FlyingHooker
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Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:58 am

So, now Airbus is on the side of a composite fuselage apparently. I understand that it's business, but considering that both companies had a great 2005, I am really surprised now that Airbus took the lowroad and publicly berrated Boeing on Safty issues of this technology, especially if they were planning this move for themselves.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/255066_airbus10.html
 
norcal
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:07 am

"Boeing's sales team soon hit the road with a large piece of the composite material that will be used on the 787 and asked airline executives to smash it with a large hammer. They did, repeatedly, and found they could not damage it."

I found this quote interesting
 
RichardPrice
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:11 am

Quoting FlyingHooker (Thread starter):
So, now Airbus is on the side of a composite fuselage apparently. I understand that it's business, but considering that both companies had a great 2005, I am really surprised now that Airbus took the lowroad and publicly berrated Boeing on Safty issues of this technology, especially if they were planning this move for themselves.

It wasnt the technology Airbus was concerned about, it was the inspection regimes the airlines were going to be certified for that the comments were aimed at.

Airbus has been using composites for decades, as noted in the article.

The article is a month old anyhow, its been discussed to death in other threads  Smile
 
andessmf
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:14 am

I find it more interesting that Airbus is backtracking on composites.
 
Stratofortress
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:18 am

This is likely a PR stunt. Why would Airbus replace the 320? Its sales are excellent, and is arguably better off than Boeing is with 737.

Seems to me like they are just trying to talk about something and keep Boeing on its toes, especially since they didnt say anything about the launch date. It could be 2010, 2011, or any other year, in which case this announcement has no meaning, other than to say that Airbus was a first company that decided to build a single isle aircraft out of composites.

I must admit that I do love Airbus' PR department.
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RichardPrice
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:23 am

Quoting Stratofortress (Reply 4):

It isnt a PR move, its been known for a while that Boeing is working on a 737 replacement, this is simply Airbus saying they have a similiar project.

Theres another thread on a.net that has comments made by both Airbus and Boeing regarding a new engine for the 737/320 replacements, how one is needed more than a composite fuselage, and that one isnt likely to be ready until the middle of the next decade.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:27 am

Quote:
Many industry experts believe the 787 will give Boeing a big advantage over Airbus when it comes time to develop jets to replace the 737 and A320. That's because Boeing will be able to take lessons learned from the 787 and apply them to its next new jet.
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
roseflyer
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:32 am

While I normally really like the Seattle PI's aviation reporting, I have some problems with this article. Take this quote for example:

"Nor is Airbus using composites for the fuselage of its A380 superjumbo. The fuselage will use both metal and a material called Glare, which is made up of alternating lawyers of aluminum sheets and glass fiber reinforced bond film.

In response to criticism from Airbus about the 787 composite fuselage, Walt Gillette, head of the 787 development program, has said it is really Airbus that is taking a chance by using Glare instead of composites, which have been used on military and commercial jets for many years"


That isn't completely true. Glare is often referred to as a composite. It is a composed of aluminum and glass in sheets. People use words like composite without understanding what they mean. You can mix hay and glue together and call it a composite. There is no true definition.

Carbon fibre composites that will be used in the 787 are a different type of composite, but they are both more difficult to manufacture and thus more expensive. Glare was a risk.

[Edited 2006-02-08 20:43:22]
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Stratofortress
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:36 am

RichardPrice: Do agree regarding engines, and the likelyhood that we will not see a replacement for 320/737 until mid next decade.

Not to sidetrack, too much, but couldnt Airbus go to a 787 supplier and buy composites for the 320 replacement? The supplier would have learned and imporoved their processes in respect to composites, which they could then apply to building parts for Airbus... Even though, they originally were buidling them for Boeing. This would effectively make the quality of supplied products identical for both Boeing and Airbus.

Of course, Boeing would gain the experience with putting supplied products together.
Forever New Frontiers
 
FlyingHooker
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:44 am

Stratofortress, I agree with you completely. My only point is that it is considered quite taboo in the airline industry to publicly attack in the Safety arena.

I am well aware that composites have been used on aircraft for quite some time now by both companies. However, as we all know, this is the first composite fuselage.

All I am discussing here is Airbus' PR methods, in the same fashion that one would discuss a politicians public statements on issues. If we dont rehash past statements, how can we possibly evaluate future "PR" statements?

First it was "Boeing is reassuring airlines over the use of composite material for the primary structure of the 787 following claims by Airbus that the new Boeing twinjet could be grounded 'because of a scratch in the paint'."
http://www.flightinternational.com/A...afety+claims+infuriate+Boeing.html

Then it was Airbus countering with “so far, there is a maintenance, reliability and economic issue with the use of current composites in airframe parts such as the fuselage, for example, for which other materials are at this stage more appropriate. This is not a safety issue, but a purely operational issue.”
http://www.flightinternational.com/A...rbus+rejects+'safety'+claim.html

Now its: "Today, we are actively preparing the launch -- at a date I'm not going to reveal -- of new generations of medium-range aircraft with fuselages that are mostly made of composite materials with very low-cost production,"

I know it is all Corporate PR, but since it was PR that has all come about in the last couple of months, its interesting to discuss. I do want to state that I do think tha Airbus is a good company, with a very good product, so Im not just Airbashing. I just enjoy debates and discussions.
 
airbazar
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:13 am

I'm a little bit late to this thread and didn't bother to read the article so correct me if I'm wrong but... Airbus has been using composites in commercial aircraft for a very long time, long before Boeing. The A350 is something like 45% made of composite materials.
 
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zeke
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:35 am

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 5):
Theres another thread on a.net that has comments made by both Airbus and Boeing regarding a new engine for the 737/320 replacements, how one is needed more than a composite fuselage, and that one isnt likely to be ready until the middle of the next decade.

