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Was The 747 Really "bought For Its Range"?  
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9834 posts, RR: 96
Posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6652 times:
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I've created this to move a discussion out of Civ Av to here, where it probably belongs

What I'm hoping for is data, evidence, quotes etc rather than rhetoric.
I'd like to examine the question in a more analytical way.
to kick off...
As far as I can tell from some fairly brief research

By service entry date

1967 - DC8 62 - 5 200Nm
1970 - 747-100 - 4 900Nm
1971 - 747-200B (JT 9D) - 5 000nm
1972 - DC10 30 - 5 750Nm
1975 - 747SP - 5 800Nm

The JT9D powered 747's by my estimation account for about the first 380 frames off the line, and were outranged by existing frames.
Then the CF6/RB211 powered versions came along and heralded a 16 year long "golden era" for the 747 in terms of range

1976 - 747-200B (CF6) - 6 900nm
1983 - 747-300 - 6 800nm
1989 - 747-400 - 7 250Nm

1990 - MD11 - 6 800Nm
1992 - A340 - 7 300Nm

That period from 1976 to 1992 saw the 747 have a c. 1000Nm range advantage over anything else
That period accounted for 460 frames (by my count)

Since then, there have been planes around that match or beat the 747's range
However "since then" accounts for 680 frames, including the 747-8

In summary
1970 - 1976 - 380 frames with no range advantage
1976 - 1992 - 460 CF6/RB211 powered frames with over 1000 Nm advantage
1992 - 2005 - 580 frames with no range advantage
2005 - present - 100 frames with no range advantage

I make that 1060 frames sold without a range advantage vs 460 with one. (a ratio of 2.3:1)

Please feel free to challenge, or offer alternative evidence.
This is about learning, not bigotry, as far as I'm concerned.

Rgds

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2368 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 6568 times:

I think the answer is no, the early 747s were not bought for their range. Braniff for instance bought the 100th 747 off the line. It flew their flagship route from Dallas to Hawaii, replacing existing 707-320s that already had the range capablility for this route.

Most early 747s were bought for prestige on existing routes, rather than opening up new routes that would require additional range. New routes were not easy to obtain in the early 70s compared to today. For instance PanAm replaced 707s on routes from NY to London. Airlines like Eastern and Continental had early 747s on domestic routes, so range was not the reason for their purchase.

It would be interesting if someone could provide examples of some of the early 747s being deployed on new routes that did not previously exist for the airline.

[Edited 2013-06-08 07:12:10]


Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9834 posts, RR: 96
Reply 2, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 6544 times:
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Quoting CitationJet (Reply 1):
I think the answer is no, the early 747s were not bought for their range

The data above would suggest you are correct.
The range advantage only appears to have become real in c. 1976, when the CF6 and RB211 appeared on the frame.

Rgds


User currently offline747classic From Netherlands, joined Aug 2009, 2007 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (10 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 6519 times:

Quoting astuteman (Reply 2):
The range advantage only appears to have become real in c. 1976, when the CF6 and RB211 appeared on the frame.

The 747-100's and certainly the 747-200's powered by the original JT9D-7 series were actually underpowered, the range was limited by the T/O performance of the engines. During 1970-1974 the engines were very slowly improved by increasing the TO rating by water injection and by rebuilding the engine from -3/3A to -7/-7A standard. Finally the engine could be modified by installing new turbine blades, creating the -7F(W) and -7J, rated at 50.000 lbs.

The first serious range improvement became available in 1975 with the introduction of the CF6-50E engine, rated at 52.500 lbs.
This higher thrust rating allowed Boeing to upgrade the wing gauge to a wing type 6 , increasing the MTOW to 800.000 lbs at the first commercial aircraft (L/N 271, PH-BUH) .
This wing type 6 was later certified, with minor modifications, up to 833.000 lbs, the maximum for the 747-200/300 wing platform.(PH-BUH was also modified up to 833.000 lbs MTOW)
The later certified RB211-524 engine series and the second (JT9D-70A/7Q/7Q3) and third generation (JT9D-7R4G2) Pratt & Whitney engines were also able to deliver sufficient thrust to allow a MTOW increase to 833.000 lbs.

[Edited 2013-06-08 07:47:45]


Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
User currently onlinePW100 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2002, 2325 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5990 times:

Quoting 747classic (Reply 3):
Finally the engine could be modified by installing new turbine blades, creating the -7F(W) and -7J, rated at 50.000 lbs.

Was that made possible by the introduction of Directionally Solidified (DS) HP Turbine Blades? I think that Pratt was the driving force with this new material solution, first using them in military applications around 1969, and then being forced to use them in the JT9D to cope with the 747 thrust, and more importantly, reliability requirements (mainly extending Hot Section life). Did Pratt initially use Inconel or Rene alloy's?

PS. Astuteman, sorry to hijack your thread, but I guess I know the feeling . . .   

PW100



Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"
User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6704 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5868 times:

Did you try to make your ranges comparable? They're not all full-payload ranges, are they? Are they all full-pax-and-bags-no cargo? Did your figures come from the same place?

