Pontifications: Airbus-the First 50 Years

Book Review

By Scott Hamilton

July 8, 2019, © Leeham News: When a company authorizes or sponsors a book about some major event, the book is usually a puff piece meant for the coffee table in reception.

Airbus authorized the book, Airbus: The First 50 Years, but it’s no puff piece. It’s an honest, candid accounting of how the company came to be, navigating through country and corporate politics, face offs with rival Boeing, reporting the insider trading allegations and ending with the as-yet unfinished corruption scandal investigations.

Nicola Clark, the aerospace reporter for the International Herald Tribune, did a superb job up to her usual reporting standards while avoiding the puff pieces that usually come with an authorized book.

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How Boeing named, promoted the MAX in early days

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Introduction

May 16, 2019, © Leeham News: As a Congressional investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX development ramps up, LNA dipped into its archives to review what the company was telling the public.

The MAX was hastily launched in July 2011, when American Airlines informed Boeing it was about to place a record-setting order for nearly 500 airplanes. Airbus was lined up to snare it all with the A320ceo and neo families unless Boeing could make a credible offer.

Within 48 hours, Jim McNerney, then-CEO of Boeing, made the decision to launch the re-engined design of the 737. This later was branded the MAX.

It was a plane Boeing designed but didn’t want to build.

Once launched, Boeing had to play catch up to Airbus, which had a seven month lead with its neo. The public messaging was long on bashing the A320. There were few technical details presented in public, but the basis for what’s become in focus today after two fatal crashes was there.

Summary
  • Boeing promoted commonality between NG and MAX.
  • Making a virtue of basic design.
  • Integrating the larger engines.
  • Promoting the same simulators.

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Everett-based DC-3 leaves Saturday for D-Day, Berlin Air Lift celebrations

May 9, 2019, © Leeham News: D-Day is June 6, 1944. The start of the Berlin Air Lift is June 24, 1948.

The Historic Flight Foundation (HFF), located at Paine Field, Saturday afternoon embarks on a multi-week trip from Paine to England in its historic Douglas DC-3.

This Douglas DC-3, owned by the Historic Flight Foundation, saw service in World War II in the Pacific theatre. It leaves Saturday for Europe to participate with about 30 other DC-3s/C-47s in ceremonies for the D-Day invasion of Europe and the Berlin Air Lift. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The trip includes 54 flying hours, event and rest stops along the way and rendeveouing with 30 more DC-3s/C-47s, D-Day events in France and Air Lift events in Berlin.

HFF’s DC-3 didn’t participate in the European theatre of war, but it is an historical airplane. It was in the Pacific theatre, operated by CNAC, a Chinese airline in which Pan American World Airways had a financial interest. The airplane is decked out in period Pan Am colors.

  • 9am Saturday, May 11, HFF has a “fly day” as a prelude to the 3pm departure of the DC-3 for Europe. Static and aerials displays are planned. Rides are possible. HFF is on the west side of Paine Field, with the entrance on Bernie Webber Drive.

For HFF founder John Sessions, this trip is especially significant. He was nearly killed in the crash of another HFF plane he was piloting last August at the Abbottsford Air Show. His left leg was amputated below the knee.

Now fitted with a prosthetic lower leg and foot, Sessions returned to flight status just a week ago after going through flight testing, including on the DC-3.

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Pontifications: Which airplanes are revolutionary or evolutionary?

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 18, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week’s column about the revolutionary Boeing 747 prompted some Twitter interaction asking what other commercial airplanes might be considered “revolutionary.”

I have my views. Let’s ask readers.

There are also three polls below the jump in addition to the usual comment section. Polling is open for one week.

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Pontifications: The 747 revolutionized air travel

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Few airplanes truly can be called revolutionary. Most are evolutionary.

The Boeing 747 was one of those that falls into the former category.

Just as the Boeing 707 revolutionized air travel, so did the 747.

The spaciousness and, after a period of engine difficulties, the economics put the 747 into a class by itself.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Pitch stability, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 14, 2018, ©.Leeham News: Last week we introduced a horizontal stabilizer to make our DC-9 like aircraft stable in pitch. We got a pitch moment curve which was forcing the nose down of the aircraft if there was an increase in Angle of Attack (AoA) of the aircraft. Should the angle of attack decrease from a trimmed position, the aircraft would put the nose up to correct the disturbance. The aircraft is stable in pitch.

Now we take a closer look at how such a horizontal stabilizer is made and why.

Figure 1. The pitch moment coefficient curve of an earlyDC-9 candidate. Source: Stanford University.

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Pontifications: Horizon Q400 theft spurs thoughts about solo pilot idea

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 13, 2018, © Leeham News: The bizarre theft of a Horizon Airlines Bombardier Q400 at Sea-Tac Airport Friday night by a 29-year old employee will take some time for investigators to unravel.

The employee, a ramp agent, appeared to have no other motive in mind other than a last joy ride before ending his life.

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Pontifications: Photo essay

By Scott Hamilton

June 11, 2018, (c) Leeham News: In a change of pace, here are a number of photos gathered from recent visits to museums in the US and Canada.

Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum of Kansas City Downtown Airport, Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum in Kansas City is labeled the Super G, but it actually is an H model, delivered as a passenger/freighter. It was restored to G markings in TWA colors. The airplane was airworthy until 2007, when an engine fire prompted the museum to park the airplane. AHM hopes to restore the airplane to flying operation.

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Pontifications: Uncontained engine failures are rare but not unknown

By Scott Hamilton

April 23, 2018, © Leeham News: Last week’s engine malfunction on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 was another in a rare, but not unknown, uncontained engine anomaly in recent years.

All recent similar failures didn’t cause a loss of life or serious injuries if the passengers were evacuated. Unfortunately, this accident caused one fatality and seven injuries.

Let’s put the context to this issue.

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Embraer gears up for E2 delivery; a look at the 100-150 seat sector demand

March 31, 2018 © Leeham News: The first Embraer E2 jet will be delivered April 4, to Norway’s Wideroe Airlines.

The E190-E2 seats 114 passengers in one-class, 29-inch pitch and 106 at 31-inch pitch, putting it at the low end of the 100-150 seat sector that is often maligned as a Bermuda Triangle for airplanes of this size.

Wideroe of Norway takes delivery of the firzst Embraer 190-E2 April 4. Photo: Embraer

The E190-E2 competes with the Bombardier CS100, a 110-seat airplane in one-class. Neither Airbus nor Boeing have a competing product. Each offers a larger airplane in the 125-150 sector, the A319neo and 737-7 MAX respectively. Embraer and Bombardier offer the E195-E2 and CS300 in this sub-sector.

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