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Boeing To Begin Flight Testing Of Blended Wing  
User currently offlineClickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9603 posts, RR: 69
Posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 16394 times:
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Boeing will begin flight testing of a scale Blended Wing Aircraft, hoping for a military application by 2022 and commercial service by 2030.

(Business 2.0) -- -- It would be a dream come true for the airline industry: A plane that uses up to 30 percent less gas to reach its destination, compared with today's jets.

That's the promise of the blended-wing, a radically new kind of aircraft set to take to the skies for the first time this month. Originally conceived by McDonnell Douglas and developed by NASA, the blended-wing merges fuselage and wings and eliminates the tail, reducing drag. That makes it vastly more fuel-efficient than regular "tube-and-wing" jets, according to Boeing (Charts) engineer Norm Princen.


http://money.cnn.com/2007/03/12/maga...ewing.biz2/?postversion=2007031309

59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLnglive1011yyz From Canada, joined Oct 2003, 1608 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 16398 times:

Wow this is actually ironic --

In a discussion with Co-workers today (many of whom have NO idea about aviation), the discussion revolved around the 747, and the A380, and the question posed was "How big will they get?" (referring to the 'size' of the plane..)

I talked a little about BWB planes (not that I know ENOUGH), but they were all amazed at the idea of it.

Very cool -- I look forward to seeing more information on it!

1011yyz



Pack your bags, we're going on a sympathy trip!
User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 16323 times:

I remember seeing something about this in the Popular Mechanics magazine.

The major downside: a small portion of the passengers actually get a window seat...and for us A.netters, that could mean war over a window!


User currently offlineSANChaser From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 16313 times:

Just wish they'd hurry up and get going. Time for new airplane shapes to dominate the sky.

Unfortunately, this article is almost a re-hash of the October 2006 news release, and I can't find new press releases in either the Boeing site or the Nasa Dryden site. Does anyone have actual information on how/when the prototype will be flying?


User currently offlineSirOmega From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 735 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 16249 times:

Forget window seats, I think I'd take a 7" LCD in the seat in front of me that would offer a video feeds from cameras mounted around the exterior of the plane.

User currently offlineLaremiller From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 17 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 16106 times:

Quoting N231YE (Reply 2):
The major downside: a small portion of the passengers actually get a window seat...and for us A.netters, that could mean war over a window!

I'll bet the airlines will charge a big premium for those few window seats. Or maybe they'll put the first class/biz class seats on the perimeter along the windows, and the tourist-class seats in middle of the plane?


User currently offlineHaggis79 From Germany, joined Jun 2006, 1096 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 16046 times:

I'm not too convinced yet if that's really going to happen.... it's certainly possible from a technical point of view, but airlines also need to care about passenger comfort....

the BW design does not only have issues when it comes to windows (remember that one of the points B advertises for the 787 are actually the larger windows?), but also with respect to evacuation (where to put emergency doors? How are passengers in the middle of the thing to be evacuated quickly?) and comfort during turbulences (I wouldn't like to sit at the wingtip... don't know about other people).

Finally, if I'm not mistaken these things are meant to transport 750+ people... so what's with the argument that there's no market for planes as big?



300 310 319/20/21 332/3 343 AT4/7 143 B19 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 742/4 752/3 763/4 77E/W CR2/7/9 D95 E45/70 F50 F70 100 M11 M90
User currently offlineER757 From Cayman Islands, joined May 2005, 2496 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 15992 times:

Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 6):
but also with respect to evacuation (where to put emergency doors? How are passengers in the middle of the thing to be evacuated quickly?)

This is why I don't see the BWB as a viable option for commercial passenger applications. I don't see how it would ever pass an evacuation test.


User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1257 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 15907 times:

T

Quoting Haggis79 (Reply 6):
the BW design does not only have issues when it comes to windows (remember that one of the points B advertises for the 787 are actually the larger windows?), but also with respect to evacuation (where to put emergency doors? How are passengers in the middle of the thing to be evacuated quickly?) and comfort during turbulences (I wouldn't like to sit at the wingtip... don't know about other people).

Finally, if I'm not mistaken these things are meant to transport 750+ people... so what's with the argument that there's no market for planes as big?

