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WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:05 pm

Seems we have some newish info on the 777x to chew on, courtesy of Jon Ostrower.

If you're not a subscriber, the best thing to do is to hop through Google:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Ostrower++Makeover+of+777+Agitates+Boeing

Key points:
  • Seems the uber 777x with all new CFRP wings is uber expensive
  • It may cost customers 10-15% more than current 777 models
  • It seems this version, favored by EK, might be more costly than others will pay
  • It seems this version of course is very expensive to develop too
  • Also Boeing is pouring resources into the 787, KC45 and 737MAX right now
  • Boeing wants to avoid outsourcing on the 777x which also constrains internal resources
  • A cheaper metal winged version that would keep 2/3rds of the existing 777 wing is being considered
  • Lars Andersen cleaned out his office and left, Conner asked him to come back as a customer advocate


My gut instinct is that going cheaper is not the right move. It takes so much time and energy to come out with a new model, and once you go through that cost, you're stuck with the results for a long time. My big concern is that the 777x will end up like the A340ng - a good airplane, but half a step behind the A350xwb.

Of course Boeing has all the numbers so it's hard for us to argue, but of course we still will!

It does highlight to me at least the dreadful knock-on costs the 787 is having on future programs. It's really hampering Boeing's ability to come up with an A350 competitor.
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Stitch
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:50 pm

Already being discussed in Boeing Exec: 777X Will Make A350-100 Obsolete! (by Revelation Sep 6 2012 in Civil Aviation).  
 
MountainFlyer
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:04 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 1):
Already being discussed in Boeing Exec: 777X Will Make A350-100 Obsolete! (by Revelation Sep 6 2012 in Civil Aviation).

I think it's fair this deserves a new thread if for no other reason than the other thread has nearly 300 posts already.
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seabosdca
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:42 pm

I also favor this thread, if only because of Revelation's thread title. "Agitate" is a great choice of word.  Smile
Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
My gut instinct is that going cheaper is not the right move.

   I think a mildly warmed-over 777-300ER with the existing wing -- that is, the wing that we keep hearing from inside Boeing is too heavy -- will stand in relation to the A350-1000 exactly as the A330-300 stands in relation to the 787-9 today. That is, once the newer product is widely available, there will be little reason save deep discounting to buy the older, warmed-over product.

The big, light CFRP wing is an essential piece. I understand why Lars Andersen threw up his hands in frustration.

[Edited 2012-09-25 08:42:43]
 
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Stitch
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:10 pm

I am of the opinion Boeing should keep the 77F, 77L and 77W as they are and hang the GE9X engine off them in order to lower the trip fuel burn to either provide more range at current Take-Off weights or allow higher Zero Fuel and Payload weights.
 
avek00
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:37 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 4):
I am of the opinion Boeing should keep the 77F, 77L and 77W as they are and hang the GE9X engine off them in order to lower the trip fuel burn to either provide more range at current Take-Off weights or allow higher Zero Fuel and Payload weights.

That's all well and good, but Boeing's fundamental 777 problem, now more than ever, is that the plane simply costs too much.
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 4):
I am of the opinion Boeing should keep the 77F, 77L and 77W as they are and hang the GE9X engine off them in order to lower the trip fuel burn to either provide more range at current Take-Off weights or allow higher Zero Fuel and Payload weights.

But does the 777 really need more payload-range, especially without more passenger capacity? Tim Clark says he wants that (but I'm not sure I believe him). Does anyone else want that? I think a 8500+ nm GE9X 77W with the current capacity and weights will not be competitive with the A350-1000 on the great bulk of routes. It would only come into its own flying JFK-HKG or DXB-LAX.

It seems to me that reducing weight and increasing passenger capacity are Jobs 1 and 2 to keep the 77W competitive.

Although I suppose a GE9X 77L might finally make LHR-SYD a reality.
 
morrisond
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:31 pm

I'm guessing they are also realizing how good the potential 787-10 is going to be. At 69M it's cabin length will be about the same.

Didn't Aspire write that 789 was 3% lighter than Spec? Wouldn't that put the range of 787-10 into the 7000-7200NM range -assuming that weight savings carries over into the 787-10?

With 2020 Engines isn't a range of 7-800- 8,000 NM seemingly possible with 787-10? Just like the 77W has gone from 7250NM since intro to 7930 in less than 8 Years?

Doesn't that totally destroy the 778 business case without doing anything to 787-10 other than PIP's and updated engines?

The 787-10 would be a 251T (max takeoff weight) aircraft vs a 315T 778 - with basically the same capability?

Wouldn't the 787-10 absolutely kill the 778?

