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Is The A380-900 A "push-button" Project  
User currently offlineA380900 From France, joined Dec 2003, 1116 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7390 times:

How much of the A380-900 is designed already? Is there anything left to do?

We know the factories have been built with the longer stretch in mind (people in the know should by the way know the longest possible stretch that has been envisioned for the A380 as the factories are the limitating factor). Some say the wing is meant for a bigger plane. Just how much R&D effort is necessary to start building the A380-900? The same as any other stretch or relatively less?

39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31101 posts, RR: 85
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7295 times:
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Realistically all they need to do is engineer the fuselage stretch. Assuming they keep the MTOW around 600 tons, there is no additional changes to any systems that need to be made since they can leverage the systems from the 590t MTOW freighter variant.

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 7196 times:

The engines would need to be pushed that much further to make the bigger version economical. That is probably the bigger issue, particularly right now with at least RR heavily preoccupied with its current models already.

User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31101 posts, RR: 85
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7163 times:
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Well the engines were designed with the 590t MTOW A380-800F in mind, so I imagine they can scale.

Though many believe the A380-900 will come exclusively with Trent XWB power.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7154 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 3):
Well the engines were designed with the 590t MTOW A380-800F in mind, so I imagine they can scale.

The -800F would have traded a substantial portion of its range for some additional payload, which would not have been much of a problem for cargo, but certainly for a passenger version.

For a -900 passenger version there would need to be substantially more powerful engine variants to make it economically feasible (much higher weight at the same or comparable range).


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31101 posts, RR: 85
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7115 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 4):
For a -900 passenger version there would need to be substantially more powerful engine variants to make it economically feasible (much higher weight at the same or comparable range).

I would expect a 590-600t MTOW A380-900 with Trent 900 or GP7000 engines should be able to perform most of the missions an A380-800 can today. Airbus will have worked out some of the MEW by then and both engine OEMs will have improvements to their powerplants to lower SFC.


User currently offline747400sp From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3669 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7102 times:

RR design Trent 984 for the A380 900, so it can use the same systems as the A380 800. The A380 900 is going to be a true giant. With a length of at least 261 ft and a take of weight of 1300000+ lb, the only jet that would be larger than it, would be the AN 250. I hope it will be built, and I hope to fly on one on my honeymoon.

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 7076 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 5):
I would expect a 590-600t MTOW A380-900 with Trent 900 or GP7000 engines should be able to perform most of the missions an A380-800 can today.

Yes, but quite a few hub-to-hub connections would still remain out of reach, and when considering a huge investment like that this would give many airlines headaches, not just Qantas...!

From a purely aesthetic point of view I really hope they'll build the "real" version sooner rather than later – the -800 really looks a bit like an A318 after a massive steroid overdose... 


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10107 posts, RR: 97
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6859 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 4):
For a -900 passenger version there would need to be substantially more powerful engine variants to make it economically feasible (much higher weight at the same or comparable range).

The Trent 900 and GP7000 were designed to power the 590 tonne/599 tonne A380F

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
Yes, but quite a few hub-to-hub connections would still remain out of reach, and when considering a huge investment like that this would give many airlines headaches, not just Qantas

An A380-900 with 30 tonnes MTOW on top of the current A380-800 would have roughly the same range capability, As Stitch pointed out

Quoting A380900 (Thread starter):
Just how much R&D effort is necessary to start building the A380-900? The same as any other stretch or relatively less?

Tim Clark of EK once said an A389 would cost between $2Bn and $5Bn to engineer depending upon "what it was"- not that I'd take his numbers as gospel. But I'd guess the lower number would relate to the bog-standard +6m and +30 tonne A389, whilst the larger one would relate to one of his (and Steve U-H's) more exotic ambitions (like + 12m+ stretch   )

I suspect "scope creep" would be the biggest variable in R+D costs...

Rgds


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6793 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 8):
An A380-900 with 30 tonnes MTOW on top of the current A380-800 would have roughly the same range capability, As Stitch pointed out

As I said: With substantially improved engines. They are the crucial resource in this.
With the current ratings the -800F would have had substantially reduced range (several thousands of miles).

