Areas of inquiry in Lion Air crash

Oct. 29, 2018, (c) Leeham News: A three month old Boeing 737-8 MAX crashed into the sea yesterday.

There are scant clues.

A technical fault was reported the day before the flight, which was unspecified in the news reports LNC has seen. It was said to have been corrected.

Flight tracking showed a rapid descent into the water. One news story reported the pilot radioed he wanted to return due to something, but this is vague and unconfirmed.

It is far too early to speculate what happened to the airplane. There is just too much we don’t know, other than FlightTracker showed what appeared to be a rapid descent into the water.

Here’s what investigations will consider—all as a matter of the normal course of any investigation. This is not listed in priority.

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Airbus’ disadvantages in widebody campaigns

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Oct. 29, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Airbus faces a key disadvantage when it comes to winning current wide-body campaigns against Boeing.

The disadvantage is entirely out of its control.

It’s not about whether the A330neo or A350 vs the 787 economics are out of kilter. They’re not.

It’s about the engines, LNC is told by multiple market sources. Specifically Rolls-Royce engines, which exclusively power the Airbus wide-bodies.

  • Airlines affected by Rolls-Royce-powered 787 problems are hopping mad.
  • The negative halo effect puts questions over the Trent 7000-powered A330neo.
  • While less affected, there is a negative halo effect over the Trent XWB-powered A350.
  • Airlines considering follow-on ordered of 787s are ready to jump from RR to GE.

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Pontifications: Engines, engines, engines

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 29, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Engines, engines, engines.

News emerged last week that Rolls-Royce admitted its continuing problems with the Trent 1000 that powers the Boeing 787 now bled over to the Trent 7000.

RR will fall short of delivering the number of engines need to Airbus for the A330neo, meaning fewer deliveries of the airplane this year.

Boeing said it is clearing its inventory of 737 MAXes, but CFM LEAP engines are still late, slowing the effort.

Pratt & Whitney’s GTF engine deliveries to Airbus are caught up, but technical issues still plague in-service engines. CFM still has technical issues as well, though not as severe or persistent as with GTF, with its LEAP engines. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 12

October 26, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the previous Corner we discussed the noise challenge an SST engine has. To be effective at Supersonic speed it needs a high Specific Thrust (a fast jet out the back) but this creates Takeoff and Landing noise.

We now look at some key data for SST engines.

Figure 1. The GE Affinity medium bypass Turbofan for Aerion AS2. Source: GE.

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How useful is an NMA, Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

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October 25, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we looked at the trans-Atlantic capabilities for a Boeing NMA. We could see West Europe to  East US worked fine, but then it quickly became sensitive to bad Winter weather on the Westward routes when we wanted to fly further.

Now we look at what works and not for Asia-Pacific, an important market for the NMA.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.


  • The NMA is not ideal for the trans-Atlantic US to Europe market. Its reach is too limited.
  • The Asian market works better as long as routes to “Down Under” are not considered.

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Boeing reports strong 3Q results

Oct. 24, 2018: Boeing reported a stronger than expected third quarter when it announced financial results today.

The press release is here.

The stock was up more than 3% ($10.87) in early morning trading.

Wall Street analysts issued these quick notes ahead of the earnings call:

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Boeing’s growing 777X challenge

  • Boeing 3Q earnings call Oct. 24, 10:30am EDT.

Oct. 23, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing has been confident it has bottomed out the production rate of the 777 line, successfully bridging between the Classic and the X models.

CEO Dennis Muilenburg nevertheless typically couches this confidence with “with still have some work to do.”

But during LNC’s trip last week to New York, sources said this bridge may be moving to the right.

Etihad Airways was a launch customer for the Boeing 777X. It’s deferred delivers once. It may do so again. LNC has been on this story since January 2017. Image via Google images.

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Bombardier squeezed by ATR, Embraer, Mitsubishi

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Oct. 22, 2018, © Leeham News: Bombardier has a firm backlog of 67 Q400 turboprops. ATR has a backlog of 256 through Oct. 20, according to the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker.

This is an 80% market share for ATR.

Bombardier has 83 CRJ jets of all models in backlog. Embraer has 442 orders for all E-Jet models. Mitsubishi has 213 firm orders for its MRJ70/90.

This is just an 11% market share for the CRJ.

These figures illustrate why the market doubts Bombardier’s long-term future in commercial aerospace.

  • The Q400 and CRJ are aging aircraft designs.
  • Minor enhancements don’t address the underlying issues.
  • New competition is squeezing BBD.

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Pontifications: Market Intelligence from NY

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 22, 2018, © Leeham News: I was in New York City last week for a series of meetings. Here’s what “the street” is talking about. I make no judgment calls about whether the thoughts are on target or not. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 11

October 19, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last Corner we discussed the temperature challenges an SST engine faces.

Now we address an even larger problem for SST engines, the takeoff and landing noise.

Figure 1. The GE Affinity SST Turbofan for Aerion AS2. Source: GE Aviation.

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