The case for an NSA in 2025 — successor to 737-8 MAX — (continued)

 Editor’s Note: Given the amount of interest in the prospect of replacements for the single-aisle airplanes, including the Boeing 757, our Guest Columnist provided a follow-up think piece.

By James Krebs

With the reengined Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320 neo families selling like gangbusters, it may seem premature, before one even flies, to be considering a New Small Airplane (NSA) successor to enter service beginning in 2025. But I’m convinced the NSA will come before conventional wisdom expects. The marketplace will demand them.

A combination of market forces could make a compelling case for a NSA in service in 2025.

–   Continuing high fuel prices

–   Increasing urgency to reduce aviation carbon emissions

–   Availability of technology for 20% fuel savings vs 737-8 max and A320 neo (at same seat number) at acceptable risk

–   Traffic growth calling for more seats for 2025 and beyond.

–   Growing pressure from the airlines later in this decade for cleaner, more economical short haul NSA’s

–   Huge global market potential for NSA families — with their performance improved through the years

–   A short haul market share by 2017-18 (neo’s and MAX in service) very disappointing to Boeing.

Comments on each of the seven above:

–  The NSA fleet, starting 2025 and ramping up production over the next decade, will burn most of its fuel in the 2030’s, 2040’s and beyond. Who would bet that fuel prices will be same as today’s or lower?

–  The urgency of CO2 reduction will steadily escalate. It seems likely that there will be some kind of  price on aviation carbon emissions by 2020-25.  The global NSA fleet would cumulatively save far more fuel, carbon and dollars than any other new class such as a 757 successor. The NSA is crucial.

–  I previously asserted that much of the technology is available and certain key technology could be proven in the coming years to provide 20% fuel savings vs 737-8 max and A320 neo (at same seats). Again, the 20% could come from an ingenious combination of these 10 (+ any others crowd-sourced?).

1)  ~ 4 hour range together with …

2)   Lower speed (.72-.75 mach) for a lighter airplane with lower thrust engines

3)   Optimized high aspect ratio / lower sweep / composite wing …

4)   With say ~10’ folding wingtips, 118‘span at gates, 138’ in flight

5)   New on-wing engines in the 20K thrust class with better thermal and propulsive efficiency

6)   Lighter, lower drag, integrated installations — optimized for .72-.75 mach’s larger fans

7)  Wide body/eight-abreast configuration with more body lift, reduced passenger loading/unloading times, more passenger appeal — and much growth capability for future traffic.

As one example, checkout the MIT D8.0 (on-wing engines) and D8.2 (rear BLI engines)  described in MIT’s AIAA paper 2011-3970 with text, numbers and layouts.  It indicated 10% fuel savings vs 737-800 from D8.0’s body and tail configuration alone. This paper, published 18 months after NASA’s N+3 report,  reduced D8 wingspans from 170’ to 118’, changed D8.2 engines from trijet to twin and added the D8.0. NASA and MIT are now researching BLI installation aero. See Aviation Week cover 9/30/13. It could be a later D8.0 derivative.

8)   Also note the above-wing Lockheed engine installation shown on the cover of the 2/17/15 issue of Aviation Week. Lockheed says 5% fuel savings from under-wing engine installation.

9)  Better composite and aluminum materials / structures / construction methods. The wide lifting body composite construction for MIT’s double bubble, or an equivalent smooth ovoid cross section, might be similar to Boeing’s 787, Airbus’ A350 or even the new NASA PRSEUS which has integrated skin, ribs, and stiffeners with no fasteners and other useful merits such as customizing for local loads. It was invented for HWB’s flatter structures but might adapted to pay off for an optimum 8 abreast lifting body. Check it out.

10)  Many other 787 type, post 787 and 777X refinements vs. the older max/neo’s .

The NSA could be different but won’t be a “radical” design. Its risk must be acceptable. It will fit current airport 737 gates. All this is difficult and requires vision now and effort through this decade. I expect that the NSA will likely have less risk than Boeing’s 787.

Could Airbus rewing and again reengine and even stretch the A320/321 neos in an attempt to stave off a Boeing NSA? Theoretically, yes, but that would be non-competitive– a gift to Boeing

–   Most of the max and neo orders are for the –8 max and A320 neo models, not -7’s and 319’s. The initial NSA model, designed for traffic beyond 2025, will likely have 20+ more seats for even better seat mile costs and airlines profitability.

–   I doubt that the airlines will be content with 737-8 MAX and A320 neo’s for 2025 and beyond. They will be demanding more fuel and carbon savings — and more seats. They’ll get less noise too.

They won’t want to wait until 2030. Why would they want a 757 successor first and a NSA later? It’s Airbus who would like to see Boeing build a 757 successor first — a gift to their NSA.

–   Past sales and current firm orders for the combined  737 and A320 families, including max and neos, total over 25,000 (?) Could NSA’s reach 15,000 – 25,000– accomplished by the same continuous improvement and reengining through several decades? Who knows, NSA’s might be reengined with twin hybrid-electric engines someday.

What other new class could come close to generating such gigantic revenues — and such gigantic fuel, carbon emission and dollar savings? And such an exciting engine competition with one or two winners.

–  We can’t know what the Boeing max’s and Airbus neo’s market shares will be by 2015 and 2017 when the neo’s and max’s enter service — or soon after. Still, the mid February 2014 firm orders results are pretty interesting (each has ~1000 options too). Will Boeing catch up? Lead?

Boeing claims better economy.

A319neo

47

737-7

55

A320neo

2,049

737-8

1,544

A321neo

565

737-9

184

Total neo

2,661

Total Max

1,783

N. America Sales:

                        476

                         562

Sales

Elsewhere:

                     2,185

                      1,221

2013 Sales:

                         876

                         699

C919 Sales:    400

MC-21:            175

Cseries:          201

Total:              775

A winning attitude

I’m from the “make it happen” school of engineering. If I’m right about the unmatched importance of an efficient people-mover NSA family with 20% fuel and carbon savings vs. 737 -8 MAX (and more with more seats) and having much growth/improvement capability over the following decades, its initial model could be in service in 2025 — 11 long years from now.

My 20% may be conservative. Challenges such as NSA production ramp-up/ 737 ramp-down are just problems to be solved. Leadership in the short haul market vs Airbus and other competitors can be accomplished. And a later .85 mach 757 successor derivative of NSA (rewinged and refanned) may be attractive.

U.S. designers: get to work on the NSA — if you haven’t already. NASA too, with more effort on short haul configuration and wide body composite structures technology — and further 10-20% improvement through the 2030’s. Couldn’t Lockheed or Northrop Grumman, collaborate, take a stake and at least supply some added NSA brainpower and later join with Boeing on NSA military derivatives having > 35% fuel savings over 737 military derivatives.

97 Comments on “The case for an NSA in 2025 — successor to 737-8 MAX — (continued)

  1. Could you inform us who James Krebs is and something about his work or affiliations. Thank you

  2. The points 1) to 7) “Mach 0.75”, “high aspect ratio / lower sweep / composite wing”, “138’ in flight”, “Wide body/eight-abreast configuration” sound like an A400R.

