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(Contra Costa Times)   AirBus set to unveil big-ass airplane that can seat up to 800. That's twice the number of screaming toddlers onboard a 747   (cnn.com) divider line 322
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16861 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Jan 2005 at 3:34 PM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2005-01-17 04:37:53 PM
Which level is the swimming pool on?
The poster above me has a tiny pee pee, I have proof!
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:39:02 PM
chrisell:

The counterargument is that bleed-air and hydraulics can cause more stuff to go wrong. You're just changing the nature of the system. The only difference is that one is newer. Using bleedless/fully electrical systems reduces the part count.
 
2005-01-17 04:39:12 PM
jph

Indeed you are correct. I just hate the idea of a computer having the final say on anything in an emergency. I work with the damn things all day and that's enough to convince me that I never want one to be the final arbiter of my destiny in any way, shape or form.
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:40:09 PM
First 7E7 section:

 
2005-01-17 04:40:14 PM
holy shiat, that thing could toe a smalerl plane for those *trips to the store* when you get to the destination.
 
2005-01-17 04:41:24 PM
2005-01-17 04:29:52 PM theigorway

barc0001: Airbus craft unnerve me. Too much computer control.

All new aircraft are "fly by wire." The 777 and the next 7e7 are as computer-laden as any Airbus.


I think his point was more about computer CONTROL (i.e. pilots not being able to override the flight computer in an emergency because the software sucks) than computer-assisted handling of routine course and altitude changes.

On another note, isn't the primary use of Airbus's Super Guppy ferrying wing and fuselage sections between fabrication locations in different countries in Europe? Too bad they couldn't find a good location to build the aircraft all in one place... but that would have cost them part of the illegal subsidies low-interest, government-backed, don't-bother-paying-this-back "business loans" Airbus depends on.
 
2005-01-17 04:41:34 PM
MajorXero
The A380 project started in 1994.
1994-Discussions with airlines and airports about very large aircraft requirements.
1996-Early designs prepared.
July 1999-Announcement of project as A3XX at Paris Air Show.
December 2000-Official start of A380 project.
March 2001-Qantas becomes launch customer (or was it Emirates?).
January 2002-First metal cut.
July 2002-Work starts on final assembly building.
June 2003-Assembly of major components starts.
January 2004-Final assembly of production aircraft begins.
March 2005-First flight of A380.
1st quarter 2006-Delivery of first passenger airplane.
2008-Delivery of first freight airplane (to Fedex I believe).
 
2005-01-17 04:41:47 PM
2005-01-17 04:32:16 PM Cloudburst

I still like the Antonov 225 better.

I saw one of those on the ground at BWI once. Even far away from the terminal, out in the open, you could tell that that sucker was HUGE. I bet those 6 engines suck up the fuel, though.
 
2005-01-17 04:41:52 PM
jph:

Given enough time? First 7E7 flight is next year. They rolled out the first barrel section this week.

They won't be ready by then. There's too many factors that haven't been worked out. They say next year, but I'm betting it won't be until 2007 or so.
 
2005-01-17 04:41:59 PM
darth_shatner:
Secondly, airlines can use the extra space ( bar, lounge etc ) as a selling point over conventional planes on long haul flights that don't have such features. Passangers may choose the 380 in preference to other airlines with 747s because of tability to get out of their cattle class seats and lounge around for a while.


As I said, the same thing was said of the 747 originally. If you think they'll give you lounge space, I have some ocean-front property in Iowa to sell you.
 
2005-01-17 04:43:09 PM
jph I guess. It just sounds like Boeing are trying to be too ambitious. I'm all for new technology, but going all-composite, high-humidity, higher cabin pressure, no-bleed air etc etc all in one step?
 
2005-01-17 04:43:37 PM
Good luck filling it up Airbus. Not getting economy of scale when there are 100 people on it!
 
2005-01-17 04:44:07 PM
zymurgist:

I saw one of those on the ground at BWI once. Even far away from the terminal, out in the open, you could tell that that sucker was HUGE. I bet those 6 engines suck up the fuel, though.