When looking at RR's issues getting the present engine ratings to function reliably, this may not be a piece of cake. Of course they will make it, but I doubt it's something that can be rushed.

Of course airports will have to make some additional accomodations for the even longer version, but it's not as if the -900 variant had been a real secret; They would have been stupid expanding exclusively for the -800 without at least planning ahead to the -900 where feasible.

[Edited 2011-01-08 12:22:54]

User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31101 posts, RR: 85
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6662 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
With the current ratings the -800F would have had substantially reduced range (several thousands of miles).

True. but the A380-800F's maximum structural payload was over 50% higher (150t vs 90t) than the A380-800. It also had a higher MZFW so the plane, even with the 30 tons of extra MTOW, could still end up fuel weight limited. But this is okay, because freighter missions in general are based around shorter stage-lengths.

An A380-900 would have a maximum structural payload perhaps 10t more than an A380-800, leaving 20t of TOW left to both absorb the extra MEW and to tank additional fuel (assuming the A380-900 would have a center fuel tank).


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10107 posts, RR: 97
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6620 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
As I said: With substantially improved engines. They are the crucial resource in this.

No!
Not with substantially improved engines.   
The Trent 900 and GP7000 were designed from the outset to power A380's up to 599 tonnes.
The "standard" A380-900 stretch - i.e. +6m to 79 m long, and 590 tonnes, would have pretty much the same range capability as the current A380-800 at 560 tonnes, butwith a c 14% greater passsenger capacity/payload
(and about a 5% increase in drag)

Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
With the current ratings the -800F would have had substantially reduced range (several thousands of miles).

The A380F?
Maybe.
This thread is about an A380-900 - presumably a passenger aircraft.
And in its basic form, it wouldn't need "substantially improved" engines   

Sure, if you want your aircraft to carry the 150t of the A380F, plus 15% (what, 172t?) for 6700Nm , which is the MZFW range of the A380-800, you would need SERIOUSLY improved engines.
That's some aircraft   
But not the A380-900     

As it is, the A380-900 as I've defined it above, would suffer about a 1 000Nm range reduction over the A380-800 at an MTOW of 560 tonnes.
A "nominal" range of say 7 200Nm with about 575 pax

Rgds


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 6556 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 11):
The Trent 900 and GP7000 were designed from the outset to power A380's up to 599 tonnes.

The present versions of these engines are not available with their maximum designed specifications.


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10107 posts, RR: 97
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 6546 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):
The present versions of these engines are not available with their maximum designed specifications.

Aren't they?

What hardware changes do you think are necessary to the T900 and GP7000 in order to provide engines for a 599 tonne A380?

Aside from the obvious one of RR fixing the design glitch on the T900 IPT lubrication, that is (which they've already done, I would guess)

Rgds


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6520 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 13):
Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):
The present versions of these engines are not available with their maximum designed specifications.

Aren't they?

No, they aren't, as far as I'm aware.

Take Qantas: They are using the highest currently available rating and just make their transpacific runs with that. Obviously an A380-900 with these same engines (assuming they worked reliably and economically) would not be an option.

As far as I'm aware RR (and probably EA as well) have not maxed out the planned thrust headroom for their A380 engines yet.

In view of fuel capacity and trip fuel consumption per available seat further efficiency gains would also be welcome to make the -900 really attractive.

If it had a substantially lower range or didn't improve margins over the -800, what would be the point? Slot-constrained operations could still benefit, but would that alone justify the added variant?

Quoting astuteman (Reply 13):
What hardware changes do you think are necessary to the T900 and GP7000 in order to provide engines for a 599 tonne A380?

I don't pretend to intimately know the calculations done by the airline acquisition departments, but I doubt that a -900 with effectively reduced payload capacity and range would have that much of an appeal, particularly in view of further rising fuel prices.

The engines have been designed with some additional thrust headroom, I would expect that realizing at least some of that headroom while further optimizing their efficiency in due time would be the sensible path to take, particularly in the current economical environment.

But of course any of that is idle speculation anyway.


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10107 posts, RR: 97
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6493 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 14):
No, they aren't, as far as I'm aware.

