January 7, 2022, ©. Leeham News: We finished a 34 article series before Christmas about the enormous work involved to get a new aircraft certified for passenger transport.
It was a background article series to the one we start now, a deeper series on what’s involved in designing air transport vehicles that are less polluting for our environment. We have seen a landslide of such projects in the last years, and from an experienced aircraft designer’s desk, most of these are doomed for failure.
I’ve produced over 100 articles on the subject since 2017, dealing with topics like:
We will go through all these themes, this time in greater depth than before.
Over the last year, we have further developed the Leeham Aircraft Performance Model, which we use in our consultancy work, into a more capable tool. In addition to airliners, it now analyses smaller aircraft and VTOLs.
It analyses weights, aeronautical performance, cost of operation, and ownership costs as before. But now we’ve added energy consumption and emissions to the outputs. We will add a paywall section to the Corners where we use the Performance Model to generate hard data for these parameters for different vehicle types.
We can then say how much energy a 50 seat regional turboprop uses to start up and taxi to the runway, for its take-off, its climb to cruise, and then for the completion of the trip until the doors open at the destination gate. And we also see how much reserve energy must remain when we shut down after the flight.
There are so many parts of this journey that are forgotten in all the projects flying around and it’s time for some hard facts in the craze around what can work as Sustainable Aviation.
What is the energy used to get people to an airport with eVTOLS? Is the proposed retrofitting of 30-year turboprops a good idea? What are the real gains in CO2, if any when going hybrid? Is the fitting of hydrogen fuel cells in these aircraft at all possible? What does it mean in terms of their performance and what is the certification effort?
In short, what makes sense in the present flood of projects and what doesn’t.
See you next Friday for the start of this exciting journey.