Pontifications: The crystal ball

Hamilton KING5_2

By Scott Hamilton

May 30, 2016, © Leeham Co.: We at Leeham Co. and Leeham News and Comment take some risk when we make analyses, forecasts, projections and predictions. These often put us out on a limb, open us to criticism and even ridicule and as often as not really pisses off those companies that are the target of such predictions.

Some recent events and news stories caught my eye that validated something I predicted eleven years ago.

First, the set up.

  • Ray Conner, the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told employees the January deal with United Airlines for 40 737-700s was a move to block an order from an emerging competitor, an order which would be validating of the new airplane.
  • Boeing began seriously studying the 737-7X (also dubbed the MAX 7.5 by The Wall Street Journal’s Jon Ostrower) in part to respond to this new, competitive airplane.
  • Boeing offered used 717s and Embraer E190s to Delta Air Lines in competition with the same new airplane to block that prospective order. Boeing didn’t even offer the 737, in any version.
  • Delta instead ordered 75 and optioned 50 more of this new airplane, providing the validation Boeing hoped to block at United.
  • Moody’s, the investment rating service, called it the end of the Airbus-Boeing duopoly.

By now, of course, the reader knows I’m talking about the Bombardier C Series.

On March 31, 2005, a guest column I wrote for The Seattle Times was titled, Look out Boeing, here comes Bombardier. Eleven years ago. In the column, I warned that Boeing would be complacent, and rely on too many derivatives going forward–to its error and regret. The column brought criticism and ridicule, as well as disbelief.

There was plenty of turbulence for the C Series to come, which I didn’t forecast. The first iteration was stillborn and had to be relaunched in 2008 to today’s successful design. (Remember that Boeing floated three different versions of a follow-on to the 747-400 before settling on the 747-8 and Airbus went through five iterations of the A350 before coming up with a winner in the XWB.) I certainly didn’t foresee the bungling of the prior Bombardier management when it came to selling the C Series into an entirely different market sector than they were used to in the regional jet and turboprop markets. (The new management has got it right.) Throughout BBD’s trials and tribulations during the development and stalled sales campaigns, critics of the C Series and of BBD continued to cast doubt over the success or failure of the program.

Boeing’s response to the prospect of United ordering the C Series, and now with Delta’s validation, the program clearly is on its way.

In that 2005 column, I wrote, “Today, Bombardier is poised to move up on Boeing as Boeing did on Douglas and as Airbus did on Boeing.” Airbus certainly understood the threat when in 2010, John Leahy, COO-Customers, and Tom Williams, then-EVP of Programs, declared Airbus would not ignore Bombardier as Boeing had ignored Airbus in the early days. Leahy, always the competitor, aggressively priced the A320(ceo) against the CS300 and blocked several potential deals.

I also wrote, “Boeing needs a new commitment from its leadership to the next quarter century instead of the next fiscal quarter. A replacement for the sturdy, but aging 737 product line is needed. So, too, is an attitude that investment in its airliners is necessary to keep Boeing as a premier leader in commercial aviation, not a grudging make-do with derivatives of old, out-of-date planes (757-300, 767-400 and the 737-900).” How prescient has this turned out to be?

The close of that 2005 column was really bold and perhaps the most open to criticism. But who knows: another 20 years may prove it correct. Boeing passes on creating a new, clean-sheet replacement for the 737 and 777. Instead, it pursued derivatives.Only the MAX 8 is selling well of the three family members (four if you count the MAX 200 as a separate model, though it’s just a high-density version of the MAX 8.) Sales of the 777X have stalled.

Boeing today doesn’t want to do a Middle of the Market airplane. Its focus is on a MAX 7.5 and maybe a MAX 10, two more derivatives of a 1950/60s design. Few doubt that once the C Series becomes profitably in the next decade that BBD won’t pursue larger aircraft.

Midway Airport through the decades

I got my start in commercial aviation at Midway Airlines (the first one) at Midway Airport in Chicago. Thus, I’ve always had a soft spot and special interest in this airport. I recently discovered a 2001 30-minute history of the airport that was posted last year on You Tube. It has a lot of piston film footage and traces the history from the 1920s.


156 Comments on “Pontifications: The crystal ball

  1. In many industries, managers seem not to devote time to the study – and understanding – of the History of their sector; of themselves, of their predecessors and of their competitors.

    In France, the first grade in aeronautics studies – ta be taken generally before being 18!! -(BIA = “Brevet d’initiation Aeronautique”), include one fifth dedicated to the study of History of Aeronautics. Although I consider that the program is not enough world-oriented (i.e. French-centric, are you astonished??), I try to highlight the above priorities, to explain that the History of the major actors of Economic life is as important as the history of Nations (where many of them are smaller than many major companies!!). And, most important, I want them to understand that things have changed a lot – and fast!!- over just a century; That there is still changing fast by mentioning at the beginning of each course, some of the most recent and importnat Nex=ws of the day. And it is quite sure, that they will moving and fast; and they – the students – might be “actors” of this perpetual anf future evolution!!

    • An interesting quote from Wikipedia:
      “[It] was now too small to handle the increased passenger densities on the routes for which it was designed. Stretching the fuselage was not a viable option because the installation of larger, more powerful engines would, in turn, need a larger undercarriage, which was not feasible given the design’s limited ground clearance.”

      That was not the MAX, though, but the 707, some 50 years ago. And yet somehow we have a very similar situation again.

      • Those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it.

        • History tell us the 707 WAS replaced by the 757 and 767. That was the real reason a stretch or re-engine ( first airliner to test fly with CFM) wasnt proceeded with.

          • “History tell us the 707 WAS replaced by the 757 and 767.”

            Well, you are re-writing history, for the 707 was replaced by the 747.

          • Whatever plane it was replaced by, the fact is that there was a ground clearance problem.

            And the same problem reappeared again on the 737, 50 years later.

          • Douglas were able to stretch the DC-8 into a 250 seater while Boeing could not do the same with the 707 because there was a rotation problem similar to what we see today on the 737 MAX 9 due to its short-legs configuration. The consequences of this are a longer distance for take-off and poor performances at high airport altitudes and in hot weather conditions. Boeing should have come up with a clean-sheet design BEFORE Airbus launched the neo. But all their attention and energy were at that time directed at fixing the 787 problems. From that perspective it could be argued that the Dreamliner effectively killed and buried the NSA. When the dust finally settled down the next priority was the 777X. But unfortunately Boeing’s vision had for a too long period of time been greatly diminished when they were caught in the 787 whirlwind while at the same time having to deal with strong neo headwinds coming from Europe and a fast progressing C Series snowstorm coming down from Canada.

  2. How prescient Scott.

    The b737, often seen as the stalwart sales performer for Boeing has been an illustration of poor strategic thinking over 30 years. The unwillingness to respond to the a320 with clean sheet designs, to consider the importance of a321 with a competitor, b757/b737/mom. Further the neo has managed to put Boeing into a corner with startling ease only for the cSeries to start pummelling it from below.

    The flip side is that over those years Boeing have extracted massive cash and profit out of this programme. The only trouble with this approach is that sooner or later the music will stop.

    I think Boeing (and Airbus with the a320) are concerned with the need to respond to the cSeries with something new. The considerable in situ infrastructure and the importance of the current income stream make this decision potentially painful and difficult even if it is successful. The one thing that makes it imperative to do it now is the very healthy order book they currently have, things could potentially be far far more difficult if and when that order books starts to shrivel.

    • I continue to ask the question, is the C Series market an area that Boeing and Airbus really want to compete in?

      I remember Boeing brief ownership of DeHavliand, not worth the time and effort for the return (according to them, probably had more to do with being polite to other people)

      If the market is moving up like it looks like, then while the C Series is a great adjunct and if you are agile (now) then a great product and contribution to aviation from Bombardier.

      While the 737 is beyond dated, the A320 is not so much. For an all new, what kind of efficiency do you get out of that 180 to 240 (ungh) seat class?

      And what does it cost to produce and sell it?

      For Airbus, they still have the derivative route that doesn’t cost an arm and let (10 billion more or less) vs maybe 2 billion for a new wing.

      Boeing can re-wing the 737 until the cows come home and its still a compromised as the entire combination of wing and fuselage cannot be optimized (and engine location)

      Airbus (and Boeing) real challenge would be if Bombardier headed a joint Chinese and Canadians effort in an all new 180-250 market with the latest design . Obviously Bombardier has the wing design expertise to do that and P&W was be doing back flips to provide the engine.

      • The Chinese have started on their own design C919 without Canadian help, but as usual in China they may have ‘ borrowed the plans’ from A320.

        And as usual after the rollout in Nov 2015 first flight keeps getting pushed back with first delivery ‘some time in 2019’

        • That’s why wonder about a tie up between BBD and China. Not something I would like to see but would understand the money issue and the block out attempt by A and B.

          China will never catch up let alone surpass A or B by copying the last generation technology.

  3. Boeing made a major strategic mistake in not replacing the 737 at the time of the NG — the NG had new wings, new engines, new avionics — it wouldn’t have cost that much to make it all new. It would have been devastating to the A320 family. As it was, Airbus has been (accurately) able to portray the A320 as the most modern narrowbody up to today, when now the CSeries takes the running. There have been times in the past 20 years when the A320 has kept Airbus in the game, and life would have been much harder for Airbus had Boeing had an all-new narrowbody product.

    The MAX is now clearly warming the leftovers at least once too many times.

    It’s frustrating watching such a naturally-gifted company like Boeing make so many bad product decisions over the years.

    • It’s hard to name the 737NG a bad decision when Boeing sold so many NG over the last 20 years.

      In my opinion they should have launched a successor timely, when their engineering people told them it would be hard to fit real good engines under the 737, one way or the other.

      It was no surprise Airbus could / would do so. Airbus had been discussing it since 1999 and flight testing from 2008.

      Even before NEO launch, it was clear the 737-900 would run into problems later on. http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/4907469

      Looking back, 2011 was the whammy year for the 737. http://www.pdxlight.com/neo3.png Since then Boeing has been in the defense, denying, confusing media/ supporters, discounting, racking up undisclosed orders etc.

      We have to remember 2008-2012 were the 787 drama years, sucking up most management attention, resources, best men.

      Combined with a key capability management seems to have lost over time: Humble Listening.