  3. Any NSA airplane from either of the big OEMs should begin with getting away from the traditional tube and wing concept in airliners since the days of the early 1930s B-247. A blended wing concept is just one of many possibilities.

    • Besides a blended wing, what other possibilities are you thinking of?
      The problems with a blended wing for pax service have been highlighted many times – from an economical perspective, trying to shrink/stretch a blended wing is going to be an absolute killer.

      • everybody keeps saying that, as well as rolling out the trope about windows (maybe true when every seat didn’t have an individual TV screen offering the possibility of passenger selectable POV for all seats, not just those lucky enough to have a window seat) and the other one about emergency evac issues (also silly. give an engineer a week and he’ll have 30 alternative solutions for it).

        the shrink/stretch issue (really the stretch issue) is not so complex, really, you just need to think a little differently, the stretch is really a widen. rather than inserting a few sections of tubing before and after the wing, you add an entire column of seats in the middle (and maybe a row or 2 front and back) (so your 3-2-3 seating baseline model becomes a 3-3-3 “stretch”. it is a paradigm shift in how you think about stretches. take advantage of the composite structure. think different.

        passengers in the middle to ensure “conventional” flight motion experience for passengers, palletized/LD3 cargo either side of passenger bay rather than below it to maximize the aerodynamic benefits of the BWB/flying wing profile.

        • everybody keeps saying that

          Maybe there’s a reason?

          , as well as rolling out the trope about windows (maybe true when every seat didn’t have an individual TV screen offering the possibility of passenger selectable POV for all seats, not just those lucky enough to have a window seat)

          I’ve addressed this before and I’ll say it again: An individual screen, even of the 9″ variety (let’s keep this at economy level, shall we?), is not the same thing as an actual window.
          It really isn’t. Even if you go for a much larger screen. Studies suggest this – as does my own experience.
          I frequently work in rooms that each have one 84″ 4K screen (yes, you read that right), plus one 64.5″ full HD screen in it. No matter how much we try – customers’ most frequent complaint about the rooms is “no natural daylight”.
          You can of course choose to ignore that.

          (And that’s before getting into the discussion of how you want to offer an individual point of view to everybody with just 4 or 5 cameras, which cannot possibly be controlled individually by each of >200 pax.)

          Don’t underestimate how sensitive most people are. People’s sensitivities are the main reason we don’t have economy seats facing backward. It’d be safer in a crash – but people don’t like it and some react with nausea/travel sickness.
          Having people get sick/claustrophobic because they’re stuck in a large wing for a few hours with no natural light and a nothing to connect visually to what their body tells them about how their vehicle is moving is a major concern if you’re designing a people-carrier. Never mind that the farther away from the centreline you sit, the a) faster and b) larger the movements you’ll be exposed to on e.g. a turn will be. Most people won’t appreciate the feeling of a rollercoaster on a commercial airplane. Their drinks and dinners won’t, either. Magnets won’t help, because they could hold the cup – not the contents.
          And now add some turbulences to the picture.

          and the other one about emergency evac issues (also silly. give an engineer a week and he’ll have 30 alternative solutions for it).

          In fact, there have been many studies on this. Which definitely look like people spend more than a week on them.
          One can be found here:
          http://fseg.gre.ac.uk/fire/fseg_ped2010_bwb_paper_distrib_final.pdf
          It concludes that with exactly the right location and number of cabin crew (25 of them) and exits (20 of them, of which six at the rear), a BWB with 1045 pax and crew can be evacuated in anywhere between 80.6 and 92.8 seconds (out-of-aircraft time, not ground time).
          I found the seating arrangement fascinating, as it reminded me of a very large-scale version of the seating at places like the O2 concert venue in Dublin.

          the shrink/stretch issue (really the stretch issue) is not so complex, really, you just need to think a little differently, the stretch is really a widen.

          I think you rather underestimate the complexity of changing any part of a wing’s geometry.

          rather than inserting a few sections of tubing before and after the wing, you add an entire column of seats in the middle (and maybe a row or 2 front and back) (so your 3-2-3 seating baseline model becomes a 3-3-3 “stretch”.

          All of this would fundamentally change the wing geometry, which makes it a pretty expensive proposition. Much more expensive than designing one wing that’s slightly overengineered and then just adding/removing frames from/to a tube.
          Unless there is some major breakthrough in computing airflow dynamics, of course. Which isn’t impossible, but don’t let us pretend that it’s not a major challenge.

          it is a paradigm shift in how you think about stretches. take advantage of the composite structure. think different.

          It’s not my native language, but shouldn’t an adverb be used there?
          (Sorry – couldn’t resist; als see The Simpsons S20E07 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL2l_Q1AR_Q&noredirect=1 )
          Actually, if you really want to think differently, why does it have to be a purebred BWB? You could come up up with a way of combining the pax comfort and gate handling advantages of a tube-with-wings with the aerodynamic benefits of a BWB (chiefly: more lift; stability: not so much). Instead of trying to make the pure BWB shoe fit at all cost.

          passengers in the middle to ensure “conventional” flight motion experience for passengers, palletized/LD3 cargo either side of passenger bay

          Doesn’t sound like a great idea for evacuation times. Doesn’t sound like a great idea for dangers posed by cargo shifting in the event of a crash, either. Incidentally ensures that not only a select few, but nobody on board (bar the pilots) gets any natural daylight at all.
          Sounds like a very hard sell to the FAA and passengers alike.

          Then, there’s also the problem of gate space, of course, and how to access cargo bays, exits, catering doors etc.; plus that as soon as your inside height goes below roughly 1.8 to 2 metres, it becomes pretty unusable for cargo or pax.

          tl:dr – Technical and creature comfort challenges mean you shouldn’t expect a commercial pax BWB in the next 50 years.

        • not quite sure how to respond to Anfromme below me, but clearly, he didn’t read (or perhaps comprehend) where I am going with this. but, clearly he has made up his mind that it isn’t possible, and I suggest that his mindset is what is holding us back.

          the passengers layout in my NSA sized BWB proposal (200 seats in 3-2-3 config not 1045 passenger gigantoplane of uselesness in 3-5-5-5-5-3) keeps the passengers on centerline, just as a traditional tube and wing, so no unusual flight motions. just because boeing showed a concept with seats half way out the wing doesn’t mean that is the only way to do it.

          where did you get the idea that the plane would only have 2 meter ceiling height?

          safety: at 200 pax an 3-2-3 seating configuration is only 25 rows (with 2 aisles, fast turnaround). 4 doors (2 each front and back) means no passenger is more than 12.5 rows from a full size exit, much better than any 757 I’ve been on, and two rows to get there.

          the concern about complexity of airfoil blah blah blah in a stretch is precisely the point of widening the center section rather than lengthening.. 99% of the lifting body is unchanged, and what is inserted down the centerline is of the same profile of that next to it.

          having flown in many military cargo jets with both no windows and backwards (or even sideways seats) I can tell you the first time you fly, there is some novelty. the second time it is normal. people adapt remarkably quickly.

          re 5 cameras 200 people, where did I say each person could control the camera? I said they could select their POV (not necessarily from unlimited options), but on that point, clearly you are not familiar with the concept of distributed aperture, and the concept of vignetting. read up on some of the recent military camera tech.

