Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 24, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last Corner we discussed how supersonic wave drag can be higher than any other drag for a blunt fuselage trying to fly at supersonic speeds. If we try to fly supersonically with a Dreamliner fuselage, the volume wave drag is four times as large as the whole Dreamliner drag when flying at its normal cruise speed.

Besides wave drag based on bodies volumes we also have wave drag when we angle lift surfaces like wings against air to create lift.

Figure 1. The last Supersonic transport, the Concorde. Source: Wikipedia.

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Can an Airbus A321XLR kill NMA’s business case? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 23, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we examined the areas which limit the capabilities of the Airbus A321LR from addressing a larger part of what is called the Middle of the Market or the NMA segment.

We now discuss the changes Airbus can do which would make an A321XLR cover more of an NMA space.

Summary:

  • The A321LR needs more fuel tankage to fly longer.
  • Installing Additional Center Tanks, (ACTs) takes away critical luggage space and increases the aircraft’s empty weight.
  • We explore other ways around the problem and what these bring.

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Analysis: Bombardier continues to improve Q400 model

By Olivier Bonnassies

Aug. 21, 2018, © Airfinance Journal: Bombardier Commercial Aircraft is gradually introducing more features in its Q400 turboprop aircraft as the Canadian manufacturer continues to see appetite in the 70-90-seat market.

Improvements under development include a 2,000lb increase in payload capacity. The model’s current maximum payload is 18,716lb, while maximum take-off weight varies between 61,700lb and 67,200lb.

Other changes the manufacturer is introducing include the extension of A-check and C-check intervals from 600/6,000 to 800/8,000 flight hours, giving a 20% direct maintenance cost saving.

Bombardier Q400. Source: Bombardier.

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UTC Aerospace Systems sees big benefits from additive manufacturing

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Introduction

By Dan Catchpole

August 20, 2018, © Leeham News: There is a fundamental tension in aerospace’s DNA.

UTC Aerospace Systems’ executive Paula Hay is leading the aerospace supplier’s adoption of additive manufacturing. (Image via LinkedIn)

It has been there since Kitty Hawk: Balancing the hunger to push technological boundaries with the desire to stay safe.

The Wright Flyer only flew after years of painstakingly testing airframes and engines. That tension between being bold and being safe is evident today in commercial aerospace’s adoption of additive manufacturing.

Just about every major player in the aerospace industry is exploring additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. Most of the integration has been at the margins. The technology is still young enough that there is no clear leader in its application to aerospace. Everyone is trying to find how to get the most from it.

Summary

  • Begin with mechanical, not structural systems.
  • Big parts reductions.
  • Big reduction in lead time.

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Pontifications: Workforce shortage hurts entire supply chain

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 20, 2018, © Leeham News: A growing shortage of workers is exacerbating pressure on suppliers as they struggle to meet current aircraft production rates, even as Airbus and Boeing want to raise them even more.

Add to this the thousands of retirements facing the OEMs in the next 5-10 years, and you can see the strain facing Airbus, Boeing, the engine makers and the suppliers feeding into them.

It also partly explains the shifting trend toward automation. Setting aside the obvious benefits of automation—quality control, accuracy, boring repetitive work, etc—the supply chain in simply facing a growing shortage of workers for which there is no easy answer.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 17, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last Corner we outlined several challenges facing a supersonic airliner or business jet.

We will now go through these challenges one by one. We start with the aerodynamic challenge.

Figure 1. The last Supersonic transport, the Concorde. Source: Wikipedia.

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Can an Airbus A321XLR kill NMA’s business case?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 16, 2018, © Leeham News.: Airbus is working on improving the A321LR so it can fly more of the missions Boeing’s NMA is aimed for, according to Aviation Week. By it, Airbus could ideally make the NMA business case a No-Go.

To understand how much of the NMA market an A321XLR can address we need to understand the limitations of the A321LR and what can be done about them. And how fast such improvements could be implemented.

Summary:

  • The A321LR is limited in both Take-Off Weight and fuel capacity to fly further than today’s aircraft.
  • How to lift these limitations without imposing large changes is the subject of this week’s article and a follow-up article next week.

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Some suppliers consider sitting out Boeing’s NMA program

By Dan Catchpole

August 15, 2018, © Leeham News: If Boeing launches its New Midsize Airplane (NMA or 797), it is expected to use the cleansheet program to force new contract terms on suppliers. And that has some suppliers wondering if it is worth participating in the program at all.

Speaking on background, executives from several suppliers told LNC in recent months that they might not bid on NMA work if it means greater price concessions up front, as well as surrendering lucrative aftermarket sales to Boeing.

Bidding will depend, in part, on whether suppliers can pass cost cuts down to their own suppliers,  and if Boeing takes on more risk and development costs to offset lost aftermarket revenue. One exec wondered what it could mean for the company’s engineering capabilities if they have to bid for essentially procurement orders with Boeing holding onto the IP.

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Stopping airliner theft

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 15, 2018, © Leeham News.: The theft of the Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 Friday brings the question how easy airliners are to steal and what can be made about it.

Having never flown an airliner before, I recently learned how to start one from cold and get it into the air. Here’s my take on how easy (or not) it is to get an airliner in the air by a novice and what can be done to make it harder.

The Dash 8 Q400 involved in the Friday incident. Source: Wikipedia.

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Airbus Business Line Services ramping up

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Introduction

Aug. 13, 2018, © Leeham News: While Boeing aggressively pushes its new business unit, Boeing Global Services (BGS), on a trajectory for a $50bn revenue target in 10 years, Airbus quietly has its own services operation.

Airbus services has a goal to reach $10bn in revenue over the next decade for its commercial services. In 2017, the Airbus Group revenue of $9bn was split roughly evenly between commercial, helicopters and defense.

BGS’ revenue target includes all services.

Unlike BGS, Airbus services are not a separate business unit/profit center. Ironically, the Airbus website describes the airliner-part as “commercial aircraft services.” Boeing’s airliner services operation was called Commercial Aviation Services, or CAS, before CAS merged with the Boeing defense operation to form BGS. The business line is promoted as Services by Airbus in collateral material.

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