But they are   

Quoting Klaus (Reply 14):
Quoting astuteman (Reply 13):
What hardware changes do you think are necessary to the T900 and GP7000 in order to provide engines for a 599 tonne A380?

I don't pretend to intimately know the calculations done by the airline acquisition departments, but I doubt that a -900 with effectively reduced payload capacity and range would have that much of an appeal, particularly in view of further rising fuel prices.

That didn't answer my question.

As it happens there is NO hardware change required to either the Trent 900 or the GP7000 to allow it to power a 599 tonne A380. None.
Some links below....

http://www.rolls-royce.com/civil/products/largeaircraft/trent_900/

Quote:
The Trent 900 is certified at 70k, 72k, 76k and 80k pounds of thrust. It is the only engine certified at both 70k and 72k on the Airbus A380. The higher two ratings demonstrate the growth capability embeded in the engine should further aircraft development require
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Trent_900

Quote:
Variants
Trent 970 with 70,000 lbf (310 kN) of thrust. In use by A380-841 of Lufthansa.[citation needed]
Trent 972 with 72,000 lbf (320 kN) of thrust. Higher thrust variant of the 970, in use by A380-842 of Qantas and Singapore Airlines.[citation needed]
Trent 977 with 77,000 lbf (340 kN) of thrust. Variant for A380-843F.
Trent 980 with 80,000 lbf (360 kN) of thrust. Higher thrust variant for A380-843F.

http://www.geae.com/engines/commercial/gp7000/index.html

[quote]The GP7200 will initially certify at 76,500 lb. (340 kN) of thrust and subsequently at 81,500 lb. (363 kN) of thrust. The engine will be offered with two ratings appropriate for the various A380 configurations and take-off weights: GP7270 for the 560 tonne variant, and GP7277 for the 590 tonne A380-800 freighter.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_Alliance_GP7000

Quote:
The GP7200 is rated at 81,500 lbf (363,000 N) of thrust. The engine is offered with two ratings appropriate for the various A380 configurations and take-off weights: GP7270 for the 560 tonne variant, and GP7277 for the 590 tonne A380-800 freighter.

The parts I've bolded clearly show both engines were explicitly designed with the heavier 590 tonne A380F in mind.

In fact, when the A380-800's MTOW went up from 560t to 569t, the engine capability to grow up to 599t (instead of 590t) was also incorporated.

I think the key point is for me to reiterate that a 6m stretch A380-900 that is 30 tonnes heavier than the equivalent A380-800 will have at least the same nominal range as that equivalent A380-800.
In other words the weight of the A380F gives an A380-900 the same range capability as the A380-800.

So in fact the engines to power this variant unquestionably exist. Today.
The up-rating is just a software exercise   

Quoting Klaus (Reply 14):
The engines have been designed with some additional thrust headroom, I would expect that realizing at least some of that headroom while further optimizing their efficiency in due time would be the sensible path to take, particularly in the current economical environment.

But of course any of that is idle speculation anyway.

It is in fact, fact  .

And in both cases even further growth has been built in.
The 84 000lb thrust that both engines are capable of is good for about 625 tonnes MTOW on the wing of an A380

Rgds


User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4801 posts, RR: 40
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6488 times:
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Quoting astuteman (Reply 15):
So in fact the engines to power this variant unquestionably exist. Today


No doubt you are correct. But if Airbus "push the button" and go ahead with the A380-900, would they upgrade the engines with technologies coming of from newer engines (B787-A350) or will they go for installing these newer engines from the B787/A350 under the mighty wings of that A380-900. In any case it would be some plane to see and what a CASM advantage that plane could have. I can not wait to see it and fly on it.    Even though there might be a (small?) chance it will be not be launched at all and even though that if it is launched it will not be in the air with customers before 2018 (my expectation  ).


User currently offlinetrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4786 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 6477 times:
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OT but IF Airbus relaunched the A380-800F what timeframe do folks think it will be to EIS. IIRC a fair amount of work was already done on it before it was canceled 4 years ago.

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 6475 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 15):
The parts I've bolded clearly show both engines were explicitly designed with the heavier 590 tonne A380F in mind.

And the 72k rating is the maximum actually available yet. And RR has trouble making even that one perform reliably at this point.

