then again, the anti-Greek sentiment in Germany may preclude anything with “gyro” in the title being marketed.

  12. Observer, I have some new information for you: the X3 is just a technology demonstrator/ developement machine. Sikorskys X2 doesn’t carry many troops either. The technology will be used for other airframes

    • Keesje, your video did not work for me…

      News Flash!!! The Sikorsky X2 was a “technology demonstrator/ development machine”. Just like the X3.

      The S-97 Raider, on the other hand is Actual prototype being built right now (with Sikorsky’s own money) to compete in the Armed Aerial Scout RFP in 2014.

      Tell me again, who building a X3 type prototype? And perhaps you can provide the nomenclature and mission profile.

      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/sikorsky-starts-construction-of-s-97-raider-prototypes-377868/
      ———————–

      “Sikorskys X2 doesn’t carry many troops either. The technology will be used for other airframes”

      I already answered the first part of your assertion in reply #36 above. Since you didn’t read it or are just saying it again in hopes it might stick this time? Here it is again.

      “As far as the S-97 Raider is concerned, It primary role is armed reconnaissance. So its size is appropriate for the mission.”

      As to the 2nd part: “The technology will be used for other air frames”…

      We are already seeing this in the S-97 Raider program. ;)

      But, I suppose you were referring to the X3 technology… And implying it is scalable and the X2 is not. Would that be about right Keesje?

  13. keesje :
    No Observer, the X2 technology has been there for decades. The S-97 Sikorsky is building by its own money had many (fully state subsidized) technology demonstrator / development aircraft before it. The S-97 is a evolutionairy result.
    http://www.combatreform.org/TACTICALSTUDIESGROUP/piaseckivtdp.htm

    Listen, I understand that you are upset that EADS is not building the S-97 Raider…

    All of that NASA subsidized research “IS” available to EADS as well. (On the US taxpayers dime) But, you don’t have to thank us… ;)

    And that does not change the fact, that Sikorsky is using their own money to develop the S-97 Raider.

  14. @OV-099

    “It sort of demonstrates a lack of insight into what actually is an aircraft family nowadays.”

    The F-35 series represents an aircraft family as does the F-18E/F/G because of engine, LRU, avionics and consumable/wear-item commonality and interchangeability. Both types are manufactured on the same line and rely on the same supplier base.

    Do the A350 variants all use the same engines, avionics, and consumables (line replaceable units and other wear items)? I really don’t know the answer to this question.

    Are the A350 variants all manufactured on the same line by the same suppliers?

  15. Generally speaking, I think the year had been… steady for both OEMs. Nothing too exciting and very predictable. Both are sorting their respective problems and putting their development programs back on track. 2013 is going to be much more interesting…

  16. I think in 2013 we might see a new phase starting that hasn’t been covered much in press yet. An Airbus responds to the more optimized big RJ like the CSeries, Superjet, E190s and MRJ’s. Those more optimized airframes have been eating from the lower half of the A320 family, making the A318 obsolete and now also putting the A319 out of business.

    Instead of offering a light A320 derivative the strategy seems to become to serve the market from below rather then above. Alenia/ EADS has been developing a new 90 seat fuselage, probably 5 abreast, that is awaiting authority to offer. I do not know how it will look but this might be in the right direction:
    http://www.acam.asso.fr/photos/chrono_trains/21-2011/21-05-ATR-NG-2011-01-27.jpg

    New, more powerfull turboprop engines are under development, but the new airframe might not be restricted to that in the longer term. ATR is aiming at 90 seats as the launch version of the a new family.

    Globally most flight under 150 seats are under 100 minutes. A400M technology showed M.7 cruise is not an issue and a fast prop can cover most flights without much longer flight times.
    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/RobertNuttallRRNButilization.jpg

    The first ATR 42 seated 42 back in the eighties, the now popular ATR72 version seats 72 passengers. A super efficient short haul 130 seats version of the new ATR platform would fall in the middle of the bigger RJ segment.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/atr-awaits-shareholders-go-ahead-for-90-seat-turboprop-project-380273/

Leave a Reply: Note Reader Comment Rules

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s