The windows issue is obviously one that requires a creative work-around. I'm sure Boeing will research how to sculpt the interior better and add visual references to the outside in order to minimize discomfort. Emergency exits through the top and bottom of the wing are certainly possible, though it will be interesting to see how they would be implimented. The wing will likely be robust enough around the passenger cabin to minimize most turbulence-related issues--no worse than a normal plane--but rolling motion, either commanded or due to outside forces, could be a problem. Sitting far away from the aircraft centerline does create that problem.

BWB concepts are scalable, though most look at them as a 300+ seat aircraft. A few studies have investigated BWBs in the 737/A320 size range as well. Still, I'd expect to see the first commercial BWB as a big airplane, but not nessecarily 750+.

Other than passenger comfort in the outboard cabins, the biggest issue I see is making a light-weight pressure vessel the shape that is needed. You have unique stresses in an aircraft shaped like the BWB, and it will require innovative engineering to overcome this challenge.



CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
User currently offlineOly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6688 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 15858 times:

Quoting Clickhappy (Thread starter):
hoping for a military application by 2022

Doesn't the B2 count? Or is that a flying wing as opposed to a blended wing?


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wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 15846 times:

Quoting N231YE (Reply 2):
The major downside: a small portion of the passengers actually get a window seat...and for us A.netters, that could mean war over a window!

With THAT design yes. Blended-wing-body is just a definition, not an image, it can apply to any shape and still be related to the original.

Quit insisting on the only design you see as the only way it can be done! The practicality response is just a cop-out.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineFLALEFTY From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 444 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 15709 times:

Quoting N231YE (Reply 2):
The major downside: a small portion of the passengers actually get a window seat...and for us A.netters, that could mean war over a window!

The real major downside is interfacing the blended-wing plane with current airport gate ops. The big wing would require significant gate spacing (which is at a premium at major hub airports). Getting airbridges and service trucks to them would also be a challenge.

That being said, a blended-wing super jumbo would make a 747-800i or A-380 seem like "gas guzzlers".


User currently offlineEI321 From Iraq, joined Jul 2009, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 15636 times:

Blended wing concept are not new. There are design practacality issues, like evacuations.

User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 15526 times:

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 10):
Quit insisting on the only design you see as the only way it can be done! The practicality response is just a cop-out.

The only Boeing/McDac BWB I have ever seen (with minor variations) is as shown below:



User currently offlineAreopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 15476 times:

A NASA article has a figure showing a BWB airliner overlaid on a 747 outline. The wingspan is more like an A380, but the LOA is short.

(Sorry, I don't know how to set the image background color.)


User currently offlineZippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5478 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 15440 times:

Quoting SirOmega (Reply 4):
Forget window seats, I think I'd take a 7" LCD in the seat in front of me that would offer a video feeds from cameras mounted around the exterior of the plane.

Agreed but, nothing beats that feeling of pressing your snout to the window and looking out with awe. I'm 50, been flying non-rev for 5 years and still can't get enough of those window seats and their views along with that sensation. But, would the sonic cruiser be revived? And what about speed. The article was a quickie. Think Boeing could finally make that leap to HSCT travel? For jetting past the speed of sound, giving up those windows would be easier to stomach.




I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12899 posts, RR: 100
Reply 16, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 15184 times:
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With modern IFE and cameras... I'm not sure the windows are really an issue.

Evacuation? OH... I want to see that footage!  Wink

Quoting Oly720man (Reply 9):
Doesn't the B2 count? Or is that a flying wing as opposed to a blended wing?

Its considered a "flying wing." Also, if you look closely, the B2 has a fuselage cylinder that detracts from its efficiency. I could also go into airflow separation on the B2 (stealth compromise), etc. Don't get me wrong. The B2 has amazing performance and I'm glad to see Northrop is bidding to restart production!  bigthumbsup  But that's another forum.  Wink

Quoting FLALEFTY (Reply 11):

That being said, a blended-wing super jumbo would make a 747-800i or A-380 seem like "gas guzzlers".

 checkmark 

We were talking BWB's at work today. Just such a game changer. With B2 style flight envelope limitations... it would become a very smooth flier.

Quoting Zippyjet (Reply 15):
Think Boeing could finally make that leap to HSCT travel?

Do you think oil is going back to $15/bbl?

Me neither.  Sad

I would love to see a BWB in service. With a selection of in flight cameras... I'd be happy to give up the window. (Have forward, 45 degrees down (from nose), port wing, startboard wind, due aft, aft pointing down, straight down.)

Let's put it this way... if you live on the West Coast of the US, after this summer you'll agree a more fuel efficient aircraft is a good thing. Ugh... I'm not looking forward to paying for gas in August...

