mark777300
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A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 4:57 am

It's been discussed a few times before regarding the weight of the A380, but in today's New York Post, a small article in the business section claims that the A380 will be 319 tons over weight or 5 percent heavier than the targeted weight. I thought that the problem with the weight had been rectified some months back,but then this article came out today. Thats not to say that the New York Post is a reliable source, in fact it would be the opposite of that. I was just curious to know if anyone has heard about this recently? 319 tons sounds quite a lot of extra weight on an aircraft assuming that it would be the actual weight of the aircraft when empty!
 
cwapilot
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:05 am

The actual numbers range from 4 tons overweight to somewhere around 14 tons, depending upon whom you believe...NOT 319 tons, unless they have decided to add two more decks.
Southside Irish...our two teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs!
 
transswede
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:06 am

The NY Post? You are quoting the NY Post??? After their latest front page fiasco? Big grin
 
Guest

RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:06 am

Towards the end of this thread in Tech/ops, it talks about the same report.

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/tech_ops/read.main/92968/

The 319 figure is short tons not metric, the A380 will weigh 280 metric tons.

 
ualonghaul
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:06 am

get a few hundred members of the national cheeseburger team on that thing and they will have another reason to worry.
 
jblake1
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:09 am

Or just a plane load of the average US customer these days. Every flight I was on this weekend I was seated next to a person of "SIZE". It is getting ridiculous.

Anyone know what passenger average weight estimates Airbus is using in its design/build process?
 
mark777300
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:33 am

As I said before, The NY Post is not what I call a reliable source, but there has been much talk about the weight problems regarding the A380 over the pasat months in many News Papers including the Wall Street Journal at one time. Unfortunately I'm not the best at mathematics so I don't really have much of an idea in what the difference is between short tons and metric tons. Regardless, I would have to believe that even a small over weight issue would pose some serious problems for any aircraft to be able to achieve it's advertised range. And yes, what would happen if you crammed the A380 up with plump Americans??
 
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yyz717
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:36 am

5% is a huge number. That can't be right.

Even 0.5% would be a relatively huge weight "over-age" that would signif reduce 380 performance.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
MarkATL
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:33 am

Do people here actually think that if this project has some kinks at this stage that a Airbus with their expertise and skills won't be able to fix it? Come on guys this is Airbus not some laid off aerospace engineers in their garage.

The A380 is going to be a success. As long as their are slot restricted airports like LHR, NRT etc.
"...left my home in Georgia, 'n headed for the "Frisco" Bay...
 
sandiaman
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:47 am

The original source is an AP report confirmed by an Airbus spokesperson. But the article goes on to say that Airbus is committed to maintaining contractual guarantees.

My question: what is the typical difference between contractual guarantees and design goals? As I recall, the performance difference is a few percent. Does anyone know?

Hopefully they will be able to make up the shortfall.

I posted a link to the article yesterday, but my post got deleted.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:12 am

According to http://www.onlineconversion.com/weight_common.htm 1 ton [metric] = 1.1023113 ton [short]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
NIKV69
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:13 am

With the price of fuel the 380 seems to me to big a big flop. That thing is just too damn big!
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:18 am

With the price of fuel the A380 seems like a great idea... Using less fuel per pax than the 744 becomes a better thing for every cent fuel prices rise.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
PHXinterrupted
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:26 am

"With the price of fuel the A380 seems like a great idea... Using less fuel per pax than the 744 becomes a better thing for every cent fuel prices rise."

Yeah, we'll see what kind of fuel economy this flying pig returns.
Keepin' it real.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:28 am

That's another question, but even if it's MPG is 3% over performance estimates, that will still be better than the 744. A bit of a nightmare for Airbus though. Ouch...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Ruscoe
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:36 am

It sure gets confusing.

There have been MTOW hikes on several occasions, because of OEW increases.

Also tons (2240lbs), short tons (2000lbs) and metric Tonnes get thrown around without it being clear which is meant.

Just to make it more confusing, Airbus quote 95 miles per Imp gallon per passenger on their web site, but now a spokesperson is saying 81 mppg. I am assuming that this is a US gallon figure, otherwise all the advantage over the 747 has gone.

Airbus statements about using improved aerodynamics to make up for weight problems, confirms there is a problem.

Would the Virgin and Air France deferments have anything to do with this?

Ruscoe
 
whitehatter
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:54 am

Would the Virgin and Air France deferments have anything to do with this?

No. VS and AF both have their stated reasons.