        • not quite sure how to respond to Anfromme below me, but clearly, he didn’t read (or perhaps comprehend) where I am going with this. but, clearly he has made up his mind that it isn’t possible

          Not quite. In fact, I linked to a study that concluded that 90s evacuation is possible on a BWB, which – to a point, as further studies would probably be needed – debunks a common point mentioned as a challenge to pax BWBs. That should be great news for you.
          However, what I did say is that there are significant challenges to a pax BWB and that the remedies you suggested are (IMHO) insufficient to address these challenges. (Within the constraints of having to make a BWB economical to fly and produce, and have pax accept it.)

          the passengers layout in my NSA sized BWB proposal (200 seats in 3-2-3 config not 1045 passenger gigantoplane of uselesness in 3-5-5-5-5-3) keeps the passengers on centerline, just as a traditional tube and wing, so no unusual flight motions.

          1045 was the example for the evacuation test – not something I came up with.

          the concern about complexity of airfoil blah blah blah in a stretch is precisely the point of widening the center section rather than lengthening.. 99% of the lifting body is unchanged, and what is inserted down the centerline is of the same profile of that next to it.

          Even mechanically, that’s not as easy as it sounds – you’ve got wing sweep to account for, unless you go with a large centrepiece that’s essentially got a leading edge that’s at a 90 degree angle to the direction of flight, and you just add elements to that. You’ll reach the limit there quite quickly, though, and you’d have to come up with a different seating configuration for every stretch/shrink of a baseline model. Which neither manufatcurers nor airlines are going to be happy about. They like standardised layouts than are easily scalable.
          Additionally, you’re still changing the airfoil – you’re introducing quite significant additional drag, and additional lift as you add elements, while you reduce both as you remove elements. Plus you change the shape of your pressurised cabin.
          Yes, all of that can be accounted for – but it is not simple. It’s significantly more complex than shrinking/extending a tube (which in itself sounds easier than it is), and thus significantly more costly.

          having flown in many military cargo jets with both no windows and backwards (or even sideways seats) I can tell you the first time you fly, there is some novelty. the second time it is normal. people adapt remarkably quickly.

          Here’s where my point about “making the BWB shoe fit at all cost” comes in.
          You’re constantly trying to treat paying passengers like cargo, and you’re not really giving them any reason why they’d want to put up with that. Other than you finally getting a BWB in the air.
          If it was that easy to get around (well, ignore) creature comforts, we’d have (almost) windowless tubes with 99% rear-facing seats today.
          As for anecdotal evidence: I was on a converted military An-26. Only had 3 windows on each side of the fuselage, with 10 or 11 rows of seats.
          That was a nice reminder why usually you have more than one window for ever 2 or 3 rows of seats. Mind you, I was actually sitting at a window row, but observing the other rows.

          re 5 cameras 200 people, where did I say each person could control the camera?
          Sorry, I misunderstood you there.

          I said they could select their POV (not necessarily from unlimited options), but on that point, clearly you are not familiar with the concept of distributed aperture, and the concept of vignetting.
          I am.
          None of which addresses a very simple point I made previously: The light and picture on a screen is not a replacement for an actual window. Not on a really high-res 84″ screen, nor on a 9″ screen.
          Again – you’re coming up with overly simple solutions to fundamental challenges.
          What you’re proposing is basically for people to travel in the equivalent of a submarine with screens to make up for the lack of outside views. And you’re making the argument that if submarine staff can put up with that, paying pax can as well.

          My point is – you’ll have to do better than all that to convince OEMs, airlines and the flying public that a BWB is a great idea. Don’t underestimate pax and their wishes. They’ll have to buy the tickets to pay for your planes.

          Prime mistake of failed projects: Underestimating the challenges ahead.

          Anyway – I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree here.

  4. With the reengined Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320 neo families selling like gangbusters, it may seem premature, before one even flies, to be considering a New Small Airplane (NSA) successor to enter service beginning in 2025.

    It does. Particularly considering that you’d almost need to launch the NSA at the same time that MAX enters service. Not a very desirable position given the cost of the MAX. And not a position Airbus would be forcing Boeing into, either, as they’ll be happy keeping their 60:40 lead. Yet, with the total numbers we’re talking about, Boeing won’t be happy with their 40%, but still get enough MAXs out of the door to make a lot of money, which will come in handy to fund the NSA.

    The marketplace will demand them.

    Hardly, as in 2025, the marketplace will be awash with thousands of planes less than 10 years old, which would suddenly see their residual value reduced sharply… while there’s a more economical but also much more expensive new plane being made available.

  5. I thought the entire concept of a MAX/NEO were bad moves. But both guys went for the concept and the market accepted the approach. New technology has to be intrduced in to the space, and some of that is being done through the C program. We see how well the market has accepted that move. Going too radical (787) will be tough because the volume of demand will not suppor that level of innovation. The concept will need to be able to provide seating capacity for 130- to 200 passengers, with a range of 4,500 miles. The trick will be offering a solution capable of provding that broaod of a capacity while also being 20-30% more efficient.

    • We’ll have to see how efficient CFRP structure is on the A350
      but for the 787 gains are strongly dominated by improved engines.
      The other promises seem to not come true.
      On the AL side the same goes for the 777X.
      On the reengine side we have the “old” A320 looking better than the all new wing
      “MAX”ed 737NG.
      What I see as the major enabler in continuous airframe improvements is FBW.
      FBW makes for a flexible product that can accomodate and integrate a wide range of detail improvements ( if the basic design is done with a long view into the future )

      as long as engine improvements come at the current pace we’ll not see BWB bodied aircraft in commercial service. Doesn’t fit the (risk averse) cultur.

  6. “Could Airbus rewing and again reengine and even stretch the A320/321 neos in an attempt to stave off a Boeing NSA? Theoretically, yes, but that would be non-competitive– a gift to Boeing”

    I think a first step for Boeing would be to look at the market, look at their offerings and don’t fall back into denial and old mantras. Airbus isn’t in the defense.

    The 737/MAX is under severe pressure. It is less efficient, flexible and has higher trip costs. Its smaller Leaps will never beat the NEO bigger Leap and GTF’s.

    The worlds dominant airlines are moving away from the 737 even faster then before the MAX / NEO. http://www.pdxlight.com/neomax.htm

    If Boeing itself keeps believing its deceptive powerpoints and projections, market share will first move from 60-40 to 65-35 and then 70-30. With Boeing pushing 737s at low prices to keep up appearances while rushing a replacement.