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlineLonghaulheavy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 402 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 14191 times:

I can't remember where I saw it, but there's a study about passenger comfort and blended wing designs. When people were showed pictures of the amphitheater-style seating that you'd have in a BWB, they were universally opposed because of the 1) lack of windows and 2) distance from exits. It really freaked some people out.

Plus, I think there are also some issues with having passengers seated out "on a wing." Aren't they going to experience free-fall in a sharp turn?


User currently offlineLaddb From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 220 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 13925 times:

Quoting Zippyjet (Reply 15):
Think Boeing could finally make that leap to HSCT travel? For jetting past the speed of sound, giving up those windows would be easier to stomach.

Lets hope so. Blended wing, super size transport (A380), 787, etc., while consisting of leading edge avionics, materials and sub sonic aerodynamics, are nothing major as far as airline transportation goes. IMHO, the last big step forward was the concorde, and now that is gone. (Why didn't Branson get them??) One day do I really have to tell my grandkids that "back in my day, we could fly from NYC to Paris in 3 hours."?

The thing that all travelers want more than anything is to get from point A to B as fast as possible for a reasonable cost. Once we can travel from NYC to Sydney in 2-3 hours for $1000 US in today's dollars, the world will shrink even more. So SSTO type aircraft is what I'd like to see. Yeah - and I also want my personal robot and everyhting else I saw on the Jetsons.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 12490 times:

I suspect that the passengers will be in the core of the BWB so that the exaggerated roll at the outer body wont make them sick... so there will be very very few windows at all. It will be like cruise ships, you have to pay more for a room with a window, but if you can get a super cheap rate somewhere, you will take the central seats.

User currently offlineBEG2IAH From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 945 posts, RR: 18
Reply 20, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 12322 times:
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Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 16):
With modern IFE and cameras... I'm not sure the windows are really an issue.

I don't agree. We can also stay at home and watch FL350 videos instead of flying. It just sucks when you don't have a window seat.

BEG2IAH



FAA killed the purpose of my old signature: Use of approved electronic devices is now permitted.
User currently offlineDEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4781 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 11695 times:

Quoting SANChaser (Reply 3):
Unfortunately, this article is almost a re-hash of the October 2006 news release, and I can't find new press releases in either the Boeing site or the Nasa Dryden site. Does anyone have actual information on how/when the prototype will be flying?

The October 06 release mentioned "early next year". The use of the X-48B now as the opening image (alternating with other projects) to their site could be a clue that flight testing would commence soon.



"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
User currently offlineSpeckSpot From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 11663 times:

Lets explore this for a minute. What if by then we have HDTV -quality LCD screens, and you have a screen which can choose from any of 12 cameras to look at (like having 12 windows to yourself, and you can move from one to the other
without getting out of your seat). Nose view during takeoff, left view, right view, belly view, tail view backwards, tail view of aircraft, and maybe even a cockpit view, ala next generation UA channel 9. It can be SOOO much better than a window
seat. And they can put powerful telescopic zooms into the cameras. And you can flip between the camera views like TV channels. Thats the good news. The bad news is that it comes on all seats except *true* window seats. Which would you pick?


User currently offlineMika From Sweden, joined Jul 2000, 2847 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 11615 times:

Personally i would have a hard time giving up the sensation of watching out the window of a traditional airliner and seeing the wing and all of it's mechanics at work, while at the same time being able to spectate the ground below and the skies above. THAT is beauty in my book!

User currently offlineBEG2IAH From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 945 posts, RR: 18
Reply 24, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 11253 times:
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Quoting SpeckSpot (Reply 22):
And you can flip between the camera views like TV channels. Thats the good news. The bad news is that it comes on all seats except *true* window seats. Which would you pick?

Then why bother and have windows on that plane? I would still pick a real life window and not high tech mumbo jumbo. I know it's cool, but it's the same as watching FL350 or a Flight Simulator.

