Automation reduces foreign advantages over US

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Introduction

Nov. 19, 2018, © Leeham News: The move toward increasing automation makes US more competitive than moving work to other countries, an expert in industrial efficiencies said last week at a meeting sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance.

The same is true when it comes to states competing against other states, he said—something that is especially relevant as Washington State girds for expected competition from Southern states, and especially South Carolina, for the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Airplane.

Summary
  • Automation reduces US labor costs.
  • 60% of Boeing’s workforce is eligible for retirement in the next six years.
  • Optimizing the manufacturing value chain based on finite resources.
  • Pressure for speedy decisions is greater than ever.

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Pontifications: A fresh look at the world’s worst aviation accident

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 19, 2018, © Leeham News: Collision on Tenerife is a new book that dissects the worst accident in aviation history, the collision between two Boeing 747s operated by Pan American World Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

The accident on Tenerife Island on March 27, 1977, killed 583 passengers and crew on the two airplanes. Only 61 survived, all on the Pan Am flight.

It was the worst death toll of any aviation accident. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 15. Wrap-up.

November 16, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last 14 Corners we have discussed the challenges facing the new SuperSonic Transport (SST) projects, 50 years after the Concorde took flight. The challenges facing projects from Aerion Supersonic, Boom Supersonic or Spike Aerospace are the same as for the Concorde.

In the wrap-up of the series, we go through the challenges and talk about which has gotten easier to solve with modern technology and which has gotten harder because of changing environmental standards.

Figure 1. The new SST project which has come the furthest, the Arion AS2. Source: Aerion Supersonic.

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How useful is an NMA, Part 6

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 14, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we operated the future Boeing NMA from North American hubs. The aircraft would cover the North American market well but would have limitations when flying to South America. The coverage would be sensitive to where our hub would be, as would European coverage.

Now we finish the series by comparing the NMA to its main alternatives for range and operational economics.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.

Summary:

  • When comparing the NMA with its competitors, the same cabin type and ruleset must be used for all aircraft.
  • Using a common ruleset and measuring over typical long range operation, the NMA will be the most economical aircraft of the compared types.

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Boeing’s automatic trim for the 737 MAX was not disclosed to the Pilots

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 14, 2018, © Leeham News.: The automatic trim Boeing introduced on the 737 MAX, called MCAS, was news to us last week. Graver, it was news to the Pilots flying the MAX since 18 months as well.

Boeing and its oversight, the FAA, decided the Airlines and their Pilots had no need to know. The Lion Air accident can prove otherwise.

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A330neo backlog faces challenging skyline

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Introduction

Nov. 12, 2018, © Leeham News: With the first flight of the Airbus A330-800, it’s time to take a new look at the status of the A330 program.

Summary

  • Additional orders have been recorded, but the skyline remains challenged.
  • Iran Air’s order for 30 ceos and neos is still on the books.
  • AirAsia X has yet to confirm Farnborough’s MOU for 34 A330-900s and reportedly looks for convert some to single-aisles.
  • Lessors have a big chunk.

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Pontifications: Writing had been on the wall for years for Q400 sale; CRJ is next

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 12, 2018, © Leeham News: The writing had really been on the wall for the past few years, regardless what the corporate line was: Bombardier was one day going to sell the Q400 program or shut it down.

Better to sell it and get at least some money out of it, no matter how small.

Bombardier agreed to sell the program to British Columbia-based Viking Air for a mere $300m–$250m, net of fees.

Ditto the CRJ program. It’s on life support. It’s a design dating to the 1980s, the passenger experience has long been eclipsed by the Embraer E-Jet and it will be also by Mitsubishi’s MRJ when this jet finally comes on line in 2020. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 14

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 9, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In last week’s Corner we compared the GE Affinity, the Mach 1.4 engine for the Arion AS2, to the engine of the Concorde when both propel a Mach 2 Supersonic Transport.

We could see an engine must be designed for working at Mach 2. The Olympus, now a 50-year-old design, was more efficient in propelling a Mach 2 SST than the hypermodern Affinity. Now we design a custom Mach 2.2 engine.

Figure 1. A Mach 2.2 suitable SST turbofan modeled with GasTurb. Source: GasTurb.

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Bombardier announces sale of Q400 program, exploring options for CRJ

Nov. 8, 2018, © Leeham News: Bombardier today announced the sale of its slow-selling, aging Q400 turboprop program to Canada’s Viking Air.

  • The press release from Viking’s parent company is here.

Viking previously purchased out-of-production Bombardier/de Havilland aircraft programs, including the Twin Otter, Beaver and CL-415 firefighting bomber.

Viking Air previously purchased the Bombardier de Havilland Twin Otter program and restarted production. Now, it’s buying the slow-selling Q400 program for a mere $300m. Photo via Google images.

Twin Otter production was restarted. The Beaver was not an is not in the cards to be restarted. The CL-415 was limping along, and no longer a contributor to Bombardier’s cash flow and profits.

“The Company entered into definitive agreements for the sale of the Q Series aircraft program and de Havilland trademark to a wholly owned subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital Corp. for approximately $300m,” Bombardier said in a press release. It also announced the sale of other assets for $800m. The two deals are expected to close in the second half of 2019.

The low price reflects the struggles the Q400 has had for years. Bombardier lost money on the Q400 in recent years.

Bombardier also said it is considering its options for the aging, struggling CRJ program. Read more

How useful is an NMA, Part 5

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 8, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we flew a Boeing NMA from the Middle East. We found the aircraft would be well suited to serve this market.

Now we finish the coverage part of the series with checking how useful the NMA would be for North American based carriers.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.

Summary:
  • The North American carriers will have a useful aircraft in the NMA. It will cover the domestic US and Canadian markets, including Alaska and Hawaii.
  • The smaller 797-6 will cover wide parts of South America and Europe dependent on the hub. The larger NMA has more of a coverage problem outside the North and Central American markets. Read more