      First no MAX was needed, Airbus was just catching up, then 66 inch was the best fan size, then 68 was the sweetspot, growing to 69.2. Now the NEO sized fan is on the agenda. I wouldn’t like to be the sales manager going back to the airlines.


      The biggest issue restoring Boeings crucial NB market position is, in my opinion, avoiding launching something expensive that can easily be matched or leapfrogged a few years later by Airbus. Lessons learned 787..

      • They sold 7000 NG’s

        Keeping the company afloat during the Dreamliner years.

        Honestly, I would hesitate naming that a mistake 🙂

        • Sure, but when push came to shove in 2011, Boeing had no real option but to offer yet another revamp of the 737. This time around, however, Boeing wasn’t able to hold on to a 50 percent market share in the single aisle market segment – like they managed to do with the 737NG.

          • “Boeing wasn’t able to hold on to a 50 percent market share in the single aisle market segment – like they managed to do with the 737NG.”

            If it was such a bad decision to do the NG instead of a clean-sheet design, like you have always said, and still maintain today if I am not mistaken, how can you justify that view when confronted with a 50% share of the market? Would they have needed more than 50% of the market to justify their decision? What you don’t seem to understand is that the NG cost nothing to develop and Boeing made billions of dollars with it. The NG allowed Boeing to extract all the potential that was left in the 737. If they had not done the NG it would have been a big waste, while doing the MAX was a big mistake. On one side there is a group of people who say Boeing should have done a clean-sheet design instead of the NG; and on the other there is a group of people who say it’s too early to do the NSA because the technology is not there yet. I think both groups are seriously mistaken. But that is only my opinion. Or IMJ, like you would put it yourself. 😉

          • Normand, it’s a mistake to believe that the 737NG “cost nothing to develop”. In fact, it was closer to half an all new aircraft than “next to nothing”. Also, the development required for the 737NG was much more extensive than what’s required for the current MAX undertaking — a little bit more than a re-engining — and more on par with what was required for the development of the 747-8. Here’s a link to good overview of all of the changes undertaken for the 737NG — i.e. a redesigned bigger wing, larger vertical and horizontal stabilisers, more powerful 757-style electrical system, re-designed fuel system, re-designed flight control system and upgraded avionics, upgraded environmental control system, etc.

            https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1996/1996%20-%202210.html?search=737 next generation

            Nobody is arguing that the 737 has not been a very profitable enterprise for Boeing. However, that’s not the issue here. It’s whether or not the 737NG was the best course of action for Boeing in 1993. IMJ, it was not. 😉

            Boeing’s strategic mistake, IMO, with respect to launching the 737NG family instead of an all new single aisle aircraft that, among other things, could have had a lot of commonality with the 777, was their; a), failure not to future proof the product with respect to next generation engines – especially true for the larger dash-900 version; b), failure not to foresee the development of significantly more efficient engines for single aisles in the medium term; c), failure not to foresee that a future re-engining of the A32X-series could herald a major upheaval to the competitive landscape in the single aisle market; d), their failure not to foresee that a truly competitive response to a re-engined A32X-series would run the risk of having to be forfeited if Airbus could launch something that would be significantly more revolutionary, within a decade; and e), was their failure not to foresee that the company might not have the technical and financial resources available at a possible day of reckoning, when having to decide whether or not to launch an all new single aisle platform.

            As for point d) above; one should keep in mind that we seem to be entering a new era where action to curb greenhouse gas emissions will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that mankind undertake, more than ever before.

            This means dramatically increasing energy efficiency and a likely significant shortening of current generation aircraft life cycles. Therefore, disruptive technologies should IMJ be expected to be coming online in the not too distant future — even in the LCA business.

            Thus, if Boeing had launched an all new single aisle aircraft in 2011, they would not only have had issues with time-to-market (i.e. a critical metric), but also the “threat” of a disruptive technology popping up half-way, or so, in the projected life-cycle of their all new single aisle platform.

            In fact, I do believe that the C-series is facing could be facing a similar “threat”. By 2030, Airbus has indicated that they believe “that by 2030 passenger aircraft below 100 seats could be propelled by hybrid propulsion systems.”


        • The NG was not a mistake but the mentality that got set into concrete was.

          ie. we can keep doing this forever and buying off the shareholders with cash back.

          Also keep in mind, the 787 years were CAUSED by management, they were not a victim. There were virtually no true technical busts.

          The few there were had all to do with the program the way management set it up (my folks knew better than to let their new born children run wild, we were closely monitored for the first 5 years and then given responsibility as it was earned.)

          Bluntly put Boeing management bought into their own BS, and it bit them.

          With 20+ billion thrown away, they could have launched two more programs. Instead they are lucky that the one they did is now working. And the cost has been beyond the 33 billion.

          The NG should have been the very last.

          • enplaned:

            Naturally gifted does not figure into it. Good well founded engineering and company managed for the long term does.

            Frankly there is no such thing. You learn from the school of hard knocks (or you don’t)

            With the way they grab CEOs now there is no heritage, no memory and its all about shareholders (until it crashes).

        • The issue is not how much Boeing sold, but how much more they could have sold. Could they have prevented the A320 series becoming the narrowbody sales-leader? There have been times in the past 20 years when the A320 carried Airbus. If that program had been marginalized, Airbus would have been in serious trouble. Imagine a world where Boeing had a much larger market share, where Airbus never got close to parity, where Boeing maintained a far greater level of dominance.

          • The reason Boeing was able to maintain parity is because the 737-8 held twelve more seats than the A320. But the latter offered better passenger comfort and a larger cargo hold. But today Boeing can hardly keep up because the A321neo is far superior to the 737 MAX 9. And because of that the 737 MAX is loosing value because if an airline is to acquire the A321neo it might as well acquire the A320 along with it instead of the 737 MAX 8. Like I have said before Boeing has effectively painted itself into a corner. But many Boeing fans cannot see this because of the huge backlog. But the DC-6 also had a huge backlog before the 707 was introduced. And because of that Douglas had to come up quickly with the DC-8 and they were in catch-up mode thereafter until they ran out of breath.

  4. There is no doubt Boeing is heading towards very interesting times.

  5. This Seattle Times article is so relevant to the present situation that about halfway through I momentarily forgot completely I was reading an article that had been written in 2005. That article is the more remarkable because eleven years later I would not change a single word of that prescient paper.

    When Bombardier introduced the C Series at Farnborough in 2008 only a handful of observers (LNC/AI/FG) could have written a similar article, but not in 2005. For there is a huge difference between the C Series that was offered in 2008 and the one that had been proposed in 2004. In its early incarnation the C Series was more or less a renamed BRJ-X, which had never impressed anyone. But I think I know what may have caught the attention of the author: Bombardier had just hired one Gary Scott who had previously been General Manager of the 737/757 program at Boeing. In other words our Scott may have been tipped by the arrival of Boeing’s Scott at BBD. After all both were, and still are, residents of Seattle. But this may have been an unconscious process. For when someone with credentials like Gary Scott is hired by a company like Bombardier it shows how serious they are in their intention to enter into the big leagues.

    And as a prelude to all this it is interesting to note that after the war H. Oliver West became President of Canadair, which was owned by General Dynamic before being acquired by Bombardier. West is credited for being responsible for Boeing’s amazing wartime output, and as Executive VP he expected to become CEO one day. But when Bill Allen was chosen instead of him he left the company to go work for Canadair.

    • To gain some historical perspective it is important to know and understand the following:

      Fred Cromer is doing today the same job Gary Scott was doing when he was working at BBD: President of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. That is a similar position Alan Mulally was occupying at Boeing before he left: President of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

      Rob Dewar is doing today the same job Garry Scott was doing when he was working at Boeing: General Manager of the 737/757 program versus the C Series.

      The Government of Ontario acquired from Boeing de Havilland of Canada, and later on Bombardier acquired DHC from them.

      The Government of Canada acquired Canadair from General Dynamics, and later on Bombardier acquired Canadair from them. Canadair is today to the creation of Bombardier Aerospace what Aérospatiale was to the creation of Airbus.

      • To gain more historical perspective it is interesting to note that Airbus was initially formed over a period of three years by the following companies: Aérospatiale, Deutsche Aerospace, VFW-Fokker and Hawker Siddeley. Bombardier Aerospace was formed over a period of six years after the acquisition of Canadair, Shorts, Learjet and DHC.

        • VFW Fokker partnership didnt last much after it began in 1969 and was a small partner as was CASA with the then loose Airbus group on the A300 . Today Airbus Nederland grew out of the space activities of Fokker.

          “After heavy financial losses the partnership with VFW was dissolved in 1980 and Fokker was once again brought under direct private ownership. Seventeen percent of the company’s stock was acquired by the Dutch ABN-Bank, an additional 17 percent was acquired by VMF machining industries, 20 percent was acquired by the Northrop Corporation during the 1960’s, and the remaining 46 percent was divided among a number of private investors.”

          DASA took over effectively in 1991 with a 51% stake and bankruptcy for Fokker came in 1996

          Fokker Technologies is now a division of GKN Aerospace ( its good the name is still retained for the remaining business)

    • Gary Scott screwed up big time by not insisting that the board launch and build the 300 first. The reasons are widespread and multiple, across marketing, engineering, finance and sales.

      Although I admit, its hard to say exactly who was at fault with Pierre no doubt holding court in the boardroom, but it happened on Scott’s watch, so he must bear some of the burden.

      I’d also suggest the broader board screwed up by not having a solid plan to integrate the CSeries into the VVIP area. A few changes and the fuselage would be good for 45+ kft, a bigger wing would allow the long range for a “Global”-esque capability and the same wing could be used on a CS500. All for less development money than running Global7k/8k concurrent to CSeries. That CSeries VVIP could have been sold for the same price as the now in development Global 7k/8k given the sunk R&D costs spread across 2 programs. Although I freely admit this is a much more contentious argument I’m making than the first point made – I think it’d still have been a better route for BBD to walk than the current path.

  6. Great article – very prescient – however, most prophets get bombed first and then praised afterwards.

    Boeing should well read the story of IBM – massively talented, and massive – but eventually totally out of touch and now not as relevant as it used to be. Microsoft is another that springs to mind.

    I will make a prediction – the US government will need to “save” Boeing in 2026 (as it had to save GM and Chrysler in 2009).

  7. Like Scott I grew up with the 737. Fine aircraft great design, amazingly stupid management that has put them in this position.

