Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Last 30 Years Achieved Compartively Very Little...  
User currently offlineJetfuel From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 2227 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 7696 times:

After watching a documentary I got thinking about how very little we have achieved in the past 20-30 years in commercial aviation. Yes fares may be cheaper and more people may be flying. The romance of aviation is all but gone. We don't fly any faster, planes are no bigger, there's no supersonic airliner anymore and the whole owwwwwwwwww factor is fading. Don't get me wrong, I know there have been technological advances, but in reality a 747 is still a 1970 aircraft, a 737 is a 1968 aircraft with a 1958 aircraft based fuselage, and the 1950 B52 still serves in the airforce.

A little reflection

**THE FIRST 30 YEARS OF POST WW2 AVIATION**

1946
The military prototype of the Douglas DC-6, the YC-122, makes its first flight
The Army Air Forces announces it has ordered two prototypes for a new multi-engined, jet-powered bomber, the Boeing XB-47. Boeing signs a contract to design the B-52, a long-range heavy bomber. The B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat sets a world nonstop, unrefueled distance record of 9,500 miles on a flight from Honolulu to Cairo, Egypt.

1947
First flight of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser airliner.The last of the famous Douglas Skymasters to be built, DC-4. "Chuck" Yeager, flying the Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis," becomes the first pilot to fly faster than the speed of sound

1949
The Boeing B-47 sets a transcontinental speed record, covering 2,289 miles in 3 hours and 46 minutes, at an average speed of 607.8 mph.

1951
The first Boeing B-52 bomber is secretly rolled out in darkness at the Seattle plant

1952
Boeing starts building the Model 367-80, the jetliner and jet tanker prototype that will be known as the Dash 80, in a closed-off area at the Renton, Wash., plant (the prototype for the 707 passenger jet and the KC-135 jet tanker)

1953 The Douglas DC-7 airliner makes its first flight. It is the largest and most efficient of the DC series yet designed. Maximum speed is 400 mph, with a cruising speed of 375 mph

1955
Tex Johnston does two "barrel rolls" with the Boeing Dash 80 over the Seafair hydroplane course on Lake Washington in Seattle

1956
Eight Boeing B-52s complete a record nonstop flight of 17,000 miles over the North Pole

1957
Three Boeing B-52s, led by Lucky Lady III, fly 24,325 miles around the world in 45 hours and 19 minutes, at an average speed of 520 mph. The Boeing Dash 80 flies from Seattle to Baltimore, Md., at an average speed of 612 mph.
The first production Boeing Model 707-120 jet rolls out at Renton, Wash

1958
The Douglas DC-8 makes its first flight. It is the first of the DC line to have jet engines

1959
American Airlines starts Boeing 707 service from New York to Los Angeles for the first transcontinental jetliner route

1962
The first production 727-100 rolls out. It will make its first flight Feb. 9, 1963

1965
The Douglas DC-9 twinjet airliner makes its first flight and makes its first in-service airline flight for Delta Airlines

1966
Boeing announces it will build a 490-passenger 747 transport. Construction will begin in June on a new plant to build the huge jets in Everett, Wash and Boeing wins the competition to design the supersonic transport (SST).

1967
The Model 737 makes its first flight

1968
The first Boeing 747-100 is rolled out during ceremonies at the new assembly facility in Everett. Launched by Saturn V, Apollo 8 takes the first astronauts around the moon. They are Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders

1969
Concorde 001 took off for the first test flight from Toulouse on March 2, 1969, and the first supersonic flight followed on October 1

1970
AIRBUS FORMED. The Boeing 747 makes its first commercial flight from New York to London for Pan American. Apollo 11 makes the first successful moon landing on the lunar Sea of Tranquility and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin are the first human beings to walk on the moon. The Douglas DC-10, the first "jumbo jet" from Douglas, makes its first flight

1971
The US federal government cancels funding for the Boeing SST.
American and United airlines take delivery of the first two production Douglas DC-10 jetliners, and American puts its new DC-10 in regular service just eight days later. NASA buys a Boeing 747 from American Airlines, and under a $30 million contract from Rockwell International, Boeing begins modifying it into the first Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

1976
Commercial flights on Concorde, operated by British Airways and Air France, began on January 21, 1976

**THE PAST 30 YEARS**

1977
The U.S. Air Force selects a modified version of the Douglas DC-10 as winner of the Advanced Tanker/Cargo Aircraft competition.

1978
Boeing begins production of the 767. Boeing begins production of the 757.

1980
The 500th Boeing 747 rolls out at Everett, Wash., and the original Boeing manufacturing building, the "Red Barn," is moved to its final site at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle

1981
The Boeing 767-200 makes its first flight.

1982
The Boeing 757-200 makes its first flight. The Douglas Aircraft division of McDonnell Douglas delivers its 2,000th jet airliner, a DC-10 built for United Airlines

1984
FIRST A320 DELIVERED

1990 The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 makes its first flight. The Boeing 737 becomes the world's best-selling jetliner when United Airlines accepts delivery of the 1,832nd 737. The 6,000th Boeing jetliner, a 767, is delivered to Britannia Airways. A new Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747-200B, is delivered to the Air Force and President George H.W. Bush. The formal go-ahead is given for the Boeing 777 jet transport, with an initial order of 34 airplanes and 34 options by United Airlines

1991
April 30: The 1,010th Boeing 707 rolls out of the Renton, Wash., plant, ending a 35-year-old production line

1993
AIRBUS DELIVERS FIRST A 330 AND A340 AIRCRAFT

2002 Ryanair places an order for 100 Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 airplanes. : Boeing delivers the 1,000th 757.

