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Why Delay The Next 737/320?  
User currently offlineManfredj From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4877 times:

It's older news but I'm wondering why the decision was made to postpone Boeing and Airbus's "bread and butter" airplanes? Rather than concentrating on 787/350 launches it seems time and money would have been much better spent on developing what they sell most of. Yes, sales of these aircraft are quite impressive but potential orders are much greater with smaller types.

The company to get out the first of their 737/320 replacement will most definitely benefit from the most sales, as the 787 has proved. How difficult is it to get a computer to shrink the current 787 design into the NG 737 complete with composites, NextGEn engines, etc etc? Picture a single aisle 787.

Is there a theory behind this move as both Boeing and Airbus decided almost at the same time to postpone the single aisle short to medium haul types?

Aren't they leaving the road open for another manufacturer to come out with a revolutionary new desgin that would steal many orders?


757: The last of the best
33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMercure1 From French Polynesia, joined Jul 2008, 1135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 4859 times:

I believe Boeing/Airbus are awaiting the completed tests of the new PW GTF engine, and any other GTF engine design which can yield at least a 15-20% benefit in specific range over the current 150 seat narrow bodies

I'd suspect, once a 20k-30k thrust engine is produced/verified which can produce the above savings, you will see Boeing/Airbus launch the next level of 150 seaters.

I would not be at all surprised to see Airbus simply strap a GTF engine to the A320 body and call it the A320NG. Maybe some slight improvements in Empty Wts (-2t) by use of more composites, and a slight uptick in the MTOW, say 2-3t more.

Mercure


User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9387 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 4839 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Thread starter):
How difficult is it to get a computer to shrink the current 787 design into the NG 737 complete with composites, NextGEn engines, etc etc? Picture a single aisle 787.

Impossible. Some things can be copied from the 787, but not that much in reality. You can use the tools and lessons learned from the 787, but it is essentially designing from scratch.

The big question is, with the 737 as efficient and reliable as it is today with generations of knowledge and refinement in the product, manufacturing improvements, is it possible to start over new and end up with a better product? If it costs 15 Billion to redesign the plane, will airlines see enough benefit to pay a higher price than what they currently pay?



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 4794 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Thread starter):
Aren't they leaving the road open for another manufacturer to come out with a revolutionary new desgin that would steal many orders?

And this manufacturer would be...? Maybe Tata Motors can build a Nano single aisle aircraft.

Quoting Manfredj (Thread starter):
How difficult is it to get a computer to shrink the current 787 design into the NG 737 complete with composites, NextGEn engines, etc etc?

Quite simple actually. Boeing could build a baby 787 with 9-inch seat width at 16 inch seat pitch and 4 feet cabin height. The windows could be 4 x 8 inches. We could all purchase half size luggage and they could use midgets (sorry, little people) as flight attendants.  veryhappy 


User currently offlineVirginblue4 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 889 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 4756 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 3):
And this manufacturer would be...? Maybe Tata Motors can build a Nano single aisle aircraft.

HAHA lol  highfive 

Jordan



The amazing tale of flight.
User currently offlineR2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2499 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4700 times:

The answer is simple: because A&B are a duopoly.

They both have their hands full with other projects right now (787, A400M, A350, ...), there is no competitor in the narrowbody segment, and the have a huge backlog of several thousand aircraft each, accounting for years of production. So why stretch your already thin engineering sources and spend billions on new aircraft development when you can just continue to milk the cow instead? A&B are in a confortable position in the narrowbody segment and it is in the interest of neither to make a move right now.

However, airlines like AF are starting to get pissed because they are now having to replace their oldest A320s with.... new A320s! And LCC's would kill for having something better available ASAP.

The only thing that can break the duopoly is a third competitor that enters the market in between the A&B replacement cycle. The only chance for that is the possible CS500 stretch, as I'm afraid the Russian MS-21 will come too late and won't represent a sufficient performance gain. Even then, the CS500 would only cover the lower segment of the market.