[Edited 2012-09-25 10:58:59]
 
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Stitch
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:43 pm

Quoting avek00 (Reply 5):
That's all well and good, but Boeing's fundamental 777 problem, now more than ever, is that the plane simply costs too much.

Well a 777X with a new CFRP wing will certainly not be cheaper. Per the article, only EK and QR seem ready to spent 10-15% more for a more capable airframe.


By staying with the current design, Boeing can continue to extract production efficiencies out of it, allowing them to lower the Average Sales Price while maintaining margins (or accepting lower margins to drop the ASP even more).

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 6):
But does the 777 really need more payload-range, especially without more passenger capacity?

I expect any ULH operator would appreciate extra payload capability, especially those moving from 9-abreast to 10-abreast to improve CASM. At design range, the payload is about 35t - half what it is at MZFW - and the plane is fuel-volume limited.



Quoting morrisond (Reply 7):
The 787-10 would be a 234T (max takeoff weight) aircraft vs a 315T 778 - with basically the same capability?

I expect the 787-10 would have the same MTOW as the 787-9 - 251t. MZFW is projected to be 193t, which is 12t more than the 787-9.

[Edited 2012-09-25 10:45:25]
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:52 pm

Quoting morrisond (Reply 7):

I'd say these are at least arguments worth having. There is certainly a big tradeoff in going with a 778 when a 787-10 can do basically the same thing with fewer models (phase out 777 earlier, leaving more room for 787 production). To me, even though there are some issues in getting a 787-10 to the specs you posit, once you start talking about a new wing on a 778, the cost becomes so high that the 787-10 seems that much more attractive.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:54 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):

Quoting morrisond (Reply 7):
The 787-10 would be a 234T (max takeoff weight) aircraft vs a 315T 778 - with basically the same capability?

I expect the 787-10 would have the same MTOW as the 787-9 - 251t. MZFW is projected to be 193t, which is 12t more than the 787-9.

Sorry - Your right - Bad math on my part - still that's a massive difference in weight
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:55 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):
I expect any ULH operator would appreciate extra payload capability, especially those moving from 9-abreast to 10-abreast to improve CASM.

I agree totally. I just think ULH is a very thin branch to stand on if you are too heavy to be competitive on mainstream long-haul. That's why even the CFRP-winged 777-8X seems like a dicey proposition, and I think a re-engined 777-300ER with otherwise minimal change would have exactly the same problem.

I think the 777 has to gain more passenger capacity per pound of weight to have a chance.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:59 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 11):
I think the 777 has to gain more passenger capacity per pound of weight to have a chance.

So does that pretty much dictate a CFRP wing, possibly even requiring a re-engine as well? Off the top of my head, a lighter wing seems like the only practical way to achieve a substantial gain in pax/lb.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:08 pm

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 12):
So does that pretty much dictate a CFRP wing, possibly even requiring a re-engine as well?

I think the stretch (along with changes to make 10Y more comfortable) is the most important thing. But the wing is critical for the stretch for two reasons. First, it will be lighter on its own, counteracting the heavier fuselage weight from the stretch. Second, it will be larger than the existing wing, allowing for lower thrust ratings, which leads (along with new engine tech) to lower fuel consumption, also reducing weight at takeoff.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:14 pm

Let me see if I get this right at MZFW that leaves the 789 with 153,000 lbs for fuel or 22,500 gallons. At 12T higher MZFW for 787-10 that leaves it with enough lift for 18,617 gallons at MZFW or 17% less, assume a little more drag - but assuming the 789 is at 8500nm doesn't that get the 787-10 over 7,000 NM without increasing Max takeoff weight?

Can they go any higher with Max Takeoff weight without changing structure or gear?
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:14 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 3):
The big, light CFRP wing is an essential piece. I understand why Lars Andersen threw up his hands in frustration.

Because after everything with the 787, which netted out to buying vendors and building an extra, unplanned FAL, he might just be slightly peeved that the beancounters still can't make an up-front investment in a facility to build huge CFRP wings look attractive, even looking at 787-like scenarios? I might be frustrated, too.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:24 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 13):
I think the stretch (along with changes to make 10Y more comfortable) is the most important thing. But the wing is critical for the stretch for two reasons. First, it will be lighter on its own, counteracting the heavier fuselage weight from the stretch. Second, it will be larger than the existing wing, allowing for lower thrust ratings, which leads (along with new engine tech) to lower fuel consumption, also reducing weight at takeoff.