    No, the MAX did not catch up and likely will not. Wake up & smell the coffee.
    http://www.boeing.com/dubai2013/pdf/media/1113_737_MAX_DASr2.pdf

    • On slide #7 of that presentation, Boeing claims to have received 10,128 orders for the 737 since the A320 launch, based on total orders of 11,275. Lufthansa became lauch customer in February of 1965 and Airbus launched that A320 in March of 1984, making about 19 years of 737 sales before the A320 started. Doing the math, that means Boeing received an average of 60 737s per year from 737 launch to A320 launch.

      Is that right? Seems awfully low.

  7. What’s going to power these planes? Which engine is going to be available in 2025 that is >20% more efficient than a GTF with a number of PIPs under its belt?

    • That’s what I was wondering as well. One of the chief assumptions of the piece making the case for a 2025 EIS NSA is this >20% better than GTF/Leap including PIPs. And I don’t see enough in the piece to convince me that this is feasible.

    • If I have read the article correctly, the author is proposing the major savings to come from improved aerodynamics, structural developments, a more efficient seating arrangement as well as trading speed for efficiency.

      The implication, as I understand:the NEO strategy has gone as far as it can go. The next big wins will come from new airframes.

      • Hmmm okay. But engines are still in there, and some of the things are probably not very attractive (4hr range = considerably reduced range, right?) No idea what speed reduction will do, but how would this plane mix in with the normal traffic streams that will carry legacy, faster planes, for a decade or two to come? Lighter weight but larger wing with folding mechanism? Lower drag but a bigger fan and front (widebody)? I am not an engineer, but these things seem to be self-contradictory.

  8. I sincerely believe that Airbus, are also [deceptive] [edited to conform with Reader Comment rules] because they announce that the A320neo will be 15% better than A320ceo in reality I think the neo will not be more than 10% over the same routes as a current ceo, the rest is [deceptive] and Airbus came to do his “buzz” .

    I think Boeing side, there will be something like 10-11% with racked wing tip MAX, because Boeing is ahead of the field but unfortunately the 737 lost market share against the A320 since the launch the “neo” (60% against 40%) this is an opportunity for Airbus, even though (on paper) we’re not sure why and I do not think the launch of the 737 MAX is later either. Only time will tell …

    • the 737 lost market share against the A320 since the launch the “neo” (60% against 40%) this is an opportunity for Airbus, even though (on paper) we’re not sure why

      You mightn’t be sure. The rest of the world seems to have a hunch at least.

      and I do not think the launch of the 737 MAX is later either.

      The launch was, in fact, later than NEO launch. EIS is also going to be later. MAX launch was almost exactly a year after NEO, and in played catch-up for all of 2012, handily beating NEO sales that year. And yet – the ration is still at 60:40 in Airbus’ favour, and current sales continue that trend.

    • To clarify Airbus and Boeing representations, the OEMs say the engine SFC will be 15% better than today’s engines and the all-in installed product is less than that. We don’t recall either Airbus or Boeing claiming that the installed product is 15% better than today’s airplane. Checklist is mixing his “facts” and should scale back the incendiary rhetoric.

    • No, of course that MAX isn’t late either, it is only about 1,000 orders behind the NEO, but don’t worry, they both recieved around the same number of orders for the first 22 months they were available (See Randy’s presentation, link is in Keesje’s comment). Problem is the NEO kept on selling after those first 22 months. We don’t need to mention that it is also behind the NEO in first delivery as well. But of course, that won’t make any difference.

    • By the way, I love the inclusion of “buzz” in your comment. It kind of says it all!

  9. As for market share, at present the NEO’s lead is still expanding (!), albeit more slowly recently. While the lead of >1,000 is likely overstated, since it ignores that Boeing will only come out with the Max two years after the first NEO, so they will have 8-900 NG deliveries to get through in the meantime (and I presume they will sell all the slots, just as I understand Airbus did for the CEO. Still, it essentially means that CEO/NEO at present are outselling NG/MAX by a slight margin.

    • “NEO’s lead is still expanding”

      I’m not sure if that is correct. The NEO had 65% market share in the beginning and it’s now down to 60%.

  10. I’m struggling to find why Krebs has chosen 2025, rather than any other year.

    The only legislation that might demand/define a post NEO/MAX design, AFAIK, is the potential carbon emissions scheme, being worked out by ICAO, IATA etc., for agreement (maybe) in 2016, implementing (maybe) in 2020. But I’ve not seen any indication that any potential limits couldn’t be reached with improved turbofans alone.

    As for the rest:
    a) every recent major forecast I’ve seen shows oil prices declining thru 2020ish, meaning that fuel then will be roughly at 2005 levels as % of operating economics. It is forecast to begin climbing again afterward, but pressure for 2025 doesn’t seem to be there, even if open rotor technology may be.
    b) I don’t see the other ‘market forces’ as being ‘market forces’, except perhaps if the majority of demand is for an aircraft with more seats than a 321/-9.

    I would have thought the time to launch would be on the back of demonstrable efficiency gains from open rotor, clarity on regulations governing their use, and technological readiness of associated structures/aerodynamics etc, given that they appear at moment best suited to an above fuselage tail mounted pusher configuration. The next open rotor demonstrator is, I think, to be a direct drive design from SNECMA (working with GE again?) in 2019, with a geared design from RR perhaps on a similar timescale? Anyway, give 1 year for validation of the the demonstrator, add 9 years aircraft development, and to me an EIS of 2030 at the earliest seems much more plausible.

    • Thanks, I suppose the same research is applicable with more efficient/compact heat exchangers ‘swapped in’, and they may already be modelling how hypothetical advances in that area would affect the system.

  11. I would think this is the next logical step for Boeing. The 787 and 777 are set on their development and production path (execution is not guaranteed of course) for the next 2 decades or more. The 747 is what it is. That leaves the NSA.

    If there are engineers who feel that a 20% gain over the neo max is possible then it is an obvious move. Surely there have been enough advances in the decades since the 737 and 320 have come out in terms of the factors Krebs has suggested. If not, then it won’t get built…

    My guess would be that specialized optimized craft for 2 segments 2500 would have advantages compared to the current offerings. Just my 2 p

  12. First is, for an EIS of 2025, a launch of 2020 or even 2019 would probably need to happen, but let’s just say 5 years. Now, this will be about 3 years after the EIS of the MAX, which makes me really not see this happening as I just don’t see Boeing snuffing out the MAX’s life so quick. Of course thinking about it, they’ve kinda done that to the 747-8 with the 777-9X, but those are planes in different classes, the state of the VLA market, just kinda made that happen.

    Also, what technology, especially airframe wise, beyond the tube and wings will be available for a massive 20-30% efficiency gap over today’s planes? Engines certainly are not bringing that figure alone and I’d also be surprised if engine OEMs are ready for another new NB engine so fast after the LEAP and GTF.
    In my book, the case for the 757RS is already iffy enough, but at least that seemed to be an upgraded 757, the case for this seems even iffier.

  13. Boeing will make a base model 36m x 36m 150 seater for Southwest. 13′ diam. fuselage. Then a stretch. Then another wing with a 50m x 50m with a double axle. Airbus will do the same, or rewing the A320 fuselage?