    I think all we need to put the emphasis on this is the following flight global. Boeing touted their tanker credentials. They obviously have learned nothing. Now the wing refueling pods don’t work!


    Will they solve it? Yes, more time, more money and proven incompetence. Any good people they have spend all their time running around stomping out new fires that are being set by management.

    Funny how successful European companies are run by engineers and failing American companies are run by bean counters.

    Are we seeing the end of Boeing? You have to wonder. These things ooze along slowly and then one day the branch snaps.

    • The KC-46 new hardware with center line boom and 3 drogues, both items were outsourced to different suppliers.

      Cobham (Davenport, Iowa): Refueling systems, including wing aerial refueling pods and centerline drogue system

      Woodward Inc. (Skokie, Ill.): Several elements of the aerial refueling boom, including the sensor system, control unit, and telescopic and flight control sticks.

      Even the control station was outsourced

      DRS Laurel Technologies Inc. (Johnstown, Pa.): Aerial Refueling Operator Station (AROS)

      Someone didnt get the memo about after the 787 outscource fisaco about retaining core competancies in house.

  8. Looking back it seems fair to say Boeing may have had a viable strategy, the Yellowstone 1 2 3 plan. However Y2 bluf and execution prevented full implentation.

    • There was talk of it. You now have to wonder how serious it was.

      The 787 was a desperation cobble job to try to get Boeings Chicago management to commit. You saw all sorts of exces bailing after the hollow roll out.

      There was very serious discussion about Boeing at the time and either they had to commit to bearing an aircraft company or roll up the carpet.

      Boeing doesn’t need a manager any more, its needs a shakeup. Mullenberg does not appear to be the shakeup needed. He may be a better manager than McNeeneary was, but that is not what is needed.

      I still admire Ford, Clay admitted he could not do the job of getting them on track, they actually did bet the company, hired Mullaly and then stuck with the plan.

      Unfortunately aircraft aren’t like autos, you can’t cover up for a couple of years and bring all new models on line in 5, you are stuck with the plane that was (is) at the dance.

      737RS should have been in place, it obviously was not.

      777RS should be in place and is not.

      What is in place is a shares buyback program that is eating the company seed corn.

      When someone says, that stops now, this company is going to suffer some serous pain for 5 years, but we will be back on top, then you know something is going to get done.

      Sadly we may find out how far down you can go and recover or not.

  9. I also agree that Boeing missed the boat and it could become costly. To keep proposing a 50+ year old design does not show much respect for its customers.
    But worse was to overlook Bombardier’s history and business philosophy. Even back to the days of Canadair, that company never got into a market segment unless their project had a significant edge over the competition or had no competition, with the goal to become the leader in that field.
    That was the case with the introduction of the wide body business jet, the Lear based Challenger, and later the ultra long range Global series. Same with the creation of the 50 seat regional jet, the CRJ. It took years for the other manufacturers to develop competitive products but Bombardier is still the leader.
    The same scenario now seems to be taking place with the CSeries: Boeing (and Airbus) could have capitalized on all the hurdles, delays, cost overruns, management changes that Bombardier had to overcome in the past more than 10 years since the CSeries project was launched. They had more than plenty of time to introduce brand new narrow body aircrafts but they focused more time and resources trying to discredit and put barriers in place against Bombardier than trying to innovate and satisfy the operators.
    There is now a consensus that the CSeries will be a success, but it could also allow Bombardier to update their other offerings, the long overdue CRJ, the Learjet series etc…
    Even if Bombardier is still a smaller player they have certain competitive advantages, lower value of the canadian dollar, euro and mexican peso , modern facilities in Montreal, Toronto, Ireland, Mexico… that could easily be expanded. Qualified manpower is readily available, same with supplier networks.
    Eventually the development of a CS500 or bigger could force Boeing and Airbus to switch from stretching and modernizing to designing again

    • I think they are no longer the leader in regional, that has fallen to Embraer. Needed to at least update the CRJ to modern wing standards (and under wing engines)

      Also note fuselage for the C is made in China.

      • Q – “Needed to at least update the CRJ to modern wing standards (and under wing engines).”

        R- What would be more urgent, but impossible at this stage, is a more modern fuselage with a wider cabin. The narrow fuselage of the CRJ is it’s Achilles heel. As for the wing I heard of a project to make a common composite wing for all models of the CRJ series. But I will believe it when I see it.

        Q – “Fuselage for the C is made in China.”

        R – Originally all the fuselage sections with a constant cross-section were to be manufactured in China. But apparently the more complex centre fuselage section has been quietly moved to BBD’s facilities in Belfast. As far as I know it is still being manufactured there for an indefinite period of time. As for the other fuselage sections I have been told that upon arrival in Montréal they go to a special section of BBD’s facilities for rework. It is a similar situation for South Carolina manufactured parts that are (or were) reworked in Seattle. Aircraft manufacturers have a tendency to underestimate the necessity to readily have access to qualified personnel to manufacture their aircraft. Just ask Textron after their recent debacle with the Bell 505.

        • So still section are being made in China

          Re-week was done in Both Seattle and Charleston.

          As the -8 and -9 have the same parts from the same sources, both were affected.

          Fixes initially on shimming some items, mostly it was equipment not installed.

          You heard from Seattle as they did not want it out as it made Charleston decision look bad. It was not, it only cost them 4 or 5 billion added to the program overhead to set up there, whats not to like?

      • Bombardier has not been selling as many regional jets as Embraer did in the last few years probably due to lack of updating. However unless I am wrong they have sold more if we go back to the days of the RJ100 and 200.
        Boeing is in the same situation vs Airbus. Airbus is selling way more A-320 family aircraft than Boeing’s 737 family but more 737 have been produced so far.

        • That is true, but the reality for current success may be based on the past, but it you don’t continue that foundation, then you are left holding the bag.

          In short you can’t sit on your luaral and hardies,

          If current management screw up the foundation they are given, all that past success just becomes a note in the history books.

          • I totally agree with you; the CRJ needs updating badly, so does the Q400.

  10. Its all related to the disastrous 787 development. Boeing seems like its in good shape, lots of cash etc etc. But a HUGE amount of that cash has come from deposits from the huge 737 backlog and 787 backlog. Now it has to build and deliver all those planes. Since the deposit is about 10% of LIST, every single one of those planes will likely be cash negative ..

  11. Suggest some of you get the facts. The 737 is the most successful commercial airplane program on this planet. Those saying that the 737 or A320 are “dated” have no clue what criteria successful airlines use when they buy airplanes. Neither Boeing, nor Airbus, are well equipped to compete in the below approx 125 seat airplane market, and they should not. However, nobody can say if the CS-series will be successful. A couple of sales at substantial loss means nothing.

    As an aside, the independent media has had quite a few articles about the enormous problems that Airbus has with their production and deliveries. I think that they touted some 670 deliveries for 2016. My prediction is that they will not make it. But of course, you would not read about Airbus’ difficulties in this blog.

    • “But of course, you would not read about Airbus’ difficulties in this blog.”

      But of course we would not read about Airbus’ suppliers difficulties in your post.

      • Proper planning by a manufacturer includes suppliers :-)).Besides , it is much more than that.

        • Model T was the most successful car of all time, then it fell like a rock.

          When I come to work, its not what I did yesterday that counts, its what I do today and down the road.

          The NG would have been a fine holding strategy, they did not put anything in the que to replace it. They did not.

          I am seeing easy and early deliveries on the MAX as well as the NG. That is troublesome.

          You compete or die, eeeking out a Model T to far too late put Ford forever in 2nd place.

          Boeing engineers have pulled rabbits out of the hat, sadly there are no rabbits left, they needs a new 737 hat.

          Airbus has issues with the A320 currently, but they are fixable. You can’t fix an airframe and wing combo that is pushing 50 years old.

          • Suggest you read up the 737 family development. The 737s produced today have no partnumber commonality with the first model, the current wing is, I believe, the third version and of more advanced aerodynamic design than the A320, cockpit displays are more advanced, interior and overhead bins much better, etc, etc, and MEW/OEW per seat is lower.

          • Wing is realistically the 2nd version.

            Cockpit is updated only in terms of new stuff put on top of the old systems.

            The wing regardless (or more accurate wing box) has not been updated and still inherits the limitations of the tube engines.

            Wing fuselage interface is not to current integrate standard and engine mount is a compromise.

            You can only push something so far and then it needs all new, 737 has needed all new for 2 generations. The so called classic should have been the last, or to paraphrase off a move, “A Version Too Far” and frankly its two version too far.

      • That was a short list as compared to endless badmouthing of Boeing, no matter what it is.

        • When encountering a completely closed mind don’t feed the troll.

        • There are lots of biased blogs out there, including this one. Your blog would get more respect and a broader audience if it were better balanced and less biased. Some of my colleagues think that you guys are on Airbus’ payroll.

          I’m just trying to help you by pointing out low quality blogging.

        • @andy

          Much against my better judgement you have compelled me to address your polemic views. I really don’t think LNC is pro one OEM or another. What vexes so many is not the company or the products of Boeing as much as the senior management and the poverty of strategy. I believe we all applaud such fine machines as the B777-300ER and my favourite most common companion the B767-200. The issue is often the ‘message’ that Boeing is putting out and it’s short-termist view.

          Note the slow disappearance of the B787 problems as they crank out them with increasing efficiency and speed whilst Airbus seems to be wading though treacle with regard to A320neo and A350 ramps.

          I think the only thing that we can all be a bit guilty of is applauding the new ie the CSeries because we like progress. Also to magnify the relative benefits of one aircraft to another when often the margins are small and sometimes conflicting.

          You do however score a 7 in my LT (Leahy Tinseth) index and I would venture that not all your comments are as objective as they could be. I hope they are not for your sake.

          • Sowerbob,
            Appreciate your feedback, and am pleased that my comments rate a 7 on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is excellent :-). I have more than 35 years of experience in commercial aviation. The problem with this blog is that nobody seems have a clue of what is involved in rational strategic planning of products which are: 1) capital intensive in development, 2) capital intensive in manufacturing, 3) very high technology, 4) very complex, 5) unkown future technical developments, 6) long lead times, 7) limited markets, 8) relatively few customers, 9) cost vs benefit, and many other issues.