So I think we'll have A320s and 737s for quite a while....


User currently offlineManfredj From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4630 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 3):
And this manufacturer would be...?

What's keeping Embraer from doing this? They are already on the doorstep with the 195. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 could easily be stretched to the 737-600 category. Canadair also has the resources to build such an aircraft.

I'm sorry, but I see a great opportunity from any one of these manufactures to have a severe impact on future single isle short/med range sales. If I were the CEO of Embraer, this would be my first order of business.

Quoting R2rho (Reply 5):
However, airlines like AF are starting to get pissed because they are now having to replace their oldest A320s with.... new A320s! And LCC's would kill for having something better available ASAP.



Quoting R2rho (Reply 5):
The only thing that can break the duopoly is a third competitor that enters the market in between the A&B replacement cycle.

Thanks, my point exactly. Here we have one of the best opportunities available and no one taking advantage of it.



757: The last of the best
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4588 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Reply 6):
What's keeping Embraer from doing this? They are already on the doorstep with the 195. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 could easily be stretched to the 737-600 category. Canadair also has the resources to build such an aircraft.

None of these aircraft are a radical change in technology. The Embraer 195 is a conventional aluminum hulled aircraft that is not technologically special. I doubt Sukhoi or Canadair has the financial or technical resources to build a composite fuselage.

Even for Boeing it is proving to be a difficult feat and Airbus had to be dragged kicking and screaming by ILFC into making the A350XWB composite hulled..


User currently offlineFrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1691 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4581 times:

Should the big purchasers of either of these planes tell the manufacturer it was time to build a new one it likely would happen. Both companies likely shop what current technology could do in the way of improvements, and what it would cost. The existing planes do very well for the missions they were designed for.


Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineJbernie From Australia, joined Jan 2007, 880 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4518 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Reply 6):
What's keeping Embraer from doing this? They are already on the doorstep with the 195. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 could easily be stretched to the 737-600 category. Canadair also has the resources to build such an aircraft.

I'm sorry, but I see a great opportunity from any one of these manufactures to have a severe impact on future single isle short/med range sales. If I were the CEO of Embraer, this would be my first order of business

That is an awful lot of risk to be taking with not much guarantee of success, at what point does say WN give up on 737 orders and change over to an untested concept from a different manufacturer?

Your personal first order of business might be knock the A320 & B737 off but I'm sure your board might fight it their first order of business to fire you for putting the whole company at risk over what could amount to pie in the sky day dreaming over a product that will cost a lot to create and may not see any returns.

How many companies are able to take the financial & technical risks Boeing have on the 787 or Airbus on the A380, there would not be too many investors in the world, especially right now, that would feel comfortable with such support when all your company has proven is that they can make regional jets.


User currently offlineManfredj From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4484 times:



Quoting Jbernie (Reply 9):
Your personal first order of business might be knock the A320 & B737 off but I'm sure your board might fight it their first order of business to fire you for putting the whole company at risk over what could amount to pie in the sky day dreaming over a product that will cost a lot to create and may not see any returns.

Interesting point but no pain no gain. We all know the 747 nearly brought Boeing to its knees. What would we have today if Boeing never took the risk? Imagine what would happen if a successful competitor to the 737/320 was made. It would be the next Douglas or Lockheed.

Quoting FrmrCAPCADET (Reply 8):
The existing planes do very well for the missions they were designed for.



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 7):
I doubt Sukhoi or Canadair has the financial or technical resources to build a composite fuselage.

So the consensus is the 30 year old 737 can't be improved on or Boeing and Airbus are the only ones capable of building such an aircraft because they are the only ones willing to take the risk? This is a poor excuse for any other airplane manufacturer.



757: The last of the best
User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4398 times:



Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 2):
Quoting Manfredj (Thread starter):
How difficult is it to get a computer to shrink the current 787 design into the NG 737 complete with composites, NextGEn engines, etc etc? Picture a single aisle 787.

Impossible. Some things can be copied from the 787, but not that much in reality.



