Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 5. The Hydrogen tank.

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 21, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on hydrogen as an energy store for airliners we start the design discussion of a hydrogen-fueled airliner by understanding the onboard storage of hydrogen better.

While there is present knowledge from for instance the space launcher industry, the storage demands for launchers are hours rather than days. Several implementations of longer storage aeronautical tanks have been done, among others by NASA/Boeing for high flying UAVs.

Airbus and the Russian aircraft industry were also active with research during the 1990s and Tupolev built a test aircraft that included a complete hydrogen fuel system (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Tu-155 Hydrogen research aircraft. Source: Tupolev.

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Looking ahead for 2020 and 2030 decades: UAC

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Fifth in a series.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

July 15, 2020, © Leeham News: UAC stands for United Aircraft Corporation, and is the name of the group owning the Russian aircraft industry.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the multitude of individual companies and design bureaus could no longer survive on their own. The Russian state, therefore, gathered them all in UAC to introduce necessary consolidation and reform.

While UAC has done much with the support of the Ministries of Industry and Defense, the changing political situation for Russia has made it harder for the Civilian aircraft side to achieve sales outside captive Russian markets for its jets.

Summary
  • UAC is the holding company of the Russian aircraft industry since 2006. The UAC management has stopped pointless infighting and consolidated the industry, latest to a civilian and military side.
  • But it’s ambitions on the civil side outside Russia is at mercy to state politics and the Kremlin has shown that world politics is more important than the development of its industries.
  • This, and the rise of arch-rival and cooperation partner China, clouds the future for UAC civil aircraft.

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Pontifications: Assessing the impact of COVID-19: today’s take

By Scott Hamilton

April 6, 2020, © Leeham News: It’s going to be quite a while before there is a clear understanding how coronavirus will change commercial aviation.

LNA already touched on impacts to Airbus, Boeing and Embraer. None of it is good. For Boeing, burdened with the additional stress of the 737 MAX, is in the worst position. Even when the MAX is recertified, there won’t be many—or any—customers in a position to take delivery of the airplane.

Bearing in mind that what’s true today will change in a day, or even an hour, let’s take a rundown of where things seem to stand now.

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Can the DHC 8-400 compete with a CRJ550 for the 50 seat Scope Clause market?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 14, 2019, © Leeham News: The US mainline airlines have large fleets of 50-seater regional jets that are getting old. The present Scope Clause limits on the number of aircraft with seating over 50 seats stop the mainlines from replacing these aircraft with larger aircraft. So there is a real need for an efficient 50 seater regional aircraft for the US market.

As there are no 50 seater jets in production, United is converting its 70 seater CRJ700s to 50 seaters to fill the gap and calls them the CRJ550. This is where de Havilland Canada sees a change for an adapted DHC 8-400 turboprop. It’s more efficient than a CRJ550 while offering the same comfort, says de Havilland. We check if this is correct and what chances a DHC 8-“550” have in this market.

Summary:

  • The US Scope Clauses allow the three mainlines to have more 1,000 50 seater jets, yet no new ones are available to replace the more than 600 in the market.
  • The in-production DHC 8-400 would be an alternative when looking at cabin size and dimensions.

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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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