2003
CONCORDE October 24, 2003, with the last "retirement" flight on November 26, that year.

2004
Boeing launches the 787 Dreamliner program with an order for 50 787s from All Nippon Airways (ANA). The last 757-300 is delivered. The 500th 777 is rolled out. The 777 will reach 500 airplanes delivered faster than any other twin-aisle airplane in history

2005
AIRBUS A380 FIRST FLIGHT

Take a look at the period 1946-1976 and then 1976-2006 and I am sure you will agree that despite all the other advances in the world, any real progress in the airliner is minimal. I know I may be oversimpliyfing things, but


Where's the passion gone out of the airline industry? The smell of jetfuel and the romance of taking a flight....
64 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineB6MoneyGuyJFK From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 231 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 7666 times:

I dont have much to add to the above, but I recall the day the Concorde made her last flight. There was a comment made which stuck with me: "For the first time in the history of aviation, with the retirement of the concorde, we have taken a step backwards" One day, the flying public can travel at faster than the speed of sound. the next day they can't. I can't give credit to whom said it because I don't remember.


Opinions are like @ssholes. Everyone has one, and everyone thinks everyone elses stinks!
User currently offlineEHHO From Bulgaria, joined Dec 2005, 815 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7617 times:

It's a difficult issue. One the one hand you're right: planes today are the same (literally) pressurized fuselages with jet engines they were 3-4 decades ago.

But on the other hand, I, a 23y/o, remember flying B727, DC-10, IL-86 and such stuff which is now history. Those planes really where different than the current ones.

What has really changed in the past ten years is that planes have become so much more reliable, cheaper and easier that you have literally EVERYONE flying. I for one really detest A.net snobbery about cattle class, and flying masses. I still get the oooooowwwwwwwww you were mentioning whenever I fly, on whatever. I think giving that opportunity to many more people is a huge step forward in aviation, comparable to supersonic flying, and transatlantic non-stops. Let's not forget that the massive character of todays civil aviation also stems from the technological merits of planes like B767, B737, A330, A320 etc., making flight reliable and affordable.



"Get your facts first. Then you may distort them as much as you please" -- Mark Twain
User currently offlineVc10 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1412 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7590 times:

Quoting B6MoneyGuyJFK (Reply 1):
I dont have much to add to the above

Well I think you must have forgotten
1] the first turboprop airliner

2] the first jet powered airliner

3] the first turbo prop airliner across the Atlantic

4] the first pure jet airliner across the Atlantic

However that is alright, as when you start a list of "1st this..." you will always miss something out  Sad

littlevc10


User currently offlineB6MoneyGuyJFK From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 231 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7545 times:

Quoting Vc10 (Reply 3):
Well I think you must have forgotten

Love Aviation / Work for an Airline. Having said that, I will NEVER be able to compete with the encyclopaedic knowledge that some A.netters possess.
You can't forget something you don't know about in the first place  Smile



Opinions are like @ssholes. Everyone has one, and everyone thinks everyone elses stinks!
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8031 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7516 times:

I think the biggest change in civil aviation is the arrival of widebody jets, starting with the Boeing 747 in 1970. This allowed a dramatic increase in seating capacity without the need to increase landing slot capacity, which dramatically reduced the cost air travel. People forget that in the 1960's a round trip on a 707-320B on an transatlantic flight could cost as much as US$700, about US$4,170 in 2006 dollars!  Wow! If you buy your ticket today through a ticket consolidator you can buy a round-trip transatlantic ticket for under US$500.  Smile

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21562 posts, RR: 59
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7515 times:

Quoting Vc10 (Reply 3):
Well I think you must have forgotten

The original poster did forget these things. But he sure didn't forget insignificant events like FIRST A320 DELIVERED and put them in caps just for the heck of it. Not like the launch of the first plastic airliner deserves much attention.

What's happened in the last 30 years?

--Air travel was brought to the masses. That is HUGE. It was brought from the realm of the wealthy and business traveler only to everyone who just wants to get away for a weekend.

--The rise of the longrange twin jet. With all but the largest planes shifting to this technology by 2015, that's not a small thing. ETOPS 180 was a very significant advancement. 772LR travels further than any commercial jet, with fuel to spare, cementing the twin superiority.

--The 7500nm airliner: Boeing and Airbus both offer various versions of this jet, changing route decisions forever.

PS - don't get me wrong. The A320 is an important plane to Airbus. But even in terms of bringing flying to the masses, it doesn't add anything to the progress because it was just one of many short range jets. And first delivery was not in 1984. But that's okay...

[Edited 2006-11-18 18:10:32]


Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineAcabgd From Serbia, joined Jul 2005, 666 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7486 times:

I cannot but agree with the original poster, as well as by comment mentioned by B6MoneyGuyJFK.