Ok that's what I was thinking too - just stretching the fuselage won't do much if anything to reduce the pax/lb ratio. Plus it would just reduce performance to have a stretch without moderate to major wing tweaking.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:39 pm

An often overlooked problem with derivatives of existing products is that most people compare it to the competition from a competitor. The 777X has to compete with the A350. It also has to compete with the 777-300ER. The development costs of a new derivative would be in the billions. The manufacturing costs of a CFRP wing would be higher than for the aluminum wing on the current 777.

So while there's little doubt that a new airplane would gain in fuel efficiency, the acquisition price also goes up. Boeing sells airplanes based on lifecycle and total ownership & operating costs. More efficient engines are great for the operating costs, but if the acquisition price goes up by 20%, the new derivative starts looking worse.

Boeing was evaluating a new airplane to compete against the A320 NEO as well as a re-engine. The problem with the new airplane is that it was hard to beat the costs of the 737NG.

You can't sit around on old designs forever, but when Sales is having a hard time running numbers for a new derivative that are better than the current airplane, you get the agitation that we are seeing.

That's just my opinion.
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Stitch
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:53 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 11):
I just think ULH is a very thin branch to stand on if you are too heavy to be competitive on mainstream long-haul.

I should note that when I say Ultra-Long Haul, I'm not specifically referring to the deep C-Market routes (greater than 800nm) that are the purview of the 777-200LR and A340-500. I'm referring more to deep B-Market routes (6500-8000nm).



Quoting morrisond (Reply 14):
Can they go any higher with Max Takeoff weight without changing structure or gear?

I've heard that the landing gear limit is 254t. Once Boeing has the 787-9 in production and test, they might be able to find some more out of it. I would expect the hard limit would be the tire loading / pavement loading.

GE is working on a 68,000 pound thrust variant of the GEnx2B for the 787-10X, so that might be to support higher TOWs or it could be to improve field performance for the 787-9 and 787-10 at 252t.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:54 pm

Ferpe did some work ups on the 787-10 based on the Aspire article ( see .Boeing Posts Updated 787 Characteristics reply 44 ) It appears that it's OEW will be about 130.5t Assuming 3% better fuel than base , the same MTOW as the 789 and a little more drag than the 789 its range with max passenger load will be ~7300nm. Max payload based on belly cargo density of 160kg/m3 is ~ 50t with a range of ~5300nm. This is based on a PIANO X simulation.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:14 pm

So a 3T bump could get it over 7500nm? That's impressive and makes it very hard for Boeing to justify doing the 777X at least the 8.

Stitch has the right Idea continue with PIP's and make GE (at there cost) develop a new version of the GE90 that could be used on the rest of the 777 family as well for service entry by 2016-17 - it won't be as good as the A351 but it should tide most over to Y3 in the early 2020's.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:21 pm

One of the known issues with 777 is its high manufacturing cost. Would it make more sense to spend the money and time to market resources on a CFRP wing not for the 777 but for the 787? The current 787 wing will support -8, -9 and -10. The new wing can extend the family to -10LR/HGW, -11 and even -12.

The barrel production is now industrialized and will only improve over time. Focusing resource on a product line with leading technologies and a long term future should make Boeing more competitive over the long run. From an opportunity cost standpoint, another year or 2 of sustained 787 development by the engineering team can also give the 787 family much more lead than having the a significant portion of the team put down the 787 and relearn the 777.

In the near term, the 777 industrialization establishments still have advantage over 787 and thus can be milked for another 5-10 years while the 787 industrialization catches up. Given the only reason the 777 math works is because it is 10-abreast capable, a stopgap option with more optimized wing and re-engine may be justified.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:30 pm

Does anyone know when we will see the concept drawings for the 777-8X and 777-9X?
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lhcvg
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Quoting cosmofly (Reply 21):
One of the known issues with 777 is its high manufacturing cost. Would it make more sense to spend the money and time to market resources on a CFRP wing not for the 777 but for the 787? The current 787 wing will support -8, -9 and -10. The new wing can extend the family to -10LR/HGW, -11 and even -12.

I think you hit the nail on the head - if doing a CFRP wing, do it for the future platform (787) rather than the legacy one (777). I doubt the expense of doing a CFRP wing for the 787 will be any more than it would take to re-work the 777 wing with a CFRP design. That makes a lot of sense given the much greater upside to the 787 platform.
 
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Stitch
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting cosmofly (Reply 21):
The current 787 wing will support -8, -9 and -10. The new wing can extend the family to -10LR/HGW, -11 and even -12.

I've heard the 787 wing is good for 290t (with strengthening, of course). So if Boeing does pursue higher-weight 787 models, the existing wing should be good for it and at that point, increasing the span out to the original 63m (or even 65m) could be worth pursuing.

