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(CNN)   A380 marks 5 years in sky. You'd think they would have to refuel or something   (cnn.com) divider line 101
    More: Cool, widebodies, Airbus A380, Commercial aviation  
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4191 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Dec 2012 at 2:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-03 10:19:40 AM
They can refuel in the air, dipshiatmitter.
 
2012-12-03 10:26:55 AM
So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.
 
2012-12-03 10:30:22 AM

scottydoesntknow: Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.


Probably nowhere near enough energy to be had for the energy required to keep a commercial jet in flight. You'd better believe if they COULD get free energy, the airline companies would be doing it, so it must just not be enough to even bother with as as supplement.
 
2012-12-03 11:14:12 AM
Why can't they build it so that the passengers have to use bicycle pedals to power the propellers?  Do you want to live?  Well pick up the pace.
 
We would all be incredibly fit. 
 
2012-12-03 11:14:13 AM
Maybe it flies on hopes and dreams??...
 
2012-12-03 12:14:10 PM
And it's still clipping buildings and other aircraft while taxi-ing, due to its insane size, and it still can't reach as many airports as a 747, due to its massive weight.


/if it ain't Boeing, I'm not going
 
2012-12-03 01:06:42 PM

nekom: scottydoesntknow: Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.

Probably nowhere near enough energy to be had for the energy required to keep a commercial jet in flight. You'd better believe if they COULD get free energy, the airline companies would be doing it, so it must just not be enough to even bother with as as supplement.


Probably also the added weight of solar panels on the scale of a large airliner is enough to offset the energy gained. You also reduce the amount of passengers/cargo you can carry by adding that weight for at best not a lot of savings per flight.

Also, I imagine they kept that small plane you mentioned flying in ideal weather conditions. It wouldn't take much to ruin solar cells in real-world flying conditions.
 
2012-12-03 01:22:31 PM

OregonVet: They can refuel in the air, dipshiatmitter.


ummmmm...no.
 
2012-12-03 02:23:16 PM
It's an Airbus, I would say the fact it actually makes it to it's destinations at all is an accomplishment.
 
2012-12-03 02:27:49 PM

SultanofSchwing: It's an Airbus, I would say the fact it actually makes it to it's destinations at all is an accomplishment.


"The computers worked again!"
 
2012-12-03 02:28:46 PM
i find the term "Air Bus" to be hilarious. Why genius came up with this name? Flying is awesome, magical experience. And some guy in Europe came up with a name that completely ruins the majesty of flight...
 
2012-12-03 02:29:18 PM
Wow...I used it's instead of its...I need more coffee.
 
2012-12-03 02:29:36 PM

OregonVet: They can refuel in the air, dipshiatmitter.


Haha, what?


scottydoesntknow: So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.


My guess is the cost of installing solar panels to power the electronics is more than that of using a generator attached to the engines. Plus, you still need to have generators on board to fly at night and under cloud cover, so you wouldn't even be replacing all of the electric generation capacity.

Also, an electric motor cannot generate the necessary thrust to power an large jumbo.
 
2012-12-03 02:29:38 PM

pacified: i find the term "Air Bus" to be hilarious. Why What genius came up with this name? Flying is an awesome, magical experience. And some guy in Europe came up with a name that completely ruins the majesty of flight...


FTFM
 
2012-12-03 02:36:33 PM

pacified: i find the term "Air Bus" to be hilarious. Why genius came up with this name? Flying is awesome, magical experience. And some guy in Europe came up with a name that completely ruins the majesty of flight...


It's from the 80's :) I guess it sounds chic if you're not a native speaker.

It's a very appropriate name in many ways for their bread and butter A320 haulers .... easyJet (UK's answer to Southwest) is very much like a coach service, and not in a bad way.
 
2012-12-03 02:36:47 PM
I actually saw one of these behemoths coming in to land last night. (DFW) It was massive an appeared slow compared to the bulk of aircraft I see landing from my viewpoint about 2 miles east of the approach paths.

And hey, I used to live right under the approach path for 17R, and I've watched A380's fly under 2000 feet over my head.
 
2012-12-03 02:41:58 PM
Micro fractures & engines failing on the a380 = ehhh pass til'' the next gen.

/also how many of our children have to die...etc?
//I summon thee bevets
 
2012-12-03 02:44:15 PM

Grand_Moff_Joseph: And it's still clipping buildings and other aircraft while taxi-ing, due to its insane size, and it still can't reach as many airports as a 747, due to its massive weight.


/if it ain't Boeing, I'm not going


I love the 747, I grew up flying on them as a kid and it's an awesome piece of engineering. Nothing like the feel of 270 tonnes hauling ass like a sports car on a full power take off. I can't wait to try an A380 too.

When it comes to the smaller ones, the A320 is (slightly) superior to the 737 in a lot of ways, from passenger comfort to its safety record.
 
2012-12-03 02:48:08 PM

Minarets: OregonVet: They can refuel in the air, dipshiatmitter.

Haha, what?


scottydoesntknow: So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.

My guess is the cost of installing solar panels to power the electronics is more than that of using a generator attached to the engines. Plus, you still need to have generators on board to fly at night and under cloud cover, so you wouldn't even be replacing all of the electric generation capacity.