Yes, we have twin-jet widebodies, but who cares? I still need almost a day to reach Australia from Europe. Many movies but also magazines and people back in the 60s and 70s thought that by year 2000 we will be flying orbital between Europe and Australia.

Actually, none of the advances made in the last 30 years could really be called "groundbreaking". Fly-by-wire maybe did, as well as ETOPS, high-bypass turbine etc, but for an ordinary passenger flying in such machines is still the same as it was in a DC-10, B747-100 or a DC-9.



CSud,D9,MD8x,D10,Trid,BAC1,A30,31,319,320,321,33,346,B71,72,73,74,75,76,77,L10,S20,A42,A72,T13,T15,F50,F70,F100,B146
User currently offlineJpax From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1020 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7442 times:

In the overall scheme of things, we have only been flying for just over one hundred years. To go from the Wright Flyer to the A380/787 in terms of everything, leaps and bounds have been accomplished.

For some very few people, this is all just one lifetime, for the rest of us, around two or three. To go from short hundred foot flights to flying non-stop around the world (or just flight in general) in a century is among there with the invention of the wheel and discovering fire.

The last 30 years is represents only 1/3 of the time man has had powered flight, and even a smaller fraction that it was used for transporting people. Around 400,000 years ago, homo sapiens occured-- 30 years is such a negligible amount of time in the overall picture, but so much has advanced technologically. We will be flying for the rest of mankind, whether it be into space or otherwise. In thousands of years, if we are still around, when people are studying the history of flight, the first hundred years will always be significant.

Some landmarks of the last 30 or so years:

1969- French Concorde first flight
1969- Apollo 11 Mission
1969- First Cessna Citation
1970- DC-10 first flight / Tri-Star first flight
1970- F-14A Tomcat
1971- Harrier accepted into the Marines
1971- Apollo 14, third moon landing
1971- Southwest starts flying  Wink
1972- Airbus places it's first aircraft into flight
1976- SR-71 first flight, set record of 2,193mph
1977- Space shuttle first 'launch' from a 747
1981- F117 Nighthawk, stealth ability
1983- First night shuttle launch
1986- Voyager with nonstop, unrefueled flight around the world
1988- B2 Spirit Stealth Bomber
1988- An-225, the worlds largest aircraft
1990- F22 Prototype flight
1994- 777 first flight, first aircraft fully designed on a computer

I'd keep going, but lunch is served...  Wink


User currently offline787atPAE From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 143 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7424 times:

The first years like 1945 - 1970 or so seemed to focus on aircraft as a whole (treated as a single system). Now we are in the middle of a revolution in thinking about aircraft (and spacecraft) design. We now think of vehicles as a system of systems.

And from this has come fly-by-wire (space shuttle, A320, military planes), efficiencies in engines and aerodynamics, etc.

Next step seems to be using new materials and computing methods (composites and fiber optic wire instead of aluminum and copper wire).

Things are still changing dramatically, just not on the scale of the airplane itself.  Smile Just my 2 cents...

[Edited 2006-11-18 19:06:54]

User currently offlineF14D4ever From United States of America, joined May 2005, 319 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7366 times:

Quoting Jpax (Reply 8):
Around 400,000 years ago, homo sapiens occured

How do you know? Were you there? Did someone who was there document it?



"He is risen, as He said."
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4656 posts, RR: 23
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7340 times:

Interesting list... though it's slightly America centric. Okay, more than slightly...

I was particularly peeved at missing -

1947 - Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier
1949 - First flight of the world's first jet airliner, deHavilland Comet
1952 - First jet airliner in service, deHavilland Comet
1953 - First turboprop airliner in service, Vickers Viscount

I mean seriously, the above had a major influence on what was to come.

On topic though, the last 30 years has seen major refinement of aircraft -

1. Introduction of fly-by-wire
2. Cathode ray, then LCD displays
3. Better manufacturing techniques
4. PTVs and AVOD
5. A return to flat beds - probably more comfortable than the ones on the Stratocruiser
6. Engine efficiency has been increased markedly
7. Moving production lines
8. ETOPS
9. HUD
10. Development of composites

There's ten off the top of my head. Trust me, all of the above are just as exciting as your original first 30 years of American aviation list.



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineKSUpilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 656 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7322 times:

In some ways agree, there haven't been vast improvements that have changed aviation, but that does not mean there have been improvements.
Look at some of the small props, for the first time you are seeing cockpits that look more like the family SUV than an aircraft. While glass cockpit displays are not a replacement for the old gauges, for the most part they are making aviation easier and safer. Look at terrain mapping...as this improves there will come a time where an accident caused by ground collision because of low visibility will be rare.

I see the Embraer E-Jets as somewhat of a major breakthrough for aviation. They have shown that a regional jet doesn't have to be a cramped torture tube. While larger than your usual ERJ-145 or CRJ-200, airlines are looking to the E-170 as an alternative. Most of the flights I take are short RJ type flights so this is something that I see as a great improvement.


