Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 11

October 19, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last Corner we discussed the temperature challenges an SST engine faces.

Now we address an even larger problem for SST engines, the takeoff and landing noise.

Figure 1. The GE Affinity SST Turbofan for Aerion AS2. Source: GE Aviation.

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How useful is an NMA, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

October 18, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we started an article series which analyzes how useful a Boeing NMA will be for medium to long-haul flights in different markets.

We first went through all the factors which will change the OEM’s nominal range to an operational range. Now we fly the NMA in one of its main markets and look how it fairs.

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

Summary:

  • The NMA is designed to compete on operational economics with Single Aisle aircraft, yet offer the comfort and turn-around times of a Twin Aisle.
  • To get to Single Aisle economics, the NMA can’t be too much aircraft. This shows when analyzing how NMA fares on trans-Atlantic routes.

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Boeing expected to lay out new contract terms for suppliers

By Dan Catchpole

Danieljcatchpole[at]gmail[dot]com

Oct. 16, 2018, © Leeham News: Puget Sound-area Boeing suppliers are anxiously awaiting an Oct. 30th meeting at the Lynnwood Convention Center. The aerospace giant has invited dozens of suppliers to the meeting.

Attendees have been required to sign non-disclosure forms in advance, though Boeing has been tight-lipped about what exactly it plans to discuss with them. Each company has been limited to sending only two representatives, according to several suppliers attending the meeting.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a machine shop or a big (tier one supplier), you can only send two people,” said an executive at a Puget Sound-area supplier. The supplier spoke on condition of not being named for fear of losing business with Boeing.

Boeing has indicated that the conference is to discuss sweeping changes to how the terms and structure of its supply chain contracts. But it has revealed few details, according to executives at two suppliers.

“You know it’s bad if they won’t tell you what it’s about,” one of the executives said.

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Zunum Aero is betting on better batteries tomorrow and the day after

By Dan Catchpole

danieljcatchpole(at)gmail(dot)com

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Introduction

Oct. 15, 2018, © Leeham News: Battery technology today leaves a lot to be desired. The energy density of even the most advanced batteries are a sliver of the density in good, old jet fuel.

But batteries pack enough power to lift Zunum Aero’s business plan to develop a gas-electric hybrid airplane. The startup company is convinced battery technology will improve fast enough in coming decades to ensure its airplanes will just keep getting more competitive.

“We come up with an airplane that is pretty good now, and fantastic in 10 years, and just keeps getting better after that,” Zunum co-founder and CTO Matt Knapp told LNC.

Summary:

  • Zunum Aero’s business case rests on improvements in energy density and other elements of battery technology.
  • The results of a fundraising round in 2019 could affect whether the planned EIS holds at 2023 or slips further right.
  • Zunum Aero is confident that its ZA10 will be a success, and it has long-term plans for 50-seat and even 100-seat aircraft.

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Pontifications: “We will develop and actionable plan to develop supply chain”

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 15, 2018, © Leeham News: “With your help, we will develop actionable plans to develop the supply chain.”

This was the leading message from the 5th Annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo, held Tuesday and Wednesday last week in Columbia (SC).

Conference officials also said they are “exploring a national aerospace coalition.”

SAVE THE DATE

Second Annual Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference

Organized by Leeham Co. and Airfinance Journal

April 14-16, 2019

Francis Marion Hotel

Charleston, SC

The South Carolina Council on Competitive/SC Aerospace already have a Letter of Intent with Washington State’s Aerospace Futures Alliance “for the purpose of advancing the aerospace industry across the US. The LOI will serve as the platform for exploring the creation of a national aerospace Coalition (Coalition) with the objective of strengthening and growing commercial aviation, space, and unmanned aerial systems in the US through a variety of activities.”

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Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 10

October 12, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last Corner we discussed the challenges of the nacelle outlet for an SST (SuperSonic Transport). Now we will discuss SST engines and what are the key technical challenges for these engines.

We start this week by looking at some design constraints for the engine which we don’t have in Subsonic airliner engines.

Figure 1. A generic mixed Turbofan SST engine with ConDi nozzle. Source: GasTurb. Read more

Is Blue Origin making the 737 of spaceflight?

By Dan Catchpole

 danieljcatchpole[at]gmail[dot]com

This article has been updated to correct an error that misstated the relative size of New Glenn’s payload.

Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith at the AFA 2018 summit. (Photo by Dan Catchpole)

October 11, 2018, © Leeham News: Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. Air Force had selected Blue Origin along with Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance to develop launch system prototypes was welcomed news for the Jeff Bezos-backed company. The Air Force has committed about $500 million through 2024 for Blue Origin’s contract to develop its New Glenn rocket, which will be able to haul 50-ton payloads to low Earth orbit and 13-ton loads to geosynchronous orbit.

Nonetheless, the company’s “entire fundamental business model is based around commercial launches,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said at the Aerospace Futures Alliance’s annual summit in Lynnwood, WA.

Smith said New Glenn is expected to launch in 2021. As recently as this summer, company executives had said first launch is slated for late 2020. 

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How useful is an NMA?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

October 11, 2018, © Leeham News.: The Boeing NMA is by now reasonably well defined. The passenger capacity is set at 225 seats for the smaller version and 265 seats for the larger. The nominal range is 5,000nm for the smaller version and 4,750nm for the larger NMA.

This is all nominal data. In practice, there will be different operational realities which will decrease these figures. How much and how useful will the final operational NMA be? What will be the economic advantage over the direct competition?

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

To find out, we will pit the NMA against its direct competition in a series of articles.

Summary:

  • The NMA as defined is configured according to Boeing’s STANDARD rule set. Using these rules, the smaller variant is classified as a 225 seat airliner with a range of 5,000nm. The larger as a 265 seat aircraft with a 4,500nm range.
  • In practice, operational realities and cabins changes compared with the ones used in the STANDARD ruleset will decrease the seating capacity of the aircraft and its range. How much and why is discussed in this, the first article in the series.

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Boeing’s transition in supply chain management aims to save hundreds of millions of dollars

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Introduction

Oct. 8, 2018, © Leeham News: As Boeing moves toward more automation, digital twins and 3D printing to streamline manufacturing and reduce costs, behind the scenes another major initiative has been underway for more than a year.

It’s the shift from its decades-old Enterprise Resource Planning system to a new, expanded one called Systems Applications Projects.

ERP manages parts and inventory. SAP is an evolution of ERP, important as Boeing plans to up production of the 737 and 787 and nears a decision whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA).

The transition is complex and will take years to fully accomplish.

Synergizing scores of old processes covering a billion parts, requiring meticulous data entry, is a daunting task. In fact, after running into problems in June, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ transition has been delayed, reports the aerospace analyst for Cowen & Co.

A glitch in the system can have ramifications that interrupt production and create traveled work that can delay airplane deliveries to customers.

A system that works as it should streamlines delivery of parts and reduces costs for Boeing—and, theoretically, also its suppliers.

It’s a delicate balance where one misidentified entry into the computer can create problems.

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Pontifications: Amazon’s quiet plans to grow its airline

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 8, 2018, © Leeham News: Amazon, the giant on-line retailer, continues to move quietly to expand its Amazon Air cargo carrier, with plans to grow the airline to a size that could rival FedEx, market sources tell LNC.

Amazon’s contracting with Atlas Air, ATSG and others for Boeing 767F services is well known.

So are plans for a $1.5bn cargo center at the Cincinnati (OH) airport (which is really across the state line in Kentucky). This expansion will support more than 100 airplanes. Operations are targeted to begin in 2020.

Prime operates about 40 through its airline partners and is in the market for 10 more, LNC is told.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Read more