Also, an electric motor cannot generate the necessary thrust to power an large jumbo.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_aircraft
spoiler alert: apparently wusses have a problem with so-called "radiation sickness" so we don't have what it takes to do this
 
2012-12-03 02:50:56 PM
watching those things land is freaking cool, it looks awkward as such a big object gently floats down
 
2012-12-03 02:57:29 PM

scottydoesntknow: So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.


It's not that there isn't "a helluva lot" in human terms coming down on that much sunny surface. I do solar cooking and whatnot, and could boil several hundred pots of rice on that much sunny real estate.

What you underestimate is exactly how much power we're talking about with an airplane. A 747 or 380 will average 140MW of power consumption. Roughly on par with a Nimitz-class Navy carrier, or about 1/4-1/3rd of the power of the average nuclear power reactor in the US. Roughly the consumption of Des Moines. That's average... full thrust for takeoff is basically a nuclear reactor at full-bore. A mind-numbing amount of power.

Take the dimensions of a A380. I'm getting under 1000 m^2 of surface. Even with perfect solar conversion at the equator (400 W/m^2... we're nowhere near there), we'd be at 400 kW. Or one-quarter-of-1%-of-cruising-energy consumption. In reality, not even a tenth of that.
 
2012-12-03 02:59:19 PM
i2.cdn.turner.com

Don't tell me how far an airplane will almost make it.
 
2012-12-03 03:01:58 PM
It's been my experience that the business class cabin in the A380 is nicer than that in the 747.

/26 minutes...
 
2012-12-03 03:14:51 PM
Yay! Airbus thread! Summon Zeio!

i297.photobucket.com

i297.photobucket.com
 
2012-12-03 03:38:14 PM
ScareBus, etc. and so on.
 
2012-12-03 03:44:41 PM
From what a pilot friend told me, Airbus uses a design where the controls are all fly-by-wire and the like, making each plane lighter thus being more efficient. What made me giggle is that the solution to regaining avionic control if both engines crap out is an automatic windmill generator or something so that the plane has sufficient electric power to operate the control surfaces. Didn't endear me to the robustness of the brand.

Comfort side, the windows on the A319/320/321 sit a little higher than the windows on the 737-x00s, but the seats just feel better in the 737s to me.

/waiting for my 737-800 to Newark
//second of ten flights this week, ugh
 
2012-12-03 03:48:07 PM

Lawnchair: scottydoesntknow: So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.

It's not that there isn't "a helluva lot" in human terms coming down on that much sunny surface. I do solar cooking and whatnot, and could boil several hundred pots of rice on that much sunny real estate.

What you underestimate is exactly how much power we're talking about with an airplane. A 747 or 380 will average 140MW of power consumption. Roughly on par with a Nimitz-class Navy carrier, or about 1/4-1/3rd of the power of the average nuclear power reactor in the US. Roughly the consumption of Des Moines. That's average... full thrust for takeoff is basically a nuclear reactor at full-bore. A mind-numbing amount of power.

Take the dimensions of a A380. I'm getting under 1000 m^2 of surface. Even with perfect solar conversion at the equator (400 W/m^2... we're nowhere near there), we'd be at 400 kW. Or one-quarter-of-1%-of-cruising-energy consumption. In reality, not even a tenth of that.


Which makes it all the more awe inspiring when a 747 floats off the runway like it was meant to be in the sky in the first place.

/love a good airplane thread.
 
2012-12-03 03:53:42 PM

ShadowLAnCeR: Lawnchair: scottydoesntknow: So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.

It's not that there isn't "a helluva lot" in human terms coming down on that much sunny surface. I do solar cooking and whatnot, and could boil several hundred pots of rice on that much sunny real estate.

What you underestimate is exactly how much power we're talking about with an airplane. A 747 or 380 will average 140MW of power consumption. Roughly on par with a Nimitz-class Navy carrier, or about 1/4-1/3rd of the power of the average nuclear power reactor in the US. Roughly the consumption of Des Moines. That's average... full thrust for takeoff is basically a nuclear reactor at full-bore. A mind-numbing amount of power.

Take the dimensions of a A380. I'm getting under 1000 m^2 of surface. Even with perfect solar conversion at the equator (400 W/m^2... we're nowhere near there), we'd be at 400 kW. Or one-quarter-of-1%-of-cruising-energy consumption. In reality, not even a tenth of that.

Which makes it all the more awe inspiring when a 747 floats off the runway like it was meant to be in the sky in the first place.

/love a good airplane thread.


It also puts into perspective how effective biological creature are at converting energy from the sun and storing it... well, if sufficient time is allowed.
 
2012-12-03 03:58:37 PM

OregonVet: They can refuel in the air, dipshiatmitter.


No they can't, its an A380, not a VC-25.
 
2012-12-03 03:58:59 PM

Solon Isonomia: //second of ten flights this week, ugh


Good luck, we're all counting on you.
 
2012-12-03 03:59:24 PM

Solon Isonomia: What made me giggle is that the solution to regaining avionic control if both engines crap out is an automatic windmill generator or something so that the plane has sufficient electric power to operate the control surfaces.


That's not just an Airbus thing, that's a common feature for commercial aircraft. Hydraulic pump and/or generator, without engines you're going to need to get it from somewhere.
 