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 22):
Does anyone know when we will see the concept drawings for the 777-8X and 777-9X?

I expect once Boeing decides on what to do, they'll start posting artist conceptions.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:07 pm

Quoting cosmofly (Reply 21):
The new wing can extend the family to -10LR/HGW, -11 and even -12.

I highly doubt the 787 can be stretched that far...IMO a hypothetical -11 would be the maximum, and I don't even think that would be efficient enough to justify its existence.

I've been strongly in the 77X camp for a long time now, but I'm starting question whether that would be the smartest thing for Boeing going forward. Firstly, my support for the 77X was premised around the notion that the project could be done in a cost-saving manner so as to keep the price reasonable. The 77X allows for the option for 10X in Y, but that by itself will not make it as attractive to customers as the A35J. It's fine for Boeing to give up *some* market share, if for example, it were to sell @ 40:60 disadvantage to the A35J, but this is only an acceptable plan if they are limiting costs while doing so, therefore making a healthy profit. If this cannot be done in a way that allows Boeing to undercut its more expensive competitor (if needed) without hemorrhaging money, I don't think it should be done.

Also, since the EIS of the aforementioned A35J has been pushed back so far, I think Boeing has to consider this project in terms of how it can be used to best transition the company's VLA product line in the future. If we assume, given reasonable delays, that the A35J doesn't EIS until 2020, I think Boeing has to look to the 2020+ decade for its reply and that's where the Y3 would seem to fit. I agree with Stitch's thinking, seen in the other thread (link in reply 1) which basically calls for a short term "patch-up" solution. A simple project like this would keep costs down and not commit excessive resources to a plane that could be replaced very quickly - as soon as 2025, by Y3. While there's a risk of losing market share, the limited time period between now and Y3 limits the damage. Also, by limiting costs, Boeing will actually be able to afford undercutting the A35J if it wishes, which would be necessary to prevent the Airbus product from dominating against a plane that would likely be inferior to efficiency-wise.

Then, w/ an EIS in 2025 --> Y3. (If I was designing it, it would have a cabin width of 19'10", with two variants seating ~ 380 and 450.)
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:14 pm

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 9):
I'd say these are at least arguments worth having. There is certainly a big tradeoff in going with a 778 when a 787-10 can do basically the same thing with fewer models (phase out 777 earlier, leaving more room for 787 production). To me, even though there are some issues in getting a 787-10 to the specs you posit, once you start talking about a new wing on a 778, the cost becomes so high that the 787-10 seems that much more attractive.

Interesting post, the first thing that came to mind was pretty much the same as cosmofly:

Quoting cosmofly (Reply 21):
Would it make more sense to spend the money and time to market resources on a CFRP wing not for the 777 but for the 787?
Quoting Stitch (Reply 24):
I've heard the 787 wing is good for 290t (with strengthening, of course). So if Boeing does pursue higher-weight 787 models, the existing wing should be good for it and at that point, increasing the span out to the original 63m (or even 65m) could be worth pursuing.

It may be "good to go" up to 290t, but why not create an optimized wing for higher weight/longer distance? It may very well pay for itself in short order and really pay off over the long term as you make the 787 platform more viable over the long term.
 
sunrisevalley
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:22 pm

Quoting morrisond (Reply 20):
So a 3T bump could get it over 7500nm?

near 7600nm
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:23 pm

My back of the envelope calculations suggest that B77W-NEO(minimal change except engines) in EK configuration with a 6% lower fuel should burn about 7,000 gallons more fuel($22,000) than A350-1000 on DXB-LAX sector. The 38 seat advantage of 77W(6J and 32Y) should earn about $28,000 at 70% load factor-- an annual advantage of about $2 million, which is about $15 million in NPV terms.

It seems to me that EK may prefer B77W-NEO to A350-1000.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:55 pm

Quoting silentbob (Reply 26):
It may be "good to go" up to 290t, but why not create an optimized wing for higher weight/longer distance? It may very well pay for itself in short order and really pay off over the long term as you make the 787 platform more viable over the long term.

Yep good points from cosmo. I will add this to your follow-up: the axing of the 787-3 shows us that it's better to go with a wing optimized for higher weights and longer range, since that helps your top-end performance and that's where the real money is.
 
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Stitch
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:41 pm

Quoting silentbob (Reply 26):
It may be "good to go" up to 290t, but why not create an optimized wing for higher weight/longer distance?

That is why I suggested Boeing might increase span to 63 or 65 meters. The 787 wing is brand-new, so there is no reason to change it beyond span.
 
