redflyer
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:30 am

Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 1:36 pm

Since the 787/350 designs were originally initiated, fuel prices have skyrocketed by upwards of 60%. Moreover, based on recent analyst reports, we won't see a material drop in prices anytime soon and many are predicting that prices will hover at these levels for years to come.

My question is: is there any chance that the flying wing concept (most recently advanced by Boeing as late as 2002) make a serious comeback? From what I read several years ago, it is even more efficient than the 787/350 designs and the only reason it hasn't been pushed beyond the concept stage is because it was too revolutionary in design for airlines' tastes. However, given the shock of recent oil price surges, is there a chance it will make a serious comeback anytime soon, perhaps to the point where it will even bypass the 787/350?
My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
 
FlyBoeing
Posts: 835
Joined: Fri May 05, 2000 2:08 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 1:58 pm

I think you're spot on about flying/blended-wing types, but I think they'll actually roll out in time to replace the early A380s and late-model 747s, not the newer mid-sized jets like the 787.



Because the BWB scales by surface area and not by length, it's most efficient in the largest sizes. Moreover, the fuel efficiency advantage is somewhat muted if you use it on something small and short-ranged. Finally, the BWB is a *very* long-term project, something like the 2020s or so. Airlines will not be willing to replace planes they just got in 2009 with BWB - but the 25-year old 747s will be ripe for replacement.
 
LeanOfPeak
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:18 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:17 pm

The theoretical aerodynamic and structural efficiency gains of a flying wing configuration are let down by several real-world considerations.

The first is that aircraft operate out of finite runways. A conventional aircraft design can use very effective flaps and slats and use its tail to trim out the nose-down moment that results. A flying wing does not have the luxury of a trimming surface with a long moment arm, so the high-lift devices that can be used on it are very limited. Since it can not use very effective flaps, a flying wing must be too big for its cruise condition (By a substantial margin) in order to provide acceptable runway performance, which results in a substantial efficiency penalty.

The second is pressurization. A long-range jet airliner requires pressurization, for obvious reasons. Pressurizing spheres and cylinders requires minimal structural weight for a given volume. The structural benefit gleaned by spreading the payload further out along the wing span is reduced (And, by most accounts, turned into a penalty) when it comes time to take into account the structure required to pressurize the oddly-shaped cabin of a flying wing or BWB.

The human factors considerations such as claustrophobia with minimal window availability and evacuation are further hurdles to be addressed before a flying wing/BWB would be feasible, never mind a superior alternative to a tail-aft configuration.

Given fuel prices, I could see perhaps some serious looking into a really big jet-powered version of a Piaggio P-180. However, I wouldn't hold my breath for a flying wing (Though I could be wrong).
 
PlaneDane
Posts: 347
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:08 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:30 pm

My understanding is that the BWB concept is not going to happen. One primary reason not mentioned already is that passengers sitting any distance out and away from the center of the airplane would experience flight movements too extreme and unacceptable compared to what is felt in today's aircraft.

Also, Mullaly said no several years ago and he was very clear about it.
 
iwok
Posts: 979
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 2:35 pm

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:50 pm

Quoting PlaneDane (Reply 3):
Also, Mullaly said no several years ago and he was very clear about it.

I think this might have been some NIH (not invented here) syndrome; especially since the idea was generated at MD.

Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 2):
Since it can not use very effective flaps, a flying wing must be too big for its cruise condition (By a substantial margin) in order to provide acceptable runway performance, which results in a substantial efficiency penalty.

I think some of this phenomenum might be offset by the inherently lower takeoff and landing speeds available with the BWB.

Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 2):
The second is pressurization. A long-range jet airliner requires pressurization, for obvious reasons. Pressurizing spheres and cylinders requires minimal structural weight for a given volume.

There is some discussion that making the interior passenger compartment a sort of cocoon of a large w/h ovoid shape could mitigate some of the pressurization issues. Also with the BWB there is the option of using high strength lateral stringers running from wingtip to wingtip over the fuselage, helping to add another dimension of stiffening.

There are probably ways to solve the technical issues, but I think the main problem is human factors. How do people feel about sitting in a long row of seats with little or no windows. I suppose large LCD's with access to outside camera views might help pax loosen up on this issue.

-iwok
 
Squid
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 4:21 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 3:49 pm

Also those flying wings carry huge amounts of people making them only efficient when connecting two very large cities together and then even only once or twice a day. As we are seeing now, the hubs are beginning to outlive their usefulness as more and more point to point service is being offered. Why would say NWA want to buy an airliner that could only make money when leaving a mega hub to fly to NRT and then force passengers to connect again when smaller airliners like the 787 may someday support non-stop service from places like BWI to KIX or from the mega hub to Asia but several times a day.
 
iwok
Posts: 979
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 2:35 pm

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 4:46 pm

I was just scanning the news and lo and behold, MIT announced today a new design for a BWB.

