Boeing company uses A321 in website promo

Feb 23, 2017, (c) Leeham Co.: A Boeing company, Inventory Locator Service, yesterday posted an Evolution of Boeing graphic on its website that traces key points in Boeing’s history.

There was a problem, however: the airplane at the top of the graphic, which was photo-shopped with Boeing 737 identification, was an Airbus A321.

A Twitter storm immediately commenced after one person saw the Evolution and posted it on his Facebook page.

It isn’t the first time an Airbus airplane showed up in a Boeing-focused promo piece. The promo piece was still up last night, but may not be when the company opens for business in the Midwest today.

The graphic is posted below the jump in this post.

The A321 wasn’t the only problem. A 747-8 was used to represent the first flight of the 747-100. A 737NG freighter represented the first flight of the 737, which was the -100 series. A 787–which didn’t even exist at the time–was used to represent the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas. And a 777F was used to represent the first flight o the 78.

This isn’t the first time an Airbus A320 was used to promote Boeing.

In November 2013, the Washington Aerospace Partnership (“WAP,” as in upside the head, somehow seemed fitting) used an A320 in a full page Seattle Times advert touting the state as the best place in the US to do aerospace business.

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From zero to 10,000 in 50 years; can COMAC duplicate this achievement?

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 19, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus delivered its 10,000 aircraft last week (Figure 1), an A350-900 delivered to Singapore Airlines.

Delivering the 10,000 aircraft after 50 years of start of project is impressive, especially as the competition, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), the late McDonnell Douglas Corp and Lockheed Co, fought Airbus every step of the way.

Figure 1. Airbus 10,000th aircraft for Singapore Airlines. Source: Airbus.

We have a new player starting its 50 years, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, COMAC. It’s on its eighth year and the competitions’ sentiments are: “It will take long before they can compete, decades!”

Let’s compare with the rise of Airbus and see what can be learned. Will COMAC deliver its 10,000th aircraft in 50 years? Or in a shorter time? Read more

Bjorn’s Corner; The Chinese civil aircraft industry

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm.

September 30, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In our Corners on East bloc aeronautical industries, we will now look at the Chinese civil aircraft industry.

The Chinese aero industry has similarities with the Russian industry in its overall structure. From the start of the industry in the 1950s, it was structured after the Soviet model of research institutes, design bureaus and production companies.

The difference to the Soviet Union was that its own Chinese aircraft designs only started in the 1970s. Before that, the industry built Soviet designs on license and then modified versions of licensed designs.

The first own aircraft designs were presented in the 1980s with a focus on military designs for the first 20 years. Read more

Russian-Chinese wide-body: background and outlook

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 21, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: The discussions around a joint Russian and Chinese development of a 250-300 seat wide-body has been going on for years.

The project got a more concrete form at President Putin’s visit to China in June. On the 25th of June visit, an inter-governmental agreement to develop and market the aircraft was signed.

Russian-Chinese widebody

Figure 1. Concept for new wide-body airliner. Source: United Aircraft.

At the same time Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) agreed to establish a joint venture for the program.

What market is this aircraft trying to address and will it become a serious player in the wide-body market? Will it give the duopoly Airbus/Boeing something to worry about?

We will address these questions in a series of articles. Before going into the questions around the wide-body program, we will look at the players, UAC and COMAC. Are they up to the job of making a competitive wide-body aircraft?

Summary:

  • Russia and China enter the wide-body project with widely different knowledge bases.
  • China’s first airliner project, ARJ21, just received local certification after years of delays.
  • Russia has produced over 10,000 airliners and has made two generations of wide-body aircraft in the size category.
  • The latest wide-body aircraft, Ilyushin IL-96, is on the level of Airbus A340-300 from a technological basis.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Flight control, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

18 March 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Last week we covered the early days of flight control when the pilot controlled the aircraft’s movable surfaces (called movables; e.g. stabilator, rudder, ailerons, spoilers…) without the involvement of computers.

We will now continue with more advanced control systems, all based on the electrical signalling of the intentions of the pilot to the movables. As the modern Fly-By-Wire (FBW) control systems modify the aircraft’s basic flying behaviour, we need to start with understanding what that behaviour is. Then we can understand how different FBW systems go about modifying these characteristics.

One could think that an aircraft is made to fly nice and stable, should the pilot take a few seconds and admire the view. Nothing could be further from reality.  All normally stable aircraft which do not employ flight computers or autopilots to enhance the normal stability would go into a rather nasty dive after a while.