            Comments like joy-stick, 8 inches wider cross section at floor level, FBW, is just ridiculous. Does anybody understand cost/benefit? What would it cost to convert the 737 to FBW, joystick, larger body diameter — design, tooling, certification, manufacture? What would the lowest price be for required profit? Would any airline pay that price?

            The same about other issues. It is obvious that none of the people here have run an aerospace company and know nothing what that is like, but yet everybody has opinions.

            It appears that the less people know the more capable they are to BS about it.

            Last thing about “Proprietary models” regarding performance and economics. If theoretical performance models produced “good enough” results, there would be no need for windtunnel testing, no need for engine testing, no need for flight testing of performance or fuel consumption. So any performance conclusions drawn with “proprietary” models are invalid, in my opinion. Besides, route analysis includes take-off, obstacle clearance, climb profiles, step cruise, waypoints, route and destination alternates, winds and temps at various flight levels, and landing performance, dry, wet and contaminated runways. What were the payload assumptions, such as pax+bags weight? 100kg? What about fuelburn mark-ups to represent in-service engines?OEW?

            Same regarding OEW estimates. Unless manufacturer provided data are available, theoretical OEW estimates are rather worthless.

            Lastly economics. What data sources have been used to develop “proprietary” models. AEA, USDOT Form 41, or what? How often updated? Did an airline provide their specific cost model? Airline operating costs vary substantially with location, airplane type and operator. For example, flights in the EU are hit hard by navigation fees which are MTOW dependent. In the US, there are no nav fee charges for domestic flights. Ryanair’s costs are much lower than Air France’s. Do the proprietary economics reflect CDOC, DOC, CTAROC, TAROC, CTOC, TOC, or what? What are airframe and engine maintenance costs based on? Did they come from OEMs? What were the assumptions for contract maintenance? How was maintenance overhead calculated? Did it take into account spares holding costs? Costs due to lack of commonality? What about crew costs? What type of crew contract was assumed? Crew utilization? Training, expenses and benefits?What about airport landing, parking and handling fees? What about fuel prices? Today’s low prices or predicted future prices? Do the proprietary economics reflect a certain group of airlines operating in a defined area, or what? What airplane/engine/spares/introdcutory cost assumptions were used? Is cost of capital included? Were revenues included? Passenger preference issues? What matters at the end is value analysis and profitability. I could go on, but so what.

            Seatcounts are another issue. It requires airplane specfic data and knowledge of a payloads engineer to come up with comparable seat counts.

            In summary, I don’t pay much attention to so-called “proprietary models”.

          • Hi Andy,

            appreciate your experience and knowledge of what’s involved. Let me answer you on the “proprietary models”and what is needed to make these credible. I agree with everything you write is needed in terms of knowledge (model vs actual performance, actual route flying, in service deterioration, actual airline LOPAs etc) and we yes, we have this data and knowledge and we do all the calculations and adjustments you listed.

            How can we have all this info and knowledge? It is for you to figure out. If you do your research a little more carefully before hitting the keyboard you should have seen that we most probably have a lof of what you listed if not all. You would of course need paywall access to do the most of this research. But good summary on what is all involved and the level of knowledge anyone working on a professional level shall have.


          • Hi Bjorn,

            Thank you for reply, but I doubt you have the proprietary data OEM use for analysis of their own airplanes, such as current aerodynamic performance documents for all airplane and engine combinations. You can find flight manual pages and airport handling documents on-line but that seems to be about it. USDOT Form 41 data is publicly available, but it requires special software for analysis. It can be done by hand but that would take forever. Further, there are not many “fully flexible”PC based performance programs on this planet. Those are owned and maintained by OEMs, include many airplane and engine combinations, data for thousands of airports, waypoints, atmospheric data, etc., and require lots of maintenance so they are current. The same for other PC based software, such as economic and value analysis. Airlines have lots of PC based software but it is tailored to their specific needs and not generally useful. I have seen enough of “generic comparisons” made by OEMs. If Airbus’ generics were representative then nobody in his right mind would buy anything but Airbus, etc. After years of exposure to generic comparisons/conclusions I don’t take them seriously. Like one of my bosses told me: Life is not linear.

  12. @Breandan

    Q – “Gary Scott screwed up big time by not insisting that the board launch and build the 300 first. …Although I admit, its hard to say exactly who was at fault with Pierre no doubt holding court in the boardroom, but it happened on Scott’s watch, so he must bear some of the burden.”

    R – So GS screwed up big time but it’s hard to say who was at fault. In other words you blame him without being sure who is to blame. First of all I am not sure ANYONE is at fault because although I agree with your proposition I am still not entirely convinced that the CS100 was a mistake. If BBD had launched the CS500 immediately instead of the CS100 Airbus and Boeing would have formed a tacit alliance to knock Bombardier out of the sky permanently instead of waging a more conventional war. Because a CS500 move at the start of the programme would have been perceived as too agressive by A&B. And Bombardier did not only lack the money but they also lacked the self-confidence to invade A&B’s territory directly and immediately. From that perspective it can be argued that the CS100 was a more prudent move while the CS500 would have been suicidal at that stage. I prefer a slower but safer start to a bolder one that might have been fatal for BBD. That being said I share your view that the CS500 would have been preferable from a product perspective. For the CS500 is a mainstream product while the CS100 is more like a niche product. Let me put it this way: the CS500 would have been a better tactic while the CS100 was probably a better strategy. But it makes no sense to win a battle if that makes you loose the war.

    Q – “I’d also suggest the broader board screwed up by not having a solid plan to integrate the CSeries into the VVIP area.”

    R – I could not agree less! If they had done this the C Series would not have been the technical marvel it is today: a perfectly optimized product for the market it was designed to serve. As for the Global we are talking about a completely different mission, a totally different market and an entirely different customer base. That being said the C Series can still be made into a wonderful business jet for anyone looking for this kind of characteristics. But it will be a niche product. What you propose is a compromised aircraft while the Global is a no-compeomise product. That’s why the rich & famous of this world loves it.

  13. If you have subscribe access this adds some tidbits that I have thought were accurate in that airlines are having to move to the A321 as Boeing does not offer an aircraft in that capacity area


    It lists airlines that did split (Lion I am less sure about, I think that was playing things off and it was not long ago they created a “leasing arm”.

    You can add Ak Airlines in as a potential on that as they have some really sweet numbers of A321NEO on order and probably some great pricing as well.

    If I was AK board, that’s what I would do.

    Better deals on the 8s and 9s in the future and an aircraft that does what you need.

    Be interesting to see what the engine choice would be. LEAP for the relationship with GE or the P&W for the longer term upside?

  14. Boeing has its own culture, tremendous engineering resources, odd management.

    (For example its inability to learn from its military division about fooling oneself in product development, hence delayed realization that claimed delivery dates of the 787 program could never be met, then giving the responsible executive a cushy job from which he could mislead people as to the cause of delays.

    Cutting prices to block a competitor is a dumb business plan, wrong mental focus, should be concentrating on production efficiency and quality.)

    Too much posturing by Airbus & Boeing, too much PR.

    In part Boeing should be doing what it did in the lean 70s – a few people worked on learning things they could immediately use when they did have opportunity to launch a new design. Examples:
    – they studied fuselage cross-section and seating balances, that work popped up with the 767 name on it.
    – they did things to make a remote/oceanic airplane with that fuselage and wing by adding a third engine, though didn’t need to once twins became acceptable. (Even labeling engines L and R so they could pop in C for throttles.)
    – thinking about how to get a common flight deck in various airplane sizes. That facilitated the common 757/767 crew, which served well. (IIRC the overhead panel had to be somewhat different due aerodynamic needs, 757 being squeezed.

    Customers influence as well, claims at decision on 737NG were that SWA wanted high commonality, when more forward looking would suggest more radical changes. (757 nose for example, quieter and less drag.) You pays your money and takes the fallout, good and bad.

  15. New wings & LEAP-A engines as a solution for the A321 issue would be another case of simply ignoring / denying other competitive disadvantages.

    Here’s a single ramp rat lifting, loading and securing 1000kg of luggage on a A320, within 60 seconds.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4W6zbUYbDo

    • More politely referred to as a ramper.

      I have to leave to others the trade off between fast storage and can weight (more to carry) as well as optimization of cargo spaces vs more people and being able to pack it in tightly and no can weight penalty.

      Not something I have seen discussed though I recall Qantas mentioned getting wheelchair into the aircraft was significant issue for them with the much easier going to the A320.

      • That’s good!

        The plan is now to extend the 737 4 seat rows, assume its allowed with the jacking the 737 main gear 8 inches higher.

        So the scramble goes on.

  16. Andy,
    You are right about the commercial success of the B-737, it is still selling strong 51 year after Lufthansa put the first one in service. But is Boeing doing the right thing in keeping it in production? What are the risks?
    I looked at 2 other success stories from the auto industry to see how different approaches have led to very different results?
    Ford assembled close to 15 million Model Ts between October 1908 and May 1927. During that period of time the price went down from $825 to $360 and when Ford introduced the Model A, the Model T was still selling at the rate of 100,000 cars a month. Ford kept the same strategy with its subsequent models 18, 40, 48… It also did well all that time against the new competitors.

    On the other hand Volkswagen produced more than 21 million Beetles on the same platform for 65 years with a peak of 1.3 million to a low of less than 30,000 during the last few years as they could no longer compete with the Japanese and other more modern designs. That decline put Volkswagen in serious financial problems and forced them to go to the West German government in 1974 to fund the development of the Rabbit/Golf.

    Will the 737 be a Model T or a Beetle ? You tell me…

    • Neither the Ford or VW scenario was pretty. In both cases the companies’ market shares plummeted; the difference was that in the 1920s the market was growing massively (so sales didn’t drop off the cliff), while the 1970s market was far more mature. Henry Ford resisted change but fortunately gave in, resulting in the Model A. On the VW side, Heinz Nordhoff had grown VW from rubble into a world leader, but could not decide what to replace the Beetle with. When Nordhoff died and Kurt Lutz took over, VW simply got lucky because they had bought Audi from Mercedes in the early 60s, and were able to build the Polo, Golf and Passat based on Audi designs from the early 1970s (Beetle sales were still over 500K/year, but dropping quickly in US and Europe).

      In both cases, the companies were badly lacking succession plans for their market-leading models, and in both cases, the blame could be laid on the top management (as well as they had done growing their companies up to that point).

      • Nobody in his right mind would pull a cash cow out of production. The 737 is a cash cow. So is the Porsche 911.

