The engineers predict the fatigue, corrosion and other load stresses. The margin placed upon the aircraft is as if the aircraft was aged through its expected life. For the 707, this was 10 years. For the 757/767, the design life was 25 years. I don’t know what the design life for the 777 is. However, if the expected life reduced the strength by 10%, then the load was increased by 11% (1/.9). Using that example, the 150% limit was 165% of the new aircraft loads.
From Aviation Week House Transportation Ranking Member John Mica (R-Fla.) last week renewed his attacks against the Airbus A380, claiming a new government report proves that the A380 will disrupt operations at US airports – an interpretation disputed by Airbus.
Referring to results of a Government Accountability Office report, Mica asserts that "aviation safety and capacity may be adversely affected by this enormous plane, further taxing an already strained U.S. aviation system." A380 operations will cause "reduced throughput and capacity constraints" at airports, Mica said. The GAO study was requested by Mica.
Last year, Mica launched similar criticism of the A380. He cited the enormous amounts of money being spent by U.S. airports to prepare for the aircraft, and said that U.S. taxpayers should not be paying for these upgrades. He also referred to the U.S. contention that Airbus receives unfair government subsidies. Mica introduced a bill that would have prevented airports from spending federal money on A380-related improvements, although the bill did not progress.
How did it go?
Dear Mr Boeing, Please build us a very big aeroplane soon. If it is pretty as well that will be a bonus. We will buy lots of them.
Juan Trippe Pan Am
What exactly happened when airports around the world prepared for another leviathan, the Boeing 747? This letter, or at least a rather more formal version which was probably a great deal longer, was written in 1965. The first 747, the 747-100, rolled out of the Seattle works on 30th September 1968, and flew on 9th February 1969. The first commercial flight was with Pan Am between London and New York on 22nd January 1970. It took a leap of faith to equip the worlds airport for that (American) aircraft and a whole load of dough. We all did what was required.
So please Mr Mica, spare us the partisan positioning!
At the carrier’s briefing in Dubai yesterday, Al-Maktoum said negotiations with Airbus concerning A380 compensation should be completed next week and EK will be buying more of the type in the future. "We are talking with Airbus about ordering an additional small number of A380s. Maybe we will make an announcement this year," he told ATWOnline, adding that he is confident the first A380 will be delivered in August 2008.
More jets for Emirates then; I bet Airbus are just about beginning to breath a sigh of relief. This is just the sort of news they need. This and much more with ATW.
I have followed with interest the debate about whether or not these pilots lost a bomber in their care whilst flying fighter escort. For some reason the claim is being made that they did, the evidence points to the reverse case though the fog of war must be still making its contribution. I met one such airman many years ago, he was designing car interiors for Vauxall Motors in Luton as I remember. His name was ‘Arc’ and he flew the P51 for the 15th. He gave testimony to the discrimination they received during the war but stood well above it as he described his time with the unit. If they were anything like him I doubt there are many readers who would not have been honored to serve with them.
“Were bombers shot down by enemy fighters while the Tuskegee airmen were in the sky? The answer is yes. However, the Tuskegee Airmen can also state with accuracy that, while under their protection, no bomber was shot down.
The Tuskegee Airmen were a fighter group stationed with the 15th Air Force in Italy. Most people are not even aware that the 15th AF existed, because so little has been written about it. Virtually all books cover the 8th AF in England. The 15th was much smaller than the 8th. The 15th consisted of five B-17 bomber groups, about 20 B-24 bomber groups, and several P-38 and P-51 fighter groups. My grandfather commanded one of the B-17 groups. The Tuskegee Airmen were one of the P-51 fighter groups.
The 15th AF bombed targets in Germany, Poland, Austria, and Western Europe every day that weather permitted. A given bomber group did not fly a mission every day. There was some rotation. Usually, a group had two or three days off between missions. For maximum-effort periods, though, a bomber group did fly two or three days in a row. The fighter groups flew under the same arrangement. The five B-17 groups usually bombed the same target, while the B-24 groups bombed other targets. The 15th AF was not organized the same as, and did not fly the same formations as, the 8th AF did. Each 15th AF bomb group contributed about 30 bombers to a given mission.
All bombers within a group flew in a tight formation together, but groups did not join up with each other. Rather, the groups flew about five miles apart in a stream along the same flight path, so there was a lot of empty sky between each group. The five B-17 groups, for example, made up a stream about 20-miles long. One fighter group was assigned escort duty to protect the bombers. There was no way, however, that the fighters could protect every group in the 20-mile string all at once. So they hopped from group to group, eventually making their way along the entire 20-mile stream.
