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FI-A380-Battle Continues To Cut Weight  
User currently offlineAstuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10233 posts, RR: 97
Posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9587 times:
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Hard-copy Flight International Article on the above subject.

Free-use excerpts:-

Airbus acknowledge that on service entry, the "empty weight" (of the A388) will be 2% (nearly 5t) greater than the 243.2t specified.

Changes in the pipeline include material changes e.g. in the wing.

Some improvements are being grafted from the A380F, which is currently less than 1% heavier than specification, and will be progressively introduced onto new build (my emhasis) passenger models.

On the question of advancing weight saving items to take advantage of the delivery delays, VP A380 Engineering Robert Lafontaine says "it is not yet decided. The guarantees we have on payload and range are met today".


Not yet available on flightglobal.com.
Will keep an eye open for the electronic version.

Regards

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineScouseflyer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 3402 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9575 times:

Quoting Astuteman (Thread starter):
The guarantees we have on payload and range are met today".

So what they're saying is that she's a big heavier but more efficient in other areas (engines) and this means that the payload, rang and fuel consumption targets are being met.


User currently offlineWINGS From Portugal, joined May 2005, 2831 posts, RR: 68
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9532 times:

Hi Astuteman,

Interesting article. Thank you for sharing.

Well from the limited information that we have, it seems that the A380 targets are being meet, except for the weight issue. This also leans me to believe that with further weight saving techniques brought on by the A380F, the Pax model will actually be able to achieve even better numbers.

I would imagine that these improvements will only be seen on those frames that manufacturing of parts have not yet began.

Regards,
Wings



Aviation Is A Passion.
User currently offlineScouseflyer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 3402 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9520 times:

Quoting WINGS (Reply 2):
I would imagine that these improvements will only be seen on those frames that manufacturing of parts have not yet began.

That was my interpretation of the info too, thanks Astuteman


User currently offlineWINGS From Portugal, joined May 2005, 2831 posts, RR: 68
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9492 times:

I think that the following information is interest to this thread.

The A380F will have an aluminium-lithium skin on parts of the fuselage and aluminium-lithium in the wings. A new material that was not available when production began on the passenger version, aluminium-lithium is stronger than traditional materials, which means a thinner coat can be applied to the fuselage. This leads to weight savings with no loss in strength. This material is likely to be used in future Airbus aircraft.

Another new material found on the A380F fuselage will be high static strength (HSS) Glare (glassfibre reinforced aluminium).


http://events.airbus.com/A380/Default1.aspx

Regards,
Wings



Aviation Is A Passion.
User currently offlineScouseflyer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 3402 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9476 times:

All of which suggests that the F model is going ahead despite the FX cancellation.

User currently offlineAstuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10233 posts, RR: 97
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9413 times:
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Quoting Scouseflyer (Reply 5):
All of which suggests that the F model is going ahead despite the FX cancellation.

To me there was a sad irony, now that FX have cancelled, that the A380F is closer to its target weight than the 388.

Quoting WINGS (Reply 2):
I would imagine that these improvements will only be seen on those frames that manufacturing of parts have not yet began.

I would imagine, if the aircraft HAS met its guarantees, that there may be little financial incentive for Airbus to "reverse engineer" what must be approaching 20+ frames (certainly that many wing sets) already assembled.

That said, achieving the design "empty weight", whilst SFC and drag are better than design, could be quite useful in protecting the contracts for later frames, and supporting new orders.

Regards


User currently offlineSlz396 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9399 times:

Quoting Scouseflyer (Reply 5):
All of which suggests that the F model is going ahead despite the FX cancellation.

As demonstrated here once more, much of the research and development for the A380F can/will be used on the A380 pax and on other Airbus models too, which proves it is completely artificial to talk about cost and profits of an individual program really; it's better to add up all programs and look at the overall costs and revenues since much of the so-called type specific expenditures are recouped through several programs anyhow.

Seems like the first built A380s are hitting their performance numbers and that there is some room left to improve on them; anybody has an idea what a weight reduction of roughly 3T could do to the range of the A380?


User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 9379 times:

Quoting WINGS (Reply 4):
This material is likely to be used in future Airbus aircraft.

Interesting... a350? I thought that was going to be a CFRP fuselage now.



L1011,733,734,73G,738,743,744,752,763,772,77W,DC855,DC863,DC930,DC950,MD11,MD88,306,319,320,321,343,346,ARJ85,CR7,E195
User currently offlineWINGS From Portugal, joined May 2005, 2831 posts, RR: 68
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 9349 times:

Quoting Kappel (Reply 8):

Interesting... a350? I thought that was going to be a CFRP fuselage now.

The article that I provided was from August 2006. If the A350X is indeed going CFRP then the decision would have been taken at a latter date.

Regards,
Wings



Aviation Is A Passion.
User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week ago) and read 9137 times:

Quoting WINGS (Reply 9):
The article that I provided was from August 2006. If the A350X is indeed going CFRP then the decision would have been taken at a latter date.