        • The 911 2016 just looks like the original 911 but it is a different car inside.

          The main structure of the 737 is 50 years old.

          • No it is not. There is no part number commonality between the current production 737s and the original 737. What you call “basic structure” has changed many times over due to body stretches, MTAXI, MTOW, MLDW, MZFW increases, increased speed placards, different engines, new wings/new wing profiles, new landing gear, etc.

            Pretty much the same thing as with the Porsche 911. Not much change to looks on the outside, but all new inside.

          • The fact that the 737 has retained its grand-father clause is indicative that the fuselage structure is 50 years old like MHalblaub says. Otherwise Boeing would have had to redesign the 737 fuselage to make it stronger like required by the new regulations. This grand-father clause gives an advantage to Boeing by allowing the 737 to remain lighter and less strong in certain crash conditions than the A320.

          • There is no way that the fuselage structure can be identical between the 737-100 and the -900, to look at the extremes. It would break if it were. Just a smart conclusion based on bending moment distribution.

          • The fuselage bounding technique has been modified after Aloha Flight 243. On the NG the fuselage has also been strengthened because of the higher tail loads. And on recent models Boeing now installs overwing exit doors with self-disposing Type III hatches. But the basic fuselage structure remains unchanged. If Boeing were to alter the structure the 737 would lose its certification because it does not meet current certification requirements under certain crash conditions. This restriction does not apply to the wing and that is where most of the modifications were carried out on the NG. Modern fuselages are necessarily heavier with the same materials because they are designed to be stronger in order to be more crash resistant. The regulatory agencies like the FAA will tolerate the relatively weak 737 fuselage because it was designed before the regulations were changed. It is what we refer to as the grand-father clause when discussing the advantage the 737 has over the A320. The 737 fuselage being less heavy than the one on the A320.

    • Good example of a moribund company (VW).

      It failed to increase power of the van slug, and probably would have had difficulty passing safety tests as the original Beetle is a shell above a strong platform (that’s why the body could be cut off to make a dune buggy).

      And when VW did something meaningful it had to outsource at least much of the design.

      Someone was smart with the Golf/Rabbit, they did a voluntary {recall} to make modifications to improve user features and reliability. In contrast with Audi some years later, who stonewalled on an idle speed problem. (When a careless driver took foot off brake without the vehicle in Park the car would move.)

      Boeing is not as bad as VW was, but has bureaucracy and arrogance.

      • I don’t know if Boeing is as bad as Ford was, VW was (and now is again) but bad is definitely bad.

        Knee jerk reactions are not a plane (pun intended) .

      • “Boeing is not as bad as VW was, but has bureaucracy and arrogance.”

        There is a rumour that Boeing devised a software solution to improve fuel burn by 5% on the Leap-1B whenever the system senses that the FAA is checking the engine. 😉

  17. Back in Feb 2008 LNC had some stories about the surprise selection of the EADS to build the new USAF tanker. They linked to this one which seen as ‘pro’ Boeing but used ‘reasonable arguments’

    “The other huge problem is the risk inherent in the winner’s inexperience and plan to build the aircraft. Boeing tankers have been delivering fuel in flight for over 50 years. NG-EADS has delivered fuel to an aircraft in flight through a “boom”, the crane-like device that is extended from the back of a tanker and through which fuel is delivered, precisely once. And NG-EADS promises to assemble the aircraft in a new plant in Alabama that isn’t built, using a new workforce that hasn’t ever built a tanker.”

    The first planes that Airbus promised from that factory in Alabama are now flying ( but not A330 based) and Boeing which was supposed to have 50 years experience of tanking hardware is struggling with that side of things ( amoung others)

    • Oh yes, I remember this rant.
      The biggest error was that the US Air Force exactly needs a copy of the KC-135 as replacement and not are larger freighter to feed the US soldiers all other the world. Also the offload requirements will change in case of war within the Pacific region. Australia, Singapore and South Korea ordered a big tanker. RAAF will receive up to 9 MRTT refurbished from old Qantas A330.

      The risk was determined low for the Airbus offer but moderate for Boeing because the first Airbus tanker was already flying in 2007 and the boom was already being tested. Boeing only made adds according to tanker heritage.

      • It has always been my understanding that the USAF wanted the MRTT (KC-45).

        • Normand: Its a sort of thing.

          Th3e USAF has a history of big is better (we call it big Eyes)

          Reference the current C-27 debacle (which at least the USCG is getting a good bird out of).

          Firstly they fought the Army tooth and nail to take it away from them, then they cancelled because they just wanted C130s all along. Hmmm.

          Nothing to do with what is for the best of the US Army, its all about USAF ego. Don’t get me wrong, the rank and file of the USAF are as good and hard working as any in the US Military, the leadership is the equivalent of Boeings current (I hate to use the term management or leadership as its neither – call it the Chicago Mafia)

          So yes when the USAF saw bigger, they gave the contract to the A330.

          Unfortunately for the USAF (and maybe the US as well), what they had told congress and the agreement they came to was they needed a lot of airframe and as close to equivalent to the KC-135 as they could get.

          When they made the award they violated that RFP, in it there were NO provision to give points for more pax, more freight.

          There were credits given (or mandated) for economical operation which the 767 does simply because its smaller (and fits more on an airstrip as well as more airstrips it can get into and out of)

          And the US does not operate like other nations, Elmendorf AFB Squadron has more tankers up there than any Air Force in the world, compared to the USAF and its world wide commitments the other tankers are peanuts.

          The US has 220 C17s. Australia and GB with their robust and next largest commitments to airlift have 8 each. All of Europe has 12 roughly (a few C17s in the NQATO pool + GB). A400 can’t get off the ground let alone into serial production and its not a C17 or even close.

          The US has 131` C5s (how many get upgraded to Super Galaxies I don’t know right now). Russian has a few AN124, no one else in the world has ANY.

          The US has the Civil Reserve Fleet (hint, FedEx, UPS dedicated freighters) other airlines for passengers and a large number of independent like Kalitta that can supply lift out of storage and many active on standby.

          The US has NO need for an A330MRT. Others yes, because they have so little or the commitments work out to working with US forces, if their tankers are not there, the US ones are. On the other hand as was seen in Libya, all of Europe could not pull together enough support aircraft for that operation, US did it on the fly supporting all its other commitments.

          Different ball game.

          Frankly the only US deficit is in dedicated or available Sea Lift, which 90% of the stuff goes by for military operations, that we lack.

          • Lets not rewrite history. Not giving points for extra capabilities was added in the last round, after Boeing lost the second. Everybody saw what happened. Every other airforce selected the MRTT, just like the USAF did before congress took over. None the less the KC-46 will be avaluable assett for the USAF, adding efficient cargo lift capability next to good enough tanker capability.

          • Keejse:

            You are re-writing history.

            In the US, the AF goes to congress and presents a program.

            The program they presented was to replace the KC-135, not the KC-10.

            Ergo, for better or worse (and so far its been worse) the 767 met that criteria. The A330 did not.

            And you obviously did not read the AF history of big eyes and killing things that they found were not large and gold plated.

            They like billion dollar bombers but not something that works.

            F-35 is in worse shape than the 737. It has to be escorted by other fighters to fly a mission.

            You equate air forces around the world that have fewer tankers in total than the US has in one squadron.

            Maybe its time to admit the USAF and its needs (not the big eyed generals wants) is different.

            If Airbus wanted to bid they should have kept the A300 in production, that would be very close to like to like.

          • Keejse: The process started with the 100 billion dollar lease.
            That was terminated due to opposition in generl and specifi Boein malfeasance.

            The second round was negatged by the GAO who is no ones patsy. AF admitted viliation of the bid and GAO sited number cases of where credit was given for larger when no credit was allowed for that.

            Sometimes the law does get followed.

            The last round Boeing underbid Airbus by 4 billion.

            And what we will never know on risk, is the 767 is a know performer in flight controls, A330 is not in a hostile environment.

            I have no idea what others required, maybe nothing, but the AF did require the aircraft to be hardened both physically (gun and missile damage) and electronically.

            Realistically the A330 could not compete with the smaller 767, only John McCain and his presiding Airbus lobby advisers could come up with that concept (see US presidential campaign and who was on his staff)

            And do not get any of this wrong. Boeing has more than proved that what they said was BS in regards to tankers.

            ON the surface Airbus has a more than credible program though with a couple of embarrassing hiccups.

            What we will never know is how the A330MRT would have fared it had to adhere to the US requirements.

            We also know that is failed its Australian deployment taking 5 years to get up to speed where its doing the real mission of delivering fuel.

            In fuel delivery its definitely doing its job and the KC-46 is not.

            Of course the AF would pick something stupid like Pegasus to call it.

            Will they get it ironed out, yes. Will it cost Boeing a lot more money, yep.

  18. “If BBD had launched the CS500 immediately instead of the CS100 Airbus and Boeing would have formed a tacit alliance to knock Bombardier out of the sky permanently instead of waging a more conventional war“

    100% True, The biggest success of BBD is that they convinced A & B at the beginning that they were developping a small 100 – 125 seater under 3000Nm. Otherwise the big two would started a clean sheet instead of the re engine.
    Years later after the big two are well evolved in the regined programs the truth is coming up, the Cseries is an aircraft designed to the 100-200 segment and optimized for the 150-200 sector, his engines will (very) soon reach the 27-28k (same thrust as the A320NEO with less weight and much less drag) pound thrust and the wing can hold (at leat, really at leat) the 150lb/square feet, there is room in the wing to moove the surge tanks toward the winglets and room in the wing to belly area to increase the volume of the center tank.
    The fuselage is strong enough to add two more barrels of 4 seat rows each @28in for the CS700 and the half of that for the CS500.
    Moving to a 164k pound MTOW CS500 (with few wight penalitis like gears brakes firex packs wing root reenforcement..) with same range before PIP then to a 174k pound MTOW CS700 (or may be 900) will be easealy feasible while the wing loading will be optimum at 150lb/sqft and a 27-28kpound PW1500 will ensure an under 7000ft take off field for the CS700.
    A&B didnt saw that coming and now its too late to catch the Cseries up with a clean sheet design.
    BBD officials are still keeping things down about the bigger models to let A & B continue sleeping, i just hope they will be introduced before the end of the leaning curve that is progressing well then anticipated.

