Odds and Ends: Cockpit changes in the 777X; CSeries test progress; order bubble; MH370

Cockpit changes in 777X: Aviation Week has a detailed article about changes in the cockpit for the Boeing 777X, including displays and its fly-by-wire system. The changes enable a common type rating with the 787, according to Aviation Week. Along with changes planned for the cockpit of the 737 MAX, Boeing is moving toward the Airbus philosophy of common cockpits throughout the family line, a feature that Airbus was able to adopt having been able to start from scratch with its airplane families while Boeing was more constrained, having airplanes that spanned decades.

Airbus has used the common cockpit approach as a key element of its sales campaigns.

CSeries test progress: Bombardier’s CSeries flight testing has cleared flight envelope extremes, according to Flight Global.

Order bubble? There is a perpetual question whether there is an order bubble in which airlines have over-ordered airplanes from the Big Two. (The Smaller Two don’t seem to count in the debate.) David Strauss of UBS has long believed this to be the case. Ascend consultancy will have a webinar May 22 to discuss this issue.

MH370: The Wall Street Journal reports that some investigators now have doubts about the validity of the pings detected in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

35 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Cockpit changes in the 777X; CSeries test progress; order bubble; MH370

  1. I have long thought it more logical for MH-370 to have turned northwest, rather than south. The Aussies have been looking in the wrong place, that is getting more obvious everyday.
    Getting a common type rating certification to fly the B-777X and B-787 by the same pilots is not new. Boeing pioneered that concept back in the 1970s with the B-757 and B-767. Airbus has followed with several airplanes with a common type rating. One day both major OEMs may have a common type rating across their entire product line-up.
    More important will be the common avionics between the B-777X and B-787, as this will reduce the number of spares needed and simplify maintenance procedures and tools needed.
    The folding wingtips of the B-777X design can benefit from Boeing’s decades of experience in fighter aircraft, particularly the Navy fighters, as they have been able to fold their wings since before WWII. Folding vertical tails have been a feature on larger aircraft since the B-377 and B-50.

    • I have my doubts about the usefulness of Folding Wings on a commercial jetliner. Even though lots of people point out that folding wings on aircraft have been around for about 70 years, why has it taken this long for anyone to seriously consider putting them on a commercial jetliner?

      Why weren’t folding wings on the 747, the 757 or the 767? Why weren’t folding wings on the initial version of the 777? Why wait so long to implement such a “Proven” technology?

      • A folding wing option was offered on both the B-772 and B-77E back in the 1990s. No airline ordered that option

      • Folding wingtips are very useful in that they allow engineers to get around the gate restrictions on span allowing them instead to utilize the optimum span (balance of weight and induced drag) for a given aircraft mission. In my opinion, using the optimum span is always better than using winglets or wingtip fences, if possible.

        Why weren’t folding wingtips used until now on commercial transports? Well, why weren’t winglets used until the 80’s on commercial transports?

      • Well the same argument could be made for the A380, why wait until 2004 (or whenever it was conceived) to fly a double decker plane right? But the needs of the aviation landscape changed and Airbus found a niche aircraft to uncongest airports around the planet. Boeing always had the technology for the wingtip for a long time it wasn’t until now when it would be such an asset in such an amazing aircraft.

        • Just off the top Boeing 314 and Boeing Clipper were both double deck and in service; Saunders Princess flew flight trials but didn’t enter service; Hughes H-4 probably had 27 decks but didn’t go into flight trials. I’m sure there were more before 2004.

          • Just off the top of my head:
            Junkers G38 (1929, idea from 1910) had a multi deck layout ( low one in the nose, seating in the wingroot, raised on top of the trailing edge, ~same level as wingroot seating in the tail )
            http://www.junkers.de/flugzeuge/specials/g38 ( see drawings or use google translate )

            LZ129/LZ130 had two deck passenger space.