User currently offlineSSTsomeday From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 1276 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7322 times:

Quoting EHHO (Reply 2):
What has really changed in the past ten years is that planes have become so much more reliable, cheaper and easier that you have literally EVERYONE flying.

agreed. Well, the 747 helped with getting the "masses" flying, too.

Quoting B6MoneyGuyJFK (Reply 4):
I think the biggest change in civil aviation is the arrival of widebody jets, starting with the Boeing 747 in 1970.

agreed

Quoting B6MoneyGuyJFK (Reply 1):
I recall the day the Concorde made her last flight. There was a comment made which stuck with me: "For the first time in the history of aviation, with the retirement of the concorde, we have taken a step backwards"

As practical as this decision may have been, I agree with you. A tremendous loss for forward thinkers and aviation enthusiasts.

In the early years there was so far to go in terms of advancement. Most of the advances in the last 30 years have been gradational ones having to do with technology (efficiency, safety, etc.), not dramatic advances having to do with substantially different missions of new A/C types, primarily due to the limitations of physics and the medium (the atmosphere).

The thickness and air pressure of the atmosphere is finite and offers limited opportunity to build A/C profoundly differently, or with profoundly different performance specifications. It's not necessary or possible to fly much higher unless we go a lot faster. It doesn't make sense to go much faster unless we can do so economically and without harming the environment (ozone layer).

It may make sense to get somewhat larger (380 and beyond) although the jury is still out on that one.

The next paradigm or dramatic landmark in the industry will be with regard to (the return to) speed, even hypersonic (sub-orbital), if that happens at all.

or...

I see high speed trains, perhaps running in depressurized tunnels on magnetic beds, as a direction that transportation may take within the next 50 years or so. This would afford a number of advantages:

City center to city center travel.
Fuel efficiency, and no need to take the fuel with you
No reliance on fossil fuels.
Environmentally friendly
Speed - Could conceivably go faster than sound.

Although revolutionary, the cost to create the infrastructure for such a system would be astronomical.



I come in peace
User currently offlineIrobertson From Canada, joined Apr 2006, 601 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7316 times:

I will first off say that overall, I agree with the original premise. It does look like aviation technological advances are less exciting than they were before. Thats not to say they aren't important, which I think everyone here has politely (incredible!) emphasized. There are only two points I'd like to bring to this discussion. The issue of causation and the issue of regional and/or genre development. I'll start with the latter.

What I mean by regional and/or genre development is that the original timeline started out mentioning military and civil research and development in the united states. As it went on, it became less about the military and settled down with the two major players today, Airbus and Boeing. While this makes since they mostly fuel civil aviation on the grand scale today, I think there's a lot of other things we shouldn't forget, especially depending on where you come from and what sort of civil aviation advances your region or nation helped forge. For example, coming from Canada, I'd like to think that Avro played a major role in advancing military aviation technology and though this was cut short by blind-sighted politics (the Avro Arrow program), the technology from the Arrow (and the minds of the scientists and technicians) went to developing the Space Shuttle and the Concorde, amongst other things. In fact, Avro had even designed the first jet airliner in North America (the Avro Jetliner) and flown it first before the Comet or the 707, but (for reasons that escape me) failed to deliver orders to Trans Canada Airlines as it was supposed to. It is unfortunate that a huge chunk of our aviation research died with Avro, but even then, Dehavilland Canada (later Canadair) has been responsible for designing and building some of the most incredible turboprops the world has seen, such as the Beaver (true, this is before the list started), the Otter and its Twin, the Caribou (ask the Aussies about their love affair with that plane), and the Dash 8, surely one of the best selling turboprop commuter planes ever and still being re-designed and re-engineered by Bombardier.

My whole point is not to go "YAY CANADA" but to show that different regions of the world have made major advances in civil aviation history that shape how things advance today. Ask the Brits about their aviation history and they'll tell you of the 1-11, the Trident, the VC-10, the V-bombers, the Meteor fighter, the Comet (not mentioned above!)... Ask the Russians about their aviation timeline, growing almost completely on its own (with a little spying here and there!). Spend some time in Eastern Europe and you'll still see the effects that the Russian civil aviation program had, what with the Tu-134s, 154s, and the Antonov turboprop cargo haulers. Thankfully someone mentioned above the An-225, surely a major achievement, especially by a country who was well past its economic prime by that point. The Antonovs are the worlds premiere heavy oversized haulers and they definitely evoke a "wooooooooooow" factor, even the four-engined smaller giants.

Funny story, I was spotting at Heathrow with a friend back in August and while we stared up the glide path at the end of 27R I believe, I had trouble making out a four-engined t-tailed aircraft on final amongst the afternoon rush of A319s, 320s, 777s, etc. The T-tail got me excited but my depth perception was messed up and I couldn't tell if it was a 146 a couple miles back or *gulp* an Antonov freighter farther back in the pattern. I asked my friend and he was pretty sure it was a 146 fairly close in. Turns out he was right and I felt pretty stupid and a little disappointed, as was he, although he said he would have s%@* his pants right then and there had it been an antonov and that would have been an unpleasant train back to Reading.  Big grin

So you see, back to the point, there's been a lot of other important advances going on around the world that we shouldn't try and forget, although I'm sure that if you're from Russia you have a different view of aviation history.