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flylku
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:08 pm

An airline's willingness to support a higher up front cost in order to save more on fuel over the 20-30 year life of the aircraft depends on their long term view of many factors including:

1) Oil is running out driving the cost of exploration up and therefore the price

2) The U.S. is printing money which leads to the devaluation of the dollar. Oil is priced in U.S. dollars so the weaker the dollar the higher the price for oil.

It also depends on their short term ability to finance the aircraft.
...are we there yet?
 
cosmofly
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:28 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 30):
That is why I suggested Boeing might increase span to 63 or 65 meters. The 787 wing is brand-new, so there is no reason to change it beyond span.

Boeing may also elect to lengthen and strengthen the MLG to accommodate bigger fan size and more rotation angle for longer fuselage.

[Edited 2012-09-25 15:29:08]

[Edited 2012-09-25 15:30:38]
 
JAAlbert
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:05 pm

The 350 is a clean sheet design. Even with a wing re-do isn't the 777X going to be substantially cheaper to create than designing and building a clean sheet design? How much extra would a brand new plane cost if the 777X is going to be 20% above current prices?
 
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seabosdca
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:13 pm

Quoting JAAlbert (Reply 33):
Even with a wing re-do isn't the 777X going to be substantially cheaper to create than designing and building a clean sheet design?

Absolutely, but it will also allow for fewer years and fewer frames over which to amortize the development cost.
 
sunrisevalley
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:38 pm

Quoting flylku (Reply 31):
1) Oil is running out driving the cost of exploration up and therefore the price

There is no shortage, except of oil that can be prospected for, extracted and sold for $60 to $70 a barrel that leaves something for the shareholders and cash to find replacement reserves.
 
mffoda
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:45 pm

Quoting sunrisevalley (Reply 35):

Bingo! It makes one wonder if people really watch the same news! ??
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:33 am

Quoting morrisond (Reply 7):

Didn't Aspire write that 789 was 3% lighter than Spec? Wouldn't that put the range of 787-10 into the 7000-7200NM range -assuming that weight savings carries over into the 787-10?

Aspire tends to post a lot of positive Boeing news on their blogs, invariably a lot of it is not true in hindsight. Trying to work out what is and is not factual is impossible.

Quoting LAXDESI (Reply 28):
My back of the envelope calculations suggest that B77W-NEO(minimal change except engines) in EK configuration with a 6% lower fuel should burn about 7,000 gallons more fuel($22,000) than A350-1000 on DXB-LAX sector. The 38 seat advantage of 77W(6J and 32Y) should earn about $28,000 at 70% load factor-- an annual advantage of about $2 million, which is about $15 million in NPV terms.

Something does not add up. There is around a 20t difference in fuel burn (around 7000 gal) between a 77W and A350-1000 on a 12 hour leg, I fail to see how a 6% lower fuel burn produces almost an identical fuel delta on a 25% longer trip.
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:34 am

Quoting Stitch (Reply 4):
I am of the opinion Boeing should keep the 77F, 77L and 77W as they are and hang the GE9X engine off them in order to lower the trip fuel burn to either provide more range at current Take-Off weights or allow higher Zero Fuel and Payload weights.

This has some merit for solidifying sales in the medium term and perhaps lengthening the deployment window to bridge to a real Y3. Part of Boeings reluctance (probably a minor part) may be that this family (Lars A concept, 777x, two streches) would kill the 748I for sure.

The other conundrum is the replacement window for the xtra time to build a Y3. How much of that would be lost to the a 777GEnx to the A3510 while Y3 gets built? Boeing would need to get many committments soon to create some fleet momentum now and get customers willing to accept this bridge concept.

Numbers might work, speed and early commitment would be key.
 
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Revelation
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:47 am

Quoting avek00 (Reply 5):
That's all well and good, but Boeing's fundamental 777 problem, now more than ever, is that the plane simply costs too much.

Really? The tone of the article is that the current 777 is widely accepted and that it's a cash cow for Boeing.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 17):
The manufacturing costs of a CFRP wing would be higher than for the aluminum wing on the current 777.

Interesting - I thought the CFRP tech was going to bring with it reduced cost via reduced fasteners and the reduced amount of labor to install said fasteners, not to mention automated layup.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 17):
You can't sit around on old designs forever, but when Sales is having a hard time running numbers for a new derivative that are better than the current airplane, you get the agitation that we are seeing.