This has been discussed to death. Half the problem here is differences in measurements between the US and the rest of the world, it would be better if figures were quoted in metric exclusively. The other problem is reporters in "silly season" who are short on real news and brewing up articles for which they have no specialised knowledge.

The major weight issue was due to the airlines wanting engines with larger, slower turning fan sections to cut noise down to proposed future limits and below. Bigger fan = more weight.

Airbus also have a habit of publishing figures at the extreme of the predicted envelope, which is why their products often don't fall into the projected numbers. Boeing is more conservative and allows itself a margin of compliance. That is a valid criticism of Airbus that I've heard from engineers and managers alike.

There won't be a valid weight to crow about (either for the pro or anti lobby) until a prototype has been fitted and is flightworthy in full airline spec. Boeing did the weight calculation with #2 of the 777 line proper, which was a United bird with full interior and flight ready. And came in comfortably under the guarantee.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
NIKV69
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 9:00 am

I am sorry but I think Airbus' estimates are way off, that thing is a monster, let us see when that thing starts flying.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
Blackbird1331
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 9:35 am

The king's new clothes. The thing is obesity. Ignore that fact and build it anyway and suffer the consequences? Or, stop now and admit their mistakes? This is either a monumental success or a monumental failure. Though I am pro Boeing, I hope it succeeds, the world is already pissing away too many resources. But, right is right, and wrong is obvious. This is ego v. progress.
Cameras shoot pictures. Guns shoot people. They have the guns.
 
Hamlet69
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 3:43 pm

Mark777300,

". . .small article in the business section claims that the A380 will be 319 tons over weight."

The aircraft weighs 319 tons, it is not 319 tons overweight. That's why you shouldn't read the New York Post (among other reasons).  Big grin


Roberta,

"The 319 figure is short tons not metric, the A380 will weigh 280 metric tons."

Correct about the 319 being short tons, but your math is wrong. 319 short tons is roughly 290 metric tons, not 280. On Monday, Airbus did not refute this figure. This essentially means the A380 is 9 [metric] ton(nes) overweight.

Regards,

Hamlet69
Honor the warriors, not the war.
 
Ruscoe
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 4:59 pm

Hamlet69 I agree.

However the original OEW was 276T(Airbus Website figure) which gives the 14T o/weight that has also been thrown around.

Ruscoe
 
whitehatter
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:07 pm

However the original OEW was 276T(Airbus Website figure) which gives the 14T o/weight that has also been thrown around.

ENGINES

the increase is mostly down to larger diameter fans. That's why the weight figures had to be revised up.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
Ruscoe
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:14 pm

WhiteHatter,
Yes I guess we can class that as an intentional OEW increase to accommodate customer demands.

I sure wish somebody could give an educated guess as to what effect a 9T increase in MTOW will have have upon performance.

Ruscoe
 
Adria
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 5:36 pm

"I sure wish somebody could give an educated guess as to what effect a 9T increase in MTOW will have have upon performance.".......... less fuel and a shorter range but Emirates CEO doesn't seem to be worried about it(whatever his reasons might be)

 
Guest

RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:19 pm

a 9t increase in MTOW will mean the aircaft can carry the same amount of fuel. Albeit a shorter range now that you're carrying 9t's more plane.

a 9t OEW increase will mean it will carry less fuel, or less payload, and therefore generally have a shorter range.
 
dl021
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Wed Jul 07, 2004 11:41 pm

The plane will fly, but will it sink Airbus? Probably not, although it seems to face some issues to be worked out in addition to the weight problem. Airports need to be modified, and procedures for boarding and managing the extra passengers for these flights will have to worked out. I still have not seen who will be paying for all of this, and if it is included within the cost of the aircraft.
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
aztec01
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Thu Jul 08, 2004 2:15 am

Nine tons seems like a HUGE number! Still, unlike Howard Hughes's 'Spruce Goose", I can't imagine the A380 becoming the 'Toulouse Goose' of our generation.

What's gonna happen when that thing blocks out the sun like a fast moving eclipse?
 
phollingsworth
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Thu Jul 08, 2004 3:12 am

The original source is an AP report confirmed by an Airbus spokesperson. But the article goes on to say that Airbus is committed to maintaining contractual guarantees.

Well duh, Airbus wouldn't say now that they were not going to meet their contractual guarantees. Depending on the exact language of the contracts, if Airbus were to admit this at this point, they would be up a very bad creek, i.e., basically in default. As long as they are working towards the guarantee it is hard for airlines to cancel orders. If the A380 doesn't meet them initially, but a performance improvement program is ID'd then they will just pay out money. The problem with missing a contractual guarantee is that you loose respect with the customer, I wonder how good their risk analysis was at the beginning of this program. My guess is it was not all that good. I say this because most of the industry does a poor job.
 