2012-12-03 04:00:06 PM

Solon Isonomia: What made me giggle is that the solution to regaining avionic control if both engines crap out is an automatic windmill generator or something so that the plane has sufficient electric power to operate the control surfaces. Didn't endear me to the robustness of the brand.


You are describing the RAT, which is extremely common on modern aircraft and is available as an emergency backup on every airliner you're at all like to take a ride on. It is by no means an Airbus thing.
 
2012-12-03 04:03:16 PM

Cup Check: Yay! Airbus thread! Summon Zeio!

[i297.photobucket.com image 300x238]

[i297.photobucket.com image 300x418]


I never really understood his shtick. Trolling about airplanes isn't going to get that many people riled up, because most of us don't give a fark, so it wouldn't make sense for him to just be trying to get bites. If you want to do that on Fark, just go over to the politics tab and start spewing right-wing talking points. On the other hand, if that guy actually had that much of a personal hatred for Airbus, then he really needed professional help.
 
2012-12-03 04:08:06 PM

HMS_Blinkin: I never really understood his shtick. Trolling about airplanes isn't going to get that many people riled up, because most of us don't give a fark, so it wouldn't make sense for him to just be trying to get bites. If you want to do that on Fark, just go over to the politics tab and start spewing right-wing talking points. On the other hand, if that guy actually had that much of a personal hatred for Airbus, then he really needed professional help.


It's been forever since I've seen him at all, actually. But he seemed pretty committed to his bit back in the Air France 447 threads when the meme was born.
 
2012-12-03 04:09:10 PM
(stupid phone app, can't double quote) Right, I know the generator is quite necessary on modern planes, but IIRC the Airbus is strictly controlled via electronics between the cockpit and control surfaces as opposed to what Boeing does. Or is my memory off?
 
2012-12-03 04:10:39 PM

Arkanaut: Solon Isonomia: //second of ten flights this week, ugh

Good luck, we're all counting on you.


I'll avoid the fish.
 
2012-12-03 04:18:26 PM

Solon Isonomia: Right, I know the generator is quite necessary on modern planes, but IIRC the Airbus is strictly controlled via electronics between the cockpit and control surfaces as opposed to what Boeing does. Or is my memory off?


Fly by wire has been standard on new designs from both companies for almost 20 years (25 for Airbus). The biggest difference between the two companies in this area is that Boeing's best-sellers are really just updated versions of old designs (and therefore haven't got FBW systems) and that the software philosophy between the two is quite different.
 
2012-12-03 04:19:15 PM
Anybody know if we'll start seeing 787s make long domestic trips like NYC-LA or is it going to stay long-haul only?
 
2012-12-03 04:20:46 PM

Avonmore: Anybody know if we'll start seeing 787s make long domestic trips like NYC-LA or is it going to stay long-haul only?


I know United is already using it domestically.
 
2012-12-03 04:22:42 PM

costermonger: Solon Isonomia: Right, I know the generator is quite necessary on modern planes, but IIRC the Airbus is strictly controlled via electronics between the cockpit and control surfaces as opposed to what Boeing does. Or is my memory off?

Fly by wire has been standard on new designs from both companies for almost 20 years (25 for Airbus). The biggest difference between the two companies in this area is that Boeing's best-sellers are really just updated versions of old designs (and therefore haven't got FBW systems) and that the software philosophy between the two is quite different.


Ahh, gotcha. Eh, A320 or 737 doesn't matter too much anyway - just as long as it's not one of those Canadian regionals. It's like riding in a pencil.
 
2012-12-03 04:22:44 PM
Solon Isonomia:
What made me giggle is that the solution to regaining avionic control if both engines crap out is an automatic windmill generator or something so that the plane has sufficient electric power to operate the control surfaces. Didn't endear me to the robustness of the brand.

I dunno, the "ram air turbine" generates power from something a plane is guaranteed to have: airspeed. Pretty idiot proof.
 
2012-12-03 04:27:05 PM

HMS_Blinkin: Cup Check: Yay! Airbus thread! Summon Zeio!

[i297.photobucket.com image 300x238]

[i297.photobucket.com image 300x418]

I never really understood his shtick. Trolling about airplanes isn't going to get that many people riled up, because most of us don't give a fark, so it wouldn't make sense for him to just be trying to get bites. If you want to do that on Fark, just go over to the politics tab and start spewing right-wing talking points. On the other hand, if that guy actually had that much of a personal hatred for Airbus, then he really needed professional help.


Agreed, but it still made for one of the funniest threads I've ever been a part of on here.
 
2012-12-03 04:31:16 PM

Avonmore: Anybody know if we'll start seeing 787s make long domestic trips like NYC-LA or is it going to stay long-haul only?


ftfy
 
2012-12-03 04:31:42 PM

Solon Isonomia: just as long as it's not one of those Canadian regionals. It's like riding in a pencil.


They're fine as long as it's not a long flight. Longest I've ever been in one is just over an hour, and that's perfectly acceptable. Have a bunch of friends who fly them and the longest trips some of them have done are close to 4 hours. That's just uncool for something that narrow.

/Embraer Regional Jets are even worse.
 
2012-12-03 04:32:49 PM

whither_apophis: ftfy


Saw one from Ethiopian Airlines in Toronto last week.
 
2012-12-03 04:35:20 PM
i1125.photobucket.com
What the Airbus A380 may look like.

/This one is poised to execute a perfect one point landing.
 
