Pontifications: Boeing’s focus on going to Mars

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: New Orleans: Going to Mars is a daunting task, says John Shannon, a Boeing vice president and program manager of the SLS

John Shannon of Boeing. Photo via Google images.

program.

But it’s one of the greatest and most exciting challenges of today’s science community.

In a speech before the annual conference of the Aerospace Alliance Oct. 12 in New Orleans, Shannon used illustrations to explain the challenges of going to Mars. Some of the art he used are contained in this presentation (NASA Space Launch System). Boeing did not make its presentation available.

The SLS, or Space Launch System, is larger than the Saturn 5 rocket used in the Apollo astronaut and Skylab space programs in the 1960s and 1970s. It was used to send Apollo to the moon and it was the only rocket capable of launching beyond low earth orbit.

Boeing is building the rocket, which will be capable of sending supplies to Mars, followed by astronauts.

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Pontifications: Playing catch-up

Oct. 9, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Recent weeks have been dominated by the news of the Boeing-Bombardier trade complaint. More is to come before and after the end of the year.

It’s time to catch up on some other news.

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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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Pontifications: Jets took 30 years to match piston efficiency

The Douglas DC-6B was considered the finest, most efficient and most reliable of the piston engine airliners. Photo via Google.

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airline officials want their airplanes to sip fuel and the engine and airframe manufacturers work mightily to shave even 1% off of consumption.

The Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, A330neo, A350 and 787 all made big strides in cutting fuel costs.

Bombardier’s CSeries, Embraer’s EJet-E2, the Mitsubishi MRJ and even the COMAC C919 and Irkut MC-21 are touted to be double-digit more fuel efficient than the jets these are intended to replace.

Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, CFM and GE Aviation spend billions of dollars developing engines that drive the fuel efficiencies sought by the airlines. After all, typically airframe improvements only account for about 5% of fuel reductions. Engines account for 15% or more.

It took 30 years for the most fuel efficient jets matched the fuel efficiency of the best piston airliners from the 1950s, according a recent presentation by AeroDynamics Advisory at the ADSE conference at the Abbotsford Air Show early this month.

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Pontifications: DAE acquires AWAS, moves up in lessor status

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 21, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Commercial aviation in the Middle East may be having its severe challenges right now, but over the weekend a major step forward took place.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprises over the weekend completed its acquisition of lessor AWAS. The combined companies will do business under the name DAE Capital.

It’s a milestone for both companies.

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Pontifications: Avolon sees strong sales for Boeing 737-10

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Avolon, one of the world’s largest aircraft lessors following the acquisition of the CIT Aerospace portfolio, believes Boeing will see 2,000 of the 737-10—doubling the internal figure Boeing used to launch the program.

In a new white paper, which Avolon periodically issues, the lessor “projects that the MAX 10 will account for approximately 20% of all 737 MAX family deliveries, which would equate to around 2,000 aircraft. This compares to the A321neo, which is forecast to account for 40% of the A320neo family, with over 4,000 deliveries,” writes Steve Mason, Avolon’s SVP of Strategy.

Mason joined Avolon from CIT acquisition, where he held a similar position and likewise issued periodic white papers.

“The value proposition of the MAX 9 has been impacted by the launch of the MAX 10. It is unclear what role remains for the aircraft, but it is likely to have a limited future,” Mason writes.

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Pontifications: Context is everything

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The quote appeared on Twitter, citing the chairman of Air Lease Corp, Steven Udvar-Hazy:

“I would simply but strongly encourage the OEMs to carefully review their production rate aspirations closely and realistically.”

Hazy, often (but erroneously) called the “Godfather of leasing,” is a voice to be reckoned with. He is enormously influential with Airbus, Boeing, lessors and the industry. He’s been a launch customer of several aircraft new aircraft models and, if he’s not the Godfather of leasing (this title really belongs to the late George Batchelor), Hazy raised aircraft leasing to a fine art.

So, when the quote appeared on Twitter, I sat up in my chair.

Was Hazy suggesting Airbus and Boeing will be producing too many airplanes, creating a supply-demand imbalance?

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Pontifications: JADC 20-year forecast: VLA, NMA and other data

By Scott Hamilton

July 24, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Japan Aircraft Development Corp (JADC) just published its 2017-2037 jet and turboprop forecast. JADC forecasts a demand for 33,336 jet airliners and some 2,000 turboprops.

JADC is partly owned by Mitsubishi, which is developing the MRJ70/90 and which is on several Boeing programs.

I like the JADC forecast because it segments the seating categories in more detail than Airbus and Boeing and somewhat differently than Bombardier and Embraer.

I also view JADC as having less of an axe to grind than the Big Four OEMs.

A couple of quick take-aways:

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Pontifications: 10 years after the Boeing 787 roll-out

By Scott Hamilton

July 10, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Saturday was the 10th anniversary of the roll-out of the Boeing 787. The date was 7/8/07, nicely coincided for the airplane’s name.

The event was an extravaganza never seen in commercial aviation, surpassing even that of the Boeing 707 in 1954.

Technology, of course, had a lot to do with the hyper-event 10 years ago. There was no Internet in 1954, no cable news networks, no laser light shows, etc.

There were also no orders for the 707 in 1954, compared with the hundreds for the 787 in 2007.

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