If you saw it at BWI, then you saw the one in the picture. Antonov only made one. It was designed specifically for the Russian Space Shuttle that never launched.
 
2005-01-17 04:44:11 PM
MajorXero
That's a test piece - it's not a production fuselage section. First flight for the 7E7 is Q2 2007 as far as Boeing will tell.
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:44:20 PM
chrisell:

Every now and then somebody's gotta break new ground. The last aircraft to really do it was the de Havilland Comet. Though that may be a bad example considering what happened to it in passenger service.
 
2005-01-17 04:45:13 PM
chrisell:

That's a test piece - it's not a production fuselage section. First flight for the 7E7 is Q2 2007 as far as Boeing will tell.

I remember reading that it was scheduled for 2007 or something like that. Thanks for clarifying.
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:45:24 PM
MajorXero:

The second An-225 is finally nearly complete, after having sat partially assembled for a decade.
 
2005-01-17 04:45:57 PM
Must be nice to be able to develop a huge-ass plane with no risk. If Airbus loses on this, the governments cover their losses. It's not a level playing field. Boeing had to bet the company on the 747. Would Airbus be making A380 if the money came out of their own pocket? I doubt it. For example, McDonnell Douglas had a double-deck concept in the early 90's. The MD-12 never got built...too expensive to develop, the company didn't have the money and no safety net like Airbus.
 
2005-01-17 04:46:07 PM
I remember in 1969 when I lived in Hale Barns (England) seeing literally the first 747s from trans-Atlantic flights stacked up circling over Ringway airport. They were supposed to have landed in London but the weather there caused a diversion.

It was already getting dark on the ground where I was but they were all lit up in a golden light as about a half-dozen of them slowly circled for about an hour until the last one had landed.

It was a beautiful sight to a kid hooked on aviation.

I also flew on Virgin Atlantic's first NYC to London flight which was a 747 (back when they only had the one airplane!). It was pretty fun but the real excitement (and free champagne, etc.) had been on the London to NYC leg.

I've also been in a fully-automated landing in a 747 (the pilot said it was his first such landing) coming into London on the early 1980s. Visibility was awful and it seemed like the ceiling was about 100 feet.

I was pretty certain we were going to splat as we had been descending for a long time and nothing was at all visible. Suddenly, I saw some buildings and about two seconds later we were on the runway.

I flew a lot of miles on Virgin and People Express (remember them?).

The 747 has been one heck of an airplane!
 
2005-01-17 04:46:31 PM
jph:

The second An-225 is finally nearly complete, after having sat partially assembled for a decade.

Excellent. I was wondering what had happened to the plans to finish the second one. I don't get anymore info now that Discovery Wings has been replaced by The Military Channel.
 
2005-01-17 04:47:54 PM
The top deck of a 747 IS a lounge!

I saw it on an episode of Growing Pains. Some lady went into labor and Alan Thicke had to deliver the baby.

/TV never lies
 
2005-01-17 04:47:57 PM
Aww, TF has started a nice little secret communication. That's cute. Was just randomly highlighting as I read

In regards to the article, we're sticking the GP7000 on these, it's a joint venture between GE Aircraft engines and Pratt and Whitney. It's a sweet engine, throws out about ~80,000 lbs of thrust as well.

/really trivial information, hate being at college, want to go back to work at GEAE
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:49:27 PM
CheapNag:

The shame of it is that we need a third competitor. It would have been nice if McDonnell Douglas had not misstepped (mainly on the MD-11), but the real root of their downfall was when they competed with Lockheed in the 1970s. It murdered the civil divisions of both companies. Then Lockheed dropped out, and McDD screwed up by overpromising with the MD-11. Boeing came out with the 777 and basically sold it to all of the customers who were looking at the MD-11.

It's difficult to see where we'll get a third company from. It won't be Russia, China, or Japan for the forseeable future. Russia and Japan are beholden to Boeing right now (RRJ for the Russians, and 777/7E7 and several military programs for Japan), and China doesn't have the expertise.
 