  14. The acronyme ‘NSA’ is misleading : ‘NSA’ has been used before in an Airbus context, meaning ‘New Single Aisle’ … I advocate to rather use ‘NFB’ for ‘New Feeder, Boeing’ : it clearly relates to the correct airframe OEM and is neutral vs the geometry, ie does not preclude eg a Twin Aisle (nor Single Aisle, or any other, BWB, ‘fattie’, etc) geometry, whilst correctly identifying a ‘feeder’ project ?

  15. I think James Krebs has many excellent ideas. To expand upon Mr. Krebs ideas, here is the approach I would take if I was the Boeing project manager in charge of replacing both the B-757 and B-737.
    First, I would adopt a common cross section for both replacement aircraft. I propose a wide oval fuselage with 8 abreast seating. The fuselage would be 18 feet in width and 14’9” deep. The seats would be 18” wide and the aisles 19” wide. The fuselage would have two columns of LD3-45 containers side by side. The fuselage would hopefully be manufactured out of non-autoclaved composites.

    While using the same fuselage cross section, the B-757 replacement would have a high aspect wing with a 32 degree sweepback permitting a cruise speed of mach .85. The B-737 replacement would have essentially a straight wing with the leading edge swept back at 12 degrees and the trailing edge of the wing perpendicular to the fuselage. I like Mr. Krebs’ idea of 10 foot folding wingtips, 118’ at the gate and 138’ in flight. The B-737 replacement wing would be optimized for a cruise speed of mach .72. Both wings would be of composite structure.

    The twin engines would be positioned on the wings since that configuration leads to a structural weight savings compared to engines mounted on the rear fuselage. The engines could be mounted in anyone of three positions on the wing and I will let the aero dynamists and structural engineers make the final decision:
    – Forward and below the wing as per the B-737 Max.
    – Forward and above the wing as per the Cal Poly AMELIA design.
    – Above the trailing edge of the wing as per the Lockheed Martin Airlifter concept.

    Since the MIT D8 makes some very important contributions to an efficient aircraft configuration, I would specifically adopt several features of the MIT design:
    – To achieve Boundary Layer Ingestion with wing mounted engines, I would install three electric fan duct propulsion units on the rear fuselage, beneath the MIT type Pi shaped tail. The electric fan ducts could be 36” to 48” in diameter and designed to produce 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of thrust each – just enough to efficiently suck off the boundary layer on the top of fuselage and eject the exhaust air into the low pressure zone at the rear of the fuselage to reduce form drag.
    – I would design the fuselage to be a semi lifting body and contribute more than 25% of the total lift while operating at a high angle of attack during takeoffs and landing. This may permit the wing to eliminate forward slats and simplify wing flaps.
    – I would investigate forwards canards to reduce the negative lift produced by the tail.

    Since the sweet spot of the short haul market will be 200 seats (single class at 32’ pitch) in 2025, I would design the B-737 replacement to have a seating capacity of 200 seats (184 mixed class), a cruise speed of mach .72 and a range of 2,000 nautical miles. The slower cruise speed would be offset by faster turnaround time facilitated by the twin aisles. Airlines could cover the infrequent transcontinental flights with B-757 replacement aircraft or even their older B-737-8 Max aircraft.

    The B-757 replacement would be designed for a range of 4500 NM and a cruise speed of mach .85. It would excel at the long, thin routes and operate easily out of the hot and high altitude airports. While there is great commonality on fuselage sections with the B-737 replacement, the B-757 replacement has a longer wing box due to its highly swept wing. The longer center section thus permits more interior space for galleys, toilets and seats to meet its medium range mission. The typical B-757 replacement will be configured for 24 first class seats and 168 economy seats for a total of 192 seats.

    Both the B-737 and 757 replacement aircraft may be stretched in the future by 30 seats with some reduction in range.

    In summary, I believe this design will produce a very efficient aircraft with major improvements in interior comfort for the passengers.

  16. A question for the group: It is still early in the lessons learned with the 787 (a lot of lessons for sure) but is there any feel / feedback with the following 787 innovations which would play into the NSA?

    a. Bleedless engines & all electric architecture?
    b. Composite wings including skins (& lightning protection) seems to be a yes here as the 777X seems to be following.
    c. Composite barrels vs AL.

    • C:Very much IMHO we won’t see wound barrel sections again for some time ( if ever ).
      B: composite wings appear to be there to stay. ( are the A380 laminated Al wing skins already composite ;-? ) A400M, 787, A350XWB, 777X, ..

      A: All electric may have its time in the future. But in relation to what is on the 787 it will be 3rd or 4th generation stuff. No cooling, much more reliable and abusible.
      On the other hand all electric is imho not KISS ( and orthogonal ) enough for some applications.
      We’ll see.

  17. In the never-ending hunt for improving airliner fuel burn, a lot of people speculate about lifting bodies, folding wings, open rotors and the tremendous use of composites…but I don’t think so. I think the airliners of 2050 are going to pretty much look like the airliners of today: tubes with big turbofans and conventional wings using about the same amounts of CFRP and aluminum we’re using now. I think the days of a radically-changing form are over – especially for Jetliners.

    The “Jetliner as a Tube” has won. Go to something like “Lifting Bodies” and you sacrifice drag for lift. At best, it’s a wash. Also, you sacrifice cargo capacity when you go from a tube to a “Lifting Body”. As a result, I just don’t think “Lifting Bodies” are in our future.

    The “Open-Rotor” concept it nice for reducing fuel burn – until one of those rotor blades detaches and decapitates passengers. (And this has happened even in closed-rotor engines where the break was uncontained by the cowling or the fuselage).

    Use of CFRPs is nice for reducing weight and fuel burn in bigger planes….but it doesn’t seem to be working as well to reduce the weight of smaller aircraft – at least according to Mitsubishi (a maker of both small aircraft and CFRP wings for the 787).

    And “Folding Wings” for Jetliners? I doubt it. Folding wings are not magic – a lot of companies could have introduced them. But…the added weight, complexity and reliability just ain’t worth it, or it would have been adopted years ago. I really believe that the folding wings proposed for the 777x are wishful thinking…a way of denying that Boeing has lost this market and will never recover it.

    Last, there is the issue of cost and fortitude. Boeing had the chance in the early 1990s to build a NSA that would have challenged the NSA, but they did not. They went cheap and developed the 737NG. Boeing again had the chance to build an NSA in 2010 to challenge the A320 NEO. Again, they went cheap and developed the 737 Max. Boeing will not get a third chance. Boeing will have its hands full developing the 777x and making the 787 somehow pay for itself – this will cause too much cash burn for Boeing to start any NSA program before 2021 and by that time sales and revenue of the 737 Max will have dwindled compared to the A320. The only reason that the A320 is not selling even more frames compared to the 737 than it already does is because Airbius doesn’t want’ that to happen. Airbus wants to milk the A320 and A320 NEO in order to pay for the A350 ramp-up. Airbus has even told Boeing that a 60/40% split in the single-aisle market is Aibus’s entitlement, and Boeing has obeyed and rolled over (they have no real choice). However, once this A350 ramp-up is complete and the A350 is making money and vanquishing the 777, I expect Airbus to complete the market dominance of the A320 and forever make Boeing the #2.