MIT BWB



iwok
 
mika
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2000 7:53 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:08 pm

I personally hope and believe that these horrid creatures wont enter the industry until way down the line. Give me a A380/B787/any new conventional design AC any day.
 
User avatar
solnabo
Posts: 5006
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:53 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:55 pm

The BWB wouldn´t fit the 80X80 meters box if it´s to hold nearly 1000 pax?

Micke//SE  Confused
Airbus SAS - Love them both
 
redflyer
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:30 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:23 pm

Quoting Iwok (Reply 4):
How do people feel about sitting in a long row of seats with little or no windows.

Not that I doubt what you're saying, especially since I've read it often, but I find it hard to believe that would be an issue. In today's real-world, flying on a wide-body and sitting in the middle is not different than sitting inside of a box with no windows. And flying in a widebody at night, which we've all done, would make it all the more similar to sitting in a BWB.

Quoting Solnabo (Reply 8):
The BWB wouldn´t fit the 80X80 meters box if it´s to hold nearly 1000 pax?

Would hinged wingtips solve that issue for when the BWB is at a gate?
My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
 
N908AW
Posts: 863
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:05 pm

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:32 pm

Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.
'Cause you're on ATA again, and on ATA, you're on vacation!
 
User avatar
ZSOFN
Posts: 1379
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:20 pm

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:54 pm

Quoting N908AW (Reply 10):
Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.

But for those with window seats they'd get a GREAT head-on view  Smile  thumbsup 
 
GDB
Posts: 12652
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:03 am

There has been quite a lot of general media commentary in the UK these last few weeks, on BWB.
As Cranfield University here is doing some extensive studies for Boeing on this.

No one thinks BWB will be around for another 20 years or so however.

The mass media talk about the much lower noise from top fuselage mounted engines.
But, for all the problems with BWB, there is another factor possibly in it's favour long term.
The big issue for air transport will be about carbon emissions, this issue is not going away, quite the opposite in fact.

In the past, a major disadvantage touted for Hydrogen power is storage, being much less dense than aviation fossil fuels, the BWB config seems much more suited for it though.
In a couple of decades time, aviation might be given a choice, switch to hydrogen or face crippling pollution taxation on fossil fuels, to not only limit but roll back aviation growth.
When most cars and other automotive transport eventually switches to cleaner fuels, aviation will be the next target.
 
LMP737
Posts: 4800
Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:48 am

Quoting Squid (Reply 5):
Also those flying wings carry huge amounts of people making them only efficient when connecting two very large cities together and then even only once or twice a day. As we are seeing now, the hubs are beginning to outlive their usefulness as more and more point to point service is being offered. Why would say NWA want to buy an airliner that could only make money when leaving a mega hub to fly to NRT and then force passengers to connect again when smaller airliners like the 787 may someday support non-stop service from places like BWI to KIX or from the mega hub to Asia but several times a day.



People seem to be under the mistaken impression that hubs are a thing of the past. They have been listening to all the talk over the past several years about how LCC's and point to point is the future and hubs are dinosaurs. Yes there is more point too point service now than there was twenty years ago. However the fact remains there are city pairs that just don't make economic sense to fly point to point. Example would be Bloomington, IL to Seattle, Wa. Not much of market there. That's why people catch a RJ in Bloomington too Chicago and catch a flight to Seattle.

Same goes for the international market as well. Airlines fly routes now that they were not flying twenty years ago. However there will still be cities that if you were to fly point too point where you would be lucky to fill half the plane.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
khenleydia
Posts: 383
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:18 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:09 am

Quoting N908AW (Reply 10):
Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.



Quoting LeanOfPeak (Reply 2):
The human factors considerations such as claustrophobia with minimal window availability

I have always been fascinated by the Flying Wing concept for commercial purposes. When it comes to the human factor, I think that many options become available.

Think for a second of all the technology available now and just begin to imagine what would be available in 20 years time. Do you really think they couldn't develop some solutions to the problems?

Some (crazy?) ideas:
- Sky Suites: Wouldn't it be nice to have suites available? In these they would have a more natural lighting. With planes having cameras, they would have the ability to take in the view from outside on large High-Def screens. They would also have the option to watch shows on smaller personal HD displays. Of course this would be a first class option. By the time this would be available, there would be a way to easily adjust the "suite" size. Same number of seats, but adapted for 1 group, 2 groups of 3 or 3 groups of 2.

- True Classes: With the design of a wing, they would be able to layout the cabin in such a way that you don't have to walk through first or business class to get to the seat in the back.

