Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 16, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In our series about classical flight controls (“fly by steel wire”) and Fly-By-Wire (FBW or “fly by electrical wire”) we this week discuss the Flight Control System’s authority to execute maneuvers by its different parts and why the authority of these parts is a fundamental parameter when designing the system.

Figure 1. Embraer Phenom 300’s Yaw damper rudder. Source: Embraer.

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Will the A220 drive the trans-Atlantic fragmentation to smaller jets? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

August 15, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus is increasing the Gross Weight of its A220 variants by 5,000lb from 2H2020. It is to increase the already long range of the aircraft according to Airbus.

We looked at the typical trans-Atlantic routes this longer-range capability enabled last week. Now we explore further route areas and compare the A220 economics to the Boeing 737-8 and Airbus A321LR.

Summary:

  • Last week we saw the A220 could open trans-Atlantic routes from West Europe to East Canada and North-East US.
  • This week we explore further alternatives and explore the economics of the A220 as an aircraft for long and thin routes.

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Stored A330s, 777 Classics offer alternative to new orders

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Aug. 12, 2019, © Leeham News: Slow sales of the Airbus A330neo, A350 and 777X this year are the result of a dip in the order cycle, A330ceos and 777-300ERs coming off lease and route fragmentation from more capable single-aisle aircraft that are much cheaper to operate and which allow long, thin routes to be served.

Airbus and Boeing have yet another aspect to contend with: stored A330s and 777s that have come off lease or, in the case of Etihad Airways, grounded its late model A330-300s in a fleet restructuring related to its poor financial condition.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire, Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 9, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In our series about classical flight controls (“fly by steel wire”) and Fly-By-Wire (FBW or “fly by electrical wire”), we this week turn to the actual Flight control system after covering the infrastructure needs last week. We could see the FBW required a higher redundancy Hydraulic and Electrical infrastructure. Why we will come to.

Now we look at the control principles for classical control systems like the Boeing 737 system and FBW system like the Airbus A320 system.

Figure 1. The control axis and control surfaces of a 737. Source: Boeing.

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Will the A220 drive the trans-Atlantic fragmentation to smaller jets?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction 

August 8, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus announced a hike of the Gross Weight of the A220 by 5,000lb at the Paris Air Show in June. It will be available for aircraft delivered from 2H2020.

“It was at the request of Customers, they wanted more range” said Rob Dewar, Head of Engineering & Customer Support for the A220, when we talked after the announcement. Will these customers use the capability to cross the Atlantic, driving the long-range fragmentation to ever-smaller cabins? Does it make economic sense compared to an A321LR or a 737 MAX 8? We check with our performance model.

Summary:

  • The A220s have enough range to cover interesting parts of East US and West Europe with the increased Maximum Takeoff Weights.
  • The key question is; how economical will they be compared to Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 and Airbus A321LR.

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Boeing faces weak sales, production gap for 777X

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Now open to all readers.

Aug. 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Design issues with the giant General Electric Aviation GE9X are causing untimely headaches for the Boeing 777X program, at a time when the 737 MAX is consuming the company.

The MAX grounding and longer-than-expected fixes and Return to Service (RTS) is overshadowing challenges with the 787 skyline, where a production rate of 14/mo is burning through the backlog faster than new orders are coming in.

The 777X is facing skyline challenges as well. Sales have been slow. One major customer in the Middle East is undergoing a financial and fleet restructuring and another publicly said it will reduce 777X orders if it places a new order for 787-10s.

The 777X delivery schedule has slid to the right due to the engine issues and the 777-8 is a niche airplane that may have a greater future as a freighter than it does as a passenger model.

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Pontifications: Good A220 endorsement, but Airbus still has cleaning up to do

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus last week won a big, validating commitment from Air France-KLM Group for 60 orders and more options for the A220-300.

The contract won’t be firm until later this year, but the AF Memorandum of Understanding (when converted) brings the A220 order book to 611. There are some other commitments that haven’t yet been converted to orders.

Through mid-July, there were 86 A220s in service. There were 465 Letters of Intent, MOUs and Options before the Air France deal was announced.

But of those firm orders, 110 of them aren’t so firm. In fact, some of them really shouldn’t even be on the books.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 25, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In our series about classical flight controls (“fly by steel wire”) and Fly-By-Wire (FBW or “fly by electrical wire”) this week we cover the difference in system infrastructure the two controls methods call for.

We will use the Boeing 737 as the classical control example and the Airbus A320 as the FBW example.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture, Part 3?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 1, 2019, © Leeham News: We wrap up our study of what part of an NMA market the Airbus A321XLR could capture with looking at the difference in available engine technology between the A231XLR and the NMA generation of airliners.

Summary:

  • The generational improvement in fuel efficiency of airliner turbofans has been over 10% in the last decades.
  • We examine if these improvements will still be the case for the NMA generation of aircraft.

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Boeing MAX crisis overshadows other challenges

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July 29, 2019, © Leeham News: The 737 MAX crisis overshadows everything else right now at Boeing.

This includes forward orders, weak customers and production gaps on the 787 line, which right now is the cash flow cow at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing’s production line for the 787 is filled through 2021, but after that, there are big gaps. Source: Leeham Co. Click on image for a crisp view.

Executives only briefly, and obliquely, touched on the 787 during the 2Q2019 earnings call last Wednesday.

This prompted LNA to examine the details of the backlog and production rates. The 787 is current being produced at a rate of 14/mo.

There are clear signs of challenges, both near- and medium-term for the 787.

Summary
  • Weak customers threaten to create deferred deliveries near-term.
  • There will be about 20 A330s and 777s coming off lease each year from 2021-2026 on top of retirements. Airbus and Boeing see these are replacement opportunities.
  • The production back delivery stream falls off the cliff in 2022.

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