Bjorn’s Corner: Aeroflot SSJ100 crash at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport

By Bjorn Fehrm

May 10, 2019, ©. Leeham News: An Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash-landed Sunday at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport and burst into flames.

We shall look closer at the likely cause of the accident, which involves the SSJ100 Fly-By-Wire (FBW) control system working in Direct law.

The SSJ100 involved in the accident. Source: Wikipedia.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Time to reassess the safety standards for our airliners

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 26, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In the wake of the 737 MAX crashes the standards to which Boeing and the FAA qualified and approved the 737 MAX MCAS function is questioned.

FAA has called the world’s aviation regulators to a meeting on the 23rd of May to discuss how the revised MCAS function will be approved. But it’s time to discuss more than how the updated MCAS shall pass.

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2019 Outlook: Will Bombardier exit Commercial aircraft?

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Introduction

December 27, 2018, © Leeham News.: In July the CSeries changed from Bombardier to Airbus and in November the Q400 program was sold to Viking Air, the buyer of de Havilland Canada aircraft from Bombardier like the Twin Otter and the water bomber CL415.

When the Viking Air deal closes in the second half of 2019, only the CRJ regional jet will make up Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. Will the CRJ stay with Bombardier or go? And if so, why?

Summary:
  • With other divisions increasing revenues amid healthy margins, the loss-making Commercial Aircraft’s time was up. It’s future hope, the CSeries, was digging an ever deeper cost hole with each delay. Only a market success could save it.
  • The Boeing trade complaint in April 2017 made a success far-fetched, sealing the fate not only for the CSeries but for the Commercial Aircraft division.
  • With the CSeries at Airbus and Q400 at Viking Air, why keep the CRJ? It makes no sense. The CRJ is presently dressed for sale. Now it’s more a question to whom and when.

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Bombardier refocuses the CRJ

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 10, 2018, © Leeham News: American Airlines last week ordered 30 additional regional jets.  Of these, 15 were the Embraer E175. No surprise there. It’s the traveler’s favourite and the market leader among US regional jets. But American Airlines also ordered the same number of Bombardier CRJ900. Why? Isn’t it a bit dated?

There are good reasons for this order and Bombardier sees a new spring for the trusted regional. We use our performance model to understand why.

Summary:
  • The CRJ900 is still a good choice for the US Scope Clause regulated regional jet market.
  • Is strong economics makes it a favourite with the airline’s bean counters.
  • In addition, it has the longest cabin, enabling large First-class and Premium economy sections.
  • With programmed updates, it will be competitive for years to come.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 5.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the fourth article about the Chinese/Russian wide-body, CR929, we analyzed the engine selection for the aircraft. Now we continue with a first performance analysis of the CR929 against its main competitors, the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A330-900.

We will use the preliminary data we have collected for the CR929 and compare this to the data for the 787-9 and A330-900. It’s the first analysis, on preliminary information. But there is enough knowledge of the key parameters to use our performance model to draw the first conclusions about the CR929’s positioning in the market.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is modeled closely after the 787-9. The technology for structures, systems, engines and aerodynamics are similar.
  • With a similar payload capacity, the fuel consumption should be better as the CR929 is defined with a lower maximum range.
  • It’s wider cabin eats up the weight and drag advantage, however. There will be little difference between the efficiency of the 787-9 and the 15 years younger CR929.

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Next Sukhoi Superjet is a 75 seater

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 7, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: The President of Sukhoi Civil AirCraft (SCAC), Alexander Rubtsov (who is also the Sales and Marketing Manager of the civil aircraft division of Russia’s United Aircraft, UAC), told Flight Global at the Singapore Air Show there has been a decision to develop a 75-seat version of Sukhoi SuperJet (SSJ).

Sukhoi and United Aircraft have studied whether to develop a larger or smaller version of the SSJ. A Russian order for 100 of the smaller model tipped the decision to the 75-seat model.

Figure 1. SSJ100/95 from Cityjet wetleased to Brussels Airlines. Source: SCAC.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 4.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 1, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the third article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, CR929, we looked at the challenges the aircraft poses to the involved manufacturers. Now we continue with analyzing the project’s engine needs.

The CR929 is sized to use engines from the Boeing 787 project. Both GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce got Request for Proposals (RFPs) on 22 Dec. 2017. In addition, the Russian and Chinese engine industry wants to develop an engine for the project.

Summary:

  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program needs engines in the 75,000lbf thrust class.
  • The project’s engine specification is closely modeled after the engines available from the Boeing 787 project.
  • In addition to the available 787 engines, the Chinese and Russian engine industry is trying to unite behind a joint engine proposal.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 25, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the second article about the new Chinese/Russian widebody, CR929, we looked at the size of the aircraft and its passenger capacity. The CR929 can be best described as a shorter range version of Boeing’s 787-9. We also presented the chosen technologies for the project.

Now we continue and look at the challenges the aircraft poses to the involved manufacturers. Neither of them (COMAC of China and United Aircraft of Russia) have developed and certified an aircraft like the CR929 before.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has high ambitions. The structure shall be composites and the systems state of the art.
  • We now go through the aircraft’s chosen technologies and review what experience base the Chinese and Russian aeronautical industry has and what challenges they will face. Read more

Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape: Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 18, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the first article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, the CR929, we described the route to a joint program company and the launch of the project.

We now analyze the aircraft, based on available information. With the information, it’s possible to model the aircraft in our performance model and get the first understanding of performance and efficiency.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is closely modelled after the Boeing 787-9. The overall design and dimensions are similar.
  • The major difference to the 787-9 is in cabin width, allowing comfortable nine abreast seating, and the Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW).
  • The decision to design CR929-600 for a lower MTOW has restricted range to 6,500nm with the nominal cabin capacity of 280 passengers.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody Project takes shape

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Chinese and Russian Widebody program started in earnest over the last year. After signing a joint venture agreement in 2016, the project now has a joint management company, CRAIC, formed 22nd of May 2017, and standing for China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation.

The company will have final assembly and management located in Shanghai.  The aircraft has also got its final name, CR929-600. It will hold 280 passengers in a three-class cabin with a range of 6,500nm, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The CRAIC CR929-600, the main aircraft in the Chinese-Russian widebody program. Source: CRAIC.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has taken off after the joint company was established spring 2017.
  • The organization of the company is set, with the Chinese taking the rudder by the power of a five times larger market and economy and a 10 times larger population.
  • The joint company, CRAIC, issued its first vendor RFP to GE and Rolls-Royce before Christmas for the aircraft’s propulsion system.
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