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aro757


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#41184 02-09-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Another setback to the 787 program was announced yesterday with delamination found at the tail area of the aircraft, near the horizontal stabilizer, and cracks in the ribs that fasten the skin to the wing were found on the A380 last week. These two planes have been plagued with problems almost from the beginning, with delay after delay and cost over runs in the billions. What's next? When will the misery end? Sorry, but I don't even think of the 787 as a safe airplane anymore and it's hardly begun any serious service yet.

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ahmed |
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JEE3


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#41185 02-09-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Seems like there may be a point when these new types of materials just don't hold up. If something has been test proven over a long time, maybe it should be left alone?


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#41222 02-11-2012 GMT-5 hours    
The "curse" my friend has to do with a common denominator. It is called "rushing to get product out without
having to pay the airlines penalties". Both FedEx and UPS cancelled their A380 orders because Airbus was
concentrating on the passenger version instead of the freighter! It' all politics!

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#41272 02-14-2012 GMT-5 hours    
I can't really see the A380 and 787 lumped together but I do see your logic.

I must admit to a hearty dislike of the A380. Its monumental ugliness prompts me to recall (in reverse!) the oft-cited adage that any aeroplane which looks beautiful, would fly beautifully. The corollary is clear... In his fascinating book The Simple Science of Flying, Henk Tennekes questions the logic behind the A380 and calls it "a mini-superjet at best" for its inability to use the very largest turbofans that were offered when it was first conceived.

The 787 is a different animal. Its payload/range was optimised to cater to the huge market for a 767 replacement (as is the A350, at least partly). Its technological innovation (the composite structure) was unavoidable for two related reasons and one unrelated one: 1. stealing Airbus's show; 2. deep airline conservatism combined with the constant need for economy; 3. the need to stay in the race. Let me explain...

1. Airbus has long made it a tradition of theirs to offer a technology leap with each new model: a forward-facing crew cockpit on the A300-600, a two-man cockpit and all-composite fin on the A310, FBW and sidesticks on the A320, 330 and 340, the huge A380. Boeing was becoming known by the adage "there's low-tech, there's very low-tech, and then there's Boeing." Clearly, this wouldn't do, so the 787 was conceived as a high-tech tour-de-force.

2. Airlines are deeply conservative organisations in which "bean-counters" have long wielded the whip. Gone are the days, 40 to 50 and more years ago, when they would happily adopt anything new and go-ahead just for its own sake. Today, they are hugely resistant to change and obsessively suspicious of new technology -- unless it offers _very_ significant gains in economy. The only way Boeing could field a credible pitch for its 767 replacement was by offering 20-30 percent greater economy. And the only way it could possibly offer such massive economies was by making the structure from composites.

3. McDonnell Douglas, as Convair before, long dithered on the question of whether they _really_ wanted to stay in the fickle civil market. Their doubts produced momentous disasters such as the shelving of the MD-100 (later warmed-up as the MD-11, if pursued with energy and vision in the early 1980s, it could have stolen much of the market for the 747-400 and caused Airbus to halt at least its A340), the huge delays with the MD-90 and the MD-95 (brough to unconvicing fruition and quickly shelved by hostile step-mother Boeing), and ultimately the collapse of the civil business and its takeover by Boeing.
For a while in the 1990s, Boeing looked to be going the same way. The 747 stretch was on/off so many times that Airbus had plenty of time to produce its ugly A380 in an unhurried manner, while the vastly-delayed 747-8 is now doomed to repeat the lacklustre sales performance of the 767-400 or the Lockheed Starliner. (If only Boeing, who are always ready to tart-up the 737 with winglets and strakes of any sort, or stretch-and-chop it any which way, had only listened to BA's pleas for a 747-400 Stretch some 15-20 years ago..!) The 757 and 767 seemed to be soldiering-on forever. The 737 has had more facelifts than a Hollywood starlet... To stop a scenario where Airbus, Embraer, the Chinese, or the Russians come up and steal the show, Boeing just _had_to_do_something_, and do it fast. The 787 is the result.

As to untried new types like the 787, I recall two things: Nevil Shute's boring-but-prescient 1948 novel No Highway, and a tv show in which a retired accident investigator said he would never fly a new type until it had crashed at least once...

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#41283 02-14-2012 GMT-5 hours    
With that said, it seems like they came out with the products for the wrong reasons -- to simply out do one another! The 380 is obviously too big and not selling as well as predicted, and the 787 seems to be not performing as well as thought to be at first. I read somewhere that on the ANA route to Frankfurt, it's burning 1% less fuel than a 767. That's nowhere near the 20% savings touted from the beginning.

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ahmed |
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skippiebg


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#41286 02-15-2012 GMT-5 hours    
1%? That's truly dreadful! Still, that's one operator and one route. Did a quick search to corroborate this, had no joy.

Could it be that both Boeing and Airbus undo each other by attempting to outdo each other?

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#41327 02-16-2012 GMT-5 hours    
First off, I wouldn't believe anything you read in the "popular" media about fuel economy numbers. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Someone with an axe to grind can make the numbers sound any way they want to.

Secondly, I don't think it's *at all* the case that either Boeing or Airbus spends billions upon billions to develop new aircraft simply to out-do the other guy. If a big splash and a big leap in technology happens to have that effect as a side benefit, all the better, but that's not why they do it. Otherwise we'd still be flying long haul on DC-8s and 707s and short haul on DC-3s.

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#41350 02-17-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Well, any leap forward in technology which leads to lower costs and more profits for the airlines, they will jump on it. Boeing thought that going with composites would lead to a 20% efficiency gain, which would have the airlines falling all over themselves to order it. Unfortunately, they made the mistake of outsourcing the majority of a product that was really a "first" for them. So, come 2012, the plane is more than 3 years late and nothing but problem after problem. Each delay costs more money, and another stain in the company's image. Lets not even count the billions Boeing will have to compensate the airlines for all the late deliveries. What's next? Give me a 777 any day!

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ahmed |
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#41352 02-17-2012 GMT-5 hours    
What part of the wing is cracked? A few bracket within the leading edge or trailing edge close out area? Nothing unusual for cracks to develop. As an inspector or even as a mechanic working in phase checks you know of problem areas and they are addressed for engineering evaluation and modification if necessary. No sweat. These planes were also designed and developed during "good" times. No one foresaw the economic collapse with further affects on the airlines and their ability to order or even continue with previously placed orders. What has happened catastrophically as yet with either airplanes? None so far. That is a testament not only to their design and construction but more than that the ongoing maintenance that keeps these aircraft and others in airworthy condition. Bad news sells and good news takes a back page to be published. I'd fly in either and wish I could enjoy the level of service shown in the 380. That is a flying castle.
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