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Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?  
User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4315 posts, RR: 28
Posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5563 times:

Since the 787/350 designs were originally initiated, fuel prices have skyrocketed by upwards of 60%. Moreover, based on recent analyst reports, we won't see a material drop in prices anytime soon and many are predicting that prices will hover at these levels for years to come.

My question is: is there any chance that the flying wing concept (most recently advanced by Boeing as late as 2002) make a serious comeback? From what I read several years ago, it is even more efficient than the 787/350 designs and the only reason it hasn't been pushed beyond the concept stage is because it was too revolutionary in design for airlines' tastes. However, given the shock of recent oil price surges, is there a chance it will make a serious comeback anytime soon, perhaps to the point where it will even bypass the 787/350?


I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyBoeing From United States of America, joined May 2000, 866 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5533 times:

I think you're spot on about flying/blended-wing types, but I think they'll actually roll out in time to replace the early A380s and late-model 747s, not the newer mid-sized jets like the 787.



Because the BWB scales by surface area and not by length, it's most efficient in the largest sizes. Moreover, the fuel efficiency advantage is somewhat muted if you use it on something small and short-ranged. Finally, the BWB is a *very* long-term project, something like the 2020s or so. Airlines will not be willing to replace planes they just got in 2009 with BWB - but the 25-year old 747s will be ripe for replacement.


User currently offlineLeanOfPeak From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 509 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5509 times:

The theoretical aerodynamic and structural efficiency gains of a flying wing configuration are let down by several real-world considerations.

The first is that aircraft operate out of finite runways. A conventional aircraft design can use very effective flaps and slats and use its tail to trim out the nose-down moment that results. A flying wing does not have the luxury of a trimming surface with a long moment arm, so the high-lift devices that can be used on it are very limited. Since it can not use very effective flaps, a flying wing must be too big for its cruise condition (By a substantial margin) in order to provide acceptable runway performance, which results in a substantial efficiency penalty.

The second is pressurization. A long-range jet airliner requires pressurization, for obvious reasons. Pressurizing spheres and cylinders requires minimal structural weight for a given volume. The structural benefit gleaned by spreading the payload further out along the wing span is reduced (And, by most accounts, turned into a penalty) when it comes time to take into account the structure required to pressurize the oddly-shaped cabin of a flying wing or BWB.

The human factors considerations such as claustrophobia with minimal window availability and evacuation are further hurdles to be addressed before a flying wing/BWB would be feasible, never mind a superior alternative to a tail-aft configuration.

Given fuel prices, I could see perhaps some serious looking into a really big jet-powered version of a Piaggio P-180. However, I wouldn't hold my breath for a flying wing (Though I could be wrong).


User currently offlinePlaneDane From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 5493 times:

My understanding is that the BWB concept is not going to happen. One primary reason not mentioned already is that passengers sitting any distance out and away from the center of the airplane would experience flight movements too extreme and unacceptable compared to what is felt in today's aircraft.

Also, Mullaly said no several years ago and he was very clear about it.


User currently offlineIwok From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1108 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 5469 times:

Quoting PlaneDane (Reply 3):
Also, Mullaly said no several years ago and he was very clear about it.

I think this might have been some NIH (not invented here) syndrome; especially since the idea was generated at MD.

Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 2):
Since it can not use very effective flaps, a flying wing must be too big for its cruise condition (By a substantial margin) in order to provide acceptable runway performance, which results in a substantial efficiency penalty.

I think some of this phenomenum might be offset by the inherently lower takeoff and landing speeds available with the BWB.

Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 2):
The second is pressurization. A long-range jet airliner requires pressurization, for obvious reasons. Pressurizing spheres and cylinders requires minimal structural weight for a given volume.

There is some discussion that making the interior passenger compartment a sort of cocoon of a large w/h ovoid shape could mitigate some of the pressurization issues. Also with the BWB there is the option of using high strength lateral stringers running from wingtip to wingtip over the fuselage, helping to add another dimension of stiffening.

There are probably ways to solve the technical issues, but I think the main problem is human factors. How do people feel about sitting in a long row of seats with little or no windows. I suppose large LCD's with access to outside camera views might help pax loosen up on this issue.