2012-12-03 04:41:40 PM

Avonmore: Anybody know if we'll start seeing 787s make long domestic trips like NYC-LA or is it going to stay long-haul only?


They'll do domestic runs initially to familiarize crews and maintenance bases, and then be reassigned to international routes: https://hub.united.com/en-us/News/Company-Operations/Pages/united-787- dreamliner-domestic-routes.aspx

The 787 was designed for long distance, low density routes, but eventually you may see 787's on high density domestic routes that an airline might use a 767 for today.
 
2012-12-03 04:42:19 PM

costermonger: Solon Isonomia: just as long as it's not one of those Canadian regionals. It's like riding in a pencil.

They're fine as long as it's not a long flight. Longest I've ever been in one is just over an hour, and that's perfectly acceptable. Have a bunch of friends who fly them and the longest trips some of them have done are close to 4 hours. That's just uncool for something that narrow.

/Embraer Regional Jets are even worse.


Oh, no, I meant all of the Canadian manufactured jets, not just the CRJs. I did a Milwaukee to Philly flight once in a Embraer about 8-10 years ago - ugh, that sucked.
 
2012-12-03 04:45:32 PM

Mitt Romneys Tax Return: They'll do domestic runs initially to familiarize crews and maintenance bases, and then be reassigned to international routes:


Link
Sorry about the html fail. Now linkified.
 
2012-12-03 04:47:35 PM

Solon Isonomia: Oh, no, I meant all of the Canadian manufactured jets, not just the CRJs. I did a Milwaukee to Philly flight once in a Embraer about 8-10 years ago - ugh, that sucked.


Well, CRJs are pretty much it for Canadian built jets. There are business jets too, but no sane person would complain about traveling in one of them.
 
2012-12-03 04:51:18 PM

Solon Isonomia: costermonger: Solon Isonomia: just as long as it's not one of those Canadian regionals. It's like riding in a pencil.

They're fine as long as it's not a long flight. Longest I've ever been in one is just over an hour, and that's perfectly acceptable. Have a bunch of friends who fly them and the longest trips some of them have done are close to 4 hours. That's just uncool for something that narrow.

/Embraer Regional Jets are even worse.

Oh, no, I meant all of the Canadian manufactured jets, not just the CRJs. I did a Milwaukee to Philly flight once in a Embraer about 8-10 years ago - ugh, that sucked.


Embraers are made in Brazil (where the nuts come from).
 
2012-12-03 04:54:07 PM

costermonger: HMS_Blinkin: I never really understood his shtick. Trolling about airplanes isn't going to get that many people riled up, because most of us don't give a fark, so it wouldn't make sense for him to just be trying to get bites. If you want to do that on Fark, just go over to the politics tab and start spewing right-wing talking points. On the other hand, if that guy actually had that much of a personal hatred for Airbus, then he really needed professional help.

It's been forever since I've seen him at all, actually. But he seemed pretty committed to his bit back in the Air France 447 threads when the meme was born.


I put him on ignore after he started posting his scarebus shiat in threads that weren't even related to aviation. It was kinda funny at first but got old really fast, as these one-issue trolls seem to do.
 
2012-12-03 04:56:32 PM
(stupid phone app, can't double quote) Right, I know the generator is quite necessary on modern planes, but IIRC the Airbus is strictly controlled via electronics between the cockpit and control surfaces as opposed to what Boeing does. Or is my memory off?

Boeing pioneered fly by wire passenger jets with the 757 and 767. They were the first. So far so good. They've even been hit by lightning without affecting the system.
 
2012-12-03 04:58:11 PM
Hahaha...word play
 
2012-12-03 05:05:40 PM

costermonger: whither_apophis: ftfy

Saw one from Ethiopian Airlines in Toronto last week.


Said that to myself a couple of times before it hit me.
I'm glad I work in an empty building!
 
2012-12-03 05:22:09 PM

Solon Isonomia: From what a pilot friend told me, Airbus uses a design where the controls are all fly-by-wire and the like, making each plane lighter thus being more efficient. What made me giggle is that the solution to regaining avionic control if both engines crap out is an automatic windmill generator or something so that the plane has sufficient electric power to operate the control surfaces. Didn't endear me to the robustness of the brand.


It's not so much that they're fly by wire (a lot of modern planes are built that way), but rather that they're piloted by wire. The computer systems are always watching, and will take control out of a pilot's hands (or other operator, like boom operator in the case of the A330 tanker fiasco). Airbus' design tends to promote technology over pilot skill, which does work far better in most cases but far worse in some of the most critical.
 
2012-12-03 05:36:14 PM
www.top10films.co.uk

Only how many more flights do you have to go this year?

/aisle seat
 
2012-12-03 05:36:20 PM

mark12A: Boeing pioneered fly by wire passenger jets with the 757 and 767. They were the first. So far so good. They've even been hit by lightning without affecting the system.


Well, if by "pioneered fly by wire" you mean "first American manufacturer to even try to use it a little bit", you're correct. The 757 and 767 have conventional flight controls, but Boeing did use electronic controls for the spoilers.

The Concorde was the first passenger jet with a full (analogue) fly by wire system in 1969, the A320 was the first passenger jet with a full (digital) fly by wire system in 1987. Boeing didn't develop a fly by wire passenger jet until the 777 in 1994.
 