2005-01-17 04:50:09 PM
SacriliciousBeerSwiller
As I said, the same thing was said of the 747 originally. If you think they'll give you lounge space, I have some ocean-front property in Iowa to sell you.

I'm willing to take a gamble on it. Premium economy class is already fast on the rise becuse ( some ) people are sick of cattle class. And don't forget the in the early years of the 747 they DID have a lounge.

I'm betting the lounge will last for at least a good few years. But ultimately as I said earlier, the restriction on passenger numbers will come from the time limit on getting 800 ppl to exit a plane in an emergency.
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:50:24 PM
MajorXero:

Since the An-225 started as a military aircraft (and if there is a shooting war, would surely revert to that role), I'm sure it'll get mentioned on TMC, especially on any show that mentions the C-5 and An-124.
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:51:28 PM
BrotherIshmael:

It's pretty weak compared to what GE puts on the 777-300ER...the GE90-115B...115,000lbf of thrust, though it's been tested to 125,000.
 
2005-01-17 04:51:42 PM


Yeah, but can it land in water?
 
2005-01-17 04:51:44 PM
It's so sad. Every airline is going to take a plane that could comfortably accomodate like 400 - 500 people with plenty of leg room and seat width and instead cram 800 people in like sardines. It will take double-decker jet ways and still take a freaking hour to load.

I can't afford first class, but I would gladly pay a few hundred extra per seat for a comfortable seat. Add in my losses at the in-flight blackjack table, and the airline could do quite well.

I think Boeing has the right idea, even if it seems threatened right now. People don't want to be shuttled from all over into Chicago or another hub then moved like cattle into a huge plane to fly to another hub, then shuttle to their end airport. They want a direct flight from their local airport to another local airport on a mid-size plane. Boeing is focused on that line for economy airlines, making those planes more fuel and cost-efficient to operate. That's the future.

And when Airbus gets its government subsidies pulled, then the real competition will start.
 
2005-01-17 04:51:57 PM
I watched a thing on Discovery about this puppy.
sweet plane.
 
2005-01-17 04:52:20 PM
jph:

t's difficult to see where we'll get a third company from. It won't be Russia, China, or Japan for the forseeable future. Russia and Japan are beholden to Boeing right now (RRJ for the Russians, and 777/7E7 and several military programs for Japan), and China doesn't have the expertise.

You seem to know your shiat. What about Embreaer? I'm sure I butchered that name. No chance to be the 3rd wheel?
 
2005-01-17 04:52:52 PM
Yeah, but Airbus owns Boeing on so many levels.

Not really. Boeing's biggest problem is that it's underestimated the political support it would receive from the US government in the form of pressure on foreign countries to lean its way (it's actually been the target of a shiatstorm against it), and it's significantly underestimated the pressure the EU would apply on those same foreign customers to buy the plane.

Why they underestimated this I'll never know, as Airbus is clearly marked by the EU as being an industry champion that will be successful at any cost - that cost being borne by the full economic and diplomatic weight of the EU.


wnatw Boeing have nothing like it in the works. The B747X got cancelled and they're going for a single-deck Boeing 767-replacement called the 7E7. Boeing's problem is that the 7E7 relies on as-yet non-existant technology. The A380 is a done deal and will fly.

Boeing has several backup plans - plans being the operative word. If it turns out that Airbus' projections for sales are correct, it'll become obvious in a few years, at which point Boeing will jump-start their own superjumbo program. The numbers aren't that far off as it is. I doubt they'll roll out an 800-person-capacity plane, but the height and length are already there. Boosting capacity to around 500 would would make it competitive _and_ able to use the large number of airports that will not be able to handle the A380 - a tweener between the jumbo and the superjumbo, with more accessibility.

Hell, several foreign airlines who have placed A380 orders have already said they won't carry much more than 500 passengers, and several less than 500.


Airbus have cracked the problem of super-efficient low-drag, high-lift wings. Boeing haven't. Simple.