 Wink

But if the world de-stabilizes, oil gets spars and hits $300 / barrel, alternatives might be considered..



User currently offlineJbernie From Australia, joined Jan 2007, 880 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4360 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Reply 10):
Interesting point but no pain no gain. We all know the 747 nearly brought Boeing to its knees. What would we have today if Boeing never took the risk? Imagine what would happen if a successful competitor to the 737/320 was made. It would be the next Douglas or Lockheed.

Boeing has also had the benefit of lots of military contracts, I wonder what would have happened to Boeing if they tried to bring in the 747 and they were a commerical jetliner company only? It is the large alternate revenue or some extremely large amounts of cash on hand that can make the difference.

The other questions are:
How much money would airlines lose by cancelling their current orders?
- For say WN they might lose the cost of an aircraft or two which is hard to justify no matter how good things are. The current plane might not be perfect but if you need to recoup the cost of two planes in savings by using the new aircraft before you see any benefits you might be waiting a long long time.

Are companies that have large fleets of 737/A320's really wanting to add complexity to their fleets by bringing in a new type of aircraf?

How long will you need to wait for the new aircraft?
- Look at the 787/A380 delays, there might be a few execs on the end of a big kick in the pants for cancelling orders due soon only to be left with no planes as the new amazing product ends up a few years late and the airline is still running old planes with bad MX issues.

It isn't that the current products can't be improved, but the up front financial cost to bring that new product too market is daunting, probably everyone but Boeing or Airbus would need to build completely new manufacturing facilities to handle the larger aircraft etc, and after they start doing the math what seems like a really good idea starts looking pretty difficult to go beyond a spectacular failure.

The problem with this kind of manufacturing is that it is not easy to break into, there are niches around the edges like RJs that the major players aren't really able to touch, but once you start playing against the big boys it becomes very very difficult to compete. It would be no different than say large ship building, tunnel boring machines (TBMs), heavy construction equipment, etc all these highly complex, very large machines require massive amounts of money & time to design, construct, etc.


User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4358 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Reply 10):
So the consensus is the 30 year old 737 can't be improved on or Boeing and Airbus are the only ones capable of building such an aircraft because they are the only ones willing to take the risk? This is a poor excuse for any other airplane manufacturer.

The 737 (40 years old by the way) HAS been improved constantly. It was improved when the Classic adopted the CFM56 over the JT8D. It was improved when the NG enlarged the wings from the Classic to increase range and lift. It is being improved when winglets are installed to increase fuel efficiency. If the P&W geared turbofan engine proves to be reliable and economical, I would expect that the 737 will begin another generation using this engine.

But none of these changes requires a completely new design. The only change that would require a completely new design would be moving to a composite fuselage and I don't think that is going to happen soon - maybe never.


User currently offlineFrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1691 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4353 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Reply 10):
So the consensus is the 30 year old 737 can't be improved on or Boeing and Airbus are the only ones capable of building such an aircraft because they are the only ones willing to take the risk? This is a poor excuse for any other airplane manufacturer.

Not what I said, and irrelevant to what I said.

2008 available technology, planes and engines, does not give enough improvement over the current planes (which themselves really cannot be described as 30 year old technology). And the cost of the replacements does not justify the fairly small improvements they would bring to the market place. The 320/737 planes are superb accommodations to their missions.

Things could change fast. But as of today they have not.



Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6683 posts, RR: 46
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4340 times:

The reason is simple: neither Boeing nor Airbus can improve the current models by a big enough percentage to justify the investment. Boeing has repeatedly said that they are looking for at least a 15% improvement in fuel burn before they will commit to the 737RS; they do not yet see it. On top of that, both Boeing and Airbus have their hands full with other projects right now. Once those are completed then they will probably turn to the narrowbodies, and by then the technology to get the improvements they want may be available.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4318 times:



Quoting FrmrCAPCADET (Reply 14):
2008 available technology, planes and engines, does not give enough improvement over the current planes (which themselves really cannot be described as 30 year old technology).