2012-12-03 05:52:37 PM

costermonger: /Embraer Regional Jets are even worse.


I flew on a 170 or 190 about a year ago on a Chicago to St Louis flight. Best regional jet ever. It got me home in about 35 minutes, which was greatly appreciated since it was the final leg of my return trip from Germany.
 
2012-12-03 05:53:55 PM

sprawl15: Airbus' design tends to promote technology over pilot skill, which does work far better in most cases but far worse in some of the most critical.


The difference between the two isn't as pronounced as it's often made out to be in this area. If the Boeing system effectively decides "I don't think you should do that" it makes control input require more force in an attempt to warn the pilot that what's being attempted is a bad thing. It can be out-muscled, but it tries to stop you. The Airbus in exactly the same situation simply can't be out-muscled.

As it stands, in the two major accidents where the Airbus FBW philosophy was drawn into question, it behaved exactly as it was designed. If there's a problem, it's with pilots failing to recognize what the system is *not* doing for them anymore when other systems fail.
 
2012-12-03 05:57:50 PM

Fish in a Barrel: I flew on a 170 or 190 about a year ago on a Chicago to St Louis flight. Best regional jet ever. It got me home in about 35 minutes, which was greatly appreciated since it was the final leg of my return trip from Germany.


It's the ERJ 135-145 series that I wouldn't want to be on for very long (largely because I'm taller than the cabin is wide). The EJets (170 to 195) are far, far more acceptable for a decent length trip.

For a 35 minute leg, there's really no reason to be picky.
 
2012-12-03 06:00:50 PM

costermonger: As it stands, in the two major accidents where the Airbus FBW philosophy was drawn into question, it behaved exactly as it was designed. If there's a problem, it's with pilots failing to recognize what the system is *not* doing for them anymore when other systems fail.


Not to put to fine of a point on it, but if the system isn't effectively cluing the pilots into how it's interpreting their inputs, then there's a problem. In a high-stress event, you can hope that the pilots respond calmly, rationally, and analytically. You shouldn't rely on it, though.
 
2012-12-03 06:02:34 PM
stop calling me shirley
 
2012-12-03 06:08:25 PM

Solon Isonomia: costermonger: Solon Isonomia: Right, I know the generator is quite necessary on modern planes, but IIRC the Airbus is strictly controlled via electronics between the cockpit and control surfaces as opposed to what Boeing does. Or is my memory off?

Fly by wire has been standard on new designs from both companies for almost 20 years (25 for Airbus). The biggest difference between the two companies in this area is that Boeing's best-sellers are really just updated versions of old designs (and therefore haven't got FBW systems) and that the software philosophy between the two is quite different.

Ahh, gotcha. Eh, A320 or 737 doesn't matter too much anyway - just as long as it's not one of those Canadian regionals. It's like riding in a pencil.


Hey hey, now. The Dash8 is a solid plane. The RJ1/2, on the other hand... eff them. Jazz has been replacing them with Q400s.
 
2012-12-03 06:09:13 PM

costermonger: For a 35 minute leg, there's really no reason to be picky.


The thing is, I don't know how you bend the rules of physics to do that flight in 35 minutes. Normal flight time is a little over an hour.

Sure as hell beats three hours in a 19 seat turbo prop.
 
2012-12-03 06:16:37 PM
scottydoesntknow

So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there.

Why people laugh at environmentalists 101

All this.....
www.boeing.com
... generates enough power to keep a few lights and laptops up.
 
2012-12-03 06:19:27 PM

costermonger: Solon Isonomia: just as long as it's not one of those Canadian regionals. It's like riding in a pencil.

They're fine as long as it's not a long flight. Longest I've ever been in one is just over an hour, and that's perfectly acceptable. Have a bunch of friends who fly them and the longest trips some of them have done are close to 4 hours. That's just uncool for something that narrow.

/Embraer Regional Jets are even worse.


The Brazilian regional jet seats make the Canadian jet seats feel like a La-Z Boy recliner. I dread an hour on a Brazilian regional jet more than 3 hours on a CRJ.
 
2012-12-03 06:20:12 PM

OnlyM3: scottydoesntknow

So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there.
Why people laugh at environmentalists 101

All this.....
[www.boeing.com image 375x300]
... generates enough power to keep a few lights and laptops up.


To put that in perspective:

www.daviddarling.info

...and just because it came up in the same GIS...

cache.gawkerassets.com
 
2012-12-03 06:24:55 PM

Fish in a Barrel: Not to put to fine of a point on it, but if the system isn't effectively cluing the pilots into how it's interpreting their inputs, then there's a problem. In a high-stress event, you can hope that the pilots respond calmly, rationally, and analytically. You shouldn't rely on it, though.


It's not a mystery that happens in the background of the aircraft's computerized brain - it's just a set of logical rules that the pilots are trained quite heavily to understand (there are levels of functionality below normal, the system is quite clear about which one you're in). If the pilots can't be relied on to apply their training, there's not much point in having them there.

