Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft drag reduction, Part 5

November 17, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In the last Corner, we described how the Wright Brothers (bicycle manufacturers in Dayton (OH)) decided to research their own aerodynamic data with the help of their own designed-and-built wind tunnel.

The wind tunnel was not more advanced than what had been done before. But their measurement system was. It built on their bicycle test setup, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The Wright Brothers’ arrangement for testing wing shapes on their bicycle autumn 1901. Source: NASA.

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The data behind Emirates’ choice of 787-10

By Bjorn Fehrm

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November 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Yesterday we outlined the qualitative reasons why the Boeing 787-10 was selected for Emirates’ medium-range routes. Now we put figures behind the words.

We will quantify the weight and drag consequences of the tighter packaging of the 787 and discuss what it’s smaller wing means in field performance from a hot Dubai International Airport.

We use our airline performance model to give us the data, flying the aircraft over typical routes.


  • The A350-900 was designed for flights up to 15 to 20 hours.
  • To make these bearable, Airbus decided to offer 18-inch seat width in the nine abreast economy cabin.
  • Boeing went another route. It offered a slightly narrower fuselage and let the airlines decide between eight or nine abreast economy.
  • Only Japanse ANA and JAL chose the base layout with eight abreast economy (and ANA has since switched to nine abreast economy for new deliveries).
  • The result is an aircraft with lower empty weight and fuel burn (everything else being equal).
  • For the 787-10, Boeing combined the tighter packaged fuselage with a wing optimised for flights up to 12 hours.
  • The 787-10 consequently beats the A350-900 on efficiency for shorter routes.

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Historic day at Dubai Air Show

Nov. 15, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It was an historic day for commercial aviation at the Dubai Air Show.

Airbus and Indigo Partners announced an order for 430 aircraft (the A320neo family), a record in units and in value ($49.5bn).

Boeing announced a huge order from flyDubai, an affiliate of Emirates Airline, for 225 737 MAXes. Value: $27bn.

Parenthetically, CDB Leasing firmed up an order for 90 A320neo family members announced at the Paris Air Show.

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Why did Emirates choose Boeing’s 787-10?

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 15, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Emirates Airlines (Emirates) has finally decided which aircraft shall complement their long-range Boeing 777 and Airbus A380. The decision coming at this year’s Dubai Air Show was more surprising than the choice, Boeing’s 787-10.

We have already written about the Emirates selection. Now we go through in more detail, why the choice should surprise no-one.

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Egyptair signs for up to 24 CS300s at Dubai Air Show

Nov. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Despite the problems in the US over the Boeing trade complaint, or perhaps because of the resulting tie-up with Airbus, Bombardier has since landed two important deals for its C Series.

The first was an LOI for up to 61 (31 firm 30 option) from an unidentified European operator. Based on the announced list value, these are believed to be CS100s.

The latest comes from today’s Dubai Air Show from Egyptair, which announced an LOI for 24 (12+12) CS300s. Delivery dates weren’t announced.

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Dubai wants production guarantee before Emirates A380 order

Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Dubai government wants Airbus to guarantee it will keep the A380 in production for 10 years before placing a new order, reports Reuters. Reuters also reported Emirates Airline could order up to 40 A380s plus options.

The 10-year guarantee report comes on the second day of the Dubai Air Show.

Airbus’ current production rate, which reduces to 10 next year from 12 and to eight the year after that, extends production through 2023, according to the Ascend data base.

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Challenges facing Boeing in 767-300ER passenger restart

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Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The clock is ticking toward the end of the year for Boeing to decide whether to restart the 767-300ER passenger line.

Officials want to decide by year-end.

Restarting the line isn’t as easy as one might think. Boeing is building the 767-300ER freighter and it has the tooling for the passenger model. Boeing has several challenges to resolve before any green light for the restart.

  • There is a space problem at Everett, where the 767 is assembled.
  • Restarting the passenger supply chain is an issue.
  • And, as ever, so is cost.
  • Does Boeing simply restart the line without upgrades, or are upgrades included, which will increase the cost to produce the airplane?
  • Closing the business case on the NMA.

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Pontifications: Washington State out to lunch on aerospace–again

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Washington State’s top aerospace official, John Thornquist, resigned early this month, complaining that the State Legislature cut the Department of Commerce’s budget 78% over the past three years—making it impossible for Commerce to promote Washington aerospace.

The Puget Sound Business Journal revealed the resignation Nov. 3. The Seattle Times followed later in the day.

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Boeing wins first day with big order at Dubai Air Show

Nov. 12, 2017, © Leeham Co.: In a stinging defeat for Airbus, Boeing won an order for 40 787-10s from Emirates Airline.

Airbus competed for the deal with the A350-900. Emirates previously canceled an order for 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s, an embarrassment at the time. Losing this order was largely expected, but based on comments from airline officials earlier this year, it seemed that the order would be put off until next year.

Bloomberg News has this devastating report.

Unreported from this order is that it seems to indicate a changing strategy for Emirates.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft drag reduction, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 27, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In this and the following Corners, we will review the competition for first manned flight between Samuel Langley, high ranking scientist of Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh, and the Wright Brothers, bicycle manufacturers in Dayton, (OH).

We described in the last Corner how Langley researched airfoil characteristics with a giant whirling arm, built beside the Observatory. The Wright Brothers went another route; they built a wind tunnel in their workshop.

Figure 1. The wind tunnel built by the Wright Brothers. Source: Wikipedia.

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