The other thing I mentioned was the causation issue. What is it that spurs development today compared to the 1950s? Some people feel that the military is responsible for all major technological advances and civil aviation is no exception and often a by-product of military advances. This is an arguable point and potentially true. But how has the world changed since 1980? For starters, the end of the Cold War changed things. 9/11 changed things. The demise of the space race meant that we're still using a 1980s space shuttle with few options to replace it, and the most space exploration we've done aside from a few remote control vehicles on Mars (which are remarkably more versatile than we thought) is launch a pretty cool telescope and start building a space station which everyone wanted to help with and now no one really cares about. Wars have changed civil aviation ENTIRELY. For a while there, wars were fought over communism or capitalism (except in the middle east, where its been over religion it seems for thousands of years and shows no signs of stopping). We don't really fight wars very much over invaded territory, aside from the Falklands, nothing the likes of WWI or II. Since about the time the original posting points out as being the start of the decline in aviation acheivement (roughly 1980?), there have been at least three separate wars in the persian gulf, the oil barrel of the world. We had an economic depression between two of them, and a terrorist attack that set a different kind of war off thanks to someones idea to go beyond hijacking and use planes as manned missiles, which drove fuel prices through the roof, stopped hundreds of thousands of people from flying (some possibly ever again), bankrupted dozens of airlines soon after, and led to the slow starving death of scores more afterwards. In many ways, we have been *forced* to step backwards in aviation in order to address new needs, such as security, but most of all, fuel efficiency.

Fuel costs are probably what have made the biggest changes in aviation design and research now. Certainly they were on the rise before 9/11, the idea of an extended range and more fuel efficient aircraft was always part of designers plans back well into the 1970s. But in the last six years, its become critical. It has prematurely killed designs and forced others into retirement, some very young. Its has made Airbus and Boeing fight tooth and nail over their products and forced them to spend excrutiating amounts of time and money making their planes as efficient and attractive as current designs and demands will allow. The passenger aviation business is the most cutthroat as it is potentially more volatile for profits and success than the cargo industry. I have no hard facts to back this up, but think about the turnover rates for new designs in passenger aviation compared to cargo aviation. It seems standard that when a passenger design grows obselete, it gets considered for cargo hauling. Some are more apt than others. Some turn out to be far better for cargo hauling than they ever were as a passenger plane (I immediately think of the BAe ATP, the few examples that there are). That we can sit here on this forum and squabble about the efficiency of the A340 vs the 777 and talk about how the CFM-powered A340s are out of date and fuel-guzzlers, yet CFM-powered DC-8s are hauling our goods and products around the world as we type is incredible, and I believe proves my point. The fact that the MD11 nearly overnight was dropped from passenger service and converted to freighters (aside from a couple like, God bless 'em, KLM) says something about how fuel costs tripling have changed how we design planes. We're slapping winglets on anything now that goes more than 1000nm. We've gone from making planes designed on paper with pencils and rulers and sliderules to advanced computer graphics; riveted tanks have given way to planes of composites and plastics. Look at the size of jet engines! In order to get more fuel efficient (and quiet, noise has been a factor), we've had to go from a tube design turbojet or turbofan (I'm thinking of Convair 880/990, DC8, VC-10, Caravelles and DC-9s) to huge high-bypass hair dryers on A346s and 777s.

These are incredible changes but they aren't really exciting most of the time, you're right. Especially when flying on low-cost carriers with 150-190 people in an A319/320 or 737 and very little in the way of aesthetics or entertainment. But there are some things that are better about modern air travel. I think lie-flat beds are quite a change; the first class in Virgin Atlantic, Etihad, Emirates, and other long-haul airlines is quite fancy now, several steps better than the train-style berths offered (and never used) in the 707 and the DC8. We have lounges and bars and PTVs (well some of us do) and wireless satellite internet and pretty soon (god help us) cell phone reception. And lets not forget the flying part of flying, advances in technology have allowed us to make becoming a pilot somewhat easier, and two professionals can pilot an enormous aircraft up to 9000nm using fly by wire, advanced computers controlling the surfaces, and MFDs and HUDs instead of hundreds of single gauges. While I would love to see more radical leaps and bounds, I don't think we'll see a lot of major events until we tackle the current challenges and get a grip on them first. We'll just have to be happy with the A380 being the biggest "wow" in a while, enjoy every new change and advance (I for one went wow at the Honda Jet and the new Embraer 170/190 series), and look forward to future events like the 787 and the A350.

Cheers for such a good discussion topic!


User currently offlineSSTsomeday From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 1276 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7301 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 11):
On topic though, the last 30 years has seen major refinement of aircraft -

1. Introduction of fly-by-wire
2. Cathode ray, then LCD displays
3. Better manufacturing techniques
4. PTVs and AVOD
5. A return to flat beds - probably more comfortable than the ones on the Stratocruiser
6. Engine efficiency has been increased markedly
7. Moving production lines
8. ETOPS
9. HUD
10. Development of composites

Yes, these are all substantial technical achievements which we admire, but as you say, they fall more under the category of "refinement." They are not as dramatic or significant to the masses.

