Don’t look for commercial BWB airplane any time soon, says Boeing’s future airplanes head

April 3, 2018, © Leeham News: New airplanes for the foreseeable future are unlikely to look radically different than the tube-and-wing configuration that’s been around since the dawn of manned flight.

Yes, there are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that look very different. Yes, there are the B-2 and B-21 bombers that are flying wings.

Scaled Blended Wing Body airplane. Source: NASA.

And, yes, there is the Blended Wing Body concept that was created by McDonnell Douglas and tested, in scaled-size models, by Boeing, which acquired MDC in 1997.

But don’t expect to see a BWB either as a freighter or as a passenger airplane any time soon, says Boeing’s VP of Product Development and Future Airplane Development.

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Spies and industrial spying

By Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton

March 27, 2018, © Leeham News, Bainbridge Island (WA): The unexpected US order to close the Russian Consulate in Seattle this week set off a media frenzy in this city because two reasons cited were the proximity of the consulate to Boeing and two US naval bases, Bremerton and Bangor.

There is a third, smaller one, in Everett, but this wasn’t mentioned.

Bremerton is a major repair-and-overhaul base for ships, ranging from aircraft carriers to submarines to frigates and support ships.

Bangor is home to Trident nuclear missile subs and the spy sub, USS Jimmy Carter.

I live on Bainbridge Island, a stone’s throw to Bangor (ground zero in a North Korean nuclear missile attack?) and a 45-minute drive to Bremerton. It’s 45 minutes from here to Boeing Field via ferry and car.

Boeing, of course, is the principal home to Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The commercially-based P8 Poseidon and the KC-46A tankers are built here.

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United Aircraft’s and COMAC’s eventful year

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 03, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Both United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and COMAC got their single-aisle airliner projects into flight test during 2017. The MC-21 and C919 had their first flights within less than a month of each other, with the Chinese C919 first at 5th of May, followed by the Irkut MC-21 on the 28th of May.

Superficially the aircraft and projects are similar. Both are 150-220 seat single aisle projects in the mold of Airbus’ A320neo and Boeing’s 737 MAX programs. Looking a bit closer, they are different. One is extending the state of the art in several areas; the other is playing safe.

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Top 10 aviation stories of the year on Leeham News

Dec. 31, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airplane development and the whimsicle made the Top 10 stories on LNC in 2017.

The Top 10 are a statistical listing of the most-viewed posts, not some judgment call on the part of LNC.

Here is the rundown.

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Top Airbus officials scoffed at Leahy’s 50% market share goal

John Leahy, the chief operating officer-customers for Airbus, will retire in January after 33 years with the company. LNC’s editor, Scott Hamilton, has known Leahy for most of this time. This is the second of a series of reports derived from interviewing Leahy about his pending retirement. The first article appeared Nov. 28.

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: When John Leahy was promoted from his position as head of Airbus sales in North America and moved to headquarters in Toulouse,

John Leahy, COO-Customers Airbus. Reuters photo via Google images.

France, to assume the world-wide position as head of sales, he had an ambitious goal to achieve 50% market share by 2000.

He had a little over five years to go from low-double digits to this lofty goal.

The Airbus executive board initially laughed at him, Leahy recalls 22 years later.

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Analyst: Airbus could eventually terminate CSeries program

Nov. 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Bombardier CSeries may go the way of the McDonnell Douglas MD-95, a Wall Street aerospace analyst suggests: that is, the program is likely to remain unprofitable and be shut down.

Doug Harned, the analyst for Bernstein Research, draws a parallel between Airbus’ acquisition of a majority stake in the CSeries program and Boeing’s 1997 acquisition of McDonnell Douglas in which the MD-95 joined the Boeing family of airplanes.

The 110-seat MD-95 was renamed the Boeing 717. Boeing attempted to market the airplane, without success. Production was terminated after 156 airplanes were built.

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Pontifications: 49 years ago, the first 747 rolled out

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 30, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Today is the 49th anniversary of the roll-out of the Boeing 747-100.

On Nov. 7, United Airlines operates its last 747 flight. Delta Air Lines ends it 747 service this year. Afterward, there won’t be a single US operator of the passenger model.

The 747 remains in service with US cargo carriers Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, UPS and a few others. Globally, British Airways, Lufthansa and Korean Air Lines are among those flying the passenger model.

Ted Reed, one of the writers of TheStreet.com, asked me earlier this month to give some thoughts about the 747. Below is what I gave him; he excerpted some for his column in Forbes. The focus was on US operators.

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Pontifications: Revisionist history

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 25, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The US Department of Commerce today is scheduled to release its decision on whether to impose tariffs on each Bombardier CS100 delivered to Delta Air Lines, starting this year. (The public announcement is tomorrow.)

The tariffs will be in two forms: one for dumping the aircraft at prices below that sold in the home market (Canada) and one for “injury” to Boeing.

LNC understands the total could be in the range of $32m per plane. We don’t know if this a correct figure.

Boeing told its investors conference last week it’s pursuing this complaint about Bombardier subsidies to avoid another Airbus emerging and destroying Boeing and the US aerospace industry—an idea included in Boeing’s filings with the US government.

In those filings, Boeing claimed Airbus led to the demise of Lockheed’s commercial aviation business and of McDonnell Douglas.

I think this is a bit of revisionist history.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engine maintenance, Part 6

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 7, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Last week’s Corner developed the overhaul shop visits per year for wide-body engines. We will now look at how the market develops around these overhaul opportunities.

How does the shop structure develop over a popular engine’s life-cycle? How much choice has an operator and when?

Figure 1. Principal picture of a three-shaft wide-body turbofan with station numbers. Source: GasTurb.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engine maintenance, Part 4

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: After covering the maintenance market for single-aisle engines, time has come for the engines used on wide-body aircraft. The engine maintenance for a wide-body engine is a bit different to the single-aisle engine. The difference is caused by the longer flight times for the wide-bodies. This makes the flight time wear a more dominant maintenance driver than it is for the single-aisle engines.

The changes in overhaul work caused by the difference in flight profiles and the lower number of engines in the market (compared to the single aisles) will affect how the overhaul market is structured and who are the dominant players.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a tri-shaft turbofan for the wide-body market. Source: GasTurb.

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