Odds and Ends: Setback on 787 ETOPS; Ray Conner profile; 777X ATO near; CSeries

Since we were in transit yesterday, here are a number of articles that are a day late in being posted here.

Boeing 787: New York Times: Setback in Boeing’s Hope for Longer Range

Puget Sound Business Journal: Steve Wilhelm has a looonnngg profile of Ray Conner and the 787 crisis.

Boeing 777X: Upgrade urged at Boeing names new program chief. Note: Tim Clark of Emirates is previously quoted as saying Boeing will begin offering the 777X within two-three weeks. We confirmed this with a second airline fleet planner during our trip this week.

Airbus A350-800: We checked with a customer, who tells us it hasn’t heard anything from Airbus about canceling the program.

Bombardier CSeries: Several articles following the “reveal” of Flight Test Vehicles 1, 2, 3, 4 on Thursday.

Bombardier takes on Airbus, Boeing

Analysts react to CSeries roll out. (This story has several links of its own.)

CSeries targets big rivals

41 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Setback on 787 ETOPS; Ray Conner profile; 777X ATO near; CSeries

  1. When PR starts building a legend around #2 one may conclude that the days of #1 are counted.

      • hehe, one of my favorites.

        Traditionally the process works in reverse. A lot of “adrenaline rushers” in foreign language “translations”
        i see in US media are either invented from whole cloth or
        went for the most inflamatory ( and wrong ) representation possible of what was said. I don’t think this is due to ineptness.

    • “The 787 used lithium-ion batteries to consume five times more electricity than other conventional jets.”

      “The technology helps reduce fuel consumption as using batteries means less power is drawn from the engines to keep the other components of the plane running.”

      Now we know why the Japan Airlines battery exploded at Logan.

      • some one with a bag of batteries will come around, install them and then they can fly again. .. about next week ?
        ;-)

        The time horizont of expectations was the more noteworthy item.

  2. The question is… Can Boeing achieve a 777X without messing up like they did the 787 and 747-8?

    I really hope they can.

    I still think Boeing offers great aircraft, but its management team sucks right now.

    • IMO, the question should be if the 777X is the correct long term strategy for Boeing. What would happen if Airbus in, say, 2018 would launch an all new WB twin-family (effective floor areas: 400 m2 – 500 m2) in order to bridge the gap between the A350-1000 (effective floor area of some 320 m2) and two new stretched A380 models ; the A380-900 and the A380-1000 (effective floor areas: 620 m2 and 730 m2 respectively). Hence, it could take on the 777-9X with an economy class main deck*** A380 equivalent comfort level at 10 across or a 777-9X equivalent comfort level at 11 across.

      The all new wing that would be developed for such an all new large aircraft could also be used on an A380 derivative aircraft which should be optimsed for a maximum range of between 6000 nm and 7000 nm (depending on the model).

      An all new 777X-wing will IMO only be good for the dash-9. In contrast, an all new wing for an all new Airbus large twin could be used on 4 different models:

      One-and-a-half-deck
      A360-800X
      A360-900X

      Full-length upper an main deck (i.e. twin engined A380 with intermediate range)
      A370-800X
      A370-900X

      ***Assuming that the aircraft would be designed to have a one-and-a-half-deck configuration with a short twin aisle upper deck at 7 across in economy class.

      • The shared wing is a nice idea, but realistically I think the A360/A370 concept might be just too much for Airbus to take on from an engineering bandwidth perspective.

        And is there really enough of a market to justify building three 747-sized (or bigger) models?

      • Airlines keep asking for a 777X with 747-400 seat capacity, but no more. Bad news for the 747-8.

      • An A360-800X would be just slightly larger than the 777-9X. Please do note that in my example above, the effective floor areas of the A360X-series are set too high (i.e. areas should be reduced by about 10 percent). At 11 across in coach — and with the same seat width as the 777X — the aircraft would have an overall length just short of 70m. At 10 across in coach the A360-800X would have roughly the same three-class seating capacity as that of the 777-9X. The wing area, however, would be even larger than that of the 747-8 and it should have a span slightly larger than 75m. With the 777-9X pioneering the concept of folding wing, an A360-800X could follow suit with 5m foldable wingtips.