The new CFM56, called the LEAP56 is not that far off.
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MidnightMike
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:38 am

Quoting NorCal (Reply 1):
"Boeing's sales team soon hit the road with a large piece of the composite material that will be used on the 787 and asked airline executives to smash it with a large hammer. They did, repeatedly, and found they could not damage it."

I found this quote interesting

I did that up in Seattle last year, it was amazing the strength of the composite.
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RichardPrice
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:43 am

Quoting Zeke (Reply 11):
The new CFM56, called the LEAP56 is not that far off.

Both Boeing and Airbus have said that the engine manufacturers have told them that an engine suitable to make a 737/320 replacement viable in terms of enhanced fuel burn economy is 6 to 10 years off.

So they probably arent talking about the new CFM56, unless you term 'not far off' as 'not anytime soon'.
 
whitehatter
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:55 am

Quoting NorCal (Reply 1):
"Boeing's sales team soon hit the road with a large piece of the composite material that will be used on the 787 and asked airline executives to smash it with a large hammer. They did, repeatedly, and found they could not damage it."

which is not the same as slamming an aircraft down on a wet runway in a typhoon. That bit of sales spin is misleading at best.

Quoting FlyingHooker (Thread starter):
I am really surprised now that Airbus took the lowroad and publicly berrated Boeing on Safty issues of this technology,

No they did not.

Boeing spun the comments to make it look like Airbus was questioning safety. Airbus was rightly questioning all the spin and assumption that is floating about concerning composites. Nobody has yet built an airliner out of composites let alone flown one. Saying it is as easy to maintain and repair as metal is (at this stage) just not true. Nobody knows, and cheerleading won't change that basic fact.

Everyone thought the Comet was safe and look what happened there. The move to pressurised, high-altitude flying that the Comet brought in was comparable with Boeing and its move to composite fuselages. Nobody has the experience or data yet to say it will be both easy, efficient and robust. Airbus didn't even suggest there were safety issues, just that claims about maintenance and damage tolerance are as yet unproven.
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norcal
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:39 am

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 14):
which is not the same as slamming an aircraft down on a wet runway in a typhoon. That bit of sales spin is misleading at best.

To clarify, I thought it was cool that someone could beat the sh*t out of it with a hammer and not do anything, try doing that with a sheet of aluminum. Obviously though to think that this will be a walk in the park for Boeing is foolish at best. However I think it can and will be done.

In terms of "cheerleading" we have heard equally ridiculous comments from people saying that the first time someone bumps the gate into the plane it will shatter or crack, which isn't true.

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 14):
Nobody has the experience or data yet to say it will be both easy, efficient and robust.

There is military experience with composites plus years of using it in other parts of planes. Before you even offer a rebuttal I do know that

1. Military Jets aren't pressurized
2. They aren't as large commercial aircraft
3. They won't get as many hours or cycles

There is some experience and data from working with it and designing with it that we have gotten over the years.
 
474218
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 10:36 am

Quoting Airbazar (Reply 10):
I'm a little bit late to this thread and didn't bother to read the article so correct me if I'm wrong but... Airbus has been using composites in commercial aircraft for a very long time, long before Boeing. The A350 is something like 45% made of composite materials.

I am a little confused, first of all composites have been used by every major manufacture for a long time. Second you state "the A350 IS something like 45% made of composite material." I think what you really mean is that the A350 WILL BE 45% made of composite material. The A350 (like the 787) has yet to be built.
 
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antoniemey
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:30 pm

Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 14):
which is not the same as slamming an aircraft down on a wet runway in a typhoon. That bit of sales spin is misleading at best.

But it IS comparable to the minor bumps from ramp equipment that aircraft suffer frequently. And if it won't dent the composite, or damage it in any way, that's a LOT fewer cancelled or delayed flights for the airlines after a beltloader bumps against the door. As long as a mechanic verifies that the aircraft took no damage from the bump, it can be off and flying on time.
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RichardPrice
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 5:45 pm

Quoting Antoniemey (Reply 17):
But it IS comparable to the minor bumps from ramp equipment that aircraft suffer frequently. And if it won't dent the composite, or damage it in any way, that's a LOT fewer cancelled or delayed flights for the airlines after a beltloader bumps against the door. As long as a mechanic verifies that the aircraft took no damage from the bump, it can be off and flying on time.

It isnt comparable to those minor bumpbs, because the bit of composite being banged in the PR demo isnt part of a pressure vessel. Its a good bit of PR, but its misleading.

Composites have a way of seperating into different layers as a result of damage and stress, and it can look completely normal to visual inspection on the outside. This type of damage will weaken the pressure vessel structure in the same way a dent or ding will in aluminium.

Thats what all the fuss has been over, the inspection methods allowed after such a bump.
 
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antoniemey
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:41 pm

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 18):
Thats what all the fuss has been over, the inspection methods allowed after such a bump.

This is true, but as I pointed out, you still need a mechanic to check out any bumps and make sure that there hasn't been any separation, and if there hasn't, and the Composite also won't have a dent in it, then you don't have to worry about whether that dent is deep enough to affect airworthiness either, as you would with aluminum.
Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
 
Aither
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RE: Airbus Moving To Composites

Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:01 pm

How many times we will have to comment that (poor) statement.

Forgeard said they would use composites on new single aisle if and only IF they can be produced cheaper.

"If" means that now, today or currently, they believe the composites do not bring enough benefits compared to the overall disadvantages.

Especially on single aisle, the benefits of lighter structures are less important compared to larger, weighter aircraft.

So saying Airbus is now on the side of Boeing about full composite fuselage is just plain wrong. However and this is not new, Airbus has always increased the part of composites elements where it gave the most benefits. Surely the next single aisle will use more composites.
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