IL96M
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The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:57 pm

Looking at both the development plans of A and B, plus just observing the scene at airports worldwide, in most places 4-engined aircraft are becoming something of a rarity, and to fly on one you really have to do your homework when you make your reservation.

It's pretty clear the 747 Advanced is defunct (or stillborn), the 747 line will end, and now that the A380 has arrived, no new 4-engined models are being planned by anyone. Even the A380 is having major prototypical performance problems; the A340 series is either overburning or not competitive to the 777 (see other postings in this forum).

I am wondering whether with the current aircraft design topology, which is 50 years old (707), i.e. two wings stuck on a tube with engines dangling beneath, the 'evolution' of the current 'species' is converging (in terms of performance and economics) on the type of dense twinjet layouts that you see now being consolidated by both A and B.

Maybe time to look at flying wings, T-Tails, or other such configurations again...?
 
ktachiya
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 6:32 pm

Quoting IL96M (Thread starter):
the 747 line will end

I don't think so. I mean look at the fleet that JL has or BA has. Can you see these companies abandoning the 747 for something else? I don`t think so.

Quoting IL96M (Thread starter):
A340 series is either overburning or not competitive to the 777

OK, so tell me (I see a lot of these these days) where you got this from?

CX has tons flying, LH has tons flying, AF has tons flying. In addition; I have read in other forums about how some A346 HGW (might) be picked up by CX.
Flown on: DC-10-30, B747-200B, B747-300, B747-300SR, B747-400, B747-400D, B767-300, B777-200, B777-200ER, B777-300
 
flykal
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 7:35 pm

Quoting IL96M (Thread starter):
Maybe time to look at flying wings, T-Tails, or other such configurations again...?

What we need is a LPG powered engine that will fly at Mach 2 between SYD and LAX. Then both crew and passengers alike will be happy for the next 50 years.
One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 7:46 pm

LPG is neither safe nor efficient for aviation applications. Kerosene is a much better aviation fuel.
 
flykal
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 7:55 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 3):
LPG is neither safe nor efficient for aviation applications. Kerosene is a much better aviation fuel.

Clearly my attempt at sarcasm was overlooked...
One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time
 
COSPN
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:42 pm

SO proud of CO more destinations than any other Airline and all with 2 Engines  Smile Way to go CO 737,757,767,777 and CM (COPA) 737
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:49 pm

Quoting Flykal (Reply 4):

Clearly my attempt at sarcasm was overlooked...

Please accept my apologies.
 
ltbewr
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:50 pm

Increased reliability and size of jet engines has made it possible to have longer range for 2 engine large commercial aircraft. The new ultra long range 777's and other recent models of long range a/c now allow non-stop flights of over 7000 miles (like CO's EWR-Hong Kong flights). 'ETOPS' ranges have increased by several major jumps over the last 20-25 years. Two engine aircraft are more fuel efficient than 4 engine a/c. These factors long killed off 3 engine a/c, further encouraged by the MX difficulties of the center engine.
However, large 4 engine a/c are not dead yet, nor will they be for the forseeable future. There are still locations in the world where 4 engine a/c will still be preferred including parts of the Pacific ocean, politically and physically inhospital land areas (certain areas of Russia, the Middle East, Africa and polar areas) as well as pax/customer comfort and security. I don't see some military a/c or the President of the USA in a 2 engine a/c (for longer flights) soon due to operational or security reasons.
 
md80fanatic
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:27 pm

2 is good, 4 is good, but 3 is a dinosaur? Oh please!  talktothehand 
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 10:05 pm

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 8):
2 is good, 4 is good, but 3 is a dinosaur? Oh please!

3 and 4 are both on their way to becoming dinosaurs, though perhaps not quite there yet. 3 has the additional problem of maintenence complexities.
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 10:36 pm

ETOPS and engine reliability aside, when looking down at nothing but ocean...the concept of 4 (or 3) engines is comforting.