I would imagine more people flock to an airport to get a glimpse of a visiting 380 (or to see a Concorde, the way I did when it came to YOW many moons ago) than they would to see the first fly-by-wire A/C or the first A/C to have flat beds...
 wink 

By the way:

11) I appreciate the CRJs and ERJs that have replaced many of the old school smaller turbo props on commuter routes.



I come in peace
User currently offlineJpax From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1020 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7245 times:

Quoting F14D4ever (Reply 10):
How do you know? Were you there? Did someone who was there document it?

I believe that man evolved and did not just pop into existence, as you seem to be hinting. All scientific evidence points that homo sapiens originated somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago in Africa then later colonized other parts of the world.

Do you have scientific evidence that what I am stating did actually not occur? Or are we going to go into a religious point of view? Even though I am Catholic, I do not believe God placed man in it's current form on this earth. I follow the scientific proof of the theory of evolution which resulted in homo sapiens several hundreds of thousands of years ago.


User currently offlineIrobertson From Canada, joined Apr 2006, 601 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7230 times:

Quoting KSUpilot (Reply 12):
I see the Embraer E-Jets as somewhat of a major breakthrough for aviation. They have shown that a regional jet doesn't have to be a cramped torture tube. While larger than your usual ERJ-145 or CRJ-200, airlines are looking to the E-170 as an alternative. Most of the flights I take are short RJ type flights so this is something that I see as a great improvement.

I agree... but... *cough* Yak 40 and 42... been there long before Embraer made it popular!  Smile Must say though, ERJ-190... one hot bird.

Quoting Jpax (Reply 16):
Quoting F14D4ever (Reply 10):
How do you know? Were you there? Did someone who was there document it?

I believe that man evolved and did not just pop into existence, as you seem to be hinting. All scientific evidence points that homo sapiens originated somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 years ago in Africa then later colonized other parts of the world.

Do you have scientific evidence that what I am stating did actually not occur? Or are we going to go into a religious point of view? Even though I am Catholic, I do not believe God placed man in it's current form on this earth. I follow the scientific proof of the theory of evolution which resulted in homo sapiens several hundreds of thousands of years ago.

um... HUH!? I"m not even going to ask how we got to this point, but in any case, both of you have really derailed off topic in a way that blows my mind...  Confused  boggled   crazy   redflag 


User currently offlineSupa7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7189 times:

Some revolutions since 1976 include:

Turbofan engines, much quieter than 732/727/DC9/etc. Pre-1976 airliners were LOUD!! (except jumbojets which had turbofans).

Electronic flight decks - this was a quantum leap in reliability, precision, etc

Plastic airliners - the A320/A330 include a lot of plastic. Now, the 787 is completely designed, and it is revolutionary.

Aviation megahubs

2006-era jets require MUCH less maintenance. They are easier to build and cheaper to run, requiring fewer engine tear-downs (i believe).

Internet - goes without saying. Ticket sales is totally competitive now, which is revolutionary for airlines.

Finally, the concept of airliner "families." Look at the 737 and A320 families. This is a relatively new concept, encouraging airlines to buy 3 different sizes to run them as one integrated flight system. This is new since 1976.


User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4656 posts, RR: 23
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7156 times:

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 18):
Turbofan engines, much quieter than 732/727/DC9/etc. Pre-1976 airliners were LOUD!! (except jumbojets which had turbofans).

I'm sorry, turbofan engines were around as early as 1960.



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineCurmudgeon From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 695 posts, RR: 22
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7082 times:

If you include the BAC-111, Trident, Caravelle, Mercure, the Soviet airliners, a host of heavy turboprops, and consider them all against the backdrop of the pace of military advances, the 30 post war years were the "Golden Age".

The one biggest single advancement is an intangible: Safety. If the industry was having as many accidents/mile as we were in 1970 then we would be in a sorry state indeed. The old rate extrapolated out would have been about one hull loss per week by now.

I find it astonishing that we went from the Wrights to the B-47 in 45 years.



Jets are for kids
User currently offlineSSTsomeday From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 1276 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7027 times:

Quoting Acabgd (Reply 7):
In the overall scheme of things, we have only been flying for just over one hundred years. To go from the Wright Flyer to the A380/787 in terms of everything, leaps and bounds have been accomplished.

And to think from the first powered flight, to landing on the MOON, in about 2/3 that time.

Amazing.



I come in peace
User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4634 posts, RR: 36
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7011 times:

Quoting F14D4ever (Reply 10):
How do you know? Were you there? Did someone who was there document it?

Well, there's a lot of physical evidence to support this. Unlike your story book version  Yeah sure



Word
User currently offlineBaron95 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1335 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 6958 times:

I could not disagree more with the OP.

Yes the post war period was very fertile. It was an age of discovery and experimentation in airline travel (Jet, SSTs, VLAs, etc).

But the last few years saw the maturation and increased sophistication of the industry and airliners.

The five bigest accomplishments were SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY and SAFETY. The advanced flight deck, advanced training, CRM, TCAS, TWAS, EICAS, on-board weather, etc, has meant that on most years there are no fatal airline accidents in the US (the largest market in the world). This is an astouding advance, considering how much the number of departures/year has increased.