Ahh, that explains a lot. IIRC the decision on the CFRP fuselage was taken last month.



L1011,733,734,73G,738,743,744,752,763,772,77W,DC855,DC863,DC930,DC950,MD11,MD88,306,319,320,321,343,346,ARJ85,CR7,E195
User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31391 posts, RR: 85
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8892 times:
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Anyone know if moving to Al-Li and HSS-Glare will increase the materials and/or production costs of new-build A388s?

User currently offlineOldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3597 posts, RR: 66
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 8679 times:

Quoting Astuteman (Thread starter):
On the question of advancing weight saving items to take advantage of the delivery delays, VP A380 Engineering Robert Lafontaine says "it is not yet decided. The guarantees we have on payload and range are met today".



Quoting Scouseflyer (Reply 1):
So what they're saying is that she's a big heavier but more efficient in other areas (engines) and this means that the payload, rang and fuel consumption targets are being met.

You need to draw a distinction between targets and guarantees. Targets are what the OEM hopes that the airplane will meet. Guarantees are what the OEM sells to the Customer as the minimum performance the airplane will provide. If performance is worse than guarantee, the OEM financially compensates the Customer. To insure the guarantees are met, the OEM degrades the target performance by a tolerance (ie uncertainty level) to get the guarantee performance.

What Airbus has said is that the A380 is meeting its guarantees. For a new airplane, a 2% to 3% MEW tolerance is not uncommon. Therefore, I don't think that you can draw the conclusion that the A380 is meeting its guarantees because it is more efficient than target levels in other areas (TSFC or drag). Even though MEW is 2% higher than planned, it was probably covered by the MEW guarantee tolerance.

The only economic target area were Airbus has said officially that the A380 is better than target is Noise. I firmly believe that if TSFC and cruise drag (ie fuel mileage) were better than target, Airbus would have said so by now as it would be great news and the A380 program could use some of that right now. Note that Mr. Lafontaine does not say fuel consumption guarantees or targets are being met. I think the jury is still out on TSFC and drag.

On the other side of the coin, the MEW overweight condition matches almost exactly the rumored level that Airbus had said in the past was solved.

[Edited 2006-11-13 16:50:00]


Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8618 times:

Sucks to be Etihad, getting all of these overweight airframes. Who wound up with the portly A340-600s? IB and CX?


When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineAstuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10233 posts, RR: 97
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8556 times:
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Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 12):
Even though MEW is 2% higher than planned, it was probably covered by the MEW guarantee tolerance.

I don't think EK would be considering "action" with respect to the 5t overweight, unless there was something "actionable".
Given that, and the considerable fuss generated by this topic, I think it's entirely reasonable to believe that Airbus have in fact missed the guaranteed "empty weight", but compensated for that in better than "guaranteed" SFC or drag, or both.

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 12):
the MEW overweight condition matches almost exactly the rumored level that Airbus had said in the past was solved.

 checkmark . It may well have been your good self who posted that the solution was to accept the "overweight" as it is. It's clearly not been eliminated.

Regards


User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8539 times:

Quoting Astuteman (Reply 14):
It's clearly not been eliminated.

Don't manufacturers usually figure out improvements as the airframe and production methods mature? How difficult would it be to eliminate this excess weight by, say, the time frame 50 rolls off the assembly line?



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 59
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 8453 times:

This proves what I've been saying for the past 10-11 months, the A380 was "heavy" but hitting its numbers thanks to the better than expected SFC's (hence why I've been saying that Airbus will not have to pay penalties since its hitting its performance numbers).....reducing the weight of the A380 could only mean better news.  yes 

I also think this is why the carriers such as QF and SQ have been confident on the plane in terms of its performance........ thumbsup 

To sum it up: The plane will do what its expected to do for the carriers which have purchased them......



"Up the Irons!"
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8034 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 8334 times:

Quoting Jacobin777 (Reply 16):
This proves what I've been saying for the past 10-11 months, the A380 was "heavy" but hitting its numbers thanks to the better than expected SFC's (hence why I've been saying that Airbus will not have to pay penalties since its hitting its performance numbers).....reducing the weight of the A380 could only mean better news.

The thing that has helped Airbus was that the fuel burn on the final-spec Trent 970 engines was lower than expected and also the aerodynamic drag was also lower than expected, which meant even with the slight overweight the plane will meet its 8,000 nautical mile still-air range at the final certification MTOW for the plane. I expect Airbus to look seriously at going to redesigned, composite-structure wings for the A380, which may cut the MTOW a bit and lower the fuel burn even more.


User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 59
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 8264 times:

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 17):
I expect Airbus to look seriously at going to redesigned, composite-structure wings for the A380, which may cut the MTOW a bit and lower the fuel burn even more.

I think Airbus might wait until they start seeing a positive return before implementing something as that....

Right now they have to concentrate on getting the A380 running efficiently, getting the A350 program running and focus on the A320NRS...