    • “There is room in the wing to moove the surge tanks toward the winglets and room in the wing to belly area to increase the volume of the center tank.”

      – What kind of range do you expect for the CS500?

      “The Cseries is an aircraft designed to the 100-200 segment and optimized for the 150-200 sector.”

      – All that with a single wing?

      “The fuselage is strong enough to add two more barrels of 4 seat rows each @28in for the CS700 and the half of that for the CS500.”

      – In other words you see the CS500 as a 150 seater and the CS700 as a 170 seater. My reasoning being that each extra barrel of four seat rows would hold 20 additional seats. Since 2 X 20 = 40 and the CS300 holds 130 seats, we end up with 130 + 20 = 150 for the CS500 and 130 + 40 = 170 for the CS700. Is that what you had in mind? My figures would be for a standard two-class configuration. Personally I see the CS500 as a 165 seater: two additional rows forward of the wing and three additional ones at the back, for an extra 25 seats (130 + 25 = 155). That means the CS700 would hold at least 175 seats, if not 180. The CS500 would effectively become a CS550 and the CS700 would become a CS750 or CS800. My impression is that the potential of the C Series is greater than what BBD had themselves anticipated and all their plans must now be revised to make them that much more ambitious.

      “A 27-28kpound PW1500 will ensure an under 7000ft take off field for the CS700.”

      – Yes I am sure a PW1528 is already in the works. Like the plane itself that engine has a lot of margin left.

  19. It is true that the CS100 and the CS300 have a very light wing loading between 100 and 123 lb/sqft a lot of room to grow and a lot of power to weight ratio too.

  20. Wouldn’t it be a whole lot cheaper for Boeing to buy Bombardier rather than worry about the C-series and focus on a 737/757 replacement with out having to worry about the low end?

    • Sounded like a good idea long ago. Involving Boeing in cockpit design would have been smart. After studying weighing all options, (dis)advantages BBD selected side sticks.

      • The beauty of having a third player is that it can take the best of the duopoly world like we have with the C Series. The reason we don’t see side sticks on any Boeing aircraft is because it’s an Airbus thing. Bombardier took what they judged to be superior from Boeing and Airbus, and out of it came the best aircraft ever designed.

        • I would still take a yoke.

          Its more natural, side sticks lead to things like AF447.

          • “I would still take a yoke.”

            Yes, but can you still take a joke? 🙂

    • Just a question of how much money they want to lose.If Boeing wanted to lose money building small airliners they wouldn’t have stopped production of the 717.I don’t have time to trawl though all of Scott’s C series pontificating, but I do recall some negative ones.Funny how everyone has suddenly changed their tune about what is still a very tough challenge

  21. LNC: “Boeing’s product strategy has fallen behind Airbus.”

    Voila, everything has been said here in seven glorious words.

  22. @OV-099

    You have not supplied a single argument to support your claim that 1993 was the right time to launch the NSA instead of the NG. On the other hand you have given me all the arguments I needed to support my own claim that the NG was a fabulous aircraft back then. But that was 23 years ago, and Boeing still has no plans to replace it. If everything had worked well with the Dreamliner Boeing could have launched the NSA as early as 2008. That is 15 years after the NG was introduced. It would have given the NG a lifespan of more than 20 years. Which is quite respectable for any upgrade, no matter how involved it was. What Boeing needed to do was a preemptive strike by launching the NSA before the neo. This action would have shown the world that Boeing was still a proactive company. Imagine this: a successful 787 introduction followed by a bold 737 replacement. Airbus was lucky that Boeing was entangled in the Dreamliner mess.

  23. @Andy

    I’ve had plenty of “good” stuff about Boeing, as well as stuff that fit in line with the disappointing 2016 guidance and the SEC probe. I was positively effusive about the SPEEA contract and Muilenburg’s contrast to the confrontational McNerney approach. We simply don’t drink Boeing’s Kool Aid and that’s that and call Boeing on the more obvious stuff. Right now, and for the past several years, the story has been more about Boeing than about Airbus. Aerospace analysts are questioning many aspects of Boeing’s story, so we are not alone. Boeing’s product strategy has fallen behind Airbus and the MAX 7X and MAX 10 are clear evidence of the struggles.

    When Airbus was at the height of the A380 issues and went through five CEOs in a very short period of time, we focused on Airbus. We’ve focused on Bombardier.

    (This is not an all-inclusive listing of “good stuff”.)


    I appreciate your point of view, but respectfully disagree with your bottom line.

    • Scott: I know I am hard headed, but I do read and consider and if an argument is persuasive with its facts I change.

      Some people never will.

      I had a terribly hard time dealing with Boeing as it was an emotional attachment. I have where they have gone, but the evidence of the last 10 years so overwhelming, its not the company it was and I fear it never will be again.

      Its like finding out Scalia spent a lot of time with rich hunting buddies at boutique hunting ranches and then claiming he was un-biased. Sad state of affairs. Boeing can spin it all it wants but the emperor is getting increasingly less clothed.

      Others no matter how much evidence you present will not never consider its merits. I think that is the case here.

      While I may not agree with the analysis, it is even handed as it possibly can get. You can’t ask for any more than that.

  24. – What kind of range do you expect for the CS500?
    The empty space in the wings plus what they can add to the center wing box is not far from 2 cubic meters, or 3500 pounds which is +10% the CS100-300 36000 fuel pound. 149000lb + 10% is 164000 the expected CS500 MTOW, giving the slightly worse aerodynamics, the CS 500 range should not drop more than a 200-400 NM, with the future PIPs it should still transatlantic
    – All that with a single wing?
    At the beginning of the flight test campaign some of the structural engineers (that obviously are not kept is the secret of gods) had complained about the weight of the wing, how strong it was the possible lack of flexion, they asked for a massive fiber layers reduction. When you open a fuel panel you can see the skin thickness is almost half an inch of carbon epoxy! The strategy was probably one wing for the four models to reduce production and development cost. A 200 seat sardine config CS700 at MTOW would load only 149pound/sqft this wing, less when bigger winglets will be designed.
    They will probably add 3 rows single class (or 4 rows high density) for each model which would make in dual class a 150pax CS500 and 165 CS700. BTW exactly the A320 and 737 capacity. If they are designed together both models will be stretches of the CS300, means longer barrels for the CS700 and not adding other barrels to the CS500.
    I don’t think the results are better of what they were anticipating, they were deliberately misleading to keep the threat of a clean sheet Boeing or Airbus away, every part of this airplane is the best of the actual technology. But I don’t see further stretches beyond the 165dual/200max pax due to the rotations angles and when up the gears are already close to each other.
    During the FTV7 load tests the PW1524 EGT margins were very high and it was in the summer, just use the A321 thrust to area ratio you will notice the margins left in the PW1524, add that PW is already working to switch the fan drive gear system from a 3:1 ratio to a 6:1. No doubt the same engine will be a perfect match the each one of the four family members, with the wings, that will bring the commonalities between a CS100 and a CS700 to more than 97%.

  25. As a structure techie who have work on737-200, 300 and now the NG I can tell you that the NG is 80-90 percent different structurally. The NG is certified to 16G structurally and the parts are not interchangeable. 737 NG are certified to 75000 cycles and you tell me A320 which is 48000 cycles are structurally better. My company still fly a 27 year 300 classic. I know structures.

    • The parts may be different, and I am sure they are for various reasons. But the basic design, or architecture if you want, does not change. The original design has to remain the same otherwise the aircraft would not be certifiable because it would loose its grand-father rights (the original certification. The parts could be different at 100% while the basic design remained the same.

      • Sorry, Hamel, but what is your point? There are people in this blog who are experts on airplane structures. Daveo knows what he is talking about. The 737NG is certified to 16G and the cycle-life is 75,000, as compared to only 48,000 on the A320. For an operator who flies 3500 trips/year the A320 is ready to be scrapped after 13.7 years, as compared to 21.4 years for the 737NG.

        • Please note that Hamel is my last name. You may address me by my first name, which is Normand. However competent Daveo is he is not a structural engineer. His job is to repair the structure by following the practices established in the Standard Repair Manual (SRM) using the parts listed in the Parts Catalog. Those practices have changed over the years. The best example is the bounding technique. And accordingly the parts and materials have been updated. Like I have said earlier the parts could be 100% different on the entire fuselage but the basic structural design must remain the same as it was when the aircraft was certified in 1967. And each subsequent modification must be approved by the FAA. Those modifications can be extensive, especially on a 50 year old design, and each part can at one time or another have been redesigned. But the overall structure remains the way it was engineered at the time of certification. Boeing derives some benefits in terms of weight by having retained this old architecture, and this may explain in part why they are so reluctant to proceed with the NSA. The 737 was, and remains today, a well designed aircraft that has been considerably improved over the years. But it has started to show its age ever since the A320 was introduced, and even more so today with the arrival of the C Series. Airbus and Bombardier have invented the future while Boeing was holding on to the past.

          • Again, what is your point? The A320 with 48,000 cycle life will show its age much sooner than the 737NG with 75,000 cycle life, not to mention the hit on maintenance costs that will be skyrocketing when the A320 starts cracking up. If anything needs to be redesigned it is the A320 and it will be even heavier then than what it is now.

          • “Again, what is your point?”

            – My point is that the 737 is structurally lighter. And I have tried to explain to you why.

            “If anything needs to be redesigned it is the A320 and it will be even heavier then than what it is now.”

            – Both the 737 and A320 have been redesigned recently and both are now heavier than they were in their previous incarnations. This stems from the fact that their new engines are bigger and heavier. Among other things, the pylons needed to be reworked and they were beefed up. But A&B have tried to compensate somewhat by making some sections of the structure lighter. But overall both aircraft will be heavier.

          • I don’t know about Airbus but to my knowledge Boeing has MEW/OEW weight reduction programs on all airplanes. Regarding the 737NG and the A320, the point is that the 737NG has much longer structural life than the A320, lower maintenance costs and higher reliability.

          • You do think that Red Herrings are “lecker” 🙂

          • “The point is that the 737NG has much longer structural life than the A320, lower maintenance costs and higher reliability.”