The next batch of accomplishments has been EFFICIENCY. Efficiency in aircraft utilization, yield management, checkin times (e-tickets, Internet check-in), Jet-engine on-wing times measured in tens of thousands of hours, dispatch reliability unheard of in the 70s. You don't think that the fact that people fly coast-to-coast on 737s vs 747s and DC-10s as an amazing achievment? All of which translates into move value for the customers.

The next batch in importance relates to customer service. I already mentioned e-tickets and internet check-in. Did you know that in the 70s you had to physically walk to a travel agent and spend a good hour there to get your paper ticket? And had to go back there to change it or get a refund? My god!!!! Customer service, as bad as we think it is is miles above what the experience was in the 70s. Frequent flyer programs enable even more people to fly. IFE is exploding and changing the flying experience. First Class and Business class cabins with lie-flat beds and even sky-suites represent levels of comfort unheard off. Direct flights over 8000nm are an unheard off convinience compared to the 70s. Smoke free flights and lounges are a comfort and health improvement of incalculable benefit.

The ONLY, and I mean ONLY area that has not seen an improvement is SPEED of jetliners. However, if you take into account increased frequency, increased competition, more direct flights, longer range flights, smaller aircraft size for long haul, the average traveller has expereinced much faster travel.

Lets look at a wealthy traveller in 1980 flying from Frankfurt to ORD. Go to travel agent, gets 3 paper tickets Frankfurt to LHR, LHR to JFK on Concorde, JFK to ORD. Goes a couple more times to change tickets. Takes the flight with 2 connection which add 4 hours on average to the trip, saves 3 hours flying on the Concorde for a net loss of one hour. Has to fly cramped on 2 narrow bodies plus a cramped and noisy Concord flight.

Today that same passanger has a few choices of airlines and times to fly direct non-stop on a sky suite with Internet access and on demand IFE. Faster, cheaper. Buys his ticket over the phone or internet, changes at will. And has the prospect for a much safer flight and better on-time odds. Arrives refreshed to enjoy the destination for business or pleasure.

So flying today is miles improved vs the 70s. Don't even go there, my friend.



Killer Fleet: E190, 737-900ER, 777-300ER
User currently offlineSSTsomeday From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 1276 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 6885 times:

Quoting Baron95 (Reply 24):
Today that same passanger has a few choices of airlines and times to fly direct non-stop on a sky suite with Internet access and on demand IFE. Faster, cheaper. Buys his ticket over the phone or internet, changes at will. And has the prospect for a much safer flight and better on-time odds. Arrives refreshed to enjoy the destination for business or pleasure.

So flying today is miles improved vs the 70s. Don't even go there, my friend.

I wish I could agree with you, but for the average, modest-income traveller I think the experience has deteriorated from something romantic and service orientated to a downright uncomfortable and inconvenient experience. The lines at check in, the lines at security, the packed planes and small seats, the many new fair rules and restrictions and hidden fees (non-ticket revenue). The lack of meals and unavailability of frequent flyer seats or upgrades.

By the way, in the 70's a 747 had 9 across in coach, not 10. And I flew in a Continental DC-10 in 1984-ish that had a lounge and a bar in coach. Those days are long gone.

The advances you list are real, for the rich, and I'd like to be happy for them as I munch on my 6 pretzels (I guess peanuts are too expensive now?). But the backward evolution of the "cattle-class" overshadows the advances in technology, I'm afraid. Just my opinion. "Moo."