    • Boeing pioneered that concept back in the 1970s with the B-757 and B-767.

      let me correct that for you:
      Boeing borrowed the Airbus commonality concept ( introduced with A300/A310 ) and one upped it to cover an NB and a WB craft. something similar seems to have happened with Airbus glass cockpit and the introduction of “dials on screens” at Boeing 😉

      • The A-300, up through the B4 version was a 3 man cockpit crew. The B-767 originally was ordered by UA as a 3 man cockpit crew, but was changed to a 2 man crew before it entered service in 1982. The B-757 also entered service with a 2 man crew in 1982. The A-310, which also had a two man crew entered service in 1983..
        The A-300-600 entered service in 1983 with a 2 man crew.
        Both the B-757 and B-767 were certified with a common type rating for the 2 man cockpit crew in 1981.
        The A-306 and A-312 were certified with a common type rating for a 2 man crew in 1982, when both the B-757 and B-767 were already in airline service.
        But the A-310 was always a version of the A-300, having the original designation of the A-300-B10. The A-310 is just a shorter A-300, essentially the same airplane. It is not a different airplane like the B-757 and B-767 are.

        • There never has been any Airbus with an original designation of “A-300-B10”. Nor has there ever been an Airbus with a designation of “A-306”, “A-300-600”, “A-312”, “A-300” or “A-310”. All your Airbus designations are for some fictitious designs.

          • anfromme, I hyphenate airplane designations because that’s what we did when I was in the USAF.

          • Strato, the A-306 is the ICAO designation for all models of the A-300-600, the A-312 designation is for the A-310-200.

        • There never has been any Airbus with an original designation of “A-300-B10″

          Well, the A310 was in its project stages actually called the A300-B10, so KC has a point there.

          However, why exactly KC insists on adding the hyphen between the “A” and the numerical part of Airbus’ type designations, though, is one of his little secrets.
          All official documentation and type ratings use the un-hyphenated version, and to my knowledge, this was never any different. I’ve at least never seen any official document using the hyphen.
          Anyway – we all probably know what “A-300” is supposed to refer to, I guess.

        • …while we’re at it, I got the A300-B10 wrong as well, which should of course read
          A300B10. No hyphens whatsoever, just as in A300B4.

        • “However, why exactly KC insists on adding the hyphen between the “A” and the numerical part of Airbus’ type designations, though, is one of his little secrets.”

          I believe Boeing doesn’t use a “B-” prefix, either. It’s just a 767, not B-767. (Unless KC is referring to a USAF bomber version of the same, of course …)

      • Uwe, KC is correct on this one. 😉

        The A300-600 incorporating the tail section of the A310 first flew in 1983. The real revolution, though, came with the A320 and the introduction of digital fly-by-wire controls that enabled Airbus to offer a very high degree of operational commonality, with nearly identical cockpit designs and handling characteristics on the A320, A330/A340, A350 and A380.

        • heh,
          if you read up on 767 and 757 gestation ( I’ve taken the WP:EN pages ) it looks like the commonality aspect was added late in the 757 development ( loosing the technical 727 pedigree on the way ) while the 767 and A310 projects seem to have “walked in parallel” ( interesting runoff in FG at the time also with a note to EFIS and the B mimikry )

        • Uwe, I forgot all about the A300B4-220 that had a two-crew cockpit as well, although it didn’t have the glass cockpit of the A310.

          As for certification, the 767 was certificated in July, 1982, the 757 in December 1982, the A310 in March, 1983 and the A300-600 in March 1984. Hence, it cetainly looks like Boeing got there first in respect to common type rating. 😉



    • There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes with MH370 than you could ever imagine & to accuse the Australians of searching in the wrong area is totally unreasonable.

      Australia’s population is less than twenty one million & it’s throwing as much as it can at this search. The opinion & main concern here in Australia is who is going to pay the final invoice, the problem is correctly identified here as Boeings & MA’s

      Unfortunately we don’t openly see Boeing, MA or the Malaysian Goverment offering their queue books,. As a responsible manufacturer Boeing appear totally complacent & could learn much by adopting Airbus’s strategic approach in handling the AF447 incident.

      • – – – – – There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes with MH370 than you could ever imagine – – – – –

        My guess is that substantial national security surveillance assets were involved in the location of 370 (and probably feeding data to Inmarsat to allow back-calculations), which is why the “full details” are not and never will be released. But those that know aren’t talking and those that are talking presumably don’t know, so that can only be a guess.

  2. I always thought that a bubble was largely defined by quickly inflating prices of assets. This is clearly not the case in aircraft trading, so perhaps the use of the term ‘bubble’ is misplaced.

    As to whether there is risk inherrent in the higher volumes of aircraft being ordered and delivered, perhaps there are three areas to consider:

    1. What is the risk for the airlines that they are ordering too many?
    2. What is the risk for the OEMs that they misjudge airline overbooking and end up with white tails?
    3. What is the risk on asset values if the market is oversupplied and/or starts to have a increased quantity of parked airframes which have come out of service earlier than has been historically the case?