You're kidding me, right? Boeing doesn't want to spend the money (that it doesn't have) to develop a superjumbo when they're not sure enough people will buy it. The EU has subsidized the A380, and Airbus is offering it at a discount of tens of millions per plane. When the heads of state of the major EU economies are present at the unveiling, you can be certain there's plenty of pressure being applied to win sales of these things. Boeing has managed to disingratiate itself enough that it has not had such support from the US government for ages.

Airbus almost can't lose on this. If Boeing sees that there will be profits (at a rate of 50-60 A380s delivered per year, if Airbus' projections are right there will be _plenty_ of time for Boeing to get into the game and make a profit), they'll be there. If Airbus' projections turn out to be wrong and it doesn't sell enough to break even, it doesn't have to pay the money back.

As for the 139 A380 orders, those have come to the tune of massive pricing discounts, some rumored to have been sold for LESS than a new 747. At that rate Airbus will need closer to 350-400 A380s to be sold to break even, not 250.


Can current airports meet the demand of these giant airplanes

That's one of the big questions. If they don't change, sales will fail. If they do change, Boeing will know they need to restart their own superjumbo programs, and will be able to do so knowing that the major physical obstacles to sales are already being removed thanks to someone else laying the groundwork for them. It would be a nice change of pace.


And beyond all of that, the "nice knowing you Boeing" comment is ridiculously myopic. Boeing is not just a civilian aviation company, and even the civilian side is still delivering several hundred planes per year.
 
2005-01-17 04:53:11 PM
Hmmm... maybe I should select the "non HTML" thingy just for fun...

wouldn't want anyone having a gay secret discussion thread behind my back...
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:53:47 PM
HaywoodJablonski:

Guess which civil aircraft producer owns a chunk of EMBRAER? I'll give you a hint...their main facility is in Toulouse.
 
2005-01-17 04:53:54 PM
I do not like the enormous plane concept. It may be cost effective, but I much prefer the newer Boeing planes. Of those already built, the 777 in particular.

I have to say, I'm somewhat surprised at the interest in the A380... I will be surprised if it does as well as Airbus expects.

Although, I suppose the newer 7E7 will compete with the A380 on features such as the ability to fly very long distances (and will probably hold a larger marketshare on such routes), the 7E7 and recent Boeing planes are more versatile.

Meh.
 
2005-01-17 04:54:05 PM
jph:

Since the An-225 started as a military aircraft (and if there is a shooting war, would surely revert to that role), I'm sure it'll get mentioned on TMC, especially on any show that mentions the C-5 and An-124.

I don't think it was ever considered military. When the Russian Space program was ended, no one had any use for the 225. In fact, I know quite a few arguments about the comparisons between the An-225 and the C5, the biggest being that the An-225 is the largest non-military craft in the world, while the C-5 is the largest military craft.`
 
2005-01-17 04:54:08 PM
By the way, for those farkers who travel a lot, this site is a godsend if you can choose your seats:
SeatGuru.com
 
2005-01-17 04:54:25 PM
Wow, you guys are really clever. Everyone, highlight the entire list of comments for the secret launch codes.

Morans
 
2005-01-17 04:54:58 PM
jph:

Guess which civil aircraft producer owns a chunk of EMBRAER? I'll give you a hint...their main facility is in Toulouse.

Airbus?
 
2005-01-17 04:55:30 PM
Of course, the A380 will also make an even more desirable missile for terrorists.
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:55:49 PM
MajorXero:

The An-225 did have a military start, as it was derived from the An-124, which was developed for the VVS (Soviet Air Force) in response to the C-5 Galaxy. Before 1991, the An-124 was only used by the VVS.
 
2005-01-17 04:56:50 PM
Must be nice to be able to develop a huge-ass plane with no risk. If Airbus loses on this, the governments cover their losses. It's not a level playing field. Boeing had to bet the company on the 747. Would Airbus be making A380 if the money came out of their own pocket? I doubt it.

Ummm...don't you think Boeing gets just a little bit of money from the US govt ? The US is the last country that should complain about level playing fields.
 