I come in peace
25 Kaitak744 : Today, airplanes have long range, large capacity, quiet engines, entertaining interiors, and feul efficiency. Pretty much, commercial aviation has adv
26 Lehpron : How should we decide what an achievement is? To me it is a technological jump. But in the past few decades it has been the implementation of that whic
27 Acabgd : Completely agree. What Baron95 says is okay in terms of advances, but the travel experience has definitely deteriorated. Maybe not in First or Busine
28 Post contains images Irobertson : Too many allergies maybe? I was on a flight once where they had good-sized bags of cashews for $2, that was pretty good value since they're so bloody
29 Veeref : Can't forget Deregulation. The US government finally allowed airlines the opportunity to sell their product below cost. The rest is history.
30 Caribb : I have to agree with the original post in that the "wow" factor has long faded away and the advances we have made are good but not really ground break
31 SSTsomeday : How true. I'm with you. And where are the flyer cars!?!?!!!!
32 Baron95 : I guess according to your logic, automobiles have had no technical accomplishments in 100 years, since the advent of internal combustion engine and 4
33 Baron95 : Actually that is not true. The FIRST conventional, quantity produced military aircraft capable of sustainable supersonic flight (M1.5) the F/A-22 Rap
34 Post contains images RIX : - to say next to nothing; from the thread starter, I've got an impression that no aviation existed outside the US until 1969, then, all of a sudden (
35 RayChuang : I think within the next 20 years we will see the return of supersonic travel, but this time on more environmentally-friendly airliners. Thanks to mode
36 Post contains images EA CO AS : Seats are closer than ever and customers larger than ever. Trust me, the "Ow!" factor is still there.
37 Baron95 : Are you serious? The newest airplane to start flying the Atlantic is a narrow-body 757. Crossing the Atlantic is a 3500nm problem. These days NO WIDE
38 SSTsomeday : On only this point I disagree with you. I believe the lie flat seats could be traded for double or more the speed.
39 Planemaker : I don't think that there will ever be a return to supersonic pax commercial airliners... supersonic bizjets yes. There just won't be a big enough mar
40 Post contains images A380Heavy : Going back to the original poster's idea of listing how quickly aircraft design and propulsion was changing between the 1940's and the 1970's and how
41 Shenzhen : Other then safety, leg distance, IFE and economics, there really hasn't been a leap in the basic design. Still waiting for the plane that goes straigh
42 FCYTravis : I could not disagree more. The last 30 years have seen a democratization of air travel like never before. It used to be a luxury, reserved for the ric
43 Shinkai : Jetfuel you've brought up a very interesting point indeed. Have you heard of the law of diminishing marginal rate of returns however? There is only so
44 SailorOrion : But what revolutionary development can we get? Lets say we stick to fossil fuels for the 30 years, what will/might come? Engines: -Geared Fan. -recupe
45 Post contains images TeamAmerica : An error in your chronology; first moon landing occurred in 1969, not 1970. What a sad thing to argue over...
46 Post contains images Planemaker : And the above will result in single-engine airliners... looking like a DC-10 (but without the underwing engines, obviously). Much smaller control sur
47 Post contains images RIX : - yes, I am serious. I don't care about WIDEBODY LONGHAUL marketing today: the only two SSTs ever built were not designed "these days". To me, trans-
48 OB1783P : Absolutely right. I remember an article in The Economist, way back, predicting on average worldwide one hull loss a week by now. Even that would be s
49 Zippyjet : More like a 1954 vintage bird. Sure, they hippoed up the 747 but, basically it is a 707 chassis with a hump and bigger. Even the classic tri-jet 727
50 LTU932 : The 737-100/-200, 727 and DC-9 are also turbofan powered. None of them were ever equipped with pure jets. Only difference is that these aircraft, all
51 Baron95 : Planemaker your points on Bizjets is totally correct. However for the international long-haul market (anything beyond 5500nm) that could benefit from
52 Baron95 : My appologies. I indeed did miss the fact that you correctly mentioned 3 planes. Care to read carefully... My points where relating to the MAINSTREAM
53 Jetfuel : Even the 757 and the 737 fuselage is the same as the 707. So here we are 40 years down the track with the 737 series still utilising the 707 exact fu
54 SailorOrion : Well it basically is the minimum diameter you need to get sensible 6-abreast seating (Please don't get me started on the BAes or AVROs in 6-abreast).
55 SparkingWave : You could not be more mistaken. We have achieved so much. Today compared to 30 years ago there are more choices for the consumer than there have ever
56 Post contains images Gr8Circle : I think in the current age, the developments that are taking place are not the outwardly visible types like "first turboprop", "first jet", "first moo
57 SSTsomeday : Did you know: The wheel base of ancient carriages was determined by the width of two horses, side by side, pulling the vehicle. Then tracks in the st
58 Post contains images MIAMIx707 : A 707 built in 1991?? I thought the 707 line was closed in the 80s? I wonder who's flying this last 707 and the last few examples as well. The way we
59 Thorny : I'd say they all descend from the Boeing B-47, one of the most influential aircraft designs ever.
60 Rampart : I perceived the original post as being Ameri-centric. Details of Airbus developments not at the same depth of Boeing/Douglas acheivements, not to men
61 MIAMIx707 : It was said in consequent posts, about the exciting British Comets, the first jet airliners, the French Caravelle etc which added to the excitement an
62 Post contains images Areopagus : It is highly likely that the "answer" technology will also improve the economics of subsonic travel, so that it retains a price advantage over supers
63 RIX : - yes, but my "why is all that?" was meaning, "why to compete against mainstream?" (for which 30 seats for 4000 nm is a non-starter). Well, my next q
64 DrExotica : Some might argue that it is all a zero sum game - we have gained remarkably in efficiency, safety, and affordability, but lost the equivalent in stewa
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
SQ Celebrates 30 Years Of New Zealand Flights posted Sun May 7 2006 04:07:24 by 777ER
First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago posted Wed Jan 18 2006 16:18:11 by FlySSC
30 Years Ago - First Commercial SS Flight posted Tue Dec 27 2005 22:31:31 by Clickhappy
30 Years Old : Too Old To Become A Pilot? posted Sat May 21 2005 15:43:41 by AP001
Will Pilots Be Needed In 30 Years? posted Sat Feb 12 2005 21:03:52 by Yanksn4
Some Facts After 30 Years Of Airbus posted Mon Jul 12 2004 08:47:25 by MUCFLYER
TWA Flight 514 - 30 Years Later posted Mon May 24 2004 03:43:00 by N202PA
TC-JAV Crash At Ermenonville: 30 Years Ago posted Wed Mar 3 2004 09:53:15 by RA-85154
US Internatioanal Gateways 30 Years Ago... posted Wed Feb 18 2004 16:32:22 by Zrs70
Airlines: Important Events Of Last 15 Years posted Thu Feb 5 2004 09:22:44 by Lymanm