- HD Screens: Throughout the plane, there could be HD screens displaying views from the outside. If it is a night-time flight, they can display other soothing things.

- Lighting: They are already developing lighting with a more natural feel, I'm sure in 20 years that probably will only improve.

- Noise Canceling: We wear headphones to cancel out the noise now. In the future, they could do that with little speaker systems.

- Crying Babies: Just imagine a section of the plane devoted to children or babies. Kind of like crying rooms in churches. They could be used for many things, but reserved for that. Besides, with the airplane being broken up in sections more, even if they didn't have this room, chances of hearing the crying baby would be less.

- Escape: I believe they have the ability to develop escape systems for a plane that would work fine. Besides, a wing design, in my mind, might have a better chance in an emergency. A lot of lift to slow the decent. (Okay, maybe not but I would like to think so)

- Folding Wings: Someone else mentioned it and I agree with that idea. I am sure that who ever develops something like this first could make that available. Besides, with the A380 being adapted for at airports, I bet a wing design by then would be supported pretty easily.

- Comfort and Loading: I think it could create new options for comfort. Designed in such a way that classes are broken up in such a way that you don't have do go through them but also to make certain features available to all.. bars, rooms, crying rooms, etc.


I know, I am crazy, but I like dreaming. Instead of saying nothing is possible, why not try and come up with ways to MAKE it possible. The people who say things can't be done, don't tend to come up with anything new. It is the people who break the normal concepts and rules to make new things possible that can really change things. (This isn't aimed at anyone specifically, just people who are close minded.)

KhenleyDIA
Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
 
BlueSky1976
Posts: 1605
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 9:18 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:13 am

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 9):
Would hinged wingtips solve that issue for when the BWB is at a gate?

Folding wings mechanism adds a lot of unnecessary weight for a commercial airliner. Boeing offered that option for 777 so it could be parked at DC-10/767 sized gates, airlines preferred to have a plane with lighter wing that took more airport space.
POLAND IS UNDER DICTATORSHIP. PLEASE SUPPORT COMMITTEE FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY, K.O.D.
 
JoeCattoli
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 1:06 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 2:53 am

Quoting Mika (Reply 7):
Give me a A380/B787/any new conventional design AC any day.

I'd like this new shape... It will open a new era. Perhaps this design will gain more fans then current airframes

Quoting N908AW (Reply 10):
Geez. Just imagine how many middle seats there would be.

This is terrific for me.... I need a window seat... or I will be angry all the flight.

Quoting ZSOFN (Reply 11):
But for those with window seats they'd get a GREAT head-on view

These seats would be truly fantastic... but I think they would reserve these seats only for First or business class...
May be a transparent bottom and roof could be a solution... There are transparent materials that can become non-transparent only turning a switch off. Perhaps in 20 or more years... who knows...

Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
When most cars and other automotive transport eventually switches to cleaner fuels, aviation will be the next target

Hopefully soon. Very soon.

Quoting PlaneDane (Reply 3):
My understanding is that the BWB concept is not going to happen. One primary reason not mentioned already is that passengers sitting any distance out and away from the center of the airplane would experience flight movements too extreme and unacceptable compared to what is felt in today's aircraft.

I think this would be the major problem to resolve... If u see how the wings flatters in turbulence...imagine you're seated into this wing...even if it could be that a BWB is more stable just for its structure (I doubt it... the energy from the turbulence must be dispersed in some manner)...

Quoting KhenleyDIA (Reply 14):
The people who say things can't be done, don't tend to come up with anything new. It is the people who break the normal concepts and rules to make new things possible that can really change things.

I agree totally, although I think that this open mind should not be only used to improve aircraft, but also to improve this sad and crazy world that need really a hand...

Ciao
Joe
 
redflyer
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:30 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:18 am

Quoting BlueSky1976 (Reply 15):
Folding wings mechanism adds a lot of unnecessary weight for a commercial airliner. Boeing offered that option for 777 so it could be parked at DC-10/767 sized gates, airlines preferred to have a plane with lighter wing that took more airport space.

That's very true, but keep in mind on the 777 it was an OPTION because airlines had the option of using gates that could accommodate the 777. With the BWB, it would have to be mandatory as part of the design because there would potentially be no gates whatsoever that could accommodate its span.
My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
 
khenleydia
Posts: 383
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:18 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:57 am

Quoting JoeCattoli (Reply 16):
I agree totally, although I think that this open mind should not be only used to improve aircraft, but also to improve this sad and crazy world that need really a hand...

I completely agree as well!! However, seeing as how this is a site devoted to pretty much everything related to airplanes and airlines, I won't bother discussing this much further.

