Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
ARJ21 & C919 Being Delayed By Inexperience?  
User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3341 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 6377 times:

From flightglobal:

ARJ21

Quote:
Comac's ARJ21 regional jet is unlikely to receive certification until at least late next year, according to sources.

This means the programme, which started about 11 years ago and originally had first delivery scheduled for 2007, will again be delayed.

...

Progress, however, has been slow, because the inexperienced airframer continues to work with the CAAC, which is certificating a commercial jet for the first time, and is unfamiliar with the process, sources say.
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...fication-set-to-slip-again-386301/

C919

Quote:
In a bid to speed up development, Chinese airframer Comac is cutting down on the use of composites in its C919 narrowbody programme.

The airframer initially planned for composites usage on the C919 to be around 20%, but that could now drop to less than 10%, to avoid complications and possible delays, which the five-year-old airframer may not be experienced enough to handle, said sources familiar with the project..
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...e-use-to-speed-up-progress-386300/

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12406 posts, RR: 100
Reply 1, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6323 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Both airframes are being delayed by this being a 'well funded project' where managers manage to bring in more funds and not exactly to hit deadlines. COMAC also has a culture where the lower down engineers/managers cannot change decisions and this is resulting in late discoveries of issues. Issues that are now 'baked into' the concept of the ARJ-21.

No aerospace company gains 'experience' without listening to the man turning the wrench.

Do to the magnitude of the landing gear issues, I doubt the ARJ-21 would be handed over to a customer before late 2014 or early 2015 now.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...ns-point-to-further-delays-383095/

The flight tests, which began in 2008, have also identified "potential interface issues" between the landing gear and the rest of the aircraft, she adds.

One doesn't identify interface issues over 4 years into flight test unless someone is afraid to report a problem!   

To put into perspective how mis-managed the program has been, realize the ARJ-21 was a very low risk program:

1. Overbuilt cross section 'derived' from the MD-90.
2. Off the shelf engines from GE
3. Off the shelf avionics (Rockwell and Honeywell)
4. Off the shelf fly by wire (Honeywell, Sagem, and Rockwell components)
5. Off the shelf Goodrich tires
6. Kiddie die the fire control (almost certainly custom manifolds from standard components).


http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...fication-set-to-slip-again-386301/

First flight in 2008 with a provisional (since revoked) certificate in late 2012...

As to reducing composites on the C919... That will speed things up, but only if COMAC has their interfaces right. This was a 'lessons learned' on the A380 and 787!   


Lightsaber



I've posted how many times?!?
User currently offlineWisdom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6281 times:

I found this in a recent article on the MRJ delays:



Another factor may have been in internal communication. Mitsubishi Aircraft has now set up a project management office to promote communication and cooperation among the various engineering divisions. Industry sources say that the Japanese company's Chinese rival, Comac, is suffering from stove-piped organization in which teams are reluctant to work together and tend to push decisions up the command chain.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....e-xml/AW_10_29_2012_p31-510227.xml


User currently offlineart From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3341 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6191 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 1):
COMAC also has a culture where the lower down engineers/managers cannot change decisions and this is resulting in late discoveries of issues. Issues that are now 'baked into' the concept of the ARJ-21.

No aerospace company gains 'experience' without listening to the man turning the wrench.
Quoting Wisdom (Reply 2):
Industry sources say that the Japanese company's Chinese rival, Comac, is suffering from stove-piped organization in which teams are reluctant to work together and tend to push decisions up the command chain.

Hierarchical structure in China incompatible with effective analysis of complex processes? An 11 year delay on a low risk project (ARJ21) seems almost incredible.


User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12406 posts, RR: 100
Reply 4, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 6086 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting art (Reply 3):
An 11 year delay on a low risk project (ARJ21) seems almost incredible.

Understatement...

I understand a few years of delay to 'kick start' an industry. But with prior 'kit assembly' of aircraft in China and the 'off the shelf' purchases for the ARJ-21, the delays have gone plaid.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk7VWcuVOf0

Quoting Wisdom (Reply 2):
I found this in a recent article on the MRJ delays:

I haven't been impressed with the MRJ engineering. They needed to hire an integrator...

Lightsaber



I've posted how many times?!?
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5318 posts, RR: 30
Reply 5, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 6059 times:

It's easy to forget that N.America, Europe and Russia have been building aircraft for a century or more, and jets for over half a century. This is really China's first crack at a passenger jet that has to meet modern certification requirements, including safety, emissions and noise.

They also have to make the plane as reliable as modern western airliners...and on the first try, no less. The 737 has had some very significant changes grandfathered in that a new plane, like the ARJ and 919 can't possibly get away with.

I suspect the delays are a combination of underestimating the complexity of a modern aircraft program and a sometimes clumsy and inefficient management structure.



What the...?
User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12406 posts, RR: 100
Reply 6, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5843 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 5):
I suspect the delays are a combination of underestimating the complexity of a modern aircraft program and a sometimes clumsy and inefficient management structure.

I give the first 2 to 3 years of delays to the learning curve. The rest, to the management structure. Aerospace has a time component to it. As a project is launched, technologies must be 'frozen' at that year's Technology readiness level. (Not everything, but enough.) Within two years of launch, 80% of the technology level is fixed. e.g., decisions made on computer architechture are fixed by then, engines under development (fixing turbine, compressor, and fan technologies). So while a little delay is no big deal. But taking too long means losing 'first mover advantage' for each year of delay until the airframe is overcome to the point of obsolescence.

In this case, the MRJ is catching up and embraer has committed to the generation of engine before the ARJ-21 hits service. Effectively by the time the ARJ-21 is certified for western markets (~21016) and Western airlines begin to look at the plane, they will also be chomping at the bit for the GTF powered airframes.

Its a decent learning curve. But only a bit. The C919 will have the same issue with delays. e.g., the NEO getting a more optimized version of the LEAP-X (core optimized for thrust level).

And yes, I realize what this implies on the MRJ. It doesn't have a well optimized core for the thrust range.    But since its competition is the CF-34-10 it is relative efficiency and we're not going to see a competing engine in that size category for a bit. (The Tech-X competes more with the PW800.)

Lightsaber



I've posted how many times?!?
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5318 posts, RR: 30
Reply 7, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5645 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 6):
In this case, the MRJ is catching up and embraer has committed to the generation of engine before the ARJ-21 hits service. Effectively by the time the ARJ-21 is certified for western markets (~21016) and Western airlines begin to look at the plane, they will also be chomping at the bit for the GTF powered airframes.

I think you're underestimating the scale of the task involved for the Chinese. The ARJ will never be offered to western markets, much less sold there, though they are trying to get it certified for such. That's part off the learning curve. They are learning a lot of wrong ways to do things that they won't have to repeat with the 919.

That they are going away from composites shows they are learning that some steps are too big for now, just like Mitsu did with the MRJ.

They are going from zero to 1990 in one step...and we can't be too hard on them, considering the problems the most highly vaunted airline makers in the west are having trouble getting their products out on time...and they've had lots of generations of practice.

They are going to get the hang of it sooner or later, and their projects now are stepping stones. The ARJ will be a DC-9 NEO, the 919 will essentially be a 320NEO...and probably out not much later than the NEO...or especially the MAX. They'll get closer to state of the art with every generation...especially with Airbus and Boeing delaying the development of state of the art.

The longer Boeing and Airbus take in getting their next gen aircraft into the air, the more time the Chinese have to catch up. It'll probably be until the middle of next decade, but they're going to get close. They may have trouble selling to western markets but considering the Chinese market will probably be the fastest growing market over the next decade, that might not be such a bad thing for them.



What the...?
User currently offlineCoronado From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1124 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5572 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Embraer seems to have avoided the travails of Mitsubishi and the Chinese with a string of successful world class commercial and executive aircraft. Was this due to a fortunate management structure, good luck or just an overall team culture to get the job done?


The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5842 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5320 times:

Quoting Coronado (Reply 8):
Embraer seems to have avoided the travails of Mitsubishi and the Chinese with a string of successful world class commercial and executive aircraft. Was this due to a fortunate management structure, good luck or just an overall team culture to get the job done?

Embraer also has over 40 years of experience building commercial aircraft. They started small, and worked their way up.

E-110 (1972) -> E-120 (1985) -> E-145 (1995) -> E-170 (2002)

The E-110 was 8 years from company formation and intial concept to final certification, thus, it pretty clear to me they had to overcome a steep learning curve as well.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offliner2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2497 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5089 times:

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 7):
They are learning a lot of wrong ways to do things that they won't have to repeat with the 919.

Problem is that the ARJ21 is made by AVIC, and the C919 by COMAC. I have doubts whether there is really much knowledge transfer happening, but I am not 100% familiar with how the companies are set up.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 7):
They are going from zero to 1990 in one step...and we can't be too hard on them, considering the problems the most highly vaunted airline makers in the west are having trouble getting their products out on time...and they've had lots of generations of practice.

Agree. If you consider that experienced, "well-managed"(?) Western companies are managing to build new aircraft with 2-3 year delays + lots of "hickups" (to put it mildly) at EIS, the Chinese delays don't look so bad. Though it is true that the ARJ is a low risk design while the A380&787 were highly innovative, from a Chinese industry point of view the ARJ&C919 are similar or greater leaps than the A380/787 were respectively.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 9):
Embraer also has over 40 years of experience building commercial aircraft. They started small, and worked their way up.
E-110 (1972) -> E-120 (1985) -> E-145 (1995) -> E-170 (2002)
The E-110 was 8 years from company formation and intial concept to final certification, thus, it pretty clear to me they had to overcome a steep learning curve as well.

   And probably the Chinese would be doing better if they had started with an "EMB-110" rather than a "DC-9NEO + A320NEO". They jumped over a lot of intermediate steps there, the learning curve must be tremendous.


User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3067 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5078 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 9):

The E-110 was 8 years from company formation and intial concept to final certification, thus, it pretty clear to me they had to overcome a steep learning curve as well.

But they had Max Holste as the lead engineer, who brought in that generation of experience. A jumpstart rather than a cold start.

-Rampart


User currently offlinequeb From Canada, joined May 2010, 603 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4804 times:

Quoting r2rho (Reply 10):
Problem is that the ARJ21 is made by AVIC, and the C919 by COMAC. I have doubts whether there is really much knowledge transfer happening, but I am not 100% familiar with how the companies are set up.

ARJ21 is now under COMAC control since a couple of years

http://english.comac.cc/products/rj/pi2/index.shtml


User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12406 posts, RR: 100
Reply 13, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4143 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

China has produced new aircraft before.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongdu_N-5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JF-17_Thunder

Numerous gliders and trainers were developed.

They also have done good work developing the AN-24 turboprop into effectively a new family of turboprops.

So we're not talking starting from a cold start. While the scope is greater, we've seen other airframes make the jump with fewer issues.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 7):
I think you're underestimating the scale of the task involved for the Chinese.

We will have to disagree due to the amount of off the shelf work done for the ARJ-21. The Chinese have made aircraft before. They have organized the production lines.

Will they improve? Sure. But their need to push off decisions so that their boss and their boss' boss make the decision creates huge delays and issues. For the further up the chain one goes, the less technical the management and the decision floats above the point of technical competence.

Again, I expected 2 to 3 years of delay due to inexperience. The rest their management structure deserves all the credit. This was *not* a high risk project. Most of the hard decisions were made before the program was launched!

Should COMAC have hired an integrator (a la Irkut)?    In some ways GE did some of that work as well as Rockwell.

Quoting rampart (Reply 11):
ut they had Max Holste as the lead engineer, who brought in that generation of experience. A jumpstart rather than a cold start.

That is typical. AVIC/COMAC should be hiring that western talent and listening to them! For example, Northrop cut his teeth at Lockheed and then became a for hire specialist to Douglas, Curtis, and Lockheed. No one works in a vacuum. For the 787, Boeing hired in talent they needed. Pratt hired in gear experts for the GTF development.

There was talent available. Why wasn't it hired?

Quoting r2rho (Reply 10):
Problem is that the ARJ21 is made by AVIC, and the C919 by COMAC. I have doubts whether there is really much knowledge transfer happening, but I am not 100% familiar with how the companies are set up.

Some of the AVIC teams are being transferred to COMAC (e.g., the flight test department). There is enough transfer. If not, expect major delays with the C919. My point is that the Chinese are not even learning from their own lessons, due to their management structure, and that will mean lessons have to be re-learned.

Quoting r2rho (Reply 10):
They jumped over a lot of intermediate steps there, the learning curve must be tremendous.

There is only a little more to be learned. Yes, the risk is higher, but the basic principles of aircraft design do not change between a turboprop and an RJ. The RJ was today's stepping stone (as China has already done turboprops). While the basic turboprop was copied, the stretches and improvements were engineered.

And if you think that is a leap, try engines. They wish to develop an engine for the C919.    Talk about a great leap forward... There are more lessons to be learned developing a large commercial engine than the entire ARJ-21 project!

Can they do it? Sure. But are they willing to change their management structure to do so?   

Lightsaber



I've posted how many times?!?
User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5842 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3769 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 13):
China has produced new aircraft before.

