Odds and Ends: Yields vs growth; 757RS continued; 787 wind tests; airport vs environment

Yields vs growth: AirAsiaX, the long-haul, low cost unit of AirAsia Group, faces that perpetual problem: yields vs growth. Reuters has this story about the conundrum of sacrificing profits now for a long-term growth strategy. It’s always a risky bet. AirAsiaX relies on the Airbus A330 today and has the A350 on order.

757RS, continued: Aeroturbopower has now weighed in on the Boeing 757 replacement discussion.

787 wind tests: We’ve all seen cross-wind landing videos, but where does Boeing go to test landing in high wind conditions for its new 787-9? Lubbock (TX), of all places. This local TV report explains why but unfortunately the TV station muffed showing the landing itself.

Airport vs environment: It’s an age-old story, but this one has a bit of a different twist. The New York Times reports about the conflict between the Westchester County (White Plaines) Airport in New York vs trees on an adjacent property.

Passenger Experience: As nice as it is to have lie-flat seats in Business Class (we haven’t had the pleasure of First Class), this photo from the Boeing Stratocruiser days makes even today’s upper-grade passenger experience seem like it falls short.

22 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Yields vs growth; 757RS continued; 787 wind tests; airport vs environment

  1. You could say the Aeroturbopower article is promoting a B767 replacement as the next thing Boeing should look at. I sort of agree with that, assuming Airbus don’t get there first.

    The NYT article is just another example of the problems of airport growth, the effects of which can be seen in continued upsizing of aircraft in busier airports. I just didn’t think the US was so difficult, but…

  2. Well, if you wanted luxury, maybe the Titanic could be better!

  3. The B-377 Stratocruiser was the most luxurious airliner of its day in the early to mid 1950s. It was much more luxurious than the DC-6/7 or the Connie.

    • The B377 was an economic disaster for Boeing. Only 55 were built for just a few customers: Pan Am, Northwest, BOAC, United, plus American Overseas Airlines [AOA]. Pan Am absorbed AOA and their B377’s in 1950. United sold their fleet to BOAC in 1954; The others were withdrawn around 1960 .

      Boeing made its money on this program from the US Air Force, not the airlines. The USAF bought something like 800 C-97’s and KC-97’s..

      The competing Douglas and Lockheed airliners did not have lower-lobe lounges, but they could be equipped with berths and sleeper seats just like the 377. They had better performance, reliability, and economics than the Stratocruiser

      The final long-range propeller airliners were the DC-7C [1956] and 1649 Starliner [1957]. The early 707’s and DC-8’s replaced them and their predecessors starting in 1959

      • Actually, it was the other way around. The C-97 (Boeing model B-367) was a product of WWII development, and first flew in 1944. The B-377 didn’t fly until 1948. An easy way to tell the difference between the C-97 and the B-377 was the C-97s all had a nose mounted radar beneath the cockpit, the B-377 did not have this.

      • Boeing B377, Lockheed R6V/R6O, Convair XC-99 all show a double bubble fuselage and appear as flying boats sat on wheels. Except for Boeing nobody actually produced this overcome concept in numbers.

    • The Boeing factories producing large aircraft for DoD must have been enormous in the fifties. The amounts of B47, B52, KC-97, KC-135 are staggering by todays measures.

      • KC and Keesje, thank you both for raising these interesting issues. And so we all learn from each other.

        KC, you are correct – the military model 367 did indeed precede the civil model 377. The XC-97 was a short-tail prototype with B-29 engines and nacelles. 1st flight Nov 8 1944. Wartime priorities precluded any immediate civil version, but it was being designed and marketed right after the war, complete with XC-97 photos retouched with lots of porthole windows:


        Boeing’s commitment to a postwar civilian model 377 is shown in this 1945 interior mockup

        First flight of the Model 377 Stratocruiser was July 8 1947. EIS was April 1st 1949 with Pan Am, SFO-HNL. No Stratocruisers were sold to any but the original customers; those customers never added any aircraft to their original orders. Eleven of the 55 aircraft were lost in accidents between 1951 and 1958, with a total of 135 fatalities.