KhenleyDIA
Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
 
khenleydia
Posts: 383
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:18 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:36 am

Helpful images I found online.

A comparison between the BWB and the 747-400:


A layout idea from online: (I don't like it)


Also some information on the concept:
Boeing BWB
First flight: 2010
Wingspan: 289 ft. 0 in. / 88.1 m
Length: 160 ft. 10 in. / 49.0 m
Height: 40 ft. 11 in. / 12.5 m
Ceiling: 41,000 ft.
Range: 8,000 nm / 14,816 km
Weight: 823,000 lbs / 373,307 kg (MTOW)
Power plant: ???
Speed: 562 knots / 1,041 km/h / 0.85 mach
Crew: 2
Accommodation: 800 in three class configuration

To find more information, just do a search for BWB in google or images.google

KhenleyDIA
Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:36 am

Bear in mind that blended wing-bodies don't have to be as dramatic as shown above. The Sonic Cruiser was a BWB of sorts.

Certainly there are technological problems. The best idea, in my mind, is a circular cross-section cabin, with the wings tapered and blended to meet the top and bottom of the cabin. There is significant volume avaliable for hydrogen, it's struturally favourable and aerodynamically favourable (it'll probably have a smaller wetted area than a conventional design), the design can still use a conventional empennage and high-lift devices if required and doesn't require a large technological leap.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
User avatar
solnabo
Posts: 5006
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:53 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:41 am

It looks like the B2 bomber on steroids. What say you?

Micke//SE  rotfl 
Airbus SAS - Love them both
 
Web
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 6:56 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:14 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 20):
a circular cross-section cabin, with the wings tapered and blended to meet the top and bottom of the cabin.

Maybe not the wings blending to meet the top and bottom of the cabin, but rather the front and back of the cabin (kind of a higher-lift delta wing with more span than normal). This way, the precious windows can be preserved  Smile and there is still lots of room for hydrogen.
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:24 am

Quoting Web (Reply 22):
but rather the front and back of the cabin (kind of a higher-lift delta wing with more span than normal). This way, the precious windows can be preserved Smile and there is still lots of room for hydrogen.

I think Airbus were floating around concepts like this for an A320-sized aircraft a few years ago.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
ebj1248650
Posts: 1517
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:17 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:52 am

There are probably ways to solve the technical issues, but I think the main problem is human factors. How do people feel about sitting in a long row of seats with little or no windows. I suppose large LCD's with access to outside camera views might help pax loosen up on this issue.

-iwok

You make a good point, but consider too, how many passengers actually sit at the windows and look out. A twin aisle airliner has most of its passengers sitting away from windows and they don't seem to mind. Folks who fly because they have to rather than because they really love flying aren't real concerned about whether they have a window seat or not. And I suspect, in the end, that the public and the airlines will go for the BWB if it means for efficient operations; i.e. lower operating expenses which "should" translate to cheaper fairs. I emphasize the "should". Thanks for letting me express a view.
Dare to dream; dream big!
 
Yak97
Posts: 110
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:05 pm

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:50 pm

I recently watched a program on the development of the A380.

One of the initial fuselage options looked at by Airbus was 2 x 340 fuselages side by side, It was discounted because of the time it would take to evacuate the middle part of the aircraft. There would be so many aisles & cross aisles to get to emergency exits that it would become very confusing especially if lighting failed.

The recent A340 accident, they all got out in 90 seconds. Could they do the same on a BW?
 
User avatar
RayChuang
Posts: 7982
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2000 7:43 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 10:52 pm

Actually, I think there will be serious interest in the BWB as both an airliner and freight carrier soon.

The reason is simple: such plane carrying 600-700 passengers in three-class configuration will offer substantially lower fuel costs than the A380-800 for the same 8,000 nautical mile (still air) flight. Also, with careful aerodynamic design, a BWB can "turn" with very little banking by using improved wing moving surface designs, which minimizes the pitching motion when you're away from aircraft centerline. Also, because BWB is by definition a full-body lifting surface, that also means lower landing and takeoff speeds, which right there cuts runway length requirements. As for the engine choice, a scaled-up GE90-115B or Trent 800 design would work.

If Boeing can keep the wingspan to about the same as that of the A380-800, that will guarantee the plane can fly out of most of the larger airports around the world.
 
redflyer
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:30 am

RE: Will Flying Wing Bypass 787/350?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:55 pm

Quoting Yak97 (Reply 25):
There would be so many aisles & cross aisles to get to emergency exits that it would become very confusing especially if lighting failed.

I don't know if Airbus looked at it for their 2x340 fuselage design; however, on a BWB there could also be the uption of exiting vertically (up or down) in each seating section rather than just horizontally (to the sides).
My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C

Who is online