Which is my whole point: Although planned, the necessary engine variants are not available now.

So no "push-button" project but some serious development still to be done there.

Quoting astuteman (Reply 15):
I think the key point is for me to reiterate that a 6m stretch A380-900 that is 30 tonnes heavier than the equivalent A380-800 will have at least the same nominal range as that equivalent A380-800.

Same wing, same fuel capacity, same engines, but 30 tons more weight: No chance in hell can that variant have the same range in real life. Just not possible.

There just is no free lunch.


User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4801 posts, RR: 40
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 6461 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
There just is no free lunch.


I thought that the A380-900 was supposed to have extra fuel capacity through a center fuel tank which is part of the 30 tons weight increase.  .


User currently offlinegarynor From Norway, joined exactly 4 years ago today! , 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 6451 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
And the 72k rating is the maximum actually available yet.

Isn't that rather the maximum actually in use at the moment? Like Astuteman said: up-rating is just a software excercise, all the hardware is in place (as per certification documents).

Same wing, higher fuel capacity, more powerful engines and 30 tons more weight = same range.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31101 posts, RR: 85
Reply 21, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6392 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
Which is my whole point: Although planned, the necessary engine variants are not available now.

So no "push-button" project but some serious development still to be done there.

The engines were designed from the start to scale to those thrusts. Note that no A380-800 weight variant needs anything like those thrust ratings so, if anything, current engines are running "de-tuned".

This is most definitely not a GE90-9xb to GE90-11xb situation where the entire guts of the engine needs to be torn out and replaced to make the higher thrusts. Instead, it's a GE90-7xB to GE90-9xB situation where some components have higher strengths to support the heavier loads.



Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
Same wing, same fuel capacity, same engines, but 30 tons more weight: No chance in hell can that variant have the same range in real life. Just not possible.

We're talking 30 tons more Take-Off Weight here, not 30 tons more Empty Weight. Actual Empty Weight increase will probably be in the neighborhood of 10 tons. That leaves 10 tons for payload weight increase and 10 tons for fuel weight increase.

Quoting EPA001 (Reply 19):
thought that the A380-900 was supposed to have extra fuel capacity through a center fuel tank which is part of the 30 tons weight increase.

It's expected that it will offer the 56,000 liter capacity center tank developed as an optional install on the A380-800F.


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 10107 posts, RR: 97
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6383 times:
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Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
And the 72k rating is the maximum actually available yet. And RR has trouble making even that one perform reliably at this point.

Which is my whole point: Although planned, the necessary engine variants are not available now.

So no "push-button" project but some serious development still to be done there.

Er, excuse me, the T900 has one specific problem which is in the process of being resolved. Apart from that specific issue, as far as I'm aware the T900 is performing extremely well in service.
That is clearly not the same as having to develop the engine in order to meet a higher thrust requirement   .
There is of course also another engine option for the A380 - an engine equally capable of being upgraded by software, that is also performing excellenty, with the luxury of also not having one high profile event counting against it in the publicity stakes.

And for what its worth, a closer look at the links I posted will show that 80k + variants have bee certified

The necessary engine variants ARE available   

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
Same wing, same fuel capacity, same engines, but 30 tons more weight: No chance in hell can that variant have the same range in real life. Just not possible

Unless the same engines are programmed for the higher thrust they are already capable of  
Quoting garynor (Reply 20):
Same wing, higher fuel capacity, more powerful engines and 30 tons more weight = same range.

Correct.
Not sure why we're having this debate, to be honest.

Quoting EPA001 (Reply 16):
No doubt you are correct. But if Airbus "push the button" and go ahead with the A380-900, would they upgrade the engines with technologies coming of from newer engines (B787-A350) or will they go for installing these newer engines from the B787/A350 under the mighty wings of that A380-900

We can always hope of course. I can't see any major physical constraints - some contractual ones maybe.

But a goodly proportion of A-netters tend to underestimate the T900 and GP7000 for no better reason than they are installed on the "dinosaur" A380.
Have a look at the Geae link I posted earlier to see the pedigree of the GP7000
(I know you already know, my friend)  

I wonder if the c. 5% better SFC of the TXWB is worth the engineering trip at this point?