            This was especially true at the time the NG was introduced in 1993. But all aircraft manufacturers are continuously improving their various models and it makes it that much more difficult to properly asses the situation. For example an engine can show some problems over a certain period of time and this may affect the overall reliability of the aircraft until the problem is fixed. That being said there is not much difference in terms of reliability between a 737 and A320. As for the maintenance costs and structural lifespan these are moving targets because of what I said at the beginning. We will see how the MAX does as opposed to the A320 in terms of maintenance costs and structural lifespans. Both are unproven yet. There is no doubt in my mind that the 737 is a good aircraft and it has proved itself in service for nearly fifty years. But except for the MAX 8 it can no longer compete with more modern aircraft like the A320 and C Series. Like John Leahy as maliciously said for the C Series I would say the Max 8 is effectively an orphan. For it’s small MAX 7 brother is a stillborn while it’s big MAX 9 brother is agonizing. As for the MAX 10 it turned MAD.

          • Whatever. Leahy knows nothing about the 737, so I don’t care what he says. But he is good at inventing names.

          • What we do know is that the 737 has had a number of structural failures when whole panels blew off (Hawaii) and SW incident (Colorado?)

            There are innumerable maint bulletins on inspections to be followed to try to stop that.

            757 has the same issue. Bad design, too lite.

            That does not add in the infamous ruder failures.

            I have never hear of an Airbus aircraft having that problem.

        • “For an operator who flies 3500 trips/year the A320 is ready to be scrapped after 13.7 years, as compared to 21.4 years for the 737NG.”

          You apparently can find a lot more unexpected fatique problems on 737 than on A320 if you search the net..

          The map is not the territory.

          Then, after acquiring real world data the A320 has been gifted with rather significant life extensions.

          • I’m glad they are trying to fix the shortcomings of the A320.

          • I’m glad they are trying to fix the shortcomings of the A320.

            Service life of the 737 probably was and still is overstated afaics.

            Preferable way is to understate and then grow with experience. Airbus service life extensions were well timed to fit in with A320 airframes actually reaching their original limits.
            ( your utilisation example seems to a bit out on the far side )

            to close: IMU the Hawaian convertible doesn’t tell much about regular airframe life.
            Longitudinal seams opening up in well maintained fuselages on the other hand is imho a grave deficiency. What benefits from a “papered” cycle limit when the plane comes apart much earlier.
            Reality tops any manufacturers certification.

          • Careful now. The issue that caused the 737 to become convertible many years ago was resolved and does not apply to later airplanes. 3500 cycles per year is not unusual at all for shorter range operation with quick turn arounds. I’ve seen numbers as high as 4,000. 737-500s with airstairs at both doors and 15 minute turns.

          • “The issue that caused the 737 to become convertible many years ago was resolved and does not apply to later airplanes.”

            The same thing could be said of the A320. As a product ages the operators find weaknesses that are eventually addressed and corrected by the manufacturer. Today all the new designs from A,B,B and E have extended maintenance intervals. This also applies to some of their older models. This is what the airlines wanted and that is what they now have. The A320 is 28 years old and the 737 is 49 years old. Because they each went through extensive modification campaigns and improvement programmes over their respective careers it makes it very difficult to make meaningful comparisons.

        • Really? And that’s why roof blow out of 737s and never one fuselage failure on an A320?

  26. @ A/C MECHANIC

    Q – “150pax CS500 and 165 CS700. BTW exactly the A320 and 737 capacity.”

    R -In a two-class configuration if I add 3 rows to the CS300 I end up with 145 seats (130+15=145). My impression is that the CS500 will have at least 4 more rows than the CS300 (130+20=150) and the CS700 4 more rows than the CS500 (150+20=170). And like LNC I also think the CS500 may actually hold as much as 155 seats, which would make it into a CS550 (130-25=155). That would make the CS700 a 175 seater, which would make it into a CS750. But if they are to use the same wing for all those variants they may want to proceed more incrementally. Any variant beyond that would definitely require a new wing. I am actually surprised that the wing can support something bigger than a CS500.

    Q – “I don’t think the results are better of what they were anticipating, they were deliberately misleading to keep the threat of a clean sheet Boeing or Airbus away.”

    R – Last year at the Paris Air Show I heard Laurent Beaudoin, Chairman Emeritus of BBD, say in French that when they launched the C Series at Farnborough in 2008 they didn’t know how they were going to meet the specifications they were promising to their customers. He seemed very surprised that they had actually surpassed them (and by a wide margin).

    Q – “PW is already working to switch the fan drive gear system from a 3:1 ratio to a 6:1.”

    R – My understanding is that a 6:1 ratio would be for a very large engine (80,ooo+). In the meantime they may implement a 4:1 ratio for intermediate power (40-80,000 lbs). But the 3:1 ratio on the PW1500 will never change. Otherwise they would have to redesign the engine from the ground up. And because of the much larger fan diameter this would require it would have completely different aerodynamic characteristics that would negate the current optimization that gives an advantage to the C Series over the A320, which is not optimized aerodynamically. Any ratio above 3:1 would imply a much larger and slower-turning fan. Try to imagine the speed at witch the LP Turbine would be turning with a 6:1 ratio! If the fan diameter/speed do not change the LPT would turn at twice the speed it is now turning, which is currently the highest in the industry. Since the speed on the LPT side is already 2 1/2 times that of the CF-34 we would end up with 5X that speed! But I can see the possibility that one day we may have this kind of ratio on very large aircraft.

  27. How do you know my qualifications Normand. People pontificate about issues they know nothing about. the A320 and 737-800 are not the same capacity aircraft. Stop saying they are the same size.

    • “How do you know my qualifications Normand.”

      What I know about your qualifications is based on what you have said in a previous post when you referred to yourself as “a structure techie.”
      And I happen to have a pretty good understanding of what that is.

      “Stop saying they are the same size.”

      I don’t understand why you say this and you haven’t quoted me. But I do agree with you that they are not the same size. While the 737-800 holds twelve more seats than the A320 the latter is 8″ wider (12′ 4″ versus 13′) which effectively makes it a “bigger” aircraft than the 737.

      • “effectively makes it a bigger aircraft” . You mean “effectively makes it a heavier aircraft”. The 8 inches you are talking about are at floor level, or below. At passenger shoulder height it is not even half that, and overhead bins do not match those on the 737NG.

        • Tell me something Andy, what type of container does the 737 hold in its huge cargo section?

          • I believe the A320 types use a shrunk LD-3, which is not used on any other airplane type. As you probably know, most operators bulk load the A320, just like the 737s. No need to circulate empty shrunk LD-3s in the system, since they only add weight and increase fuel burn.

          • Why didn’t you ask me what my point was? In case you do now, my point was to show you that the A320 is a bigger aircraft than the 737. In fact there is more difference in terms of size between the A320 and 737 than between the 737 and the C Series. Yet the latter is a five-abreast. And did I mention that the 737 is old and short-legged? That its pilots have to hold onto an antiquated yoke in a cramped cockpit? That its flight controls are driven by cables and pulleys? That it burns more fuel that it needs to? I you want to read more about this please check the writing on the wall.

          • Airlines buy a reliable and economical workhorse like the 737 and not a toy like a PC based joy-stick driven flight simulator. Let me know when Airbus has fixed the false smoke warnings on the A320 (an issue in the Egypt Air crash), and when pilots no longer are confused about what Airbrush autoflight system is doing or which pilot is in control. Out of my kindness to you, no reply is needed.

          • Normand:

            There is nothing antiquated about a yoke, in the case of the 737 it still serves the same purpose it always did.

            It is also a very good indicator of your situation, i.e more so fore and aft (A447 stall) but also in the bank.

            Side stick controllers are for arm chair pilots (that’s a joke)

            The only reason for a side stick is a FBW fighter, g forces come into play and it works better. Airbus does not make fighter/pax aircraft!

            And I will argue that there is something to be said about the old wheels, pulleys etc. Low maint, easy trouble shooting.

            Yes its changed, not necessarily for the better.

            Smart phones replaced fixed phones, now the crews are talking to their wives, kids sweethearts etc and follow soccer not working!

          • Fully agree. What is appropriate on a single seat fighter, like the F-16, is not appropriate on a multicrew transport airplane. Besides, on all Boeing airplanes autopilot commands backdrive the control wheel/column so the pilot can immediately see how the autopilot is doing unlike on Airbus where the pilot has to wait for the airplane’s response as indicated by flight instruments to see what is happening. Same with throttles. Boeing keeps the pilot in the loop, Airbus does not.

          • On the other hand Quants sited the safety aspects of its baggage handlers when it shifted to the A320.

            People getting hurt trying go wrestle outside object like a wheel chair into the hold when its not an issue on the A320.

          • “No need to circulate empty shrunk LD-3s in the system, since they only add weight and increase fuel burn.”

            Under ULD use
            You only handle baggage 2 times for end to end transport. Much less wear and tear.
            You can load containers under environmental control.
            you need less personnel.
            Any LD3-45 will fit in a regular LD3 position.
            Overall a win, otherwise no A320 would be sold with containerized storage infrastructure.

            bulk loading:
            Isn’t that more or less limited to 3rd worldish ^H US markets with cheap labor 😕

          • It is correct that shrunk LD-3s fit in cargo holds designed for full size LD-3s, but that reduces cargo capability of those aircraft. FYI, most A320 operators don’t use ULDs, they load bulk. ULDs require more infrastructure, they are heavy, increase fuel burn/reduce range and must be circulated in the system, even if they are empty. The main reason big airplanes use ULDs is that they carry lots of shipper loaded cargo and that manual loading of lots of cargo and baggage increases turn times.

  28. It seems in terms of missed sales opportunities in the 200 seat NB segment things are running out of hand MAX vs NEO.


    It explains Boeings panic 737-10x / LEAP-A concepts. Until very recently is was endorsed the 739 would hold it’s own specially with loyal 737 customers.

    Now it just isn’t. Likely w’ll see some further 737 deflections at Farnborough now Airbus is upping production.

    • As I noted in the past, the 737-900/ER-9 is an adjunct to the 737-800/8.

      Ak airlines has used it for that purpose where the 800/8 did not have enough capacity.

      I doubt anything happens with AK at Farnborough but they will be making decision on the A321 down the road and that should be most interesting.

      Currently they really do not have an out against competition that has the A321, in the future if they can make it work they do.

  29. “Leahy knows nothing about the 737.”

    Yeah, like everyone else on this most biased blog.

  30. Stop it you guys, there’s no need for all this. Some of the comments are opinionated and occasionally ignorant, but I have learned loads from reading them.

  31. @Grubbie is correct: There is no need for the sniping and I’ve said this repeatedly. Stick to the merits of the issues, please.