To me the real nightmare scenario is where sales convinces itself that it's OK to just slap new engines and wingtip treatments and a new fairing or two on a "777MAX" and they then get trounced in the market by the clean-sheet A350-1k, and are stuck high and dry for at least 4 and more likely 8 years while the problem gets solved "the right way". The current sales folks will be perfectly OK with it because they will get bonuses for the few years worth of "777MAX" sales that get made before the world figures out the A350-1k is worth whatever Airbus is charging for it.
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tdscanuck
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:02 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 39):
Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 17):
The manufacturing costs of a CFRP wing would be higher than for the aluminum wing on the current 777.

Interesting - I thought the CFRP tech was going to bring with it reduced cost via reduced fasteners and the reduced amount of labor to install said fasteners, not to mention automated layup.

I'm not sure the world has autoclaves big enough to take 777 wings...that leaves you with two equally unattractive options:
1) Build new bigger autoclaves...which cost billions and, like Roseflyer said, will blow the manufacturing costs out of the water.
2) Use existing autoclaves and build the wings in pieces then fasten the pieces together...so you're back to fasteners.

Tom.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:11 am

Aren't they going to be Hinged? Big Piano Hinge in the middle - Presto problem solved only need an Autoclave half the size - Just kidding
 
justloveplanes
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:23 am

They are going to need

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 40):
I'm not sure the world has autoclaves big enough to take 777 wings...that leaves you with two equally unattractive options:
1) Build new bigger autoclaves...which cost billions and, like Roseflyer said, will blow the manufacturing costs out of the water.
2) Use existing autoclaves and build the wings in pieces then fasten the pieces together...so you're back to fasteners.

Why not make the autoclaves big enough for Y1 (two wings at a time) and Y3? Spread the cost over two programs. Maybe partner with the evil competitors Lockheed and Northrup to keep the thing busy?

Probably all considered by the management team already....
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:37 am

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
It may cost customers 10-15% more than current 777 models

This is indeed worrying.

It indicates that the reward for a large investment is not there. I interpret it like that:
- Small upgrade -> investment = X, expected sales = Y
- Big upgrade -> investment = X + Z%, expected sales < X + Z%

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
It seems this version, favored by EK, might be more costly than others will pay

This one I don't understand, because why should EK account differently? If an aircraft can pay back the price over the years due to a certain efficiency, it could do so for any carrier.

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
My gut instinct is that going cheaper is not the right move. It takes so much time and energy to come out with a new model, and once you go through that cost, you're stuck with the results for a long time. My big concern is that the 777x will end up like the A340ng - a good airplane, but half a step behind the A350xwb.

The 777 will always be a half step behind the A350. So the A340NG-kind of outcome could also happen with a heavily modified 777X. In that case the minimalistic upgrade would be not so dumb....

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 17):
You can't sit around on old designs forever, but when Sales is having a hard time running numbers for a new derivative that are better than the current airplane, you get the agitation that we are seeing.
Quoting Stitch (Reply 30):
The 787 wing is brand-new, so there is no reason to change it beyond span.

A high capacity&performance upgrade of the 787 with a new wing would have these advantages:
- Proper solution to any needed MTOW-increase.
- Offer range/payload capabilities that easily cover anything that is offered by the 777 today or the A351 in the future.
- There are efficiency gains due to larger wing span.
- Adress the limited ground clearance. The 787 is so low sitting, that stretches beyond a certain limit could be restrained by the 737-ground-clearance-plague. It is weird, that Boeing did not spend the 787 the ground clearance, that would allow unlimited stretches. Maybe, just maybe, this was another side-effect of "designing" the 787 into a spot below the 777 (= a result to some silo mentality within Boeing).

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 40):
I'm not sure the world has autoclaves big enough to take 777 wings...that leaves you with two equally unattractive options:

A350 wings are as big as 777 wings (wingarea). So Boeings competitor somehow has solved this ...

I do agree however, that the 777X seems not worth to build such huge autoclaves just for it. Because that they later could be reused for Y3 is uncertain. Improved composite technology might come up other solutions than large autoclaves.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:48 am

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
My gut instinct is that going cheaper is not the right move. It takes so much time and energy to come out with a new model, and once you go through that cost, you're stuck with the results for a long time. My big concern is that the 777x will end up like the A340ng - a good airplane, but half a step behind the A350xwb.

That would be my concern as well. If Boeing doesn't do enough to make the 777X competitive with the A350XWB, then I think they'd just be wasting money which they could've used more effectively on a better 777X. If they're going to do the 777X, they may as well do it properly rather than a half-hearted attempt in the name of 'cost saving'.

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 3):
The big, light CFRP wing is an essential piece. I understand why Lars Andersen threw up his hands in frustration.