This is an oversimplification, but in the case of Air France 447 the plane experienced a fault that caused it to revert to a control law that allows the aircraft to stall (because the sources providing the necessary information to the computer disagreed due to ice freezing on the probes - a problem normally, but nowhere near as bad as it turned out). Due to inappropriate movement of the controls, the aircraft then entered a stall. The airplane told the pilots it was stalling, but it appears that at least one of the crew held on to the normal law idea of "this airplane can't stall" the entire way down, and didn't take/overrode the corrective actions necessary to recover. There was a problem with the airplane - the pitot tubes froze over and the stall warning system contributed to their confusion in a way nobody really foresaw - but it was flyable, had the crew actually understood that the plane couldn't automatically protect itself the way they were used to.

It's a training issue. They're *different* than other airliners in ways that really change the way you fly them. Reliance on their ability to protect themselves is a far greater issue than the plane failing to operate as advertised.
 
2012-12-03 06:37:40 PM

costermonger: This is an oversimplification, but in the case of Air France 447 the plane experienced a fault that caused it to revert to a control law that allows the aircraft to stall (because the sources providing the necessary information to the computer disagreed due to ice freezing on the probes - a problem normally, but nowhere near as bad as it turned out). Due to inappropriate movement of the controls, the aircraft then entered a stall. The airplane told the pilots it was stalling, but it appears that at least one of the crew held on to the normal law idea of "this airplane can't stall" the entire way down, and didn't take/overrode the corrective actions necessary to recover. There was a problem with the airplane - the pitot tubes froze over and the stall warning system contributed to their confusion in a way nobody really foresaw - but it was flyable, had the crew actually understood that the plane couldn't automatically protect itself the way they were used to.


I read Popular Mechanic's annotated transcript of the cockpit audio recording. It was really disturbing. It was the copilot that was holding nose up the whole time, even after he was told to level off. A better cue of divergent inputs would have probably helped clue the pilot into what his copilot was doing sooner.

Also, I would suggest that the aircraft should probably enunciation that it is in alternate flight rules along with the stall alarm. Instead of hearing "Stall! (but I've totally got this)", they should hear "Stall! And you're on your own!" I assume there is a visual indicator for this, but it clearly didn't get through to the copilot.

Naturally, this is all 20/20 thinking, but the conflicting inputs problem seems pretty obvious and dangerous to me.
 
2012-12-03 06:53:12 PM

OnlyM3: scottydoesntknow

So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there.
Why people laugh at environmentalists 101

All this.....
[www.boeing.com image 375x300]
... generates enough power to keep a few lights and laptops up.


To be fair its also running life support, charging batteries, and there is built in redundancy in case they lose a few. Plus those panel designs are decades old.
The station wasn't made to be a power plant.

/I do like the space solar power proposals.
/They got a few details to work out tho...
 
2012-12-03 06:54:22 PM

Fish in a Barrel: costermonger: This is an oversimplification, but in the case of Air France 447 the plane experienced a fault that caused it to revert to a control law that allows the aircraft to stall (because the sources providing the necessary information to the computer disagreed due to ice freezing on the probes - a problem normally, but nowhere near as bad as it turned out). Due to inappropriate movement of the controls, the aircraft then entered a stall. The airplane told the pilots it was stalling, but it appears that at least one of the crew held on to the normal law idea of "this airplane can't stall" the entire way down, and didn't take/overrode the corrective actions necessary to recover. There was a problem with the airplane - the pitot tubes froze over and the stall warning system contributed to their confusion in a way nobody really foresaw - but it was flyable, had the crew actually understood that the plane couldn't automatically protect itself the way they were used to.

I read Popular Mechanic's annotated transcript of the cockpit audio recording. It was really disturbing. It was the copilot that was holding nose up the whole time, even after he was told to level off. A better cue of divergent inputs would have probably helped clue the pilot into what his copilot was doing sooner.

Also, I would suggest that the aircraft should probably enunciation that it is in alternate flight rules along with the stall alarm. Instead of hearing "Stall! (but I've totally got this)", they should hear "Stall! And you're on your own!" I assume there is a visual indicator for this, but it clearly didn't get through to the copilot.

Naturally, this is all 20/20 thinking, but the conflicting inputs problem seems pretty obvious and dangerous to me.


The goofy side-stick video-game controls Airbuses have don't help there at all. Boeing sticks with the traditional yoke for a reason.
 
2012-12-03 07:15:05 PM

way south: To be fair its also running life support, charging batteries, and there is built in redundancy in case they lose a few. Plus those panel designs are decades old.
The station wasn't made to be a power plant.


Again, the problem is the order-of-magnitude gulf between "day to day" power and "moving stuff around" power shows up. The ISS averages 200-250 kW of power. My household averages 1 kW of power draw over the months I'm not running AC. There's quite a bit of power used in those air scrubbers, water recyclers, etc.

However, 200-250 kW is about what your average V6 sedan engine kicks out on your ride to work.

Gasoline or jet-fuel... absurdly power-dense stuff. Moving stuff around fast... uses absurd amounts of power.
 
2012-12-03 08:15:17 PM

Solon Isonomia: Avonmore: Anybody know if we'll start seeing 787s make long domestic trips like NYC-LA or is it going to stay long-haul only?

I know United is already using it domestically.


Only for crew training though. Once they finish the shakedown period, it will be used on long haul routes.
 
2012-12-03 09:16:22 PM
www.impdb.org
 
2012-12-03 09:24:20 PM
I link a vid earlier of a 747 kiting nose up parked on tarmack with its engines missing and this is what I get... pff.

Thread would have been much better with video of the last french maintained Concorde taking off...
 