    • Amen!
      – Tube will remain the prevailing fuselage form in the forseeable future.
      – Open rotor has severe safety issues.
      – CFRP is overrated when it comes to fuselages.
      – Folding wings in jetliners won’t happen.
      – NEO is superior, and everyone knows it. MAX customers will probably get higher discounts.
      Moreover, a single aisle has so much higher cabin volume efficiency compared to a twin aisle that we will probably never see the latter in the A320/737 size class.
      I am not so convinced that the 777X is going to fail, however. That remains to be seen.

      • You were talking about the 777 and not about the 777X, obviously. In this respect, I would guess that Boeing will at least manage to sell out production slots by use of more or less heavy discounting until the 777X arrives.

    • I think you are a bit harsh on Boeing vis a vis the 2010 NSA decision. They really wanted to go ahead with the thing but got blindsided by their customers who wanted new, fuel efficient single aisles in the next 10 years, not 20. That the 787 did not get executed so well more than likely make prospective customers believe that they could pull an NSA off in a shorter time period.

      • Okay, I’ll bite. How would this NSA with 2012 tech have delivered sufficient savings over the A32xNEO to the airlines to make it worthwhile the investment? What kind of tech would have gone into it? I think the reason they were blindsided was that everyone outside Boeing (and probably a few inside) could see that the NSA was in fact DOA in terms of being competitive. Keep in mind that by running another update of the venerable 737, they maintain (on current evidence) a 40% market share, about a 20% drop compared to pre-NEO, but probably a gain compared to what would have happened if Airbus had delivered the NEO in 2015, while the NSA comes along in 2020 – those would have been five very lean years for Boeing, with a marketshare almost certainly <40%, and a price tag to airlines that would have reduced margins considerably (who would want to buy NGs if they can either get a NEO or wait a few years for a MAX?).

        While it's harsh in the interim, the MAX gets done with relatively minimal investment and risk. How much would the NSA have had to deliver to make the risk of taking on a new programme, building the new infrastructure, taking on five lean years, etc. worthwhile? Would a reverse of the situation have been enough to 60:40 from 2020 onwards have been enough? Would the NSA have been able to achieve that? And for how long does it have to last to make it worthwhile? 5 years? 10 years? What if Airbus decides to launch their own NSA programme in 2017, and bring it to market in 2025?

        • HI Andreas,

          I guess that is the point. Irrespective of what kind of performance improvements you can get, and I do believe Boeing was “promising” quite a few, the fact is that those (at least) 5 lean years were too much for Boeing to take and they were “forced” into coming up with a solution that would hit the market sooner. By the way, I think it was the smart decision to go this way. As you pointed out, the NEO was already a winner and Airbus could have come out with a better single aisle a few years after Boeing which would have seriously eroded the benefits of their own NSA.

          The technological advantages that an NSA would have offered could be debated for years to come but I do not know what they really would/could have achieved. I merely see that debate as a moot point due to the situation at the time. This was a total reversal of the 787/A350 Mk I scenario in that Boeing was offering a brand new aircraft with all the bells and whistles (Boeing is very good at that!) while Airbus was offering a new tech powerplant on an existing platform. The result is 180° to what happened back then.

          Your last series of questions, while interesting for debate, are just that, debatable. I truly believe that Boeing was planning to go with a brand new aircraft and had to switch tracks quite suddenly when they realized that Airbus was getting all the orders and they weren’t.

          Now here is another debatable question: If the 787 had gone smoothly, would we have had a different outcome to the NEO/NSA campaign?

      • They couldn’t have produced their pipe dream. Boeing conceded as much.
        Envisioned technology not available in the projected timescale.
        ( IMHO a problem GE/Safrane may also run into with their promises for the MAX LEAP )

    • The manner in which you structured and phrased your last paragraph was a bit odd to me. “Obey and roll over”? I seriously question where you got that Boeing did what Airbus said and followed through with it. Airbus not selling more planes because they don’t want to is false since they are usually always in the same RFP for a new NB along with Boeing. If that was the case the 60/40 margin that Airbus so graciously allowed Boeing to have would deteriorate rather quickly. Airbus doesn’t want that. If you can substantiate these claims of obeying/roll over and telling Boeing ______ with proof that’d be kindly appreciated. I do not question that the MAX is second to the NEO but lest we forget that the NEO had a 2 year head start on the MAX. Example. 787 orders to date- 1000+. A350 orders 850+. The 787 had a head start on the A350 hence the delta. The MAX/NEO and the 787/350 will do the same thing, one probably better than the other in one category and so on and so on. I think market dominance is a little to early to say. Preference? Yes.

      I still fail to see why the majority of the population here see the concept of the folding wingtip as such an anomaly. They have been used in the theater of aerial combat for years, since the WWII and are still used today. https://www.google.com/search?client=ms-android-att-us&biw=640&bih=99&tbm=isch&ei=G98NU-ujM6nh0QG6t4CADQ&oq=folding+wing++aircraft+carrier&gs_l=mobile-gws-serp.12…33217.33536.0.35560.3.3.0.0.0.0.594.1562.4-1j2.3.0….0…1c.1.36.mobile-gws-serp..2.1.503.bxc8J0LmwXs&q=folding%20wing%20aircraft%20carrier.

      If the jet fighter is subject to more G forces than the regular standard modern day jet liner, how could it not work? It’s been used before and has been successful. Now if say …. 50 years ago I said the future of passenger aircraft would be mostly made from CRP you would have laughed but here we are today right? It’s just adapting a military concept into the civilian era of aviation.

      Lastly, I respect your comments and the right to your opinion but to say the 777 will be vanquished is not accurate. The 777 will continue to hum along while the 777x is gearing up for a design freeze next year but vanquished? As in obsolescence? Definitely not. On a smaller scale, in the US you have the duopoly of FedEx and UPS. To some UPS is better FedEx and FedEx better than UPS. Being # 2 in a room of 2 is not devastating or that critical. Someone will get a package late or destroyed from UPS and chose FedEx going forward and vice versa with UPS. My point is we don’t determine who is number 1 or 2, the market does. Right now the market is leaning towards the A320 NEO in the NB segment and the WB segment is hard to tell right now with so many entrants.

    • Actually, I suspect Airbus just aren´t offering such good dicscounts on A320s anymore. Why should they?

  18. Oil prices will be lower. NextGen will be fully implemented saving 5-10% COCs. Airframe and engine PIPs from OEMs will continue. There will be further airline rationalization. Bottom line… 2025 NSA EIS is would not recoup R&D costs.