-iwok


User currently offlineSquid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5415 times:

Also those flying wings carry huge amounts of people making them only efficient when connecting two very large cities together and then even only once or twice a day. As we are seeing now, the hubs are beginning to outlive their usefulness as more and more point to point service is being offered. Why would say NWA want to buy an airliner that could only make money when leaving a mega hub to fly to NRT and then force passengers to connect again when smaller airliners like the 787 may someday support non-stop service from places like BWI to KIX or from the mega hub to Asia but several times a day.

User currently offlineIwok From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1108 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5353 times:

I was just scanning the news and lo and behold, MIT announced today a new design for a BWB.

MIT BWB



iwok


User currently offlineMika From Sweden, joined Jul 2000, 2849 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5323 times:

I personally hope and believe that these horrid creatures wont enter the industry until way down the line. Give me a A380/B787/any new conventional design AC any day.

User currently offlineSolnabo From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 851 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5274 times:

The BWB wouldn´t fit the 80X80 meters box if it´s to hold nearly 1000 pax?

Micke//SE  Confused



Airbus SAS - Love them both
User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4315 posts, RR: 28
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5088 times:

Quoting Iwok (Reply 4):
How do people feel about sitting in a long row of seats with little or no windows.

Not that I doubt what you're saying, especially since I've read it often, but I find it hard to believe that would be an issue. In today's real-world, flying on a wide-body and sitting in the middle is not different than sitting inside of a box with no windows. And flying in a widebody at night, which we've all done, would make it all the more similar to sitting in a BWB.

Quoting Solnabo (Reply 8):
The BWB wouldn´t fit the 80X80 meters box if it´s to hold nearly 1000 pax?

Would hinged wingtips solve that issue for when the BWB is at a gate?



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineN908AW From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 922 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5076 times:

Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.


'Cause you're on ATA again, and on ATA, you're on vacation!
User currently offlineZSOFN From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 1413 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5047 times:

Quoting N908AW (Reply 10):
Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.

But for those with window seats they'd get a GREAT head-on view  Smile  thumbsup 


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13169 posts, RR: 78
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5030 times:

There has been quite a lot of general media commentary in the UK these last few weeks, on BWB.
As Cranfield University here is doing some extensive studies for Boeing on this.

No one thinks BWB will be around for another 20 years or so however.

The mass media talk about the much lower noise from top fuselage mounted engines.
But, for all the problems with BWB, there is another factor possibly in it's favour long term.
The big issue for air transport will be about carbon emissions, this issue is not going away, quite the opposite in fact.

In the past, a major disadvantage touted for Hydrogen power is storage, being much less dense than aviation fossil fuels, the BWB config seems much more suited for it though.
In a couple of decades time, aviation might be given a choice, switch to hydrogen or face crippling pollution taxation on fossil fuels, to not only limit but roll back aviation growth.
When most cars and other automotive transport eventually switches to cleaner fuels, aviation will be the next target.


User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4975 times:

Quoting Squid (Reply 5):
Also those flying wings carry huge amounts of people making them only efficient when connecting two very large cities together and then even only once or twice a day. As we are seeing now, the hubs are beginning to outlive their usefulness as more and more point to point service is being offered. Why would say NWA want to buy an airliner that could only make money when leaving a mega hub to fly to NRT and then force passengers to connect again when smaller airliners like the 787 may someday support non-stop service from places like BWI to KIX or from the mega hub to Asia but several times a day.



People seem to be under the mistaken impression that hubs are a thing of the past. They have been listening to all the talk over the past several years about how LCC's and point to point is the future and hubs are dinosaurs. Yes there is more point too point service now than there was twenty years ago. However the fact remains there are city pairs that just don't make economic sense to fly point to point. Example would be Bloomington, IL to Seattle, Wa. Not much of market there. That's why people catch a RJ in Bloomington too Chicago and catch a flight to Seattle.

Same goes for the international market as well. Airlines fly routes now that they were not flying twenty years ago. However there will still be cities that if you were to fly point too point where you would be lucky to fill half the plane.


User currently offlineKhenleyDIA From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4707 times:

Quoting N908AW (Reply 10):
Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.



Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 2):
The human factors considerations such as claustrophobia with minimal window availability

I have always been fascinated by the Flying Wing concept for commercial purposes. When it comes to the human factor, I think that many options become available.

Think for a second of all the technology available now and just begin to imagine what would be available in 20 years time. Do you really think they couldn't develop some solutions to the problems?