Actually, the 737 is much older than that. The fuselage for the 737 comes directly from the 707 which which went into service in 1958. The engine for the original 737 (JT8D) was an improved version of the engine on on the 707 (JT3D).

The 707 was heavily derived from the B-47 and B-52 bombers developed for the US Air Force in the late 1940s.

The first pressurized airliner was the Boeing Stratoliner from 1940. The stressed skin aluminum frame fuselage with two wing-mounted engines first appeared on the Boeing 247 in 1935.

Thus the 737 is a very, very old technology indeed.


User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4292 times:



Quoting FrmrCAPCADET (Reply 14):
2008 available technology, planes and engines, does not give enough improvement over the current planes



Quoting SEPilot (Reply 15):
The reason is simple: neither Boeing nor Airbus can improve the current models by a big enough percentage to justify the investment.

Technology has evolved enough to develop replacements for A330/340 and 747/767/777 like aircraft.

The main reason IMO is Airbus and Boeing have all their resources invested in other projects and huge backlogs for their current narrowbodies.

20% better fuel consumption is achievable. The current designs have CFM56s that have BPR's<5, can do 3000nm with 210 people and carry cargo. Not what low cost airlines, feeder networks and fuel savy airlines are looking for.

The airlines have specialists that know whats available and are not happy & probably will pressure A & B to come with something state of the art before 2020.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6683 posts, RR: 46
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4259 times:



Quoting Keesje (Reply 17):
Technology has evolved enough to develop replacements for A330/340 and 747/767/777 like aircraft.

The main reason IMO is Airbus and Boeing have all their resources invested in other projects and huge backlogs for their current narrowbodies.

There is something to what you say; however, the improvement in efficiency that CFRP gives is greater for larger aircraft than for smaller. I know that RoseFlyer and others who are very familiar with Boeing's agenda say that the 20% improvement is not there yet; I have no firsthand knowledge of it, but I trust them. I think the other projects argument is stronger than the backlog one; both Boeing and Airbus are aware that if they sit on their cans too long that Bombardier and/or Embraer will sneak in and steal their lunch money.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9387 posts, RR: 52
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4178 times:



Quoting Keesje (Reply 11):

What is your point?

Quoting Eghansen (Reply 16):

Thus the 737 is a very, very old technology indeed.

Yes and no. There are parts on the 737 that were designed more than 40 years ago, but in reality many of those parts don't change over the year. Does a rudder pedal's design or the steering tiller really need to change? Most parts have been changed, including everything a passenger would see in the interior, with the classic or moreso with the NG. The current 737 is a very modern and efficient aircraft. It does have some legacy parts, but with that comes some experience and refinement that has allowed the 737 to maintain a lower weight and higher dispatch reliability than its competitors.

While it may not be fly by wire, the 737 is extremely efficient and a very safe aircraft that is modern and capable.

Quoting Keesje (Reply 17):

20% better fuel consumption is achievable. The current designs have CFM56s that have BPR's<5, can do 3000nm with 210 people and carry cargo. Not what low cost airlines, feeder networks and fuel savy airlines are looking for.

You really need to become an engineer at Airbus or Boeing and convince management that 20% is achievable with a design that does not sacrifice maintainability, dispatch reliability or safety.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1531 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4104 times:



Quoting Manfredj (Reply 10):
It would be the next Douglas or Lockheed.

Note that one of those companies is now part of Boeing and the other doesn't make commercial aircraft and hasn't for, what, 20 years?

You're right... they could be the next Douglas or Lockheed: Out of business.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4082 times:



Quoting Keesje (Reply 17):
The airlines have specialists that know whats available and are not happy & probably will pressure A & B to come with something state of the art before 2020.

Don't hold your breath. The only thing the airlines have to pressure A and B with is lots of cold hard cash, and the airlines don't have too much of that right now.

