A Third Party

Fri Mar 03, 2000 7:55 am

With only Boeing and Airbus Industrie left as the major suppliers of commercial jet liners, it would be interesting if a third party comes in and take the place where McDonnell Douglas had left. Lockheed left the race in defeat with its wonderful TriStar in 1984 and how interesting would it be if Lockheed could sum up its courage and re-enter the 'big-boys' market again. Soon replacement for aircraft in the class of the Airbus A300/A310 and early 767s must be sought. Lockheed could build a derivative of the TriStar and make it a twin engine aircraft (a Lockheed BiStar ?!?!?). Lockheed could re-invent itself by following the foot steps of Airbus; built a plane with a common fuselage and merely play tune to its fuselage length just like what Airbus did with the A300/310/330/340 and thus produce a family of aircraft.

The one advantage Lockheed might have over Airbus is that the Tristar already posses a body cross section that is wider than Airbus' current product.
It makes it simpler to stretch the aircraft to achieve its capacity goal without making it look like the 60 series DC-8. This could eliminate some ground handling problems just like what the 777-300 and A340-500/600 faces.

Lockheed tested EFIS (electronic flight instrument system) on its prototype in the early 80's and that could be used as a stepping stone towards a new derivative.

Tell me what you think.
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:59 am

RE: A Third Party

Fri Mar 03, 2000 12:35 pm

In my opinion it was smart of Lockheed to get out of the commercial planemaking business. Look at Boeing and Airbus today: they're sometimes simply giving the planes away. Profits are slim at best.

Lockheed's concentrating strictly on the military market. As you can imagine, this isn't nearly as cutthroat as dealing with tightwad airline businesses. They're prospering comfortably while Boeing is struggling.

Sure, they made great commercial planes once, but their military products today aren't too shabby. F-22; enough said.
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Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: A Third Party

Mon Mar 06, 2000 7:56 am

I think that the last 40 years demonstrates that there is only room for two big airframe manufacturers in the world market place. Since the advent of jet airliners in the late 50's, the bulk of the world's airlines have found their needs satisfied by either Boeing or McDonnell Douglas or, since the late 80's, Boeing or Airbus. Other manufacturers only ever get a look in if they happen to come up with a design which fills a niche not already being filled by a product built by Boeing,Douglas/Airbus. If either of these come up with a design to fit that niche, they eventually move in and take over. Examples of the niche fillers would be the BAe 146, the Fokker F28/F100 family and more recently, the Embraer EMB145 and Canadair RJ100. If an aircraft is too close to a Boeing/McDonnell-Douglas/Airbus design in concept, then it will have a tough job selling itself (eg. HS Trident, BAC 1-11, Dassault Mercure)

When it comes to future products, the funding required may necessitate Boeing and Airbus getting together, as very nearly happened recently with the 600 seater airliner project.
The days of individual manufacturers deciding to launch a new project almost on a whim (like the 747) are long gone.

RE: A Third Party

Mon Mar 06, 2000 8:08 am

Actually, Lockheed's military aviation is also in the tank. If they don't win the order for the new Joint Strike Fighter, they are basically toast. I don't think a return to commercial aviation would even be possible now---they simply don't have billions to waste on start up and development costs.

BryanG, I don't understand your comment that Boeing is struggling in the military market. Exactly the opposite is the case.

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