Some (crazy?) ideas:
- Sky Suites: Wouldn't it be nice to have suites available? In these they would have a more natural lighting. With planes having cameras, they would have the ability to take in the view from outside on large High-Def screens. They would also have the option to watch shows on smaller personal HD displays. Of course this would be a first class option. By the time this would be available, there would be a way to easily adjust the "suite" size. Same number of seats, but adapted for 1 group, 2 groups of 3 or 3 groups of 2.

- True Classes: With the design of a wing, they would be able to layout the cabin in such a way that you don't have to walk through first or business class to get to the seat in the back.

- HD Screens: Throughout the plane, there could be HD screens displaying views from the outside. If it is a night-time flight, they can display other soothing things.

- Lighting: They are already developing lighting with a more natural feel, I'm sure in 20 years that probably will only improve.

- Noise Canceling: We wear headphones to cancel out the noise now. In the future, they could do that with little speaker systems.

- Crying Babies: Just imagine a section of the plane devoted to children or babies. Kind of like crying rooms in churches. They could be used for many things, but reserved for that. Besides, with the airplane being broken up in sections more, even if they didn't have this room, chances of hearing the crying baby would be less.

- Escape: I believe they have the ability to develop escape systems for a plane that would work fine. Besides, a wing design, in my mind, might have a better chance in an emergency. A lot of lift to slow the decent. (Okay, maybe not but I would like to think so)

- Folding Wings: Someone else mentioned it and I agree with that idea. I am sure that who ever develops something like this first could make that available. Besides, with the A380 being adapted for at airports, I bet a wing design by then would be supported pretty easily.

- Comfort and Loading: I think it could create new options for comfort. Designed in such a way that classes are broken up in such a way that you don't have do go through them but also to make certain features available to all.. bars, rooms, crying rooms, etc.


I know, I am crazy, but I like dreaming. Instead of saying nothing is possible, why not try and come up with ways to MAKE it possible. The people who say things can't be done, don't tend to come up with anything new. It is the people who break the normal concepts and rules to make new things possible that can really change things. (This isn't aimed at anyone specifically, just people who are close minded.)

KhenleyDIA



Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
User currently onlineBlueSky1976 From Poland, joined Jul 2004, 1871 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4683 times:

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 9):
Would hinged wingtips solve that issue for when the BWB is at a gate?

Folding wings mechanism adds a lot of unnecessary weight for a commercial airliner. Boeing offered that option for 777 so it could be parked at DC-10/767 sized gates, airlines preferred to have a plane with lighter wing that took more airport space.



STOP TERRORRUSSIA!!!
User currently offlineJoeCattoli From Italy, joined Aug 2005, 569 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4437 times:

Quoting Mika (Reply 7):
Give me a A380/B787/any new conventional design AC any day.

I'd like this new shape... It will open a new era. Perhaps this design will gain more fans then current airframes

Quoting N908AW (Reply 10):
Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.

This is terrific for me.... I need a window seat... or I will be angry all the flight.

Quoting ZSOFN (Reply 11):
But for those with window seats they'd get a GREAT head-on view

These seats would be truly fantastic... but I think they would reserve these seats only for First or business class...
May be a transparent bottom and roof could be a solution... There are transparent materials that can become non-transparent only turning a switch off. Perhaps in 20 or more years... who knows...

Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
When most cars and other automotive transport eventually switches to cleaner fuels, aviation will be the next target

Hopefully soon. Very soon.

Quoting PlaneDane (Reply 3):
My understanding is that the BWB concept is not going to happen. One primary reason not mentioned already is that passengers sitting any distance out and away from the center of the airplane would experience flight movements too extreme and unacceptable compared to what is felt in today's aircraft.

I think this would be the major problem to resolve... If u see how the wings flatters in turbulence...imagine you're seated into this wing...even if it could be that a BWB is more stable just for its structure (I doubt it... the energy from the turbulence must be dispersed in some manner)...

Quoting KhenleyDIA (Reply 14):
The people who say things can't be done, don't tend to come up with anything new. It is the people who break the normal concepts and rules to make new things possible that can really change things.

I agree totally, although I think that this open mind should not be only used to improve aircraft, but also to improve this sad and crazy world that need really a hand...