        Keesje, concerning your “where did Boeing find space to build them all” question: they were built in relatively large numbers in Renton and Wichita, but over a long time.
        – B-50 – Renton, 370 aircraft 1947-1953
        – B-47 – The most numerous at 2,032 aircraft. Built at Wichita plus under license by Douglas at Tulsa OK and by Lockheed at Marietta GA.
        – B-52 –744 aircraft 1952-1962; all at Wichita except for some early aircraft built at Boeing Field’s Plant 2, Seattle
        – C-97/KC-97 – Renton, 888 aircraft 1944-1958 [concurrent with 55 Model 377 Stratocruisers]
        – KC-135 and all its variants – Renton, 803 aircraft, 1956-1965 [concurrent with and eventually replaced by 707’s and 727’s.]

        According to the June 11 1955 Aviation Week, there was some internal Boeing discussion as to whether or not a civil 707 was even worth the time and expense.

        • Thnx for the interesting backgrounds. Knowing the low level of automation in those days the amounts of people at Boeing and their supply chain must have been enormous. The “good old” cold war paid for many households.

          • The late 1940s and through the 1950s and into the 1960s saw huge leaps in technology in aviation. The jet engine maturing, swept wings, improved pressurization, passenger comfort, improved communications and navigation, the first wide body airliners, etc. Yes, the free world’s military forces paid for a lot of this type of research, as did NASA. The military forces of the US, UK, Canada, France, Spain, and Italy, just to name a few. Just about every airplane and engine OEM also contributed something we all take for granted today.
            That was probably the most exciting 25 year time period in aviation history, going from 250 knot airplanes, to the first jet airliners (Comet, B-707, DC-8, CV-880), to the Jumbo Jets (B-747, L-1011, DC-10, A-300), to the Moon Landing.

          • I’d guess about 1/3rd to have been war spoils 😉

        • Uwe, the emotion at the end of your message implies irony, or sarcasm, or … what?

          The above-listed bomber programs, plus Convair’s B-36 and B-58, plus Tupolev;s TU-16 and TU-95, plus the V-bombers, all succeeded by reciprocally deterring their use for their intended purpose.

          Had they been used, the few formerly-human survivors (if any) would still be digging through heaps of radioactive rubble in a doomed attempt to restart some kind of civilization.

          So perhaps all the billions upon billions of dollars and pounds-sterling and rubles were not wasted after all

        • What about “sardonic sarcasm in a friendly setting” ;-?

  4. Saw the 787-9 at Keflavik, Iceland on Apr. 19th, maybe they did not get enough winds there, took off shortly after us and appeared by r/t comms to be heading for Seattle. Looks a lot better than the 787-8, which incidentally I travelled on (for the first time) LHR-CAN earlier in the week. Have to say that it failed to “wow” me.

    • The 787-9 with a two class cabin, 8 abreast in the back and good cargo load seems an excellent replacement for older A330/340, 767-300/400ER and 772ERs where those are not fully utilized. I suspect Boeing is around the table with many airlines that want to upgrade from -8 to -9. Airlines will get the 787 3-5 years later then promised and traffic has grown meanwhile. It seems the 787-8 has few advantages over the -9, if it is as improved as Boeing promises. One good reason to stick to -8 contracts being the extreme low prices negotiated in the 2004-2007 period.

    • April offered me my first opportunity of flying BA on the 787 unfortunately in economy. Following Oceancrosser’s observation I was equally underwhelmed, whilst being a clear improvement on what went before (767/777 & cabin noise) the return VA flight on a A330 out of JFK to LHR was as good if not better.

      • Potato, potahto.
        Flew the BA 787 EWR-LHR Y class and found it nicer than current generation WBs, but primarily from the inside appearance, larger windows (and electronic controls), and watching the wing flex. Flight was relatively short so advantages of humidity and pressure were not really noticeable.

  5. B757RS or general single aisle replacement: any aircraft positioned above current A320/B737 in terms of capability will fight two issues:
    – generally unfavorable CASM for the actual A320/B737 mission (165Pax@1500nm) due to being oversized
    – not fitting into ICAO III gate unlimit unless having unfavorable wing design

    Hence, any aircraft going above current single aisles would be a supplement. The market of the 150-180 seat single aisle is such a large one, that only purpose-designed aircraft would suffice.