"Up the Irons!"
User currently offlineAstuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10233 posts, RR: 97
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 8208 times:
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Quoting Jacobin777 (Reply 18):
I think Airbus might wait until they start seeing a positive return before implementing something as that....

Right now they have to concentrate on getting the A380 running efficiently, getting the A350 program running and focus on the A320NRS...

 checkmark .

There's distinct advantages to learning to walk first....  Smile

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 15):
Don't manufacturers usually figure out improvements as the airframe and production methods mature? How difficult would it be to eliminate this excess weight by, say, the time frame 50 rolls off the assembly line?

I'd expect the production methods for any airframe (not just the A380) to steadily improve as learning, and then continuous improvement activities, are applied.
 checkmark 
Judging by the comments in the thread-starter, Airbus should be able to eliminate the majority of the overweight (if perhaps not all) from new-build frames, from work already done for A388F.
I suspect the issue of improvements beyond that will be a question of economic return, and engineering resource constraints.

Regards


User currently offlineAstuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10233 posts, RR: 97
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 8178 times:
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Here's the FI link, for those interested.

http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles...s+to+cut+weight+from+airframe.html

Regards


User currently offlineGlideslope From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1628 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6712 times:

Quoting Scouseflyer (Reply 5):
All of which suggests that the F model is going ahead despite the FX cancellation.

Or, it could simply be saying "we will be using some strengthening methods already developed at this stage of the 380F time-line".  scratchchin 



To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” Sun Tzu
User currently offlineOldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3597 posts, RR: 66
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4666 times:

Quoting Jacobin777 (Reply 16):
This proves what I've been saying for the past 10-11 months, the A380 was "heavy" but hitting its numbers thanks to the better than expected SFC's (hence why I've been saying that Airbus will not have to pay penalties since its hitting its performance numbers).....reducing the weight of the A380 could only mean better news.

I've seen no Airbus statements that say TSFC and cruise drag are better than expected. Today's FI article says payload-range meets guarantees. See Reply 12 for an explanation of how this is possible even with the 2% MEW miss.

The 8000nm range with full pax is a target performance number. The A380 may not meet this target performance even if it meets its guarantees.

For new customers and future sales, Airbus needs to make a definitive statement about TSFC and cruise drag meeting or being better than target performance. It's only taken them three years or so to confirm the bad news about MEW. Let's hope it doesn't take that long to hear about TSFC and cruise drag.



Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
User currently offlineAstuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10233 posts, RR: 97
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 month 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4191 times:
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Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 22):
I've seen no Airbus statements that say TSFC and cruise drag are better than expected

There's no doubt that Airbus have made statements about both on a number of occasions. The place that I have picked them up the most is in FI "Special Reports" on the A380.

In particular they have commented that L/D is substantially better than expected, and backed this up with a reduction in the glideslope required to achieve Vmax (M0.93? I can't recall without getting the old FI's out), and a reduction in landing speeds and landing flap settings for any landing condition.

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 22):
Airbus needs to make a definitive statement about TSFC and cruise drag meeting or being better than target performance

There is a lack of specific numbers, won't argue, although the 2 L/D factors I mentioned above came complete with numbers describing the improvement.
I've seen no numbers on SFC, only generic comments.

Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 22):
The 8000nm range with full pax is a target performance number

Do we know that or is that an assumption? AFAIK we don't actually know what's "guaranteed" in the various contracts.

Regards


User currently offlineOldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3597 posts, RR: 66
Reply 24, posted (8 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3707 times:

Quoting Astuteman (Reply 23):
In particular they have commented that L/D is substantially better than expected, and backed this up with a reduction in the glideslope required to achieve Vmax (M0.93? I can't recall without getting the old FI's out), and a reduction in landing speeds and landing flap settings for any landing condition.

You need to parse the statements carefully. In the case of Md, that condition is at the edge of the airplanes capabilities, is not in the normal operating envelope and is not near the cruise speed of 0.85M. A small change in the predicted drag rise beyond 0.85M would account for the better Md conditions but may not have any relevance to cruise conditions.

While the approach speed reduction is a plus, it is based on stall speed at landing flap. Stall speed at landing flap has no relation to cruise drag with the flaps retracted.

I still have not seen a definitive statement from Airbus that the A380 is meeting its fuel mileage target performance. If anyone has a link to such a statement, I'd be interested in seeing it.

Quoting Astuteman (Reply 23):
Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 22):
The 8000nm range with full pax is a target performance number

Do we know that or is that an assumption? AFAIK we don't actually know what's "guaranteed" in the various contracts.

The 8000nm range with full pax is shown in the standard A380 brochures and on their website. If Airbus has guaranteed this performance level to an airline, then the guarantee would been with no tolerance. That would be an very risky thing to do. Unless TSFC and drag (cruise fuel mileage) are better than target, then the 5 tonne MEW increase would cause the A380 to miss the 8000nm guarantee.

If cruise fuel mileage is better than target, why isn't Airbus saying more about it to counteract the bad news about missing the MEW target?



Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
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