    For example, in the debate between what airplane (or company) is better, let’s remember that Airbus and Boeing produce good airplanes. They’ve also produced some airplanes which while technically good have sometimes had flaws, or sold poorly.

    Let’s remember the 737 Convertible of Aloha or the rudder issues on the airplane. The 737, superb aircraft that it is, was not without its difficulties.

    The A320 is also a superb aircraft, but some FBW issues emerged and the lack of “feel” between pilot and copilot on the Airbus aircraft is arguably not a good thing.

    The 757-300, 767-400, MAX 7/9 were poor selling aircraft. So were the A340-500/600 and early A300s.

    You can go on and on. But the sniping is not productive and has to stop.


    • Scott:

      I always was shocked at the Boeing response to the 737 rudder issue.

      Shades of the 767 thrust reverser deployment (Lauda Air? )

      I always admired Nicki for sticking to his guns and making aviation safer for the world.

  32. Memories of Midway:

    We flew through Chicago to get to Milwaukee when I was a kid.

    One trip we debarked on one end of the terminal and it took us half a day to hike to the other end. That was a slog and we came from a serious hiking family (well my mother was, but she was one serious hiker!)

    And when we left, DC-3 to Milwaukee , the left engine cowl has rivets popping out as well as oil oozing out.

    This was pointed out to the Stewardess (not flight attendant!) who told us it was all normal.

    That didn’t exactly go over well with 3 boys who flew a lot, dad was a mechanic and we knew machinery. I don’t think she appreciated our attitude, it was a rough flight in nasty weather and a turn back if I ever saw one. Fortunately its also a short flight, I always wondered about the mentality of that crew.

  33. @Andy

    Q – “Comments like joy-stick, 8 inches wider cross section at floor level, FBW, is just ridiculous. Does anybody understand cost/benefit? What would it cost to convert the 737 to FBW, joystick, larger body diameter — design, tooling, certification, manufacture?”

    R – From a technical standpoint your questions are meaningless. For it would be impossible to “convert” a 737 to a larger fuselage. As for the rest no one would even consider such an extensive set of modifications even it was technically possible. What you are unknowingly pointing at is a new single-aisle aircraft, commonly referred to as the NSA. And the latter will likely be at least 8″ larger than the 737 it will replace. It will also have the capacity to hold standardized containers in its belly. And it will have a tall landing gear to accommodate big engines. But one thing it will not have, nor any other new Boeing design, is a side stick. It’s a question of pride. But I agree with those who say that the ones we find on the various Airbus models have been poorly conceived. But those problems have been addressed on the C Series. And the next generation of side sticks will be even better because they will move in unisson with the flight controls, like a standard yoke. So except for the cumbersome control column in the cockpit the NSA will address all the deficiencies the 737 has today. All this is coming much slower than I had anticipated, but likely much sooner that you anticipate yourself. Which brings me to my next quote.

    Q – What would the lowest price be for required profit? Would any airline pay that price?”

    R1 – These are two excellent questions. Boeing is indeed facing a conundrum, if not an impasse. On the one hand the 737 is slowly reaching the end of its useful life. Even if it currently holds a bigger backlog than it ever had in its fifty years of existence there is a great danger that this will create an illusion of immortality. But no matter how good the 737 was and still is today, it is facing stiffer competition from Airbus than ever before because the neo generation of A320 increases the performance gap, which admittedly was small before, to a new level that makes the 737 look increasingly like a tired design. This new situation had an immediate impact on market share, which has permanently departed from a comfortable 50% towards increasingly lower figures. And there is nothing Boeing can do to stop this trend. It is not that the 737 got worst. It’s the competition that got better because the A320 platform had more potential. And if we bring the C Series into the discussion we start to see that the 737 business case is seriously compromised over the long term. The classical scenario for historically successful products is this: After a certain period of time they reach obsolescence because of the introduction of new and better products. Then the sales start to decline. Slowly at first, until without any significant warning they stop abruptly. Often it’s too late to do anything about it unless the situation has been anticipated. The table is now set to answer your two questions.

    R2 – Unable to compete much longer with the A320neo family and the upcoming C Series, Boeing will have to come up with a new design to replace the venerable 737. This new entreprise will have to be planned so that the replacement will EIS before the the B2B ratio reaches a too low figure. For anything below 0.5 would seriously compromise Boeing’s cash flow position. Especially in view of the fact that this NSA would likely cost a lot of money. Perhaps 12 or even 15 billion dollars. And because of inflation the later it will start the more expensive it will be. Now, if Boeing wants to make a profit on this new marvel it will have to ask a sum of money that will be considerably higher than what it is currently asking for the 737. But how much can Boeing ask from its customers and still make a respectable profit? The answer can be derived from the value this new aircraft will bring to potential customers. But if we do the calculations we may end up with a negative value. The reason being that the minimum price Boeing will be able to ask from its customers will be too large for any airline to expect to make a profit. How could that be? It’s very simple: we have reach a point of diminishing return in regards to new technologies. And there is nothing on the horizon to give Boeing a decisive advantage with the NSA.

  34. “Any ratio above 3:1 would imply a much larger and slower-turning fan“

    The fan speed will remain the same or increase slighly depending on ITT margins, its the LPT that still far from the optimum speed, i got that directly from a Pratt engineer. According to him, the PW1500 geabox is already strong enough to hold the 6:1 torque, but they will go gradually since the technology is very new at that size, it makes sense for me, actually the LPC/LPT spool is spinning half the speed of the HPC/HPT, making them roll at the same speed would open new aerodynamics characteristics inside the engine.

    Did someone catched the 16G 737 !? I dont think he found that on the AFM !

    • Not a clue what 16G was supposed to mean. I refuse to answer anything he puts out directly, I am emulating our illustrious president who will not name the republican clown (er nominee!)

  35. “The fan speed will remain the same or increase slighly depending on ITT margins, its the LPT that still far from the optimum speed.”

    – The main advantage of the GTF is that the gearbox allows a larger fan to turn at a lower speed, which increases propulsion efficiency while lowering noise. My understanding is that the larger the engine is the more you want to make it turn slower to maintain transonic tip speeds. Hence you need a higher ratio in the gearbox to maintain or increase the speed on the LPC/LPT side while keeping the fan tip transonic. On the PW1500 the LPC/LPT already turns 2 1/2 times faster than a conventional engine like the CF-34, which is quite a feat. But I agree that they might still want to play a bit with that speed, and I would expect something to that effect on an upcoming PIP.

    “The PW1500 gearbox is already strong enough to hold the 6:1 torque.”

    – This gearbox is so strong that when they did the bird test the fan blades were all destroyed while the entire front end was held together by the gearbox, which had absorbed the shock. But my understanding of what this guy said is that the existing gearbox design is scalable to a 6:1 ratio whiteout changing anything in the design except the size of the gears. But we will never see a different ratio on the PW1500. For it’s too late now for a major change like that. What’s interesting though is that like the C Series this gearbox has been overdesigned. And the PW1500 also appears to have been better engineered than the PW1100. Since the 1500 was the first GTF engine P&W were obviously more cautious and conservative, like BBD with the C Series. This bodes well for the future.

  36. They will do it because it worth it, they are expecting an addition 10% SFC reduction at the end. The engine value will soar like an arrow

    • Yes they will do it and there is no doubt at all in my mind. But not on the PW1000G. I can guarantee you that at 100%, with a complete refund if you are not satisfied. 🙂

      All variants of the PW1000G will permanently remain at 3:0. For it would be impossible to redesign the engine to accommodate a different ratio. Once the ratio has been chosen for a given type it is definitive and cannot be changed thereafter. Here is how I view the situation; the following is a hypothetical scenario that according to my own assumptions could develop over the next twenty years or so. Please keep in mind that I am speculating.

      PW1000G – Ratio: 3:0 – Thrust: 20-40,000 lbs
      PW2000G – Ratio: 4:0 – Thrust: 40-80,000 lbs
      PW3000G – Ratio: 6:0 – Thrust: 80-120,000 lbs

      The most important thing to understand is that each engine type will be designed around a pre-selected gear ratio. And once it has been set it cannot be changed for the entire life of the type.

      • Hmm,
        1. unconstrained by other design limits the LP turbine can reduce diameter and increase rpm to the local ( for power extraction ) optimum ( reduction in weight and airfoiles )
        2. with increases in core and LP turbine efficiencies energy density in the core+LP will increase providing more power extraction to the fan for the same size.
        3. Fan rpm has a rather hard ceiling (tip speeds ) and a design preference on the low side ( less noise, propulsive efficiency.. )

        IMU increased efficiencies ( thermal , extraction, propulsive ) will demand the reduction ratio go up for all thrust ranges.
        Scaling effects will bring this demand first to the higher thrust ranges ( moving down.)

  37. After 12:1 bypass ratio the drag penality becomes more significant than the savings due to the tip speed reduction, so the GTF will have increased core N1 speed with almost the same fan.

    Why before the PW1000 the gears reduction were in the turboprops only (smaller engines) and some light privat jets? Because we didnt have the technology to bring it to the next thrust range engines, the powerful the engine is the more torque will be applied on the fan drive gear system and the more it have to be strong, thats why :
    PW1000G – Ratio: 3:0 – Thrust: 20-40,000 lbs
    PW2000G – Ratio: 4:0 – Thrust: 40-80,000 lbs
    PW3000G – Ratio: 6:0 – Thrust: 80-120,000 lbs
    is a reverse thinking

    • Above 40,000 lbs of thrust, as the fan diameter will be increased to produce more power, the fan speed will have to be reduced in order to maintain transonic tip speeds. In my PW2000/3000G the fan speeds are respectively reduced by the 4:1 and 6:1 gearboxes while the LPC/LPT speeds are increased.

      The more powerful the engine is the larger the fan must be and the slower it has to turn, and the higher the gearbox ratio needs to be to maintain high LPC/LPT speeds. As P&W develops the technology the LPC/LPT speeds will be increasingly higher while the fan speed will remain in the optimal transonic zone. The GTF concept gives unprecedented flexibility to engine designers by allowing the fan speed to be optimized more or less independently of the LPC/LPT speed. I don’t see any particular challenge on the fan side, and all of the effort will therefore have to be put on the LPC/LPT to attain increasingly higher speeds for better thermodynamic efficiency.

Leave a Reply

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