BEG2IAH



FAA killed the purpose of my old signature: Use of approved electronic devices is now permitted.
25 Stitch : I knew a gentleman who worked in the 777 Payloads (that's "passengers" to you and me) group who noted Boeing considered not installing windows and ins
26 Fxfan : How would you like to have one of the outermost seats in that aircraft? Every time the plane banks into a turn you rise or fall 30 feet.
27 Iwok : I think Brunelli and Jack Northrup really had the first idea to do such a design. Also I think there was a prototype Henkel or Messeschmit design in
28 Areopagus : If you rise or fall 30 feet when the aircraft banks 30 degrees, you are sitting 60 feet from the center line. A passenger compartment 120 feet wide w
29 Mush : You make it sound like all people fly for is to see the sights. For people that actually do need to get from point A to point B having video might be
30 BEG2IAH : It's a matter of personal preference, and that's all I'm writing about. For an aviation enthusiast it's probably important, at least it is for me. I
31 Post contains images Haggis79 : I second that... HDTV is nothing compared to real life... maybe they could make the windows in the edge big enough for everyone in the plane to see s
32 BoomBoom : Well I'm sure if you showed people 30" pitch seating in an A320 or 737 they would be universally opposed to that too, but they'll still buy the ticke
33 AVinutso : Hmmmm, Some interesting points being brought out by all. Lets take a look at some specific points: 1. Fuel Economy - will the price of fuel ever go do
34 AA777 : I think that when it comes down to it...if a BWB is 30% more efficient... the airlines will eventually bite. How many pax ACTUALLY get Window seats an
35 Lehpron : It's things like this that tick me off more than ignorance due to BWB's. Is it so wrong to come up with new technology that works with current fuel p
36 Hmmmm... : That's what they said about the 747. Too big to evacuate. Also said it was too big for present day airports. Wouldn't fit into the gates at the time.
37 Post contains images Lightsaber : There will be new technology in a business jet. The problem has been that near sonic and super-sonic flight is incredibly fuel intensive. Any technol
38 IflyKPDX : Yeah the main problem I see with BWB evac is you can't have doors on the floor since landing gear collapse would obviously make those unusable. Doors
39 2H4 : Just imagine the cost of de-icing such a monster..... 2H4
40 Post contains images Iwok : Ahh yes, thanks for the clarification Burnelli: Northpop iwok
41 Jbernie : Actually... i wonder, if they do some of the surface angles correctly...maybe you can have the deicing fluid flow over the surface and be as effectiv
42 RaginMav : If the aircraft accumulates snow on the upper surface during a layover, it must be removed before takeoff (before the air flow can 'remove' it), as i
43 N231YE : Probably whatever is saved in fuel costs.
44 Post contains images GBan : Southpop?
45 Tugger : Guys (and Gals).... This will be for a CARGO aircraft for the military. This will not be planned for a civilian transport. Some military personnel may
46 Post contains images Planemaker : "a radically new"??? Yikes!! Another article where the reporter doesn't have a clue! The fact that it is the "X-48B should have been at least a clue!
47 Post contains images Iwok : *sigh* maybe I'll get SOMETHING spelt correctly!! -iwok
48 ER757 : BIG difference between a 747 and a BWB. In a 747 it's no more than 5 seats from the center of the fuselage to the outside edge. In a BWB it could be
49 Jbernie : Though you could run with multiple ailses the length of the plane..hopefully wider ailes...and you can also place emergency doors in more locations..
50 Planemaker : There won't be a requirement for 90 sec evacuation in 30-40 years time if there were ever to be a pax BWB.
51 RayChuang : I think we could see the most important BWB application in one place: cargo carrier. Boeing has worked out the possibility of a BWB-based cargo plane
52 Post contains images Ayubogg : I think it's sad... I really like the conventional look of today's airliners. They are so elegant and regal and it would forever change my obsession w
53 Post contains images Lightsaber : That's fine. Preferentially buy your tickets on the aircraft you love. But the BWB is one of those obvious leap forwards in efficiency. Yes, it does
54 Haggis79 : and why not?
55 Post contains images Planemaker : For many reasons! First, you are talking about 30-40 years out for a pax BWB. In that time a TON of progress will be acheived to improve safety, and
56 Post contains images Lightsaber : Planemaker, I'll agree on the 90-second rule. As to pax BWB's... I hope you don't mind, if with some enthusiasm, I disagree. But I do agree, there wi
57 Post contains images Ikramerica : Who says they really have to pax all the way out to the tips. Can't you put luggage, cargo, fuel and galleys out there, and make the center area a tri
58 FLALEFTY : This BW concept for future airliners will happen. It is a matter of "when", not "if". The technology is here (composite airframes and FBW), the engine
59 Post contains images Planemaker : Not at all... I like your enthusiasm! BTW, I have always been a BWB supporter... and obviously recognize the superiority of BWB design features. I ju
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