N79969
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Thu Jul 08, 2004 3:57 am

According to Airwise, Der Spiegel [sic?], and the Seattle Times, the A380 is about 14 tons over.

I presume that aerospace engineers have to build in a fudge factor when setting performance and weight targets but 28,000 pounds minus a fudge factor seems to be quite a bit to work through.

According to a variety articles, Airbus has already squeezed A380 subcontractors to make lighten a variety of components. I am curious to see how Airbus engineers will solve this issue.

If the A380 does not meet specs in the long-run, the problem is greater than paying contractually established damages to customers. That is short term. Rather it could kill the program in the way that MD-11 withered and died.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Thu Jul 08, 2004 7:21 am

There are so many variables being thrown around. We will have to wait and see.

There are imperial tons (2240lbs), short tons (2000lbs) and metric tons (approx. 2204lbs).

There was a target OEW of 276 tons, then a MTOW increase and associated structure beefing to new target OEW = 281 tons.

Then some (or all) customers went for increased noise suppression adding a rumored two tons to the engine nacelles, anticipating future noise reduction rules.

Then there are some hard figures on a "hand made" prototype being confused with production examples.

And of course every airliner program, in development or production, has a constantly ongoing weight saving program.

And there are probably many more variables to confuse the junior journalists who are substituting real journalists and trying to fill our news media during this silly period holiday season.

The easy one is the confusion about the estimated 81 or 95 seat/miles per gallon. 81 is simply US gallons while 95 is imperial gallons. So it only depends on your position - east or west side of the pond.

It is always very interesting how weight and performance figures of a new plane compares to estimates. But for having any accurate data we will have to wait two years until certified production examples are entering revenue service. And even then we will have difficulties comparing those actual data to estimates which have changed a dozen times as minor design changes were specified by Airbus and their customers, right up to production start.

There is no real reason to worry that the A380 program is meeting its expectation to any worse degree than former products from the same company. But there is of course a great interest in the data simply because of the size of the program.

That interest is further fueled by the huge performance advantage estimated over the closest competitor, which is an upgraded version of a 36 years older design.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
Hamlet69
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Thu Jul 08, 2004 4:08 pm

Prebennorholm,

"There are so many variables being thrown around."

Yes there are, but with modern computer programs such as CATIA, the vast majority of these should be worked out with the steady release of engineering drawings.

"There was a target OEW of 276 tons, then a MTOW increase and associated structure beefing to new target OEW = 281 tons."

AFAIK, the OEW has been 281t since the first few contracts have been signed. Why Airbus still has 276t on their website is beyond me, but it is the reason that the 14t weight increase has been branded about, when it is actually 9t.

"Then some (or all) customers went for increased noise suppression adding a rumored two tons to the engine nacelles, anticipating future noise reduction rules."

There was certainly a weight increase when the fan diameter increased to meet QC2 standards at LHR. However, as Airbus promised many customers, SQ in particular, that the A380 would meet these requirements when the orders were placed, the fact that they had to change the original design parameters to do so isn't really the airlines' fault, but the manufacturer's.

"Then there are some hard figures on a "hand made" prototype being confused with production examples."

Are you suggesting that the first few frames, including line #1 deemed for static test, are not production representative? Although this is how it is done with military programs, commercial programs rarely build 'prototypes.' It is extraordinarily costly and time consuming to do so with commercial programs, as certification requirements demand both production practices and airframes representative of those that are to be certified.

"And of course every airliner program, in development or production, has a constantly ongoing weight saving program."

Agreed. These programs usually are a continuous process, and will likely last the entire production run of the aircraft. However, it also means that the first batches off the line will be, for want of a better word, 'lemons.'

Regards,

Hamlet69
Honor the warriors, not the war.
 
N79969
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Fri Jul 09, 2004 1:43 am

I do not think this latest news is a harbinger of failure and do not think that I wrote anything implying that. If Airbus successfully addresses the problem and meets (or beats) performance targets, then their reputation will soar. On the other hand, the opposite would also prove true.
 
ryanair
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Fri Jul 09, 2004 3:57 am

While this isn't good news, it's hardly a major problem yet.

If one looks back to the 747 program at this stage, most people didn't think it could fly and that the airports would never cope - let alone how much all this would cost! Sound familiar???

