irobertson
Posts: 409
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:35 am

Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:01 pm

I was just reading the postings on the thread about great planes in aviation history and I got to thinking about what planes from today might be considered "great" or "classic" 30-40 years from now. Today, we're still seeing DC8s, 707s, DC-10s, L1011s, and 727s flying, all from one or two generations ago. Any predictions as to what will be seen as a classic airliner from the first decade of the 21st Century?

Here's a couple ideas to start. I think there will still be some Boeings still kicking around, like 767/777, maybe even 737s or 747s but the latter might be a stretch. I think that there will still be a few A340s of some sort (maybe -600s) but they'll be rare, like DC-8s are today.

Anyone?
 
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northwestEWR
Posts: 1963
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RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:35 pm

NWA will still be flying the DC9s !!!!
Northwest Airlines - Now You're Flying Smart
 
frugalqxnwa
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RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:43 pm

The A32X, 737, 747, 757, and 777 will definately be a classic aircraft flying 40 years from now, and I would argue there will still be A330s around, too. A340s will be rare, and the A380 will probably be viewed as a bit of a white elephant (not intended as A vs. B bait, but an honest opinion).
 
NAV20
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RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:32 pm

I tend to think of 'classic' aeroplanes (in the civil field) as ones which changed the whole concept of air travel. They were usually a blend of technological progress and brilliant design; and very often there were two or more competing types, only one of which enjoyed long-term commercial success.

Looking at conceptual turning-points, I would identify the following:-

1. Boeing 247/DC2-3 - the first true 'airliners', combining variable-pitch propellers and stressed-skin aluminium construction.

2. Stratocruiser/Constellation - pioneered high-altitude operation by adapting pressurisation (previously used only by the military) to civil use.

3. Comet/707 - civilian application of jet propulsion.

4. Trident/727 - the first 'bus-stop' jets, suitable for shorthaul operation from small airports. Effectively ushered in the 'all-jet' age.

5. 747 - Successfully applied the 'mass-transit' approach to air travel.

As to likely present/future concept changes, I reckon that we are currently going through another one. Technology now allows smaller aircraft safely to ply longhaul routes. The A340 and 777 have both played a part in this, but I so far this change has been 'evolutionary' rather than 'revolutionary'; I don't reckon either of these aircraft will ever be considered as being in the same class as the examples quoted above.

The only possible 'classic' I see on the horizon is the 787; which is 'revolutionary' in that it is pioneering all-composite construction. If it is successful it may well produce an industry-wide change as profound as that ushered in by the all-aluminium DC2. Given that there have usually been competing types in any 'leap forward', hopefully Airbus will shortly 'see the light' and embark on a development of an all-composite design, maybe in the 'up to 400-passenger' range.

As to the next step, I'm conscious that the airlines are possibly running up against a 'maximum-duration' barrier. The limited sales success of the 772LR, and proposals to fit ultra-longhaul types out in 'executive-economy' style, suggests that we are at or near the point where ranges will be limited not by what is technically possible but by the sort of flight duration the passengers can physically endure. That, to me, suggests the eventual revival of some sort of 'Sonic Cruiser' concept.

[Edited 2006-04-13 08:35:17]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
shankly
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RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:51 pm

The 757 will be the jet people begin to miss when it slowly fades from the skies

It bought passengers quaility short/medium and long haul ride & cabin comfort levels well above those of the 1st generation jets.

It has proved extra-ordinarily reliable, is wonderfully over-powered and the robustness of it's airframe has given it an extended life as a cargo hauler, much in the same way as the DC-8

A true unsung hero the 757
L1011 - P F M
 
sovietjet
Posts: 2546
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:32 am

RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:55 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
Comet/707 - civilian application of jet propulsion.

Don't forget the Tu-104

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
Trident/727

also Tu-124/Tu-134...


It surprises me how many people completely disregard any contribution of Russian/Soviet planes to aviation history
 
MaxQ2351
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:41 am

RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:55 pm

Quoting Shankly (Reply 4):
A true unsung hero the 757

Terrific observation!!

Quoting Shankly (Reply 4):
The 757 will be the jet people begin to miss when it slowly fades from the skies

No kidding. Now I really miss the 727, but once the 757 starts leaving I'm really going to miss it!!

-Max
The 777-200LR......2 engines 4 longer haul
 
rigo
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 11:52 am

RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:57 pm

I'd say these four aircraft are certain to become classics:

- the 747, a living legend (it will still be with us in 40 years!)

- the A32x, which introduced FBW to commercial aviation. In this sense, it is as much a breakthrough as the Comet/707;

- the A330 and the 777, which have marked their era. No need to be "revolutionary" for this, a good "evolutionary" plane suffices  Wink

As to the forthcoming planes, the A380 will definitely be a chapter in aviation history, too (either as a spectacular success or a spectacular failure, i.e. either as a new 747 or a new L1011). I'm not so sure about the 787. Sure it's a great advance, but to the average passenger it may well look like another 767.
 
OB1783P
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 9:49 pm

RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 8:20 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
we are at or near the point where ranges will be limited not by what is technically possible but by the sort of flight duration the passengers can physically endure.

Anyway, we are relatively close (88%) to being able to fly from a point on the globe to its exact antipode, the proverbial London-Sydney. You can't fly any farther than that.

So, as NAV20 says, the next "classic" development will be structural, or speed, or revolutionary economy or greenness.

On a sentimental level, the 747 will still elicit love and awe 40 or 100 years from now.
I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
 
cricket
Posts: 2068
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 8:23 pm

RE: Classic Aircraft 40 Years From Now

Thu Apr 13, 2006 8:28 pm

40 years from now, I don't know how many planes from the current generation will be flying about because oil prices can only go higher, and the costs of keeping planes with inefficient engines flying would be too high.
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