    • I realize that the conventional thinking is that oil prices will go up… but that is with the assumption that things will always stay the same (the IEA chart has an up trending slope for oil, too). However, crude demand destruction has already started in North America and it is the proverbial snowball… it will turn into an avalanche before people realize it.

  19. Leeham, I mean sfc and not of coc. I do not confuse my “facts.” And I continue to say that 15% of fuel neo and MAX are a bit pushed compared to A320ceo & 737NG. It’s just that Airbus and Boeing are playing cat and mouse! …

    • Wasn’t the original argument path that the also new sharklets would more than compensate integration losses for the NEO engines? ( with the sharklets making it to A320s earlier than the engines.)
      I haven’t seen this changed.
      OEO “2010” + 3++% sharklets + 15% engine gains – 3%integration losses:= NEO “2015” ( 15..16% net gains versus OEO

  20. Its not only marketshare but also capabilities of the aircraft, further future enhancement options and the names I see in the order overviews. The amount of im-ex bank financed aircraft, unplaced lessor aircraft, single type operators with huge commonality considerations, rumors (or more then that) on disounts, the competitor being sold out (availability), customers that order the competitor too.. Look at the customers slide in Randy’s presentation. Who is truly impressed?

    I have little doubt on who will have to move first. Even if they don’t want to. They will probably make sure BPR isn’t restricted for future generations of engines (high wing).

  21. A nerdy comment (skip if necessary):
    Airbus claims 15% better fuel burn A320CEO versus NEO:
    “while delivering at least 15 per cent fuel burn reduction.”

    SFC is the (thrust-)specific fuel consumption of the engine. A better SFC does not directly translate into a similar fuel burn saving due to added weight and drag. However, usually 80-90% of the SFC-improvement are usually carried over.

    COC (Cash Operating Cost) are usually dominated by fuel cost. Over 50% of the COC is fuel cost (using a reference DOC cake with 40% fuel, 25% cost of ownership, rest being dominated by crew and maintenance). COC is without cost of ownership, hence divide 40 by .75 and get 53%.
    The cost may vary widely between operators.

    Less nerdy final note, regarding the D8 fuselage:
    I have doubts that the D8-fuselage can be produced at acceptable weights. Fuselage structure is terribly complicated, and even a university like MIT will find it difficult to give a robust weight statement. These continue to be based on statistics (or use statistics for calibration). When using physical models (which sounds nice for the casual reader), the structural weight usually comes out too low. Same applies for the low capacity BWB.

  22. While I believe Mr. Krebbs has captured the general technical aspect well, the reality is that airlines and customers can demand away and they will only get what Boeing or Airbus put out.

    Its not like this is smart phones where the design launch cycle is in months. It’s a huge investment, time consuming and it has to be right or you will not recover from the bust (the 787 is all so close to a bust)

    If tow entities offer the same basic level aircraft then it’s a take it or leave it proposition and all the airlines are in the same boat so it’s a matter of how they run their operation.

    If you up the ante eventually everyone winds up in the same boat again, so it still comes down to airline efficiency and execution other than over the short term.

    Boeing is going to jump first simply because they have to and are slowly loosing market share and you have to jump before the tipping point.

    On the other hand, orders are like sand through the hand. What counts is the rocks in hand. For all practical purposes, Boeing and Airbus are making the exact same number of single aisle aircraft per year (if you look at it actually Airbus is ahead currently but Boeing supposedly will have more production before Airbus but stay tuned on that as well)

    Ergo, there is no sales benefit yet. How much Boeing is having to give up vs Airbus to get sales is open as well. Airbus has bought some, Boeing has bought some it looks like. Is Boeing giving up more? I have yet to see hard facts.

    Still there is the perception and Boeing can’t tolerate that they are second rate (which they are, the 737 should have been replaced at the last iteration of the NG era).

    Still it looks like a chance to get a mini twin aisle. I also believe the slower speed is better (ATR vs Q400) the only ones that would not agree are the Trans Continental and across ocean flights and the customers will live with it if it means cheaper fares (just like they live with those narrow jam packed searing arrangements they are NOT demanding and we see how far that gets anyone).

    So, demand away, the pig is in the vice and can squeal as loud as it wants, what it gets is another story (made into breakfast or let go, time will tell).

  23. Before NEO came out, did Airbus not keep claiming that the technology maturity for an NSA would not be reached until 2025? After NEO and finally MAX were launched, I thought I kept reading that the general consensus was that any NSA type of offering would be pushed back to about 2030, at the earliest.

    My question is what has changed to bring these dates back forward.

    • “My question is what has changed to bring these dates back forward.”

      MAX sales are not performing to expectations. We need ASAP an injection of FUD
      into the situation.

  24. Aero Ninja, I think the pressure and considerations of Boeig and airbus to push for a new small aircraft are not the same. Because the 737 and A320 are not in the same phase of their product live cycles.

  25. I´ll reiterate here @ Krebs2 a comment I inserted into Krebs1, about the venue of feeder “community” speeds, vs cost-efficiency expectations for the next generation feeders (NFA, NFB) : with airspace jamming intensifying, “speed” (true, geographical speed, not airspeed) will be imposed upon operators by ATC, wherefrom speed is turning into a community issue, involving including Politicians, wherefore I fear to say Aeronautical Engineers most likely will not have the last word ?!

    Now, how can a regulator-superimposed common feeder fleet speed throughout possibly be turned into a cost-effective innovation ? Operators pay for ATC through the ATC fees levied by Eurocontrol & alias. These fees escalate. ATC agents strike, they also faint or fall asleep on their jobs from excess fatigue, are subject to mental stress/eye fatigue etc etc (professional ails) … Why not accept once and for all that the problematique of airline pilots flying feeder aircraft in formatted swarms at VGC (community ground speed) and the problematique of ATC agents regulating those same swarms not only are becoming two tasks of supra-human real-time capability, putting the Community in an obvious danger zone, but also are converging in interest with Aeronautical Engineers’ search for evermore operative cost-efficiency ?

    When the science of Engineers reach its limits as far as tweaking or redesigning the INDIVIDUAL AIRCRAFT are concerned, still much more can be achieved from acting upon feeder aircraft FLEETS, technically analysed as a SWARM, to be automated/optimised/controlled (flown/regulated) through ad hoc transponders accepting ultrahighspeed numerical data package transmissions from ground-based way-points with satellite redundancy, including GPS.

    Such an idea possibly could allow airlines doing away with the co-pilot, whilst alleviating the nerve-pressing difficulty of ATC, plus at the same time flying those feeder aircraft a little bit more fuel-efficiently, to the combined advantage for operators of 4 %, possibly up to 6 % better trip costs, at a greater SAFETY ?

  26. .”Its not only marketshare but also capabilities of the aircraft, further future enhancement…

    I do not follow you Keesje, 737 Max also steals away, or flying with heavier loads compared to the 737NG glue for A320 A320 neo vs ceo … In other words the 737 Max is better than the 737NG in all areas including aerodynamics where the A320neo does not change compared to the A320 ceo. Come that is less than the 737max A320 neo is a little naive. Airbus prefer to argue the possibility of cargo with Conteners. There is nothing to justify the ineffectiveness of 737Max although commercially the 737 Max sells less than the A320neo ..

