EADS and Airbus wrapped a two-day investors forum today. The PDF slide presentations are up on the web; the actual webcasts apparently won’t be posted until next week.
There is a enormous amount of information to slog through, even without hearing the webcasts.
Very interesting indeed. Many thanks for the heads-up. The learning curve on the A380 is particularly interesting.
Airbus is saying (twice) in this presentation they sold the NEO in 2011 for a price premium.
SW this week said they got their latest 737 Max for under $ 40 million.
I guess I’m misunderstanding this, or maybe both are lying.
Maybe SWA told Boeing that they would defect to Airbus if they would have to pay a price premium…???
I would assume that Southwest did get an “incentive” to stay Boeing.
Imagine it had ordered Airbus, it would have paid a little bit more than the net production price of an A320 (which I would put at less than half of the list price … just a guess).
However, the “premium prices” will become cash from 2015 onwards. One or two years before the A380 will become a net cash contributor. And in 2015 the A350 should be running off the production line, and peak expenditure for that program is through. Not to talk about A400M.
So, 2015 a huge cash Tsunami might hit Airbus. Sounds like the year of the “A380-900” and the “A330-600ST”.
The boy in me always wanted an A340-600ST 😉
From the presentation I understand that the A380 will become cash-positive in 2014/15. It better – if they can’t make it so after the main learning effect has been achieved, and production ramped up to 87 per cent of planned max, it’ll never earn any money…
Fabrice Brégier on A350 risks:
I think I have heard this somewhere before …
Yes it sounds familiar and that’s probably why Airbus never rejoiced publicly about the 787 difficulties. They new they could have problems of their own. It is bound to happen to anyone working on the leading edge of technology.
In a neat bit of symmetry, Dominic Gates at Seattle Times reports that “wiring issues” are now delaying 787 production.
If you remember, “wiring issues” were the first public indication of something seriously wrong with the A380 program.
If Boeings problems would be limited to “wiring installed incorrectly” they could rejoice
and be happy ever after 😉
Will be very interesting to compare the “issues trail” for the different manufacturers types.
I would like to see a comparison of production methodology between Boeing and Airbus.
The images we are presented with appear to show significant differences.
Tooling, assembly fixtures, automation, workforce deployment .. ( pretty please! )
Wiring problems on the 787 should not surprise anyone, mainly because of the all-electric architecture that Boeing has chosen. It was a very bold move and quite audacious technically.
There are more wires in this airplane than in any other in aeronautical history. The current flow is also extremely high; three to four times more than in a conventional aircraft. On top of wiring problems we can also legitimately expect issues with electric motors, generators, transformers, batteries, APU, etc… Anything that has to do with electricity; which is not a new technology, but it has never been used on that scale before in any airplane. So it would be normal to see a few “sparks” here and there at the beginning of EIS.
The A380 has also a large electrical wiring system, but that is because this particular aircraft is so huge to begin with. But most of it is dedicated to the IFE system, and which is heavily customized. And since the software used for design and manufacturing has been standardized and harmonized, the wiring problems are now behind Airbus.
Hopefully Boeing will be able to detect potentially serious problems early on, before a catastrophic failure has time to unfold. We can just remember what happened to that Swissair MD-11. The FAA should be, and probably is, extra vigilant here. CFRP issues are mainly manufacturing problems, whereas electrical issues should affect more directly aircraft operations. Except of course if lightning strikes hit the CFRP fuselage and make more damage than expected. In which case CFRP would become an operational issue.
Maybe there is nothing to worry about. The 787 could end up being one of the safest airplane ever designed. Which I believe it is. But it’s still too early to tell. On the other hand, electricity is a well understood technology. So if anything comes up it should be easily resolved. There are no mysteries there. Only gremlins.
The wiring stuff is, going by what Dominic Gates wrote, a workmanship issue. The only remarkable thing here is that the FAA had to tick off Boeing.
That said, I think you underappreciate the tech found on the A380.
The redundant aero actuating systems are two hydraulic and one electric ( the EHAs, EBHAs (aero surfaces ) and LEHGS ( brakes ).
The primary difference here is in media saturation like with the dreamliner attributed world first 6000′ cabin altitude.