Why this is so and what is done to help the pilot in modern FBW systems is the subject of today’s and next week’s Corner.

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PNAA Conference Day 1: Aerospace Clusters

  • Feb. 9, 2016: Today is the first of three days of conference meetings organized by PNAAthe Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA), in Lynnwood (WA). We’re providing live reporting throughout the three days.

Aerospace clusters are evolving throughout the world, said Kevin Michael, vice president of ICF International.

California is on the decline. Two new clusters on the rise are Mexico and the Southeastern US. The Netherlands and Singapore are successful, long-term clusters.

California was the premier aerospace cluster for decades, but its demise began when Lockheed chose Georgia as the location to build the C-130. The founding of Airbus was not good news for SoCal, and neither was the end of the Cold War. The acquisition of McDonnell Douglas by Boeing in 1997 further precipitated the decline of SoCal.

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Minuscule demand for Boeing 747-8F

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Introduction

seahawksplane2

One of Boeing’s white tail 747-8Fs. This, and another that has been stored, was painted in the livery of the Seattle Seahawks. Boeing photo.

Jan. 25, 2016, © Leeham Co. Boeing’s decision to cut the production rate on the 747-8 is not a surprise. It’s only a surprise that it took officials so long to do so.

The company continues to cling to the hope of a recovery in the global air cargo market to sustain the program. This is unlikely, however.

The business case for the 747-8F is minuscule.

Summary

  • The metrics of the global freight market have simply changed too much.
  • Load factors for freight remain stuck below 45%.
  • Yields continue to be low.
  • Shifting trends from main deck freighters to using lower deck space on the big passenger airlines continues to grow.
  • Low fuel prices, temporary though they may be, diminish the new for new 747-8Fs.
  • Low capital cost 747-400 Passenger models stored in the desert or soon to be exiting the world’s fleet, along with stored 747-400Fs, provide ample opportunity for cheap freighters.

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C-17: the end of an era

Dec. 1,2015: The last C-17 flew off the Boeing production line in Long Beach (CA) last week, ending aircraft

The final C-17 before taking off from the Long Beach (CA) production plant Boeing acquired in the McDonnell Douglas merger of 1997. MDC designed the C-17. Los Angeles Times photo.

production at the former McDonnell Douglas plant that began delivering Douglas DC-8s at the start of the jet age.

It’s the end of an era that lasted six decades.

Prior to producing the DC-8 at Long Beach, Douglas Aircraft Co. built its long line of piston airliners at the Santa Monica (CA) Airport.

The DC-8 was followed by the DC-9, DC-10, the DC-9 Super 80 series, the MD-11, the MD-90 and the final commercial airliner at Long Beach, the MD-95/Boeing 717. The C-17 was the only military aircraft built here.

Here’s a photo array dedicated to this storied history.

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Northrop wins, Boeing/Lockheed lose bomber contract

Oct. 27, 2015: Northrop Grumman, builder of the B-2 bomber in the USAF inventory, was awarded the contract to build the next generation long-range bomber, which is yet to be named. For the moment, we’ll call it the “B-3.” For now it’s official name is the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB).

The Seattle Times has this story.

This is a big blow to Boeing, whose declining defense business was already in trouble from defense cutbacks and previous contract losses. The contract is worth $80bn.

Boeing’s strategy in acquiring McDonnell Douglas Corp back in 1997 was to even the revenue stream between commercial and military, in which Boeing then had a small portion and MDC was predominately military. Boeing was a sub-contractor to Northrop on the B-2, gaining a lot of its composite experience there which ultimately benefited development of the 787.

Unless Boeing finds grounds to challenge the contract award, prevails and wins a second competition, its Defense unit will continue to shrink.

Goldman Sachs, as with many other investment banks, called this a big win for Northrop.

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Pontifications: 50% of something or 100% of nothing: something to consider at Bombardier

By Scott Hamiltn

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 19, 2015, © Leeham Co. Bombardier is dominating the aerospace news lately, given the reports of talks with Airbus about selling a stake of the CSeries program to the European company; a report that it planned to approach Embraer for a business tie-up; and on Friday, a long analysis by Reuters about BBD’s financial challenges.

Last week I chronicled Bombardier’s history predicament of how it got to where it is today, a very deep hole that the new management—which only got on the scene last February and which has spent much of the year reorganizing the company and hiring a new team—has to dig out of. It’s not an easy task and it won’t come overnight.

Let’s take yet another look at things, given the continued headlines last week.

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