  

Absolutely. There is an opportunity here for Boeing to build a bigger, lighter CFRP wing to make the 777X a more efficient aircraft. I can see no disadvantages (costs aside) in opting to go down that route as opposed to doing a "cheaper" upgrade, but conversely, the advantages in terms of performance could be dramatic.

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 6):
Although I suppose a GE9X 77L might finally make LHR-SYD a reality.

I suppose so, but then so too would a GE9X powered 777-8LX which is proposed, and it'll probably be able to do that route with better costs per seat too.

Quoting morrisond (Reply 7):
I'm guessing they are also realizing how good the potential 787-10 is going to be. At 69M it's cabin length will be about the same.

Except it wouldn't have the range of the 777-300ER.

Quoting morrisond (Reply 7):
With 2020 Engines isn't a range of 7-800- 8,000 NM seemingly possible with 787-10? Just like the 77W has gone from 7250NM since intro to 7930 in less than 8 Years?

Aside from pre-release predictions, when has the 77W been a 7250nm plane? The 77W has been one of the few aircraft that exceeded design specifications at EIS. I don't think even Boeing imagined quite how good it turned out to be.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):
Well a 777X with a new CFRP wing will certainly not be cheaper. Per the article, only EK and QR seem ready to spent 10-15% more for a more capable airframe.

I guess the question is not whether it'll cost more than the 777-300ER, but whether it'll cost more than the A350-1000. If Boeing can deliver a 777X that has significant improvements over the 777-300ER, then it only stands to reason that they would charge more for that aircraft.

I wouldn't imagine that the 777X program - even if they were going to go with Mr Andersen's proposal as outlined in that article, would cost Boeing more than it costs Airbus to build the A350XWB. If Boeing can sell a 777-9X for less than what Airbus sells their A350-1000 for, I don't think airlines would be overly hesitant over acquisition costs.

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 9):
There is certainly a big tradeoff in going with a 778 when a 787-10 can do basically the same thing with fewer models (phase out 777 earlier, leaving more room for 787 production). To me, even though there are some issues in getting a 787-10 to the specs you posit, once you start talking about a new wing on a 778, the cost becomes so high that the 787-10 seems that much more attractive.

I agree to the extent that the 787-10 would be much more attractive for airlines that don't require the added capacity and range capability of the 777-8X. The 787-10 will most likely outsell the 777-8X many times over, but it can't do everything a 777-8X can - certainly not the rumoured 777-8LX version, anyway. The 777-8X is also likely to form the basis for the new 777F, and as yet, no 787Fs are even talked about, let alone under development.

So while there is indeed some overlap between the two models, each retain its distinct advantages over the other. Replacing one with the other will leave gaps in the line up.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 17):
So while there's little doubt that a new airplane would gain in fuel efficiency, the acquisition price also goes up. Boeing sells airplanes based on lifecycle and total ownership & operating costs. More efficient engines are great for the operating costs, but if the acquisition price goes up by 20%, the new derivative starts looking worse.

Fair point, but as I alluded to earlier, I think what's more important is the acquisition costs of the 777X relative to the A350-1000 rather than the 777-300ER. If Boeing can keep its price below Airbus' price for the A350-1000, acquisition costs shouldn't be too much of a hinderance.

Quoting davs5032 (Reply 25):
It's fine for Boeing to give up *some* market share, if for example, it were to sell @ 40:60 disadvantage to the A35J, but this is only an acceptable plan if they are limiting costs while doing so, therefore making a healthy profit. If this cannot be done in a way that allows Boeing to undercut its more expensive competitor (if needed) without hemorrhaging money, I don't think it should be done.

I would agree to a point - that if they can't do the 777X project without making a loss, they shouldn't do it.

But even if the 777-9X cannot undercut the A350-1000 on price, it is a larger aircraft with greater revenue potential. If the 777X is good enough, it can potentially recover the difference in acquisition costs over the life cycle of the aircraft. That is why I think it is important for Boeing to spend the money on making the 777X as good as it can be.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 39):
To me the real nightmare scenario is where sales convinces itself that it's OK to just slap new engines and wingtip treatments and a new fairing or two on a "777MAX" and they then get trounced in the market by the clean-sheet A350-1k, and are stuck high and dry for at least 4 and more likely 8 years while the problem gets solved "the right way". The current sales folks will be perfectly OK with it because they will get bonuses for the few years worth of "777MAX" sales that get made before the world figures out the A350-1k is worth whatever Airbus is charging for it.

I agree entirely.

Quoting rheinwaldner (Reply 43):
Proper solution to any needed MTOW-increase.

 

In what way is the 777X not a "proper solution to any needed MTOW increase"?