2012-12-03 09:56:58 PM

Fish in a Barrel: I read Popular Mechanic's annotated transcript of the cockpit audio recording. It was really disturbing. It was the copilot that was holding nose up the whole time, even after he was told to level off. A better cue of divergent inputs would have probably helped clue the pilot into what his copilot was doing sooner.

Also, I would suggest that the aircraft should probably enunciation that it is in alternate flight rules along with the stall alarm. Instead of hearing "Stall! (but I've totally got this)", they should hear "Stall! And you're on your own!" I assume there is a visual indicator for this, but it clearly didn't get through to the copilot.

Naturally, this is all 20/20 thinking, but the conflicting inputs problem seems pretty obvious and dangerous to me.


Yeah I think the stick-input averaging is the bigger issue than the way the plane reverts to the lower-protection laws. There's a visual annunciation for the alternate law, and I believe there's probably an audible alarm as well, but that all happened *before* they got into the stall. They basically stalled the thing immediately once the aircraft ceased to actively prevent such a thing from happening. That's not a problem with the plane, that's a massive training problem.

Agree that the control stick disagree issue seems like something that would've come up before. I don't think it matter whether its a stick or a yoke, but it seems like a physical connection would still be a good idea.
 
2012-12-03 10:31:35 PM
i'm normally chicken-shiat on planes, but I enjoyed my flight on an A380 (air france) last summer.

biggest differences: no steep initial climb at takeoff, and its very quiet in the air.

despite the plane being brand new, business class seats don't fold completely flat. I think that's a problem exclusive to air france though.

/firstworldproblems
 
2012-12-03 10:37:05 PM

Solon Isonomia: Comfort side, the windows on the A319/320/321 sit a little higher than the windows on the 737-x00s, but the seats just feel better in the 737s to me.


Yeah, what is it with the lack of cattle class comfort on Airbus? While the circa 2006 Jet Blue layouts rocked, the default layout and seats for Airbus just are not very nice compared to Boeing. In addition, rumors on Teh Intarnits indicated that the A380 has a lack of bathroom capacity in cattle class. 

Boeing just seems to put more care into it, which really comes across in the 777.

/have not flown the 787 yet
 
2012-12-03 10:40:52 PM

scottydoesntknow: So honest question since the headline sparked it in my head.

Why haven't airline companies started developing solar panels for the wings/tops of planes? You'd figure once the big ones broke cloud cover there'd be a hell of a lot of energy up there. I know they have that small unmanned plane that's been flying by solar panels for a looong time (I think it set a world record), but I'm just surprised no one's actually tried to do something like that on a commercial/military plane.


The amount of solar energy hitting the Earth surface is about 1 horsepower per square meter (it is about double that outside of our atmosphere). Solar panels are currently around 22% efficient (better ones are on the way).They are also pretty heavy: somewhere around 30 lbs per square meter. A large jumbo-jet has somewhere around (guessing) 1000 square meters of top surface? That's only about 200-300 Hp for 30000 lbs (about 13 thousand tonnes) extra weight.

I'm led to believe that just one airbus engine (of four) delivers the equivalent of some 75,000 Hp (or so) for about 15,000 lbs each in weight. 

Solar just can't compete ... Yet
 
2012-12-03 10:43:49 PM
Err... 13 Tonnes, not thousand Tonnes. I am more sleepy than I thought.
 
2012-12-04 12:06:46 AM
No, they ran out of gas,
and they can never land.
 
2012-12-04 12:26:17 AM

costermonger: mark12A: Boeing pioneered fly by wire passenger jets with the 757 and 767. They were the first. So far so good. They've even been hit by lightning without affecting the system.

Well, if by "pioneered fly by wire" you mean "first American manufacturer to even try to use it a little bit", you're correct. The 757 and 767 have conventional flight controls, but Boeing did use electronic controls for the spoilers.

The Concorde was the first passenger jet with a full (analogue) fly by wire system in 1969, the A320 was the first passenger jet with a full (digital) fly by wire system in 1987. Boeing didn't develop a fly by wire passenger jet until the 777 in 1994.


757 was the greatest commercial plane ever made. Clydesdale in the sky.

//threadjack over.
 
2012-12-04 12:45:56 AM

italie: 757 was the greatest commercial plane ever made. Clydesdale in the sky.

//threadjack over.


My favourite. Best looking passenger aircraft of all time.

/and the nose gear is Wall-E with wheels instead of treads
//seriously, google it
 
2012-12-04 01:10:44 AM

Grand_Moff_Joseph:
/if it ain't Boeing, I'm not going


Good, stay in the trailer park so we don't have to look at you.
 
2012-12-04 02:26:25 AM

dumbobruni: i'm normally chicken-shiat on planes, but I enjoyed my flight on an A380 (air france) last summer.

biggest differences: no steep initial climb at takeoff, and its very quiet in the air.

despite the plane being brand new, business class seats don't fold completely flat. I think that's a problem exclusive to air france though.

/firstworldproblems


The initial climb is dictated by the airport. Some places want to put as much vertical distance between the plane and the houses below as quickly as possible, others don't care.
 
2012-12-04 03:53:48 AM

Solon Isonomia: just as long as it's not one of those Canadian regionals. It's like riding in a pencil.