    • Interesting points. Regarding both Airbus and Boeing, I wonder if either OEM would deny or reject a RFP because it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the carrier. (play the role of the consultant than the salesperson) I.e say WN came to Boeing and said we want to buy 15 777-300ER’s. Obviously WN wouldn’t but if they were serious would Boeing say “no, we know that you can’t fill that plane on top of how much you’ll spend in fuel, crew, maintenance etc. We care about you the customer and would rather lose money on this order than sell you a plane that will drain your resources and finances”

      • Boeing ( or any other airframer at that ) wouldn’t care all too deeply for the customer.
        But foundered customers leave dirty smears and are also lost as future customers.
        That probably places some stops against “fridges for Inuit” sales campaigns.

        There is another facet to this topic:
        Customers tend to describe their requirements in “known” solution elements.
        A good solution provider would roll back that description to what the actual requirements are. … and provide an innovative ( if possible ) solution with ideas that leverage newer concepts. In case of Boeing they missed out on explaining to their customers the advantages of leaving the 707 soul behind when transitioning from the 737 Classic to the NG.

        A third one is that “philosophic warfare” is used to garner sales ( example: B:P2P versus A:H2H ). Some Philosophies are distinct missteps that are destroyed by the future. Some are only really meaningfully different if you massively oversimplify
        their core statement.

    • Probably the availability of investors plays a role. Good investments have become scarce, and investing in airliners appears (by historic standards) as a relatively safe investment, especially because you always keep a collateral – the aircraft. That is – compared to a house in the suburbs of Tampa, Florida – far easier to change back into money.
      Today most aircraft are payd for by investment vehicles.
      Apparently, it appears to be a very German thing. We also invested big in the 2007 housing bubble.

  3. Boeing offers a 757-767 common type rating – once qualified, pilots can literally walk off one airplane onto the other and back. again. Considering all the seniority rules does anyone have any info as to how much this is actually used?

    Despite the flight deck differences between the classics and the NG’s,
    Boeing’s 737 type rating covers all the models contingent on transition training.

    The following is based on http://www.airbus.com/innovation/proven-concepts/in-design/commonality/

    Airbus offers a common type rating within the A320 [318-319-320-321] family; it does not including the FBW widebodies. The A330-340, A350 and A380 all have their own type ratings. Airbus has something they call “cross-crew qualification” based on the high degree of flight deck commonality.

    Here’s how AB describes it: “Cross-Crew-Qualification (CCQ) is a unique concept developed by Airbus, which gives pilots the possibility of transitioning from one Airbus FBW-equipped type to another via difference training instead of full type rating training. The transition training from A320 Family aircraft to the A380 takes 13 working days, from A330/A340 Family aircraft it takes 12 working days, while a pilot with no Airbus FBW experience requires 24 working days to complete the A380 standard type rating course. These time savings lead to lower training costs for airlines and considerably increased crew productivity. The annual savings in training and payroll costs through improved productivity from the reduced transition time can be up to $300,000 for each new Airbus aircraft added to the fleet. It is also more economical for an airline to recruit new pilots who are already Airbus qualified. For pilots, this benefit provides greater mobility and better prospects for employment”

    • Oviver, the 757/767 type rating has been used a lot. Perhaps less at American carriers than other due to seniority, but still. I have flown a 757 out and a 767 back in the same day. The 757 is sporty, the 767 is the better workplace.

  4. p.s. another difference – the 737 and A320 families are all derivatives with each family under its respective type certificate.

    The 757 and 767 are different aircraft each certified under their own type certificate

      • I think he means Boeing finally catching up to the cross family common cockpit system that Airbus has had in place for years now.

  5. For the record those.aircraft that you mentioned were not developed to serve a.specific purpose other than to move people around, unlike the A380 which was developed because the market needed a plane that size with those economics to transport herds of people on heavy trunk routes around the globe. But this discussion is not about the A380 or double deckers. Back to topic.

  6. “Although deploying the CSeries to the Farnborough airshow in July may be a tempting marketing opportunity, Bombardier’s priority for the test fleet is the certification programme, Beaudoin says.”

    Tempting? It’s a perfect marketing opportunity! Get the first GTF commercial passenger plane to Farnsborough and sell it! Charles Lindbergh make it across the Atlantic over 80 years ago! Bombardier can count the flight as test hours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *