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Bringing Back The L-188: How Difficult?  
User currently offlineMotopolitico From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 212 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2924 times:

After all, somebody went to the trouble to bring back the Twotter. The P-3 hasn't been out of production all that long, and with the price of fuel increasing dramatically, I think a modernized, re-launched Electra could be a winner. What would resurrecting the L-188 involve?


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26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSoku39 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1797 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2918 times:

Why resurrect something when you could go out and buy an ATR, Q400, Saab 2000 etc etc, all modern airplanes that have engines that are readily serviceable with spares widely available around the world. Why on earth go to the trouble of resurrecting a slower outdated design that runs on 4 engines to do the same thing all those aforementioned planes can do on 2. I do realize how gorgeous of an aircraft it is, but this is real life, economics rule.

[Edited 2008-03-21 00:47:23]


The Ohio Player
User currently offlineMotopolitico From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 212 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2899 times:

Of course I was assuming that more modern engines would be used, (Saab uses Allisons)
Of the turboprops you listed, the q400 holds 70 pax, saab 2000 holds 50, ATR42 is 50 pax, ATR72 is 74 pax. The old L-188 could carry 100 pax 1900 nm. Surely an L-188 NG would be able to realize even better figures?



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User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2889 times:
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Quoting Motopolitico (Thread starter):
After all, somebody went to the trouble to bring back the Twotter. The P-3 hasn't been out of production all that long, and with the price of fuel increasing dramatically, I think a modernized, re-launched Electra could be a winner. What would resurrecting the L-188 involve?

Well lets see:

- The fuselage would probably have to be all new as the L-188 fuselage hasn't been built in 40 years. The P-3 fuselage is rather different and would not be a good commercial design.

- Then it would need a new wing. The L-188 wing couldn't handle the flutter of whirl-mode and had to be modified, might as well design this problem out. Did they design this problem out of the P-3 wing or just work around it?

- If we design an all new wing and new fuselage then we might as well include new materials...

- Naturally if we want the latest in fuel economy we'll want an all new engine/prop combo...

It adds up and pretty soon we're talking a whole 'nother airplane...



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User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2846 times:

Not to mention the recertification of the airplane for two FD crew ops, as the L188 was a three crew airplane...(UK cargo ops excepted).
Now, I've flown the Electra a long time ago, and yes it was a superb airplane (as nearly all Lockheed airplanes are) but pax today , with larger aircraft, are looking for a jet.
Plenty of those around.
And, more on the way.


User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2843 times:
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Quoting 411A (Reply 4):
a superb airplane (as nearly all Lockheed airplanes are)

Out of curiosity, which Lockheed airplanes do you consider to be less than superb? And why?

2H4



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User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1645 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2815 times:
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Actually a new build L-188 was proposed a few years ago by Lockheed Martin as a replacement for the Navy P-3’s, it would have had latest avionics and engines. I think LM still has the proposal out to the US Navy

User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2782 times:
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Quoting Jetstar (Reply 6):
Actually a new build L-188 was proposed a few years ago by Lockheed Martin as a replacement for the Navy P-3’s, it would have had latest avionics and engines. I think LM still has the proposal out to the US Navy

That would have been a new build P-3, fuselage of the L-188 is completely different and unsuited to Navy ops.



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User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4929 posts, RR: 43
Reply 8, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2777 times:



Quoting Motopolitico (Reply 2):
The old L-188 could carry 100 pax 1900 nm. Surely an L-188 NG would be able to realize even better figures?

You have to ask therefore ... IS there a demand for a 100 seat transcontinental capable turboprop? There wasn't in 1960, why would there be a demand now?



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2725 times:



Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 7):
Quoting Jetstar (Reply 6):
Actually a new build L-188 was proposed a few years ago by Lockheed Martin as a replacement for the Navy P-3's, it would have had latest avionics and engines. I think LM still has the proposal out to the US Navy

That would have been a new build P-3, fuselage of the L-188 is completely different and unsuited to Navy ops.

In the mid 1980 Lockheed won a contract to build the P-7. Originally envisioned as a P-3 with new engines, six blade props and new avionics. After Lockheed won the contract they started redesigning the entire aircraft and cost over runs got out of hand and the Navy cancelled the contract in 1990 or 1991.

Cancellation of the P-7 lead to the Boeing P-8.


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2712 times:

I think the driving force behind the new twin Otter is the fact that there is still a strong demand for the aircraft and the used prices reflect that. There just aren't many aircraft out there that can do what it does.


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User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6897 posts, RR: 46
Reply 11, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2710 times:



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 10):
I think the driving force behind the new twin Otter is the fact that there is still a strong demand for the aircraft and the used prices reflect that. There just aren't many aircraft out there that can do what it does.

 checkmark  The twin Otter is primarily a bush plane; note that they did not resurrect the Beaver, as the Cessna Caravan fills that market. The case for the L-188 is in no ways comparable, as it is just too slow for mainline passenger service, economy notwithstanding. Even though jets burn more fuel per passenger (although I suspect the larger ones do not) the slower speed of turboprops mean fewer passenger miles per day and higher crew and capital costs per passenger mile, so they can't make as much money. This is why all the airlines went for jets in the 60's; even though they were exorbitantly expensive and drank fuel like water they still could make heaps and heaps of money because their speed meant that so many passengers could be carried.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineTb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1588 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2707 times:

Hurry up, there is one Zantop on the chopping block at YIP and I think 5 or 6 more sitting there on the ramp. So if you want to get some second hand ones....

The 188 sure is a cool plane.



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User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9607 posts, RR: 52
Reply 13, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2700 times:



Quoting Jetstar (Reply 6):
Actually a new build L-188 was proposed a few years ago by Lockheed Martin as a replacement for the Navy P-3’s, it would have had latest avionics and engines. I think LM still has the proposal out to the US Navy

Lockheed lost the contract to Boeing. The P-3 is being replaced by the P-8A which is a modified 737-800. Lockheed was wanting to just improve on the L-188 which in no way could compete with a jet like the 737 when it came to pretty much everything. In fact final assembly of the first P-8A should start next month at Boeing's Renton facility.

Quoting Motopolitico (Thread starter):
After all, somebody went to the trouble to bring back the Twotter. The P-3 hasn't been out of production all that long, and with the price of fuel increasing dramatically, I think a modernized, re-launched Electra could be a winner. What would resurrecting the L-188 involve?

The P-3 was kept around way too long. The L-188 design is so old that it would probably cost more to update the design than it would to start new. There probably isn't a single engineering drawing for that plane in CAD. It is all hand drawn on outdated standards with old technology. Taking some of the design elements might save development costs, but I doubt it would be feasibly. But I will admit that there are plenty of parts flying on brand new 737NGs that were designed in the 1950s for the 707 or 727, so just because a part/design is old, doesn't make it worthless or even outdated.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2652 times:



Quoting SEPilot (Reply 11):
The case for the L-188 is in no ways comparable, as it is just too slow for mainline passenger service, economy notwithstanding.

When Western replaced their Electra's on the BUR - SMF with 727's, the trip took 15 minutes longer.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25154 posts, RR: 22
Reply 15, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2630 times:



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 13):
The L-188 design is so old that it would probably cost more to update the design than it would to start new.

I liked the L-188 although I only flew on two (Western Airlines). I also liked riding in my dad's 1957 Buick (the L-188 made its first flight in 1957), but neither are going to go back into production.

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 8):
You have to ask therefore ... IS there a demand for a 100 seat transcontinental capable turboprop? There wasn't in 1960, why would there be a demand now?

In the U.S. none of the original L-188 customers operated them on routes much over 3 hours, and most were much shorter, often multi-stop milk runs with few sectors longer than 60 to 90 minutes.. And most operated with far fewer than 100 seats -- 70 to 80 was more typical. These days passengers won't accept propellers on flights longer than about 2 hours and even that's pushing it.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29795 posts, RR: 58
Reply 16, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2628 times:



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 13):
In fact final assembly of the first P-8A should start next month at Boeing's Renton facility

Too bad, jets don't belong on the deck where the Orion works. I am one that thinks the Navy screwed the pooch with that decision.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 13):
There probably isn't a single engineering drawing for that plane in CAD.

No, they where old school paper......Which means you don't have to worry about loosing the data when the server crashes. Copying them over to a CAD system wouldn't be a hard trick.

It also means that the design is simple. It wouldn't be a hard trick to rework it and do some more advanced math on the structure to find economies.

Frankly it was an aircraft that was supurbley suited for the Aluetian Islands where I worked for RV.

The idea of a L288 model (Lockheed has the habit of changing the 1st number of their aircraft designations for later models) is a fascinating one.

The tooling for the P-3 is probably in the desert , the wing would definately be transfered over. I would also suspect that you could use some of the componts developed for the 130J such as the engines and props. The exits could be repositioned to increase the capacity of the aircraft (the 1950's layout was the main issue).



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User currently offlineMotopolitico From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 212 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2618 times:



Quoting LongHauler (Reply 8):
You have to ask therefore ... IS there a demand for a 100 seat transcontinental capable turboprop? There wasn't in 1960, why would there be a demand now?

There wasn't $100/bbl oil in 1960, either. I'm coming to my senses and realizing that the L-188 is all but gone from the skies for good reasons, but wouldn't it behoove somebody to design a 100+ seat, transcontinental capable turboprop? If a ticket aboard a turboliner was consistently 30% cheaper than aboard a jet on the same route, I think pax, who have an unswerving loyalty to the cheapest ticket, would embrace them.



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User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2597 times:



Quoting Motopolitico (Reply 17):
I think pax, who have an unswerving loyalty to the cheapest ticket, would embrace them.

How would you overcome the turboprop stigma that many of these same passengers have?



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User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2594 times:



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 5):
Out of curiosity, which Lockheed airplanes do you consider to be less than superb? And why?

As I've personally only flown three Lockheed types, L1011, L188 and 1649 Constellation, I can only comment about those.

L1011...in my considered opinion, the safest and one of the most robust and systems redundant jet transports ever made.
Nice flying airplane as well.

L188.
Quite fast...in fact, the original Vmo was 410 KIAS, just slightly more than the original B707.
The Electra would just slightly outrun the 707 at lower altitudes.
Instant power response, due to the constant speed Allison 501 engines.
Also a nice flying airplane.

1649 Constellation.
All powered flight controls, fast, very long range...but quite noisey at the pointed end, and cramped for the pilots.
Somewhat unreliable engines.


User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 20, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2593 times:
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Quoting 411A (Reply 19):

Interesting. Thanks for the perspective.

2H4



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User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9607 posts, RR: 52
Reply 21, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2587 times:



Quoting L-188 (Reply 16):
Too bad, jets don't belong on the deck where the Orion works. I am one that thinks the Navy screwed the pooch with that decision.

On the deck? The P-8A's will of course be land based and with aerial refueling can much more easily do 24 hour missions. They can reach their destinations far faster, carry more equipment and overall seem superior in every way to what they are replacing. Jets make sense for a submarine hunter. It will be a completely new role to see a 737 cruising around at a few thousand feet, but I am one of those that think it will do a good job protecting the American fleet.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 16):
No, they where old school paper......Which means you don't have to worry about loosing the data when the server crashes. Copying them over to a CAD system wouldn't be a hard trick.

Well reading old drawings on microfish when they are barely visible isn't that great either. Yes the servers go down, but you are really old school if you think paper is better. I couldn't survive without CATIA.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29795 posts, RR: 58
Reply 22, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2575 times:



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 21):
Yes the servers go down, but you are really old school if you think paper is better.

My mom is still real proud about the fact she was the first girl to take drafting in her high school.

I would however also argue that if you where to build a new airplane. I don't see copying it rivet for rivet. You take the basic shape, and what tooling you have left, and then redesign it for more modern technology.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 21):
They can reach their destinations far faster,

It's a patrol plane, it needs to be able to stick out there for a long time. A P-3 has what 14-15 hours of endurance on two engines? And the Iranians where smart enough to order theirs with fueling facilities. You need to be able to go out and fly a pattern for hours, not rush out to hit a target and come home. In is the former role that turboprops are superior then jets. They aren't as good as pistons, which is when the Canadian decided to build their own anti-sub airplane the Argus out of the turboprop Britiannia, they hung Wright R-3350's on it.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6897 posts, RR: 46
Reply 23, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2547 times:



Quoting 474218 (Reply 14):

When Western replaced their Electra's on the BUR - SMF with 727's, the trip took 15 minutes longer.

Hardly a typical mission.

Quoting Motopolitico (Reply 17):
If a ticket aboard a turboliner was consistently 30% cheaper than aboard a jet on the same route, I think pax, who have an unswerving loyalty to the cheapest ticket, would embrace them.

Yes, but as I said on my previous post, fuel cost is only one part of the equation. Utilization is another very, very big part that counteracts that. Also, propellers introduce maintenance factors that do not exist on jets.

Quoting 411A (Reply 19):
Somewhat unreliable engines.

An understatement if ever I heard one.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 21):

Quoting L-188 (Reply 16):
No, they where old school paper......Which means you don't have to worry about loosing the data when the server crashes. Copying them over to a CAD system wouldn't be a hard trick.

Well reading old drawings on microfish when they are barely visible isn't that great either. Yes the servers go down, but you are really old school if you think paper is better. I couldn't survive without CATIA.

I have to agree with RoseFlyer on this one. Converting paper drawings to CAD is a very labor intensive, laborious job. It is by no means trivial; I wouldn't be surprised if for an airliner the cost amounted to close to a billion dollars. And if you wanted to do any significant modifications, it would have to be done, as there are few engineers left who can work on paper and even fewer who would want to.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4929 posts, RR: 43
Reply 24, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2535 times:



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 15):
In the U.S. none of the original L-188 customers operated them on routes much over 3 hours,

The only one I can think of offhand, is Northwest flying nonstops between New York and Seattle.

Quoting Motopolitico (Reply 17):
There wasn't $100/bbl oil in 1960, either. I'm coming to my senses and realizing that the L-188 is all but gone from the skies for good reasons, but wouldn't it behoove somebody to design a 100+ seat, transcontinental capable turboprop? If a ticket aboard a turboliner was consistently 30% cheaper than aboard a jet on the same route, I think pax, who have an unswerving loyalty to the cheapest ticket, would embrace them.

I do agree with you. But then, jets of the 1960's were tremendous fuel hogs as well. Today's A321 and B737-800 have transcontinental seat mile fuel burns that were only a dream in 1960. Looking at the future, and the A320 series and B737NG series facing replacement, it is without question, Boeing and Airbus will be aiming for economics.

Put it this way .... if Boeing's replacement was a jet, and Airbus's a turboprop, which do you think would sell, and which would be a huge white elephant?



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
25 474218 : And replaced it with the CP-140 (a P-3 with S-3 electronics). Why would you convert the paper (actually clear plastic) drawings to CAD? All the L-101
26 RoseFlyer : With the amount of cert work now required, 3-D modelling is a must. Stress engineers can calculate safety margins on components which then can be mor
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