    The problem with the 2-3-2 twin aisle (as indicated in the research paper linked here a few weeks ago and recently by AspireAviation) is that it is inferior in terms of CASM to a smaller single aisle, espeically when it comes along with more range (larger wing, heavier aircraft).

  6. Under odds and ends ..

    This extracted from the Everett Herald got me thinking of a hypothetical conversation between certain leaders of BA and Russia
    Boeing loyal to its Russian investments
    By John Burbank

    . . .Boeing is taking the “go slow” route. It has too much to lose withdrawing from Russia. One of Boeing’s buddies in Russia is Sergey Chemezov. He was just placed on the sanctions list as a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. This guy has a “strategic partnership” with Boeing to build titanium parts. His company supplies about a third of the titanium used in Boeing’s jets. Last November Boeing committed to a joint venture in the Ural Mountains to produce titanium, reduce machining costs, and establish more than 100 new jobs … there.
    According to its own publications, “Boeing is one of Russia’s largest partners in the areas of innovation and high technology.” Boeing intends to invest $27 billion in Russia. The Moscow Boeing design center has participated in hundreds of projects for the 747, 737, 777, 767 and 787 family of planes. Don’t believe me, read this for yourself: http://www.boeing.com/assets/pdf/aboutus/international/docs/backgrounders/russia-cisbackgrounder.pdf


    Now consider that BA outsources a lot of engineering to Russia, NASA pays about 70 million for Round trip to space station, Russia even during cold war was/is a major supplier of titanium ore and sponge, and we now buy a lot of old russian rocket engines since we have little capability to design or produce our own . So in an not too alternate world we might have the following phone call.

    Ring ring … Hello, this is Jim McNearney . .
    Vlad This is Vlad P . hows it going with you today ?
    Jim Oh .. fine, but why do you ask Mr P?
    Vlad Well Jim . . . pause can I call you JIM ? “
    Jim “Certainly sir, I’m honored ..”
    Vlad “ and you can call me Vlad “

    Vlad. The reason I called Jim, is that your President has been harassing a few of my friends, and especially Sergy C. Put him on a sanctions list
    JIm But why call me ?
    Vlad- well Sergy brought to my attention that ablaut 30 percent of our titanium is used in your jets, and there is a long term contract in n place regarding costs and prices and . .
    Jim- yes thats right. And we also have shipped a lot of our design work to your wonderful engineers in Moscow. They do great work, at a much lower cost, and we don’t have to pay benefits or put up with unions and ..
    VLAD – thats what I wanted to talk to you about.
    JIM Oh . . . . .

    VLAD I thought it would only be polite to give you a heads up before my announcement today about our response to the Sanctions imposed by your president and his cronies.

    JIM – I don’t understand, How am I involved ?

    VLAD Effective tomorrow – I am abrogating all contracts with the U.S and its followers.

    JIM But but but . . . that would be illegal , improper, and unethical ..

    VLAD Jim , you are entitled to your opinion but I’m in charge here. I’ve got the titanium, I make the rules.

    JIM Oh . . . . so what are the changes ?

    VLAD they are severalfold but Ill keep it simple

    1) The price to you ( BA and U.S ) for titanium forgings is now up by a factor of 5. For ore/sponge by a factor of 4.

    2) Trips to the Space Station now cost 300 million/trip plus costs.

    3) Our rocket engines now cost 10 times as much

    4) Our Engineers will now cost 30 times as much plus a guarantee of benefits equal to those you removed from your employees

    5) I was not impressed how you dealt with your loyal workers regarding phony cries of ‘ we cannot afford . .” while you and your capitalist friends made off with millions. As you know, we here have a workers paradise, everyone gets treated equally, and our workers are very loyal. Until you and your capitalist friends turn over all your surplus wealth for the benefit of the state by paying 95 percent taxes, and turn back the scheme of 9 Billion subsidy paid for on the backs of your workers, we will continue to raise our costs to you at least 10 percent per year or until the U.S and its cronies revoke the sanctions on my friends.

    JIm- But but but but . .

    VLAD – sounds like a lawnmower there .. I’ve got nothing more to say so have a good day JIM

    Dos vadayna ….

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