Granted, gliders and crop dusters don't require near as much effort to achieve certification as a fighter, they were still developed using Chinese standards of certification, for use in China. These new planes are meant for THE WORLD. It's akin to competing in a chili cook-off with a can of store-brand chili, not expecting Gordon Ramsay to be the judge.

[Edited 2013-05-27 10:15:00]


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 317 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3349 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 13):

Will they improve? Sure. But their need to push off decisions so that their boss and their boss' boss make the decision creates huge delays and issues. For the further up the chain one goes, the less technical the management and the decision floats above the point of technical competence.

Again, I expected 2 to 3 years of delay due to inexperience. The rest their management structure deserves all the credit. This was *not* a high risk project. Most of the hard decisions were made before the program was launched!

This is really an issue of the Country's management structure running into a space where it is highly in-efficient. Top down autocratic management does not work well in complex engineering projects, it never has. Most successful engineering projects have a very organic and somewhat chaotic management structure. A complex engineering project's timelines are almost always determined by the speed and disbursement of finding faults/failures and the speed and concentration that they can be fixed. These concepts are more important the farther out on the path finding road you are on.


User currently offlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12406 posts, RR: 100
Reply 16, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3100 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 14):
Granted, gliders and crop dusters don't require near as much effort to achieve certification as a fighter, they were still developed using Chinese standards of certification, for use in China. These new planes are meant for THE WORLD.

Which is why the FAA certification happens TWO YEARS after the Chinese certification. In other words, if everything goes on the current schedule, FAA certification isn't expected before 2016! So your chili cook-off has two additional years before facing a named chef judge. The luxury of two added years the MRJ doesn't have...

In effect, thanks to government money, AVAC relaunches their flight test program after fixing 'lessons learned' before entering the FAA certification process. An amazingly inefficient process that only a top down subsidized organization could afford. IMHO, a waste as this means certain lessons learned will be too late for the C919.

That will be after the MRJ receives Western certification and that program was launched in 2007! And that bakes in what I expect to be further MRJ delays. For a Western program, I mock the MRJ as the 'communication' does indeed need work. Even then, Mitsubishi, who is starting with as close a starting point to the Chinese as I could envision, will develop a far more advanced aircraft in so much less time they will come out first (for Western markets) *and* have engines two generations ahead and a wing that is a full generation ahead.
http://www.flightglobal.com/features...aris-special/civil-programmes/MRJ/

IMHO, Bombardier with the C-series and Irkut with the MS-21 were the two to accept they needed help. They went out and hired integrators to smooth the transition (UTAS and Shorts brothers respectively). Both ACAC/COMAC and Mitsubishi are at the point they should have done this. They didn't and will both suffer delays because of it. Cest la vie. IMHO, Mitsubishi is learning so much it will help the whole conglomerate. They are adapting more organic management structures.

Yes, years of engineering occurred before kickoff for the MRJ. That always happens. e.g., I worked A380 related work in 1998 and 787 work in 1999.

Quoting spink (Reply 15):
Most successful engineering projects have a very organic and somewhat chaotic management structure.

   And that would have identified the issues far earlier. Chinese management works on huge projects where the item can be so over-designed that little defects do not impact the final functionality. It simply isn't possible to over-design an aircraft to that level.

Lightsaber



I've posted how many times?!?
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...
Jetstar HK's Takeoff Got Delayed By Authority posted Wed Mar 20 2013 22:51:40 by justinlee
Backscatter X-Ray Scanners Being Removed By TSA posted Mon Oct 22 2012 11:32:23 by 1337Delta764
DL Flight Delayed By Massive Swarm Of Bees posted Fri Aug 3 2012 10:11:34 by akelley728
MRJ Delayed By Over 1 Year posted Wed Apr 25 2012 07:31:51 by r2rho
BIA-ORY Daily Delayed By Corsican Labour posted Fri Apr 6 2012 09:32:18 by Alsatian
Daily Nonstop GIG-NYC Being Advertised By CO posted Sun Feb 12 2012 23:06:44 by C010T3
ANA 787 Was Grounded After Being Hit By Lightning posted Sat Oct 22 2011 23:38:42 by MadameConcorde
News Report: JFK Flight Being Escorted By Usaf posted Fri Oct 29 2010 11:58:21 by catiii
787 First Delivery Delayed By Three Months Due To Trent 1000 Issues posted Thu Aug 26 2010 22:03:59 by KFlyer
WN Takes Child Away After Being Slapped By Mother posted Tue Aug 17 2010 11:19:23 by LAXDESI