During the 747 test program none less than 66 engines were written off because of all the technical problems, which took years to fix. Pan Am had aircraft parked up for a year before entering service because of the engine problems.

I'm told by a former Pan Am Engineer, had they not been able to get parts from BOAC's grounded 747 fleet (BOAC Pilots wouldn't fly them), it's unlikely PA would have been able to maintain 747 operations at all during the first year.

Some of the initial 747 customers couldn't make them work and withdrew their fleets (like Eastern).

Yet today the 747 is one of the worlds most successful ever aircraft!!!!!

So the A380 is 9 tonnes overweight, compared to the 747's early problems - that's nothing and the 747 is one of the worlds most successful flying machines!
 
prebennorholm
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:27 am

Dear Hemlet69, yes, you are right, some of the confusion is really as simple as an "Airbus webmaster fault".

And yes, the word "lemon" can maybe be used on early examples of every aircraft type. But the exact meaning of that word is maybe a little too tough. By your definition we will have to put the lemon tag on every single MD-11 even if they are fine aircrafts which have done a good job for a long time and will continue for decades to do so to the joy of passengers, airline bean counter, and in its later days and the next few decades mostly to cargo airlines.

It ain't easy to produce successful airliners, and especially not large ones. We have seen that on especially the Lockheed C-5A which began to crack much too early are had to be considerably rebuilt at an age (hour count) when a commercial airliner would be considered almost new. The B747 airframe was probably a lot more successful, but was hampered terribly by engine troubles. I remember reading in the 70'es that SAS told that the overall seat/mile cost was considerably lower on a DC-8 than on their B747-100. That didn't prevent the 747 to develop into a successful workhorse.

Hardly one single large airliner hasn't suffered tough teething problems. The most successful large airframe was maybe the first to go out of production, the Lockheed Tristar. But then they got years extra to work it all over in all details while waiting for the RB-211 to run. While at the same time the competitors stole the market.

That's what makes exactly this period of the A380 development so fascinating. There will be setbacks. And hopefully also reasons for celebrations.

The major point in my former post was that we should not jump into the sky at every A380 success, neither should we shout "foul" every time there is a setback. We will have to wait and see.

And on the other hand, even if the 9 tons "overweight" are real, and it is a "surprise" in Toulouse, then it will rock the numbers, but it won't change the fact that it still leaves room for a vast performance advantage over the present competition.

And it will not rock one inch on the numbers related to airport slot constraints, which is the major figure it was designed to fight. A fight which hopefully will get much tougher in the years to come as traffic increases.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
dl021
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Sat Jul 10, 2004 7:28 am

I said earlier that the airplane would fly and do so pretty well. Everyone else seems to feel the same way, even going so far as to compare the bird to the queen of the skies 747. Well, if everyone will remember the 747 seemed to be one of the root causes of the beginning of the end for PA, in their ordering so many and the teething troubles they had, plus the airlines that ordered the thing could not fill them and make money. PA had to lease several of their order to other airlines just to make the payments. The 747 developed and made money, and is very successful now with certain markets, but development of the overall long distance marketplace seems to have gone toward the mid-size to large twin engine twin aisle aircraft. It also seems that the average airport will not be able to support the aircraft of this size, I know that's what they said about the 747, but PA ordered 3o or 35 and was the leading airline in the world at the time, and the airplane was able to use mostly existing facilities. There were problems with some airports not being able to process passengers rapidly enough or being able to board these airplanes without bottlenecks. No one here has explained how these problems wil lbe surmounted by Airbus for this airplane or who will pay for the taxi way improvements and facility improvements necessary. Is there anyone who thinks it will be ordered in large enough numbers to justify the cost of airport facilities and infrastructure growth that will be required to open these airports up to the giant bird?
Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
 
Ruscoe
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RE: A380 Weight Issue

Sat Jul 10, 2004 7:59 am

Ryanair,
Interesting info about the engines. I didn't realise how bad that was at the time.

I think the problem of comparing the 747 with the 380 program is that the 747 was a much lbigger increase in size & technology, over existing aircraft programs, than the 380 is over the 747. Airbus only have roughly 15% efficiency margin to work with, and if Boeing have got it right with the 7e7, (yet to be shown I know), according to their own estimates, they have already eclipsed these efficiencies with an aircraft half the size

IMO the 380 program is a higher risk program than the 747, strategically wrong, and one which is diverting resources from more important areas.

And if Airbus can come up with aerodynamic changes to make up for the weight increase, then surely the airlines are going to ask why aren't they being done anyway!

Ruscoe