        With the A350-900 likely entering into service late next year, Airbus will have put into service three all new aircraft types over a seven-year period (A380, A400 and A350). So, from an engineering perspective the A360/A370 concept should be doable and especially when considering that the A370X would use the existing A380 fuselage production infrastructure.

        As for the size of the market; well, we’re talking about market demand a decade hence , and with a market place that should be at least 50 percent bigger than what it is today — And that’s just at EIS. Even after that point there’s still going to be a continuous big-time growth in the industry. There’s no reason IMO that there shouldn’t be a considerable demand for super-efficient 777X/748-sized twins from the next decade onwards.

      • I think the requirement for a real efficient 400-500 seatr has been clear for a long time. Obviously the 8i didn’t fill in that requirement. It was launched when the 747 had already stopped selling and has been trailing the A380 from the start.

        Mnay Yrs ago I sketched a concept based on the 777, retaining the lower fuselage and blowing up the upper fuselage. No direct competitor to the A380, optimized for 400-500 seats. To avoid development of expensive single purpose 140 klbs engines I specified 115klbs “mainstream” engines and a 25-35k lbs APTU for Take-Off / emergency.

        Henry Lam made great artist impressions at the time.

      • OV-099 :
        With the A350-900 likely entering into service late next year, Airbus will have put into service three all new aircraft types over a seven-year period (A380, A400 and A350). So, from an engineering perspective the A360/A370 concept should be doable and especially when considering that the A370X would use the existing A380 fuselage production infrastructure.

        Yes, they will have completed some big programs. But A350-800, A350-1000 and A320 neo will still be demanding engineering resources. I do think Airbus would need to choose carefully between the four A360/A370 variants you propose, as well as the A380-900, the A380F and maybe an A350F.

      • Keesje, very nice rendering as always. :-)

        However, I’m of the opinion that a one-and-a-half deck configuration — with an A380-type placement of the cockpit — is a more optimal configuration than a full double decker when the overall aircraft length is between 70m and 80m. Only at overall lengths above 80m can all the advantages of the full double deck configuration be realised. In fact, the A380 fuselage could easily be stretched to lengths of over 100m, while your smaller Ecoliner might be structurally most efficient when the overall aircraft length is between 80m and 90m.

        The advent of CFRP wings allow for ever greater wingspans that have excellent L/D ratios, reduced induced drag and lower wing loadings. Hence, an A360-900 with a MTOW of some 400 metric tonnes and with a wing loading about the same as that of the 777-9X should not be in need of more thrust than that of the current 777-300ER.

      • thysi, Rome wasn’t built in a day. ;-)

        The first aircraft to EIS should be the structurally less efficient A360-800X. As I’ve indicated, the aircraft should be designed to equal the 777-9X in capacity and performance while having A380 seat comfort levels in economy class. The 11 across option at 777X comfort levels in economy would do to the 777-9X what the 787 was supposed to do the A330.

        The first aircraft in the A370X-series could EIS at some 5 years after that of the A360-800X.

  3. matjamca :
    I still think Boeing offers great aircraft, but its management team sucks right now.

    The current management team has reached an all-time low. Pretty soon I will start missing the days of Condit and Stonecipher.

  4. May be the first time in my life I may enter in a complot theory …

    But I begin to think Boeing and Al, may know now the root cause of the faulty batteries, the two who get steaming and the dozen quickly changed earlier …
    And may be the correction desserve a serious overhaul of the electric boards, and some important revision of the security concepts … and circuitery !
    So, it may be preferable to try to sale a “Panzer type BatBoxFix ” to the FAA to get the B787 quickly in the air !

    Putting the true reasons under the carpet, just to buy time, for a long term fix !

    I have the idea FAA, and NTSB are not buying the Boeing actual show !

    Just a personal idea !

    • That’s exactlly what I think. They know. But the knowlege is dangerous for the whole bisnesscase.

      • One such case would be the ground return network is insufficient ( or some other intrinsic design property )
        As I wrote before Boeing should have an idea and the fix
        would trash the existing production.
        An alternative would be a software bug and they would like
        to fix that silently in parallel to the bomb calorimeter solution. ( But I don’t think that is the case )

        Also FF of the 787-9 is on the horizon.