Aside from the 787 electric airpacks the differences shouldn’t be all that significant.
What this says is that Airbus was more prudent. Yes they made progress towards the all-electric, but they are not there yet. The proof of that is to be found in the engines. The 787 has bleed-less engines. Not so on the A380. That says it all. Also, the kilowatts are proportionately much higher on the 787 than on the A380. The Airbus progression towards the all-electric was much less steep on the A380 than it was for Boeing on the 787.
Airbus has been more audacious and challenging in the past by adopting FBW on the A320. But you cannot be progressive there. Either you have FBW or you don’t. In the case of an existing platform, like the 737 or the CRJ1000, you can introduce FBW incrementally, but you wouldn’t have to do that for a brand new program.
The A350 cannot be considered an all-electric airplane anymore than the A380. And it was an Airbus conscious decision not to go there. When Boeing says the 787 is the first all-electric aircraft on the market, there is no hype there. It’s just a fact.
When the Liebherr EHS was introduced for the A380, I thought it was really cool. That is the kind of neat technology I like. But it’s just a back-up, if I am not mistaken.
It should read Liebherr EHA, not EHS. But actually what I had in mind was specifically the EBHA.
The EBHAs imho are brilliant under the assumption that the final/actual actuator has very high MTBF and when being a goner enough structure must have gone with it to let the actuator loss as such seem no longer important 😉
Well, the EHAs are “ElectroHydraulicActuators”, fully selfcontained and the EBHAs are ElectroBackupHydraulicActuators allowing primary hydraulic activation and electric activation as a backup.
The docs and resultant articles on the QF32 incident had some very informative sections on this.
Just like barrel sections versus panels ( whatever size ) swapping out bleed air or hydraulics for electrically energizing certain functions has still to proove its design advantages at current “tech proficiencies”. And imho the proving has to be done on the ground, confidence must be established pre usage in a pax transporting environment. I don’t see this as given in Boeings case. Essentially they took all nice and shiny things from the shelves and stuffed them in a plastic tube.
My personal oppinion is that removing bleed air puts too many eggs in one basket ( electric system ). I currently see very good reason for going towards non bleed air airpacks.
Adding in electric actuation here and there with a bit of computer help
for mixing signals is not really comparable to what Airbus provides as a fully FBW System.
Apropos: the underlying cause for the A330 hickups has been posted:
The description is a very interesting read. ( found via plane talking ).
Every now and then some new “gimmick” is invented and media are full of articles that present this “gimmick” as the perfect problem solver for all and sundry. ( Think Synthetic Fertiliser, DDT, Lasers, NanoTech, GM-Food, …) All found their application niche, some a larger one others just a little nook in the back. All took their time to populate those niches and had / have major failings in their application.
There is a contradiction in the first paragraph. There might be a “no” missing in your sentence. Please confirm.
The second paragraph implies that the 787 is not a fully FBW aircraft. We know that Airbus and Boeing have different philosophies in terms of flight control laws. But to say “adding an electric actuation here and there with a bit of computer help for mixing signals is not really comparable to Airbus” is quite a bit condescending towards Boeing. And it is technically unjustified.
Tell me Uwe, are the Airbus fanatics “comparable” to the Boeing fanatics?
No, I don’t think I lost a no on the way ( TM Dr. No 😉
My personal oppinion is that removing bleed air puts too many eggs in one basket ( electric system ). check!
I currently see very good reason for going towards non bleed air airpacks. check!
Health concerns would speak for going to electric airpacks or to packs that use bleed for compressing nonbleed air, though that second solution would be as roundabout a design as using mechanical energy to create electric energy to heat some piece of wing surface near the engines instead of just taking some hot air from the engine.
At the top of design criteria stands KISS!
I had the 748 and 737MAX in mind. compare to adding (aftermarket/afterthought) electronic control to carburettors to reduce polutants versus a fully electronic engine control with injectors for each cylinder.
With planes getting more fragile with modern materials and design limits being partly met by load aleviation via computing Airbus and Boeing will move closer in their FBW philosophies.
( you find voices that say the difference today is more pronounced in propaganda than in reality.)
Don’t know, i only know Boeinginista 😉
To be more precise: at some point I decided that being meek is not the way to match jingoism.