If the airlines wish to pay a premium for an all new aircraft with somewhat better fuel economy than the current 737 and A320, the aircraft manufacturers will be happy to take their money. But the airlines seem happy with the status quo right now.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 19):
While it may not be fly by wire, the 737 is extremely efficient and a very safe aircraft that is modern and capable.

I was not denigrating the 737 because it is old technology. The internal combustion engine is even older technology and I've got one parked in my driveway. Sometimes old technology is more than good enough.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 11962 posts, RR: 25
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 3995 times:

Hmmm....



http://piedmontsoaring.org/images/2005/2-33%20on%20final-Jim.JPG

I think it's been done before, just without the engines....



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineKeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3921 times:

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 19):
You really need to become an engineer at Airbus or Boeing and convince management that 20% is achievable with a design that does not sacrifice maintainability, dispatch reliability or safety.

No, its no rocket science. Airbus and Boeing says things with a goal. Additional R&D investments is not something they want on the table at this moment.

Engines like the GTF, CFM LeapX and RR RB285 will offer about 15% fuel consumption, based on higher BPR, OPR's, optimized rpm and new materials. Most of those technologies already developped for the bigger engines like GENX and bigger Trents.



Optimizing the new narrowbodies for short (<4 hour) haul, lower cruise speed / cruise level and reduced cargo capasity will take a significant bite out of OEW, easily reaching a 20% fuel efficiency improvement goal.

If the more radical open rotors are introduced (timing depends on fuel prices) efficiency improvements from the engines alone could reach 30%. Disadvantages are noise & aircraft configuration. R&D restarted after being pauzed for almost 20 yrs.



I think Airbus' A320 upgrade will be most succesfull in the segments its optimized for, the A320 and A321 and maybe a stretch and wing improvement (stretch).

Quoting Eghansen (Reply 21):
Don't hold your breath. The only thing the airlines have to pressure A and B with is lots of cold hard cash, and the airlines don't have too much of that right now.

Wait until big airlines start 9suggesting0 cancelling / deferring orders or even just saying the current products aren't good enough for the next 20 yrs, publicly. That always gets attention in Toulouse / Chicago.

[Edited 2009-03-31 03:06:44]

User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6683 posts, RR: 46
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3907 times:

All this talk about "old technology" vs. "new technology" forgets something: new is not always better, and sometimes the best way of doing something was discovered a long time ago. And new engines can be fitted to older airframes as long as the diameter will fit, and it may be worthwhile even if the diameter must be compromised somewhat. 15 billion dollars is an awful lot of money to spend, and neither Boeing nor Airbus has it just lying around, and as Eghansen pointed out, the airlines aren't exactly swimming in it either.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
25 Panais : The year is 2012 and the CS100 has just made its maiden flight. A couple of months into the test flight program, the PurePower PW1000G, is proving its
26 FrmrCAPCADET : On the Boeing side Southwest, Ryan Air, Contienetal, Delta, Alaska etc could come to Boeing any day, and say it was time to start on a new narrow body
27 Post contains links R2rho : Honestly, I think 2020 is a long way off, and that date responds more to A&B wanting to give themselves ample time to sort out their current programs
28 SyeaphanR : I recall that, waaaaay back, Boeing were suggesting at least a trial 737 with a composite wing, hinting thus, I suppose, at a 737NNG; (New Next Genera
29 LAXDESI : I believe the BBD 5-abreast airframe in the 110-140 seat range will always be more competitive than 6-abreast 737/320 replacements in the same seat r
30 Eghansen : The PurePower PW1000G is currently being tested on a 747SP and an A340-600. Boeing and Airbus don't need a new airframe to use the engine. They can s
31 Tdscanuck : Composites don't scale well on a shrink (they're great on a stretch). It's a lot more complex than just shrinking the 787. Engines like the GTF, Leap
32 Astuteman : I suspect the reasons are rather simple. This is one. The scale of the issues on the A380 or 787 will bury any other civil aerospace company that I c
33 DocLightning : Here's what A could do to the 320. 1) Winglets/raked tips. Will take some minor re-working of the interior design of the wing (which is otherwise sup
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