Re your comment about fuel capacity - it's not really an issue for a 6m stretch IMO.
The 569t A380-800 is fuel limited at about 8 800Nm.
With a c. 5% higher fuel burn a 6m stretch 599t A380-900 would be fuel limited at 8 400Nm, but at a considerably higher payload (about 105k lb instead of 80k lb)
Any SFC gains in the meantime would only add to this of course  

Rgds


User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4801 posts, RR: 40
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6224 times:
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Quoting astuteman (Reply 22):
I wonder if the c. 5% better SFC of the TXWB is worth the engineering trip at this point?


Part of the answer to this question is in my opinion the development of the average price of oil. Now that the world economy seems to be recovering pretty well, the oil prices are up again to almost record values. At the gas station we are almost paying as much for per liter (or per gallon) as in 2008, just before the GFC hit us.

So the 5% difference in SFC will more or less remain these 5%, but it could vary a bit when further improvements are introduced (which could happen on all engine types, and the margin could be increased as well as decreased as a result of that). But the value of that 5% over the life of the airframe could vary quite a bit due to the price of oil. That fact still does not answer your question, but to be honest, I do not have the one and only correct answer here. . Time will tell in which direction the developments will go and which decisions will be made by Airbus and her engine suppliers if the A380-900 sees the light of day. I am convinced we will see it one day .


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21485 posts, RR: 53
Reply 24, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6200 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 21):
The engines were designed from the start to scale to those thrusts. Note that no A380-800 weight variant needs anything like those thrust ratings so, if anything, current engines are running "de-tuned".

Sure, but at this point the 70k version appears to be the only one that's reliably operational, at least at RR. So some of the work to still be done is under way as we speak.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 21):
It's expected that it will offer the 56,000 liter capacity center tank developed as an optional install on the A380-800F.

Okay. But the question remains whether the advantage the -900 really provides under these circumstances is attractive enough for Airbus and their customers to launch the new model or if there's still some work to do to advance it somewhat further.


25 Stitch : Again, it's one part on the Trent 900 that is causing the problem and Rolls has already addressed it with the Mod C engine that is being installed on
26 prebennorholm : Two months ago a QF A388 suffered a serious mechanical issue on a T900. If that issue isn't corrected years before any A389 can take to the air, then
27 Post contains images Klaus : I would say there are a few too many indirections in that conclusion chain to really build anything solid on...
28 rheinwaldner : Yes, for Airbus to design the A389. But RR fixing their engine will only cost a fraction of that. Even if the A389 indead almost could be considered
29 Post contains images Klaus : If everything went halfway smoothly on the engine front, at least...
30 speedygonzales : I a bit confused about the fuel volumes. From Airbus' doc: Passenger: 323 546 l Freighter: 310 000 l standard, 355 850 l option The standard on the f
31 WingedMigrator : Data from the A388 pilot briefing: Outer tanks (each) 10520 l Feed tanks 1 & 4 (each) 27960 l Mid tanks (each) 36460 l Inner tanks (each) 46140 l
32 Post contains links and images astuteman : [quote=Klaus,reply=18]And the 72k rating is the maximum actually available yet. And RR has trouble making even that one perform reliably at this point
33 Post contains images Klaus : Excellent! I hope that's the end of that!
34 Starlionblue : Maximum fuel volume is not really the most valid metric for range in the real world since if you fill to the brim you are severely payload limited.
35 Stitch : That I was. Forgot the A380's base capacity is 310kL, not 300.
36 Post contains images EPA001 : Well, nobody will hold this against you. The very high average level of quality in your posts made and makes sure of that. . Anyway, it still does no
37 CHRISBA777ER : I see the A389 as the natural progression for the project - its a gimme. I think Airbus has a choice - go for it now, once they've cleared up the prod
38 CharlieNoble : Exactly. Weight is King. Given the lack of competition in its class, I'd say that there's not much risk in waiting (as compared to Boeing waiting so
39 Flighty : I feel that the A380 will benefit from not only a stretch, but a cost-cutting production redesign. The A380 will someday be old, and a ripe candidate
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