Ciao
Joe


User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4315 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4313 times:

Quoting BlueSky1976 (Reply 15):
Folding wings mechanism adds a lot of unnecessary weight for a commercial airliner. Boeing offered that option for 777 so it could be parked at DC-10/767 sized gates, airlines preferred to have a plane with lighter wing that took more airport space.

That's very true, but keep in mind on the 777 it was an OPTION because airlines had the option of using gates that could accommodate the 777. With the BWB, it would have to be mandatory as part of the design because there would potentially be no gates whatsoever that could accommodate its span.



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineKhenleyDIA From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4118 times:

Quoting JoeCattoli (Reply 16):
I agree totally, although I think that this open mind should not be only used to improve aircraft, but also to improve this sad and crazy world that need really a hand...

I completely agree as well!! However, seeing as how this is a site devoted to pretty much everything related to airplanes and airlines, I won't bother discussing this much further.

KhenleyDIA



Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
User currently offlineKhenleyDIA From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3949 times:

Helpful images I found online.

A comparison between the BWB and the 747-400:


A layout idea from online: (I don't like it)


Also some information on the concept:
Boeing BWB
First flight: 2010
Wingspan: 289 ft. 0 in. / 88.1 m
Length: 160 ft. 10 in. / 49.0 m
Height: 40 ft. 11 in. / 12.5 m
Ceiling: 41,000 ft.
Range: 8,000 nm / 14,816 km
Weight: 823,000 lbs / 373,307 kg (MTOW)
Power plant: ???
Speed: 562 knots / 1,041 km/h / 0.85 mach
Crew: 2
Accommodation: 800 in three class configuration

To find more information, just do a search for BWB in google or images.google

KhenleyDIA



Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3945 times:

Bear in mind that blended wing-bodies don't have to be as dramatic as shown above. The Sonic Cruiser was a BWB of sorts.

Certainly there are technological problems. The best idea, in my mind, is a circular cross-section cabin, with the wings tapered and blended to meet the top and bottom of the cabin. There is significant volume avaliable for hydrogen, it's struturally favourable and aerodynamically favourable (it'll probably have a smaller wetted area than a conventional design), the design can still use a conventional empennage and high-lift devices if required and doesn't require a large technological leap.


User currently offlineSolnabo From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 851 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3924 times:

It looks like the B2 bomber on steroids. What say you?

Micke//SE  rotfl 



Airbus SAS - Love them both
User currently offlineWeb From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 427 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3778 times:

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 20):
a circular cross-section cabin, with the wings tapered and blended to meet the top and bottom of the cabin.

Maybe not the wings blending to meet the top and bottom of the cabin, but rather the front and back of the cabin (kind of a higher-lift delta wing with more span than normal). This way, the precious windows can be preserved  Smile and there is still lots of room for hydrogen.



Next flight: GRR-ORD-PDX-SEA-ORD-GRR
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3733 times:

Quoting Web (Reply 22):
but rather the front and back of the cabin (kind of a higher-lift delta wing with more span than normal). This way, the precious windows can be preserved Smile and there is still lots of room for hydrogen.

I think Airbus were floating around concepts like this for an A320-sized aircraft a few years ago.


User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2732 times:

There are probably ways to solve the technical issues, but I think the main problem is human factors. How do people feel about sitting in a long row of seats with little or no windows. I suppose large LCD's with access to outside camera views might help pax loosen up on this issue.

-iwok

You make a good point, but consider too, how many passengers actually sit at the windows and look out. A twin aisle airliner has most of its passengers sitting away from windows and they don't seem to mind. Folks who fly because they have to rather than because they really love flying aren't real concerned about whether they have a window seat or not. And I suspect, in the end, that the public and the airlines will go for the BWB if it means for efficient operations; i.e. lower operating expenses which "should" translate to cheaper fairs. I emphasize the "should". Thanks for letting me express a view.



Dare to dream; dream big!
25 Yak97 : I recently watched a program on the development of the A380. One of the initial fuselage options looked at by Airbus was 2 x 340 fuselages side by sid
26 RayChuang : Actually, I think there will be serious interest in the BWB as both an airliner and freight carrier soon. The reason is simple: such plane carrying 60
27 RedFlyer : I don't know if Airbus looked at it for their 2x340 fuselage design; however, on a BWB there could also be the uption of exiting vertically (up or do
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