Just old fashioned I guess.

I'm sure at some point, when are molecules are beamed across the cosmos this hesitation will seem quaint, but not at this point...at least to me.
Next up: STL-OAK-RNO-LAS-ICT-STL
 
md80fanatic
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:31 pm

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 10):
ETOPS and engine reliability aside, when looking down at nothing but ocean...the concept of 4 (or 3) engines is comforting.

Just old fashioned I guess.

I'm sure at some point, when are molecules are beamed across the cosmos this hesitation will seem quaint, but not at this point...at least to me.

I agree 100%. I think ETOPS is literally flirting with disaster, all in the name of profit (which no one is making anyway). Ummm, redundancy is good and (2) of anything barely qualifies.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:44 pm

>> It's pretty clear the 747 Advanced is defunct (or stillborn)

And you came to that conculsion, how? At this point, the Adv has a very good chance of proceeding to product launch  scratchchin 

>> Even the A380 is having major prototypical performance problems;

What are you talking about? The only "major" problems have been on the production side, namely getting behind schedule and maintaining quality control. F-WOWW has been doing very well in flight testing, it's just building them in large numbers that is frustrating Airbus for the time being.

>> I think ETOPS is literally flirting with disaster, all in the name of profit (which no one is making anyway). Ummm, redundancy is good and (2) of anything barely qualifies.

I'll make the dangerous assumption that you aren't being sarcastic?

In which case, you are extremly ignorant. Would you like a flight engineer with your inflated opperating cost?
 
RichardPrice
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:53 pm

Quoting IL96M (Thread starter):
Even the A380 is having major prototypical performance problems;

Everything I have heard about the A380 test flights has been that the A380 has exceeded all expectations performance wise and the only problems has been passenger cabin systems related.
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 12:24 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 12):
In which case, you are extremly ignorant. Would you like a flight engineer with your inflated opperating cost?

Don't forget a navigator. MD80fanatic might feel safer with a navigator onboard as well.  Yeah sure
 
RichardPrice
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 12:29 am

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 12):
In which case, you are extremly ignorant. Would you like a flight engineer with your inflated opperating cost?



Quoting Zvezda (Reply 14):
Don't forget a navigator. MD80fanatic might feel safer with a navigator onboard as well.

Not saying I agree with the redundancy issue, but computers can quite satisfactorily replace a flight engineer and a navigator, but you'd have a hard time convincing me a computer can replace an engine or two  Wink

For the record, Im fine with ETOPS
 
prebennorholm
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:32 am

The end of the four engined Era...

That's way too early to say. Nothing is harder to predict than the future.

When we try to predict the future, then we tend to look into the past and present and extrapolate in a straight line.

It takes no more than one or two high profile ETOPS related incidents to create 300 quad orders overnight. While airlines queue up at the desert gates to retrive old 742's waiting to be beer-canned.

Imagine if the law makers in a number of influental countries - not necessarily the USA - changes ETOPS-180/-217 into ETOPS-120...

God forbid that it ever happens.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
iwok
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 8:44 am

Quoting IL96M (Thread starter):
It's pretty clear the 747 Advanced is defunct (or stillborn), the 747 line will end

Maybe to you.. BUT, Boeing did just announce that they will probably get board approval to produce the 747-ADV late this month.

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 14):
Don't forget a navigator. MD80fanatic might feel safer with a navigator onboard as well.

Don't forget the tailgunner.

iwok
 
b741
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 12:28 pm

Kind of a negative thread start but I can sort of see his point. I just have a funny feeling that 747/340 series might slowly go by the wayside.
Being Bilingual, I Speak English And Aviation
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 3:21 pm

Quoting B741 (Reply 18):
I just have a funny feeling that 747/340 series might slowly go by the wayside.

While many rope-start JumboJets have been replaced by B747-400s, many have been replaced by B777-300s. Some have been replaced by A340-600s, but the latter was at best a mediocre seller and lately it has not been doing well against the B777-300ER.