The enemy fighter pilots were not stupid. They simply attacked the bomber groups that weren’t currently being escorted. When the escort fighters were up with the lead bomber group, the enemy fighters attacked a bomber group further back, and vise versa.
So while it can be said that bombers were shot down, it can also be said that the Tuskegee Airmen never lost a bomber they were protecting to enemy fighters. They successfully protected the bombers they were with at the moment. It isn’t fair for someone to claim the Tuskegee Airmen (or any fighter group) were responsible for losing a bomber that was five or more miles away from them.”
The argument has been aired many times, yes 2% of the worlds carbon dioxide emissions come from air travel and with expansion that is set to rise to 20% over the next however long…. fifty years – who knows?
Stark statements and an even starker reality. If the environmental lobby have their way we will all be grounded and traveling by sail across the worlds oceans again. From a romantic perspective that is quite an attractive idea isn’t it? – naaa, it’s a non starter, too much is at stake both on the job and World economic scene. So if we are to believe the pundits something must be done, and soon. I’m all for that – but is the evisceration of aviation really the answer, or are there other solutions that might help us achieve the objective of limiting the damage to ‘acceptable’ levels for the foreseeable future and possibly completely remove them in the longer term?
What’s happening now? This post outlined what the prospects might be of producing a green fuel for aviation use from coal or natural gas. Up-pacing the industrial extraction of massive amounts of coal to keep ever expanding fleets of aircraft airborne is a non starter, and gas… similar problems. The USAFs line of research does point up the strategic importance of securing reliable supplies of aircraft fuel doesn’t it – if we ever needed reminding of the importance of air power to politics…
Ethanol/Biofuel is a big hope in the alternative energy game but it inevitably has its challenges. Is it economically viable to produce aviation fuel mixes, ethanol/fossil? Is the production of the volumes that aviation consumes sustainable? Is it ethically viable to devote huge tracts of land to produce the crops that ethanol is produced from to sustain a largely discretionary air travel option for those who ‘have’? I don’t think so, perhaps a part solution but the whole answer – no.
How about hydrogen? Fuel cell technology is moving ahead but not at a massive pace. As far as aircraft are concerned there are some pretty hefty problems with the carriage of hydrogen. There have been advances though and the prize is very significant. The only by products of hydrogen fuel burn are heat and water.
We could spend ages here debating these questions and producing reams of evidence for each case, but it would probably not advance the argument. I am sure we all applaud Richard Branson’s initiative in the area (whilst at the same time keeping one eye on his astute PR activities).
The sorry truth is that unless there is a technological breakthrough of mammoth proportions over the next few years, we need to limit the expansion of air travel severely. The most likely method to be used to achieve this unfortunately fiscal – by charging more for it. This in itself raises weighty questions – for a start who takes the money, the airlines or government structures? Gordon Brown, the British chancellor of the UK exchequer is actively lifting cash from the air traveler. He lost no time cashing in by fleecing the UK traveling public with taxes levied at the check in desk. Brown’s motivations, the fairness of his measures and the final destination of the money are hotly debated subjects in Parliament and that debate will warm further as time and his raiding marches on. Vociferous? yes, a little, and an example of how the cost issue may engulf the argument; it’s emotive isn’t it? Air travel was once an expensive luxury, in relative terms it doesn’t need to be quite so expensive, but again, I do believe the price of a seat should rise, either to fund research and development, carbon offsets, or both. Merely diverting the money into the general taxation pot is unacceptable in my opinion. Trap Gordon’s hand in the till I say.
Does this mean that the modern concept of the low cost carrier is about to whither and die? – I doubt it. If anything, the way they do business will remain little changed and the competitive pressures they exert on the industry will continue to define the way businesses administers themselves. Traveling by air might get more expensive, but the pressure will still be to make it as cheap and efficient as it possible to make it; fierce competition will still rule that element of cost related to the provision of the service. An inefficient carrier will still have the continued life expectancy that the Dodo enjoyed. Dodo – what Dodo?
Regular readers might not understand this post, I have put it here (and here) in the hope that friends and former colleagues might see it and respond. For background – it relates to ‘a previous life’ where we traveled the World with an Aerobatic team polluting the atmosphere with diesel smoke and advertising cigarettes; all rather non PC these days but I can assure you – excellent fun!
For the record, below. 1-Bob Thompson 2-Marcus Edwards 3- George Smith 4- David Perrin
Mike Edwards (Marcus’ son) and I are hatching a small but cunning plan. At the moment it is some eleven hours old having been born in ‘La Cave’ in Singapore in the early hours. We are musing over a ‘RATs of All Time’ get together, probably somewhere like Booker for dinner and drinks. The format of the evening is by no means set and we are taking suggestions.