2005-01-17 04:57:27 PM
chrisell:

By the way, for those farkers who travel a lot, this site is a godsend if you can choose your seats:
SeatGuru.com


Indeed. I fly back and forth each week. It's a good site. I just hate flying with amateurs (major holidays, spring break), so I don't care much about the seat I get. I just can't stand the delays at check-in, security, load and unload.
 
2005-01-17 04:57:51 PM
MajorXero

Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, it might not have been the single example. Didn't Antonov make another very large aircraft with a high wing, only with 4 engines? That might have been the one I saw.
 
jph
2005-01-17 04:58:24 PM
HeywoodJablonski:

Yep. It's a pretty incestuous industry. The only one of the successful major civil airline manufacturers right now that are really independent from Boeing or Airbus is Bombardier. They have their own issues. Oh, and the Chinese (AvCraft, etc.) but they don't have the ability, like I said.
 
2005-01-17 04:59:47 PM
jph:

The An-225 did have a military start, as it was derived from the An-124, which was developed for the VVS (Soviet Air Force) in response to the C-5 Galaxy. Before 1991, the An-124 was only used by the VVS.

I was aware of it's predecessor's roots. I guess I didn't really consider that as a military beginning. Some of the concepts laid out right now for commercial planes, such as the Blended Wing, are from military starts. The first flying wing was designed for military purposes in the late 50s.
 
2005-01-17 05:00:22 PM
Ahh, the airliners.net syndrome. Something new hits the industry and all the wannabe aviation know-it-alls hit teh intarwebs to espouse all their knowledge.

Continental is not going to cancel their 7e7 order - that was posturing by the new CEO to get "concessions" from the pilot union just days after Gordon Bethune retired. Less-pay-for-more-growth at the major airline level? Please GOD no.

The A380 will do great in Asia, but its success in the domestic US will be limited to the cargo market (FedEx and UPS each have 10 firm orders, options for more). I'd guess the only US airports that will be able to handle this airplane will be SFO, LAX, ORD, JFK, SDF, MEM, and maybe DFW, MIA, and IAD. Thats a wonderful selection of alternate airports when the weather turns to crap.

Airbus is selling so well in the 318-321 market because they are undercutting Boeing on the 737 and using gov't assistance to make up the difference. The A320 is like the Ford F150 of airliners - best selling on the market because of the price, but breaks all the time and doesn't last beyond 15-20 years.

Remember the Air France A320 that wouldn't execute a go-around because the computers wouldn't let the engines spool up at the air show years ago? That is enough to make me, as a pilot, wary of an airplane. If the Air Force buys the A330 tanker instead of the 767 or another Boeing product, THAT will be the end of Boeing. And will also be the end of my military career.
 
2005-01-17 05:01:51 PM
jph

Yeah, the GE90 engine line is very cool in terms of high thrust and technology. GE is the only company currently using composite fan blades on our engines, among quite a few other things. I'll be doing a term in composites in spring '06, pretty pumped about that. Compared to most of our engines though, it's fleet size is really small. Other engines bring in a lot more revenue.
 
2005-01-17 05:02:51 PM
zymurgist:

Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, it might not have been the single example. Didn't Antonov make another very large aircraft with a high wing, only with 4 engines? That might have been the one I saw.

The 225's predecessor, the An-124 is probably the one you're thinking of.
 
2005-01-17 05:03:55 PM
As for all the Boeing is finished comments - I don't think so.

The 7E7 is a smart idea. Passangers hate transiting and it costs airlines lots of money in landing fees and maintenance ( landings and takeoffs are hell on planes ). I think there will be space for both players.

Singapore Airlines is already operating a "long and thin" route with A340s ( not at max passenger density of course ) direct from Singapore to NY. There will be more of these route types in the near future.
 
jph
2005-01-17 05:04:10 PM
MajorXero:

And the Boeing 747 exists because it was created for the C-5 competition, which the Galaxy won. Boeing already had designs around, and decided to proceed anyhow with a civil version.
 
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