The B747Adv might sell several hundred copies. However, the JumboJet will eventually be replaced by a clean sheet design that will almost certainly be a twin.

At the time of the WhaleJet's development, a quad made sense for such a heavy beast. However, if a WhaleJet-sized airliner were to be developed today, it would be perhaps 100,000 lbs lighter due to increased use of composites and would be a twin. If RR, GE, and PW needed to begin development of 150,000 lb engines, they could do so.
 
SEAPlane10
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 3:33 pm

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 11):
I agree 100%. I think ETOPS is literally flirting with disaster, all in the name of profit (which no one is making anyway). Ummm, redundancy is good and (2) of anything barely qualifies.

I think that I heard once that the probability of both engines on a twin going out is not that much higher than that of losing all four on a quad--

From my understanding, a single engine suffices to ensure a satisfactory landing at a diversion airport...

Regards
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:18 pm

Quoting SEAPlane10 (Reply 20):
I think that I heard once that the probability of both engines on a twin going out is not that much higher than that of losing all four on a quad--

There are two categories of problems that lead to engine failure: those that are local to the engine and those that affect all the engines. A fan blade rupture would be an example of the first type. Fuel contamination would be an example of the second type. Bird strikes fall in between because birds often flock together. A bird strike commonly affects just one engine but can affect several or all nearly simultaneously.

The probability of both engines on an ETOPS twin failing due to a problem that would not also disable a quad are far, far lower than the chances of drowning in your bathtub.
 
Glom
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Sun Jun 19, 2005 11:27 pm

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 11):
I think ETOPS is literally flirting with disaster

You think wrong. ETOPS twins have a higher reliability than quads. Anything likely to take out both engines on a twin will take out all four engines on a quad.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:05 am

Quoting IL96M (Thread starter):
. Even the A380 is having major prototypical performance problems

Really?


In any case, if you want to make a plane the size of a 744 or larger, it pretty much has to have more than 2 engines. While you could maybe make the engines even larger than the GE-90, it starts getting very expensive to develop an engine which in any case will have a small market.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
 
mrocktor
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:08 am

Quoting SEAPlane10 (Reply 20):
I think that I heard once that the probability of both engines on a twin going out is not that much higher than that of losing all four on a quad--

From my understanding, a single engine suffices to ensure a satisfactory landing at a diversion airport...

Regards

A single engine on a twin engine aircraft suffices to ensure a satisfactory landing at a diversion airport. On a quad, losing two engines most likely means a downward glide (which may or may not permit a diversion at ETOPS distances from the alternative), losing three would certainly mean a water landing.

Quoting Glom (Reply 22):
You think wrong. ETOPS twins have a higher reliability than quads. Anything likely to take out both engines on a twin will take out all four engines on a quad.

Well ETOPS twins do have a reliability requirement (in flight shutdown rate) that must be maintained (by the specific operator for the specific engine type). And you are correct, common causes (fuel system related) are the largest risk - independent loss of multiple engines being extremely remote these days.

What really makes ETOPS twins safer then other aircraft are the aditional requirements and maintenance precautions required for the fuel, electrical power, hydraulical power, flight control, environmental systems, fire protection systems. All of these systems on an ETOPS aircraft are designed (and maintained) to be capable of a long diversion flight. Not so on tri and quad jets.

The certification authorities are aware of this imbalance and there is a proposed ruling to extend all of these "extra" requirements (everything not related to the engines themselves) to aircraft with more than two engines. Needless to say, this would mean considerable work to demonstrate compliance for the A340s, 747s etc.

mrocktor
 
wukka
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 2:03 pm

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 7):
'ETOPS' ranges have increased by several major jumps over the last 20-25 years.