User currently offline747classic From Netherlands, joined Aug 2009, 2007 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5818 times:

Quoting PW100 (Reply 4):
Was that made possible by the introduction of Directionally Solidified (DS) HP Turbine Blades?

Yes, at the JT9D-7J the High Pressure Turbine was upgraded with DS Turbine blades, plus an increase in cooling air (further decreasing the TSFC)

Quoting PW100 (Reply 4):
Did Pratt initially use Inconel or Rene alloy's?

I'm not 100% sure, but I think Inconel, because Rene was later used by General Electric.



Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9834 posts, RR: 96
Reply 7, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5818 times:
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Quoting timz (Reply 5):
Did you try to make your ranges comparable?

Yes

Quoting timz (Reply 5):
They're not all full-payload ranges, are they

No

Quoting timz (Reply 5):
Are they all full-pax-and-bags-no cargo?

Yes

Quoting timz (Reply 5):
Did your figures come from the same place?

No

 

Seriously though - yes I have tried to achieve apples-for-apples. The two main sources were our own A-net database, and Wiki, but sometimes there were conflicts. In which case I have tried to take other sources, or go with the lowest figure.
The truth seems to be (naturally) that in fact there's something of a moving target in all of them, as improvements get factored into most airframes on a regular basis.
That's why I said I'm not precious about the complete accuracy - provided the picture is pretty robust.
If it isn't I'm happy to be pointed at the correct data

Rgds


User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6704 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5757 times:

As you see at

http://www.boeing.com/assets/pdf/com...ercial/airports/acaps/dc10sec3.pdf

a DC-10-30 wouldn't do 5700 nm with full pax-bags. Best not to believe figures given for airliner range unless the source is halfway specific about its assumptions.


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4057 posts, RR: 19
Reply 9, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5650 times:

Quoting astuteman (Thread starter):
1975 - 747SP - 5 800Nm

Maybe you just typo'd that but that's way off.


The -SP's range is closer to 7000NM



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineaaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 7951 posts, RR: 26
Reply 10, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5611 times:

There were a lot of reasons to buy the 747. One of the main ones would be how great she looks in anyone's colors. She is unmistakable:




If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9834 posts, RR: 96
Reply 11, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5603 times:
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Quoting timz (Reply 8):
a DC-10-30 wouldn't do 5700 nm with full pax-bags. Best not to believe figures given for airliner range unless the source is halfway specific about its assumptions.

Thanks for that Timz. As I said, I'm not going to die in a ditch for my numbers -

our A-net database didn't help, only quoting max fuel range and max payload range
I took the range from Wiki (and accept that the assumptions may be vague). Thanks

Quoting Max Q (Reply 9):
The -SP's range is closer to 7000NM

I took those from our own A-net database.

5855 Nm with 331 pax and baggage
6650Nm with 276 pax and baggage

Rgds


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29653 posts, RR: 84
Reply 12, posted (10 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5355 times:
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Per the 747 ACAP, the 747SP with RB211s with 331 passengers and baggage is good for just under 6000nm. At Maximum Structural Payload, she can do just over 5000nm. To get to 7000nm, payload is about 25,000 pounds.

User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9390 posts, RR: 27
Reply 13, posted (10 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5314 times:
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Quoting aaron747 (Reply 10):
There were a lot of reasons to buy the 747. One of the main ones would be how great she looks in anyone's colors.

Spoken like a true A.netter!  



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 800 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (10 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5213 times:

Quoting astuteman (Thread starter):
In summary
1970 - 1976 - 380 frames with no range advantage
1976 - 1992 - 460 CF6/RB211 powered frames with over 1000 Nm advantage
1992 - 2005 - 580 frames with no range advantage
2005 - present - 100 frames with no range advantage

My take on the reasons for buying the 747:
1970 - 1976 - 380 frames - bought for size and CASM advantage (this made flying available to the larger masses)
1976 - 1992 - 460 CF6/RB211 powered frames with over 1000 Nm advantage - CASM + range
1992 - 2005 - 580 frames with no range advantage - SIZE, no other frame in this size class, still with a good range
2005 - present - 100 frames with no range advantage - addons for fleet commonality, niche aircraft for LH and KE, freighter versions en masse



So range probably was just a reason for a few years (well still for 16+ years), but being the only aircraft with that size it was still the aircraft that brought the world closer together. No other airplane could transport that many people over such large distances. CASM, range and size where the major factors for the 747 sales up to 2005. With the advent of the 77L, 77W and A380 these advantage were lost. The 8i is a niche aircraft, 8F will still be produced for a long time. Long live the 747!


User currently offline747classic From Netherlands, joined Aug 2009, 2007 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (10 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 5071 times:

Quoting CARST (Reply 14):
My take on the reasons for buying the 747:
1970 - 1976 - 380 frames - bought for size and CASM advantage (this made flying available to the larger masses)
1976 - 1992 - 460 CF6/RB211 powered frames with over 1000 Nm advantage - CASM + range
1992 - 2005 - 580 frames with no range advantage - SIZE, no other frame in this size class, still with a good range
2005 - present - 100 frames with no range advantage - addons for fleet commonality, niche aircraft for LH and KE, freighter versions en masse

I agree with your conclusion. The only remark (as already stated in reply 3 in this thread):
In the 1976 -1992 period not only CF6/RB211 had the range advantage, but also the second (JT9D-7Q) and third (JT9D-7R4G2) generation P&W powered 747's were finally able to produce sufficient thrust for the increased range variants.



Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
User currently offlineJetlagged From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 24
Reply 16, posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4865 times:

Quoting aaron747 (Reply 10):
One of the main ones would be how great she looks in anyone's colors.

Maybe not everyone's  
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Photo © Kazuchika Naya



I don't remember the 747 being sold as offering longer range, not until the 747SP was launched. What the 747 certainly did offer was increased capacity.



The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24061 posts, RR: 23
Reply 17, posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4832 times:

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 16):
What the 747 certainly did offer was increased capacity.

Too much, as it turned out during the first few years of service when many 747s flew well under half full and carriers were forced to introduce much lower fares to help fill them.


User currently offlineADent From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1331 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (9 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4191 times:

What was the range on the initial DC-10-30s?

One site shows the 1981 model (aka DC-10-30ER) with increased MTOW and additional fuel had a 5750 nmi range, an increase of 700 nmi over the initial model.


User currently onlineLH707330 From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (9 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4172 times:

Quoting ADent (Reply 18):
One site shows the 1981 model (aka DC-10-30ER) with increased MTOW and additional fuel had a 5750 nmi range, an increase of 700 nmi over the initial model.

These ones had tanks in the hold, and IIRC, few were built.


User currently offlineastuteman From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 9834 posts, RR: 96
Reply 20, posted (9 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4012 times:
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Quoting LH707330 (Reply 19):
These ones had tanks in the hold, and IIRC, few were built.

In the context of the thread question though; If "range" was really the issue....
Of course by then the CF6 powered 747's were already around

Quoting ADent (Reply 18):
One site shows the 1981 model (aka DC-10-30ER) with increased MTOW and additional fuel had a 5750 nmi range, an increase of 700 nmi over the initial model

I guess that's the number I picked up in the opening post, but attributed it to the baseline DC10-30

Quoting timz (Reply 8):
a DC-10-30 wouldn't do 5700 nm with full pax-bags. Best not to believe figures given for airliner range unless the source is halfway specific about its assumptions

not in 1972 it wouldn't  

Rgds


User currently offlinelax777lr From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3747 times:

Yes at least for the 744. I clearly recall analyses on that bird being used for its range in the '90s and pre-777-200ER.

User currently offlineImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2051 posts, RR: 20
Reply 22, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 3594 times:
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Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 16):
I don't remember the 747 being sold as offering longer range, not until the 747SP was launched. What the 747 certainly did offer was increased capacity.

Yes.
And a lot of carriers here in the U.S. only bought them because the competition might use them. A good example was DL. The company was not going to take a chance that NW might use the 74's on ORD-TPA or ORD-MIA----which they did. Also there was always the threat that NA might use them out of ATL even though that route was to prove nothing more than a thorn in the side of DL.

PA used them on the DL/PA interchange to/from Europe. EA got a few to compete with PA to Puerto Rico, then ran some JFK to MIA which scared DL's mule.

UA had to have them because PA was sure to use them from the West Coast to Hawaii. And if UA had them AA and TW had to have them, etc. etc.TW especially because of PA. In ATL we used to joke that when PI and SO got authority into ORD or an airport in the N.E.Corridor----they would buy 74's.



"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24061 posts, RR: 23
Reply 23, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 3545 times:

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 22):
EA got a few to compete with PA to Puerto Rico

Ironically, the 3 aircraft were leased from Pan Am, for only about a year or slightly longer. They were all returned to PA by early 1972.


User currently onlineferpe From France, joined Nov 2010, 2792 posts, RR: 59
Reply 24, posted (9 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3165 times:

Thanks for an interesting topic Astute.

It seems the early 747 (and it's competition as well) was mainly TATL capable, how did the USA to Asia routes work then in those days, ie how did you get to Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney?

Tokyo is on the limit from LAX (4800nm) but SFO is not much better (4600nm), a little headwind or catering etc and it does not work. Singapore is more the 7000nm so should be a problem also with the later versions?



Non French in France
25 Post contains images Starlionblue : You didn't really. Jokes aside, lots of flights landed in Anchorage. I guess you did LAX-ANC-NRT-SIN or from the other coast JFK-SEA-ANC-NRT-SIN. As
26 seabosdca : It's worth noting that the first variant of the A340-300 that had 7000+ nm range was not delivered until 1996. The initial A340-311 had approximately
27 Post contains links Viscount724 : Pan Am 741s operated nonstop SFO-Tokyo in the early days of 747 service. The one that almost crashed on takeoff from SFO in July 1971 was departing f
28 ImperialEagle : Yes. Especially in the winter months, from SEA, many a NW 320B had to do a fuel stop in ANC with a good load of freight up front. It was almost autom
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