      • It’s what I’ve suspected for several months already.

  5. OV-099 :
    Keesje, very nice rendering as always.
    However, I’m of the opinion that a one-and-a-half deck configuration — with an A380-type placement of the cockpit — is a more optimal configuration than a full double decker when the overall aircraft length is between 70m and 80m. Only at overall lengths above 80m can all the advantages of the full double deck configuration be realised. In fact, the A380 fuselage could easily be stretched to lengths of over 100m, while your smaller Ecoliner might be structurally most efficient when the overall aircraft length is between 80m and 90m.
    The advent of CFRP wings allow for ever greater wingspans that have excellent L/D ratios, reduced induced drag and lower wing loadings. Hence, an A360-900 with a MTOW of some 400 metric tonnes and with a wing loading about the same as that of the 777-9X should not be in need of more thrust than that of the current 777-300ER.

    The design envisioned would start at 777-200 lenght, 68m. It would become far to big/ heavy at 80m..

    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/3656278

    • Yes, at that length a one-and-a-half-deck configuration would be more optimal…. ;-)

      At lengths above 80m one might as well go the full monty (i.e. A380-sized fuselage cross-section).

    • I’m thinking the upper deck would be 1-2-1 business. Wider than the 747 upper deck by a few feet.

  6. OV-099 :
    With the A350-900 likely entering into service late next year, Airbus will have put into service three all new aircraft types over a seven-year period (A380, A400 and A350). So, from an engineering perspective the A360/A370 concept should be doable and especially when considering that the A370X would use the existing A380 fuselage production infrastructure.

    Despite the obvious merits of your “proposal” I don’t think Enders would be very receptive to the idea at this time.

    • Agreed, not now. That’s why I set 2018 for the launch year (ATO in 2017). :-)

  7. Rensim :
    May be the first time in my life I may enter in a complot theory …

    The problem with your conspiracy theory is that it’s not a theory at all. It’s a fact. At least that’s the way I view the situation. ;)

    • Come on. With a system composed of many million parts, ‘first time right’ is an illusion that only exists in power point presentations. Such a system never stops being ‘fixed’ throughout its lifetime. If there is a standdown for one reason, the opportunity is always used to fix a few other issues that were already identified and cued up. These changes cannot be hidden, because they are all going to be reflected in the aircraft documentation.

      Of course, safety issues should never be put in a cue.

      • This isn’t really about “getting it right the first time”.
        this is much more about how focused a path to a nonsolution is followed and the many keyhole views into the design process we have been provided with.

        The Dreamliner is a PR wonder.

        And the impression is strong that after inception the PR people changed hats and worked in engineering supervision over designing the interfaces and details.

        Throughout it shows the same kind of flashy superficiality.

      • The smiley was there to indicate that I was (half) joking.

  8. I’m not surprised that the 330 minute ETOPS would be put on the back burner until the 787 proves itself. I will be surprised if it is allowed to keep the 180 minutes after returning to service.
    After all, the thought of flying for 3 hours with a burning mass of chemicals in the fuselage that cannot be extinguished, even in a reinforced box, is not something most sane people would find is a good way to fly.

  9. Double-deck configurations are a multiple nightmare. Structural weight goes up, cargo capacity goes down, exit configuration is nasty, airport compability compromised. The A380 can afford two decks as it is flagship aircraft. A B777-sized aircraft would be single deck, round fuselage. The ideal 400-seater is 6.5m cross section (like B747) but without upper deck. Some innovation in cabin layout (lower deck lavatories and the like) easily allows 400 seats.

    • “Double-deck configurations are a multiple nightmare.”

      Can be. The structure of the forward section (S-41) on the 747 was crack-prone. An all composite one-and-a-half configuration with a short upper deck would have, among other things, a much better upper-deck curvature continuity than that of the 747 leading to a structurally more efficient fuselage.

      “Structural weight goes up, cargo capacity goes down”

      Yes, when the full double-decker fuselage is too short, cargo capacity goes down due to, among other things, an “oversized” empennage section, which leads to a shorter cabin length and lower deck available space when compared to a conventional single-deck configuration of an equal overall aircraft length.

