Bjorn’s Corner: Pitch stability, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 14, 2018, ©.Leeham News: Last week we introduced a horizontal stabilizer to make our DC-9 like aircraft stable in pitch. We got a pitch moment curve which was forcing the nose down of the aircraft if there was an increase in Angle of Attack (AoA) of the aircraft. Should the angle of attack decrease from a trimmed position, the aircraft would put the nose up to correct the disturbance. The aircraft is stable in pitch.

Now we take a closer look at how such a horizontal stabilizer is made and why.

Figure 1. The pitch moment coefficient curve of an earlyDC-9 candidate. Source: Stanford University.

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Has the A380 worse economics than the 777-9 or A350-1000?

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Introduction

December 13, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we checked if the claims in media the Airbus A380 is more expensive to operate than a Boeing 777-300ER has merit. As so often, media compared apples with oranges.

Comparing like-for-like, the A380 does just fine if you configure it with equal comfort cabins. And if you can fill it. Now we compare the A380 economics to more modern alternatives, Airbus’ A350-1000 and Boeing’s 777-9.

Summary:

  • Configured to equal comfort standards the A380 is surprisingly competitive on seat mile costs to the A350-1000 and 777-9.
  • We then lowered the A380 seat count from Airbus’ latest proposals, to find the cross-over point. It’s pretty close to Emirates two-class A380s.

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Tanker wars may be back

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Introduction

Dec. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: The tanker wars may be back.

Airbus has teamed with Lockheed Martin to offer the Airbus A330-200MRTT to the Pentagon in a for-hire business model. The agreement also provides the prospect of “conceptualizing the tanker of the future.” (The press release is here.)

From 2001-2011, the US Air Force, Pentagon and even Congress were embroiled in controversy over recapitalization of the USAF aerial refueling tanker fleet.

The KC-135s, based on the Boeing 707, were aging, expensive to maintain and outdated.

After 9/11, Boeing proposed leasing 100 tankers based on the 767-200ER to the USAF. A scandal surrounding the USAF approval of this deal sent the air force’s procurement office and Boeing’s CFO to jail and resulted in the resignation of CEO Phil Condit. The lease deal was canceled.

Summary
  • Three rounds of tanker procurement were filled with improprieties, bitter charges and counter charges.
  • Boeing currently has a contract for 52 KC-46A tankers out of an initial procurement of 179.
  • The air force sees a need for 100 more tankers on an accelerated timeline.
  • Fee-based refueling is not unknown to the Pentagon.

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Pontifications: Nordic quietly rises to #4 world lessor

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: In the world of commercial aviation, GECAS, Avolon, AerCap, Air Lease Corp and BOC Aviation are among the most recognizable names of lessors.

These companies make headlines with large orders of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Air Lease is headed by Steven Udvar-Hazy and John Plueger, giants of the aircraft leasing business.

But one lessor quietly, below the radar, has become one of the largest lessors in terms of aircraft count pursuing regional aircraft, a product mostly shunned by the biggest lessors.

Nordic Aviation Capital Embraer E190-E2. Source: Nordic.

Nordic Aviation Capital last year ranked tied for fifth with asset manager BBAM, each with 404 airplanes in their portfolios, according to an Airfinance Journal 2017 survey. GECAS, AerCap, Avolon and SMBC Aviation Capital were bigger.

DAE Capital of Dubai, BOC Aviation, Air Lease Corp and Aviation Capital Group rounded out the top 10. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Pitch stability, Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 7, 2018, ©. Leeham News: Last week we looked at the pitch stability of an aircraft wing with fuselage. We could see the combination was unstable. Now we add a rear wing called a horizontal stabilizer to get the whole aircraft stable in pitch.

We use the DC9 as our example of a pitch stable airliner (Figure 1) as it has some interesting pitch stability problems outside the normal flying envelope. This we will discuss in coming Corners.

Figure 1. The DC-9, the airliner we use to study pitch stability. Source: Wikipedia.

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Boeing deal, “crucial to Embraer survival,” in doubt

Update, Dec. 7: Embraer to appeal injunction.

According to the Google translation of a Brazilian newspaper, the injunction appears to be intended to halt any completion of the deal during the interim between the November presidential election and the assumption of office by the president-elect. The Google translation does not appear to indicate the injunction is based on any specific objection to the proposed JV.

ANALYSIS

Dec. 6, 2018, © Leeham News: In a stunning piece of news, a Brazilian court blocked the proposed joint venture between Boeing and Embraer.

If the action holds, this is a major blow to Boeing’s future plans.

The new joint venture, which LNC dubs NewCo for the lack of a name, was to be responsible for all future Boeing aircraft of 150 seats and below, according to a Memorandum of Understanding revealed by Embraer’s labor unions.

This is critical to Boeing’s long-term future for the 2030 decade. Read more

Breaking News: Brazilian court blocks Boeing-Embraer deal, reports Reuters

Dec. 6, 2018: A Brazilian court has blocked the proposed joint venture between Boeing and Embraer, reports Reuters.

Details are just emerging.

More reporting to come.

NMA must stand on its own business case

Dec. 6, 2018, © Leeham News: The prospective Boeing 797 (NMA) must stand on its own business case and not rely on aftermarket contracts for a profitable program, reports investment bank JP Morgan.

JPM’s aerospace analyst Seth Seifman met with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, CFO Greg Smith and Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP-marketing Randy Tinseth Dec. 4. In a research note issued yesterday, Seifman reported that the business case for the New Midmarket Aircraft still hasn’t closed—but “if Boeing launches the NMA, it will be with the intention of earning a return on the aircraft itself that is comparable to existing programs; it will not be a plan to accept lower margins on the aircraft and make it up in the aftermarket.” (Emphasis in original.) Read more

Is the A380 less economical than a 777-300ER?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

December 06, 2018, © Leeham News.: Our Monday article “A380 suffers new blow, future remains bleak” describes how Air France hands back five of their 10 Airbus A380-800 to their lessor with start next year.

The article details the reasons behind the returns. Other media writes the A380 are notably more expensive to run than a Boeing 777-300ER. As so often, this is a serious case of apples and oranges.

Summary:

  • To compare aircraft like-for-like, they need to be compared with the same rules for cabins and operations.
  • When this is done, the A380 is not more expensive to operate than a 777-300ER.
  • The caveat is: if filled to the same load factor.
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A380 suffers new blow, future remains bleak

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Air France is returning five of 10 A380s to lessors. Photo via Google images.

Dec. 3, 2018, © Leeham News: Air France will return five leased Airbus A380s to lessors next year and in 2020, citing high operating and crew costs compared with the Boeing 777-300ER that is the principal long-haul airplane in its fleet.

This is another blow to the world’s largest passenger aircraft program.

It underscores something Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in 2017: “If you fill it 80% or more, it is a money-making machine.”

Air France’s A380 load factor is not a matter of public record, but the airline itself has a general passenger-avoidance problem due to repeated strikes and generally poor service. The airline’s A380 interiors are dated and the business class is not on a par with even its own Boeing airplanes—nor competitors’ A380s. Read more