The ETOPS concept / practice is only 20 years old. The US FAA was the first, in 1985. Of course it's had "major jumps" since then... it's not like it was around in 196x.
We can agree to disagree.
 
beauing
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 2:59 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 21):
There are two categories of problems that lead to engine failure: those that are local to the engine and those that affect all the engines. A fan blade rupture would be an example of the first type. Fuel contamination would be an example of the second type. Bird strikes fall in between because birds often flock together. A bird strike commonly affects just one engine but can affect several or all nearly simultaneously

A real life example of all four engines concking out. Picture it: Alaska December 1989. Mt. Redoubt volcano is erupting and spreading an ash cloud all over southcentral Alaska. The FAA puts out a pilot advisory. One pilot didn't manage to stay away from the ash and piloted a KLM jet through a plume north of Anchorage. More than 200 passengers endured a terrifying 12 minutes of free fall when all four engines stpped.

Quote:

The KLM 747 jumbo jet was on a flight from Amsterdam to Tokyo, with a noon stopover in Anchorage. The aircraft was about 75 miles northwest of Anchorage, descending from its cruising level of 39,000 feet, when pilot van der Elst saw what he thought was a dark cloud in front of him.

"He said he saw light and then dark clouds," (The ash cloud) was hard to tell. It doesn't show up on radar."

By the time the aircraft entered the cloud, it was at about 25,000 feet. In the passenger cabin, passengers saw it get black outside.

"We went into this steep descent," said passenger David Farrell, a 20 yearold West High School graduate coming home for the holidays after studies in London. "It was the worst thing I've ever been through, like there was just this weight pulling down on the nose of the plane.

The dark, acrid volcanic ash was being sucked into the airplane.

"It was dark. People were screaming, throwing up. It was like you can imagine. Pretty near panic."

"The stewardesses cried, "Everybody, put seat belts on.

The aircraft fell for about 12 minutes, dropping from about 25,000 feet to about 13,000 feet, a distance of more than 2 miles. By then, pilot Karl van der Elst and his crew were able to get two engines restarted "after six or seven tries," and brought the plane under control. About 15 minutes later, with all four engines running, van der Elst set flight 867 down on the runway at Anchorage International Airport.

Jet engine failures because of volcanic ash are not uncommon. Vulcanologist Juergen Kienle, of the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks, said that volcanic ash melts when it gets into jet engines. The molten silica coats the inside of the engine with glass, which confuses sensitive engine monitoring equipment.

Safety equipment is fooled into thinking the engine is overheating, Kienle said, and an automatic shutdown begins. An alert pilot flying at a high enough altitude can safely restart the engines, Kienle said, but a pilot flying at low elevations might not have enough time to save the airplane.
Anchorage Daily News Archives; December 16, 1989

I never did hear what happened to that 747. I think it was pretty well trashed.  gasp 

[Edited 2005-06-20 08:05:51]
 
A350
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:45 pm

Don't forget that quads allow for large but weak and therefore ultra high bypass ratio engines. It's also no coincidence that the 787 engines are far weaker, but as large as the T7 engines.

Quoting MD80fanatic (Reply 8):
is good, 4 is good, but 3 is a dinosaur? Oh please!

That's actually the case. The reason is that large tail-mounted engines increase structurally weight because they are a large mass far away from the wings. But you are free to mount one engine on one wing and the other both at the other wing  Wink

A350
 
md80fanatic
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:19 pm

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 12):
In which case, you are extremly ignorant. Would you like a flight engineer with your inflated opperating cost?

Well thanks  Smile Pleased to meet you as well.

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 14):
Don't forget a navigator. MD80fanatic might feel safer with a navigator onboard as well.

As a matter of fact I would.

Quoting Iwok (Reply 17):
Don't forget the tailgunner.

Might be a good choice over some ridiculous faux-missile protection system.