      When you stretch the A380 to 80m and beyond, available lower deck space is no longer an issue as the length of the centre wing box and the empennage section remain constant. As for the fuselage structure itself; the extruded frames that are used between the upper deck and the lower deck on the A380 is, in fact a pretty efficient way of keeping the overall weight down of the ovoid-shaped cross-section. A circular double-deck configuration having the same seating capacity would have to be sized bigger. Hence it woulf be less structurally efficient.

      Also, AFAIK the A380 is the first aircraft to have lower-deck cargo volume available between the main landing gears.

      “exit configuration is nasty, airport compability compromised”

      It seems to me that enough airports already are compatible with A380 operations. Upper deck servicability is fine, while 2 boarding bridges (one for each deck) can be used more efficient than on a large single-decker where the forward boarding bridge is usually used only for embarkation and debarkation for the first and business class passengers.

      As for emergency exit evacuation, what’s wrong with this:

      “The A380 can afford two decks as it is flagship aircraft.”

      The A380-800 is the “A318-version” of the next-decade-to-be A380-family. It’s structurally inefficent due to it’s “short” length, but is more than good enough to beat all current competing aircraft on CASM. Even the structurally efficient A350-1000 will only equal the A380-800 in CASM (9 across in economy class). Future upgraded A380s with overall lengths exceeding 80m will hold their own nicely.

      “A B777-sized aircraft would be single deck, round fuselage

      A 777-200-sized aircraft replacement aircraft should have a smaller cross-section than that of the triple seven. Hence, the A350-900 is seemingly positioned perfectly to take over that market.

      “. The ideal 400-seater is 6.5m cross section (like B747) but without upper deck. Some innovation in cabin layout (lower deck lavatories and the like) easily allows 400 seats.”

      Well, if you increase cross-section to 6,81m (268 inches), you’ll get an useful internal diameter of some 6.45m (254 inches), which allows for 11 17.2-inch wide seats (787/777X standard), 14 two-inch wide armrests and two 18.4-inch wide aisles (A350 standard). Hence IMO, the ideal “400-seater” — i.e. seating configurations varies wildly, which means that “effective floor-area” is a more indicative metric. — would be about 70m long, have a cross-section of about 6.8m and a short upper deck configured in a 7 across (2-3-2) twin-aisle layout.

      • With current certification requirements ( fore and aft evacuation path from every seat ) the 747 layout is no longer an attractive arrangement.

  10. Very wide single deck cross section are inefficient, you can’t use the available space. IMO one of the reasons Boeing didn’t re-use the 777 cross section for the 787.
    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/12abreastcabin.jpg

    Airbus played with a smaller upperdeck design too during the nineties.
    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/A3YY.jpg

    The A380 cross section is massive, using it on a smaller aircraft would become prohibitive heavy.

    Real world seatcounts for the long haul large single deck 777-300ER, 3/4 class are around 290-320, even with high density 10 abreast. Check seat guru. http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Air_France/Air_France_Boeing_777-300_C.php .

    To house e.g. 420 seats realistically, 3/4 class single deck, you would quickly grow out of the ICAO boxes.

    About the enormous cargo volume available on some large aircraft and not on others, check payload range diagrams on long flights to / from Asia. The volumes might be there, but remain unused, the twins simply can’t lift it..

    • The requirements is 2 or less seats to transverse to reach an aisle, isn’t it?
      so single aisle most dense setup is 3A3 := 6 across
      while double aisle is 3A6A3 := 12 across
      tripple aisle is inefficient for 12 across.
      3A6A6A3 :18 across would be max for tripple

      • If you make the cabin very wide (imagine A6A6A3 :18 across) the cabin become very high. A massive frontal area, ball rooms on top and swimming pools in the belly.. Boeing considered it too in the nineties.

        http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/Boeing763_246Ctotal.jpg

        Simply less structural efficient then a double deck.. Ideas to place 2 or more smaller tubes next to each other, e.g. for BWB’s, proved enormous complex (pressure cabin forces) and heavy.

        This is the process Airbus went through defining their 500 seat cross section in the nineties.

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