    • That the NEO is just a A320CEO without other changes is just cheap Boeing PR.
      PIP will go on like the Sharklets for the last CEO. The first CEO with Sharklets was delivered in 2013 therefore the Sharklets are also just a CEO feature? On the other side, do you think Boeing presentations compare 737NG against A320CEO with Sharklets?

      How do you explain that “A320neo has over 95 percent airframe commonality with the current A320”. What about the missing 5 %?
      http://www.airbus.com/presscentre/pressreleases/press-release-detail/detail/transaero-airlines-firms-up-order-for-eight-a320neo-aircraft/

    • “737 Max also steals away, or flying with heavier loads compared to the 737NG glue for A320 A320 neo vs ceo … In other words the 737 Max is better than the 737NG in all areas including aerodynamics where the A320neo does not change compared to the A320 ceo”.
      Incorrect. Due to Empty Weight increases that are not fully carried over to MZFW and MTOW, the MAX will carry less payload than the NGs. This is known. It will however take this reduced payload further.

  27. I think it is a well established fact the A321neo is more capable than the 737-9Max.
    Surely Boeing would have ensured to be at least on par in capabilities if that would have been possible with reasonable costs and/or changes.
    So at least in the size category of the A321/737-9 the starting point for Boeing is way less favorably when designing the next generation after NEO and max.

    “Gradfathering” is an additional factor that has been discussed before on this blog. If changes are too extensive, Boeing would have to recertify the whole aircraft against current standards which are more demanding compared to the original standards when the 737 original was developed. The A320 has been designed against much more recent standards.

  28. Well again there seems to be NO real forward looking among you. The next NSA will be a leap in technology just as the A350 is and the 787 was supposed to be. The NSA will be better in all areas of materials, maintenance, power systems, and ground support required. Blended Wings are coming for long-hauls, but the up and down of the regional short-hauls will still be tube with wings. The difference will be in design, construction and integrated power systems. Fuels will be different also, maybe LNG or green fuels or both. If someone ever gets the electric motors technology down in weight and up in power a hybrid maybe in the offering with very low operating cost.

    I know some of you think I am nuts or just dreaming, however as I am 70 years old and still working in aerospace after putting a man on the Moon and have worked many classified projects over the years, I know a lot is very possible that is not currently being done in aviation, just wait and see what’s to come in the very near future. Breakthroughs in materials, power systems and flight dynamics are just about ready for use. The way we build aircraft today will be as foreign tomorrow as the use of wood and canvas for flight structure is now. High-strength and very light weight materials are here and small very powerful engines are next. You people really need to get out more.

  29. Jay in 15 years you will be walking (or wheeling) down a park and watch a United 737MAX flying overhead, wondering what enormous progress has been made since watching a United 737 passing over 60 years ago. 😉

    • Actually NO wheelchair for me and I hope I don’t see a tired old 737 MAX or otherwise 737 still flying overhead because I know what’s coming, but I just can tell you about it at the moment. I also know what’s been flying for quit sometime but again can’t tell you about it as they would come and get me if I do. All I will say is you don’t have a clue Sir and have a nice day. As a reference I was part of the design team that put the engines under the wings of the 737 many years ago and yes Virginia the Aurora is or was a real aircraft.

      • IMO game changing technology and leaps forward are near as long as aviation exists.
        http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120713045126-nasa-1-horizontal-gallery.jpg

        When the tax payers / government can no longer be motivated / scared into investing billions, more and more tickets will have to pay for the aircraft developments and that leads to down to earth, savvy designs.

        Disruptive technology these days draws criticism over tax payer money, ROI, environmental consequences, WTO and alternative ways the money could have been spent. Long gone are the days of nose in the air patriotism, bottomless cold war R&D budgets, national excellence and pride.

        No one in Europe wants to defend multi billion space programs in parliament..

        • If you will go research items such as Transparent Aluminum, GLARE panels, Graphite Ceramics and similar technologies you will see things are changing quickly in the world of materials. With the development of solid state electronics, micro drivers and electric-hydraulics the world of integrated systems are changing also. I recently had a very long discussion with a long-haul aircraft Captain about aircraft controls and current world navigation. It was interesting as he said he has little to do in the cockpit these days. We are not talking about huge investments in hypersonic aircraft, just the fact that flying like anything else is becoming child’s play as compared to say 10 years ago. Just let go of the stick please! The new glass panels and the systems behind them along with modern materials and systems will be updating and improving at light speed. I know as my 4 place plastic turbo aircraft pretty much flies itself. I will be glad when new GCA type systems are at the small fields I normally operate out of. Just plug and play for the most part, not like it was when I started flying in the 1950s.

        • Jay, for some of the new materials you mention I don’t have to look very far 😉 Re garding manned aircraft, research in this area is progressing moving man further into a back-up position, next to the auto pilot and remote control. Automatic landings are the softests, the hard ones are the few percent hand flown to keep the pilots current..

        • September 21, 1897, edition of The (New York) Sun. The editorial, which included the famous reply “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, has become an indelible part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States.

  30. “Gradfathering” is an additional factor that has been discussed before on this blog. If changes are too extensive, Boeing would have to recertify the whole aircraft against current standards which are more demanding compared to the original standards when the 737 original was developed. The A320 has been designed against much more recent standards.

    I agree, the changes on the 737 Max are more consistent and therefore more expensive and I think it is not unfounded to think that Airbus had more flexibility to grant discounts for A320 neo cheaper and introduced earlier that 737max …

  31. I think the issue of cruise speed is key in defining an NSA, if one of the ways to increase efficiency is to reduce cruise speed to M 0.7, then open rotors have a realistic chance, because is the most efficient way to drastically improve propulsive efficiency. There are now turboprops like A400M able to cruise over M 0.7, therefore an optimized airplane for cruise efficiency, could have much better L/D. The main outstanding questions for open rotors are noise, blade off and bird impact, however I do not believe they are show stoppers, although not exactly the same, similar challenges face the high speed propellers and they are solved. However in relative long flight (4 hours or so), the cruise speed makes a difference, and I am not sure if airlines (and passengers) would prefer to fly last generation turbofans at M 0.85, rather than at M 0.7 in these cases.
    I believe NSA below 150 passengers will be open rotors, and for that airplane manufacturers will have to develop new aircrafts with new architectures, therefore they will quite busy and will have to face significant risks. But for larger airplanes (B757 class), open rotors may not be the right solution, probably there would be new aircrafts optimized around 200 passengers with next generation turbofans of 40 Klbf to fly relative long distances. These turbofans will be based on technologies about to be used on large wide body aircrafts (Trent XWB, GE90X) and on single aisle (LEAP and PW1000G), and could be a derivative of current airplanes, therefore there would no major technological challenge. The question is that this aircraft would be a kind of stretched A321 (a B757 type) or a wide body derived from B787 (an A310 type).

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