You know, I am so happy to be associated with such "brainiacs", why didn't I come here sooner?  scratchchin 

In all honesty, bite me.  biting 
 
mrocktor
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:29 pm

Quoting Beauing (Reply 26):
passengers endured a terrifying 12 minutes of free fall when all four engines stpped

Airplanes do glide you know?  Big grin
 
EK156
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:32 pm

Okay I am a bit puzzled at the title of this thread!

The A 380 will soon be in operation, the B 747ADV is also going to be soon on the table.... so how can we ask about the end of the 4 engine era?

I would expect that the 4 engine planes will increase with time rather than decrease but the technolgy will change to make them smaller and more eco friendly as well as more effecient. But I would rather be on a 4 engined plane anyday cause I think the average person believes that with 4 engines you are always safer incase of an engine failure of one of them or even 2 of them. You can still fly the plane with the other 2!

But this is an opinion that runs through my head. Whether it was right or wrong, or maybe completely unfounded! You gotta consider it as well!!

Am I a bit correct? Or totally off track? Suggestions?
 
beauing
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:13 pm

Quoting Beauing (Reply 26):
passengers endured a terrifying 12 minutes of free fall when all four engines stpped.



Quoting Mrocktor (Reply 29):
Airplanes do glide you know?



Quoting Beauing (Reply 26):
The dark, acrid volcanic ash was being sucked into the airplane. "It was dark. People were screaming, throwing up. It was like you can imagine. Pretty near panic."

And your point is?  Confused
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:28 pm

Quoting Beauing (Reply 26):
More than 200 passengers endured a terrifying 12 minutes of free fall when all four engines stpped.



Quoting Mrocktor (Reply 29):
Airplanes do glide you know?

The pilot would have wanted something above 300 knots to restart the engines without assist. A little dive might have been appropriate.
 
mrocktor
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:03 am

I suppose you guys have a rather loose definition of free fall. It was just a good natured joke (thus the smiley), lighten up.

Quoting EK156 (Reply 30):
You can still fly the plane with the other 2!

But this is an opinion that runs through my head. Whether it was right or wrong, or maybe completely unfounded! You gotta consider it as well!!

Am I a bit correct? Or totally off track? Suggestions?

You are wrong, a four engine plane is designed to fly on three engines, not two.

mrocktor
 
beauing
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:26 am

Quoting EK156 (Reply 30):
The A 380 will soon be in operation, the B 747ADV is also going to be soon on the table.... so how can we ask about the end of the 4 engine era?

I imagine the A380 will be the last all new quad ever built for commercial aviation and I don't expect the 747A or the A380 to be big sellers.
 
zvezda
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:42 am

Quoting Beauing (Reply 34):
I imagine the A380 will be the last all new quad ever built for commercial aviation

Almost certainly correct.

Quoting Beauing (Reply 34):
I don't expect the 747A or the A380 to be big sellers.

Depends on what one considers a big seller. I would guess 200 to 500 each.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:00 am

Quoting Beauing (Reply 34):

I imagine the A380 will be the last all new quad ever built for commercial aviation

Maybe, but is there a point in making even larger engines at this time? Within the next 30 years, manufacturers might choose not to take engines into the 180k lb and above range, necessitating four engines on new large aircraft. You are simply talking about a very expensive development process for quite a small market. Probably cheaper to make a quad.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
 
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posti
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:17 am

Maybe the tube with 4 engines is on the way out, but if we take a step outside the box three and four holers may make a comeback. Many of the drawings I've seen for the Blended Wing Body (if it ever gets built) have 3 engines. Also, I don't know the specs, but I wouldn't be surprised if the new SST announced at Paris last week has 4 engines like Concorde. Maybe not extinction but evolution.

LGW via RAC, LAF, & SEA
 
da man
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:26 am

Beauing:
The same thing happened to a BA 747-200 in the 80s.
War Eagle!
 
beauing
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RE: The End Of The Four-Engined Era...?

Tue Jun 21, 2005 5:53 am

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 35):
Depends on what one considers a big seller.

To me it means 1000.