They aren't too bad for short trips (less than an hour) IMHO. I fly them on the terminating segment whenever I'm flying home from UK/Holland. Flying coach/Y TATL on the other hand is something that one should avoid at all cost. Even on non-US carrier.
 
2012-12-04 04:06:34 AM

Fish in a Barrel: costermonger: For a 35 minute leg, there's really no reason to be picky.

The thing is, I don't know how you bend the rules of physics to do that flight in 35 minutes. Normal flight time is a little over an hour.


Finding that hard to believe when a flight between ORD//MSP is under an hour, if I recall correctly (I'm not counting time wasted on the ground). Hell, Amsterdam to London is under 40 minutes, and I would guess is around the same distance as STL//ORD.
 
2012-12-04 04:41:20 AM

costermonger: italie: 757 was the greatest commercial plane ever made. Clydesdale in the sky.

//threadjack over.

My favourite. Best looking passenger aircraft of all time.

/and the nose gear is Wall-E with wheels instead of treads
//seriously, google it


Gotta go with the Lockheed Constellation on this one.
 
2012-12-04 08:56:20 AM

pacified: And some guy in Europe came up with a name that completely ruins the majesty of flight...


Majesty of flight? Hate to break it to you, Freddie Laker, but air travel is anything but majestic these days.

A more accurate name would be "Flying shiatwhiff"
 
2012-12-04 09:13:41 AM

Grand_Moff_Joseph: /if it ain't Boeing, I'm not going


Airline crashes by manufacturer, 2001-2010 (the most recent ten years available:

Airbus crashes: 14
Boeing crashes: 53

Enjoy your flight.
 
2012-12-04 09:50:40 AM

OregonVet: They can refuel in the air, dipshiatmitter.


I would love to see an air-refueling capable A380, there OregonVet. Please show us this magical jet.

/head. meet desk.
 
2012-12-04 09:57:10 AM

Mi-5: I would love to see an air-refueling capable A380, there OregonVet. Please show us this magical jet.


I'm quite sure it doesn't currently exist. But, I have little doubt it could be added. I know mid-air has been installed on 747s (Air Force One can apparently has, or this one).

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-12-04 10:17:21 AM

dalmo: pacified: And some guy in Europe came up with a name that completely ruins the majesty of flight...

Majesty of flight? Hate to break it to you, Freddie Laker, but air travel is anything but majestic these days.

A more accurate name would be "Flying shiatwhiff"


It's still great if you fly business/first. And with a bit of learning, you can fly business/first for not much more than it costs to fly coach.
 
2012-12-04 11:19:38 AM

Lawnchair: Mi-5: I would love to see an air-refueling capable A380, there OregonVet. Please show us this magical jet.

I'm quite sure it doesn't currently exist. But, I have little doubt it could be added. I know mid-air has been installed on 747s (Air Force One can apparently has, or this one).

[upload.wikimedia.org image 800x498]


Interesting. Pre-revolution Iranian planes. "IIAF" stands for "Imperial Iranian Air Force," I believe.
 
2012-12-04 12:58:07 PM

Soup_In_A_Basket: Gotta go with the Lockheed Constellation on this one.


This!
pgilston.smugmug.com 

2nd Place
pgilston.smugmug.com 

3rd Place
www.century-of-flight.net

Yes, I'm a plane geek.
 
2012-12-04 01:56:00 PM

Mitt Romneys Tax Return: Soup_In_A_Basket: Gotta go with the Lockheed Constellation on this one.

This!

Yes, I'm a plane geek.


Wish I could have had the chance to fly in a Constellation......or a Boeing Stratocruiser. My Mom did a transatlantic flight on a Stratocruiser. Said it was much more comfortable and luxurious than most modern airliners.
 
2012-12-04 02:33:02 PM

Soup_In_A_Basket: Wish I could have had the chance to fly in a Constellation......or a Boeing Stratocruiser. My Mom did a transatlantic flight on a Stratocruiser. Said it was much more comfortable and luxurious than most modern airliners.


A Stratocruiser would have been cool. Would have loved the downstairs lounge.
 
2012-12-04 04:02:01 PM

Lawnchair: Mi-5: I would love to see an air-refueling capable A380, there OregonVet. Please show us this magical jet.

I'm quite sure it doesn't currently exist. But, I have little doubt it could be added. I know mid-air has been installed on 747s (Air Force One can apparently has, or this one).

[upload.wikimedia.org image 800x498]


Meanwhile, at Boeing.
dl.dropbox.com

These are companies that build bombers and other military aircraft for their bread and butter. Conversion to military duties is probably a big consideration for every airliner they make.
 
2012-12-04 05:34:18 PM
I was recently at the In-N-Out Burger by the viewing area of LAX. There were more gawkers than usual and they more cameras. Finally figured out what was going on as a 380 came into land. Gawd-damn is that a big mother farker.
 
2012-12-05 08:13:20 PM

Grand_Moff_Joseph: And it's still clipping buildings and other aircraft while taxi-ing, due to its insane size, and it still can't reach as many airports as a 747, due to its massive weight.


/if it ain't Boeing, I'm not going


Brand new United Dreamliner forced down by mechanical problem

Safety checks ordered on Dreamliners after fuel leaks
 

I wonder why Boeing is having these problems?

GM's Mark Reuss: U.S. 'frightfully behind' in engineering graduates
 
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