Questions rotate around the following. Is this a good idea? – and if it is……
Q/ Would this be a quiet social evening for just former team members or should it be (reasonably) open? Q/ Should we tack a mini fly-in to it? Q/ Should it be formal, based around a swimming pool or just be a ‘renting party’ with old flying suits only – freshly laundered? Q/ Should we invite anyone specially? Q/ Should we include an mini air display as part of the occasion? Q/ Should we have the event timed to coincide with an air display? Q/ Can you think of any other questions that might be pertinent?
ps: Some of these questions are intentionally rhetorical.
We might have communicated this suggestion privately but as this thread has it’s own legs, I thought it would be fun to make the questions open and see what came back. Also we don’t have contact details for all the personalities concerned.
A top U.S. official gave the strongest signal yet that the U.S. is committed to the second stage of negotiations with the European Union on open skies.
It would be "mistaken" and "tragic" to assume the U.S. had gotten all it wanted from the open-skies agreement reached with the EU in March, John Byerly, deputy assistant secretary of state for transportation affairs, told the International Aviation Club yesterday in Washington. Byerly acknowledged that the U.S. has "achieved the goal of traditional open skies" with the EU, but that there is still ground to be covered, and the March agreement is not a "clever foxtrot to the side."
Recognizing European concerns about cabotage, foreign investment in U.S. carriers and loosening the restrictions of the Fly America Act, Byerly said he couldn’t predict if the second stage would resolve these issues. But, he said, the U.S. would do itself a "disservice if we do not fairly assess decades-old policies to determine whether they serve our long-term interests."
Second-stage negotiations are expected to begin by the end of May 2008, one month after the open-skies accord goes into effect. The current agreement requires both sides to review progress on the second stage 18 months after negotiations begin, which will be December 2009, Byerly said.
Q: You have set the target of achieving a 10 per cent operating margin this year for the first time in British Airways’ history. How confident are you of hitting the target?
A: I’m very confident. When you look back at last year and the external events that impacted on the business, security hit us by about £100m, the fog was £40m, the industrial action £80m, so it’s well within our capability, well within, and I’m confident that we can and that we will do it.
Q: Why are you so confident?
A: We’re going to start seeing now the benefit of the actions that we’ve taken over the past couple of years. The headcount continues to reduce. That cost us in terms of severance. Pensions, we’ve resolved that issue. We’ve sold BA Connect. All of the structural changes that we’ve made, which have been difficult but we’ve done them now, so we’ll see the benefit of that coming through into the business in the years ahead.
They were changes that had to be faced up to. I think that pensions has probably been the issue that’s been talked about the most and talked about almost since the day I arrived in BA. (Mr Walsh became BA CEO on October 1, 2005). So it’s good to have these changes behind us, but there will be challenges in the years ahead as well, but these are important structural changes to the business.
Q: The pension issue is completely behind you? There’s nothing that can throw that off course now?
A: We’ve got a funding plan in place that will eliminate the deficit over ten years, and we’ve now got a pension scheme that the business can afford.
Why not build a 777-300 that incorporates the technological advances that have been made since the aircraft was designed, a sort of 777-ADV? To be fair they do suggest that option but it would seem to be almost a no-brainer. The existing 787′s air conditioning and pressurization system could be used to reap environmental and fuel efficiency benefits and the composite structure of the 78′ must have something to hand on to the triple. By upping the fuel efficiency and reducing the structural weight, payload/range/efficiency must be significantly improved. Now must also be the time to look again at the side-stick and the new flight deck technologies that are waiting in the wings.
Question is, will it justify the development costs and produce a product that will sell? Boeing are kicking new aircraft out of the door at a significant rate and chewing through what must be a finite order book. Exactly how big that order book is, no-one really knows though estimates consider it to be potentially huge.
Has the time come for Boeing to look more closely at the blended body concept? Is now the time to take a new direction and really go for a 747/A380 replacement and make a leap to the real ‘next generation’?
After reporting solid earnings, especially in the commercial-jet sector, McNerney said one strategic question for Boeing is what airplane to build next, after the 787 Dreamliner and the revamped 747-8 jumbo jet.
Everyone has assumed it will be a new single-aisle jet to replace the 737. But maybe not.
McNerney said Boeing may have to introduce an updated derivative of its Everett-built 777 twin-aisle jet to fend off the approaching challenge from Airbus’ planned A350.