Quoting rheinwaldner (Reply 43):
Offer range/payload capabilities that easily cover anything that is offered by the 777 today or the A351 in the future.

 

If it were that easy, Boeing would be doing it already.

An increase in payload/range capabilities and a stretch would be a costly project and would result in loss of commonality with the rest of the 787 family.

Quoting rheinwaldner (Reply 43):
Adress the limited ground clearance. The 787 is so low sitting, that stretches beyond a certain limit could be restrained by the 737-ground-clearance-plague. It is weird, that Boeing did not spend the 787 the ground clearance, that would allow unlimited stretches. Maybe, just maybe, this was another side-effect of "designing" the 787 into a spot below the 777

Or maybe the fact is that the 787 wasn't meant to be a 77W replacement in the first place? The 787 was designed primarily as a 767/A330 replacement. If they had designed it to be able to stretch that frame for it to be capable of being a 77W replacement as well, then the 787-8's efficiency will suffer because it'll be too heavy - the problem that the A350-800 is facing. If they optimise the frame around a medium size widebody - which is what they have done, then stretching it would require significant re-engineering and compromising. As you rightly point out, stretches beyond a certain point will require some revisions or even a complete redesign to the main landing gear, which will make it a costly project.

One size does not fit all.
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:48 am

Quoting cosmofly (Reply 21):

One of the known issues with 777 is its high manufacturing cost. Would it make more sense to spend the money and time to market resources on a CFRP wing not for the 777 but for the 787?

Is it not possible to make a CFRP wing to met the requirements of 777 derivatives AND further developments of the 787?

Another question if you please, relative to fuel loadings in various posts, how much does a gallon of turbine fuel weigh? I am assuming that gallons referred to are US? Or maybe Imperial.

thank you
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:00 am

Quoting Stitch (Reply 8):
uoting avek00 (Reply 5):
That's all well and good, but Boeing's fundamental 777 problem, now more than ever, is that the plane simply costs too much.

Well a 777X with a new CFRP wing will certainly not be cheaper. Per the article, only EK and QR seem ready to spent 10-15% more for a more capable airframe.

The bigger question is between both EK and QR Boeing could potentially sell over 100 new frames to them. Will Boeing still move forward with the CFRP wing?

With that kind of initial support I could still see Boeing going with the more expensive option.
 
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:28 am

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
Or maybe the fact is that the 787 wasn't meant to be a 77W replacement in the first place? The 787 was designed primarily as a 767/A330 replacement. If they had designed it to be able to stretch that frame for it to be capable of being a 77W replacement as well, then the 787-8's efficiency will suffer because it'll be too heavy - the problem that the A350-800 is facing. If they optimise the frame around a medium size widebody - which is what they have done, then stretching it would require significant re-engineering and compromising.

I don't understand where this notion of the 787 architecture can not be made into a 77W modern replacement comes from. It is only 12 cm narrower then the 350 and this is certainly stretched to the 77W size class. The main design limitations is pavement loading with existing 4 wheel bogies and the engine ground clearance. Stretching the wing is at first cut a new raked wingtip and beefing up of the present structure.

For the fun of it I took the 787-10 and made a HGW variant to see what one can reach without major changes. So I changed the following:

Engines
Existing ones but strechted to some 80klbf+ to keep start performance. Further as they come on to the frame after the 787-10 I made them an additional 1% more effective compared to T1000-TEN.

MLG
I beefed it up to 270t probably necessitating new bogies which spread perhaps larger wheels over somewhat wider surface. Might force you to deepen the wing faring a bit but not much.

Wing
Added the 789 projected wingtips for a 63m span. Might have to tweak the high-lift stuff a bit to keep approach speed in check.


With all this I get a 270t frame which would run 8000nm and give the 350-900 a run for it's money. The next step would be adding another 4 frames to take it up to 350 pax, if that necessitates a 6 wheel bogie is the big question, further new engines might be needed as you need some 90klbf to get it of the ground. Sound like a not minor revision to the center wingbox at least. More discussion needed and then I model it  :

[Edited 2012-09-26 00:56:48]
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rheinwaldner
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:41 am

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
I can see no disadvantages (costs aside) in opting to go down that route as opposed to doing a "cheaper" upgrade, but conversely, the advantages in terms of performance could be dramatic.

Cost is the disadvantage of just about everything (except free wifi in McDonalds).
And it is one of the two the key drivers for the scope. The other is estimated sales.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
In what way is the 777X not a "proper solution to any needed MTOW increase"?

I spoke about a rewinged 787-version. The 781 without new wing is not a proper solution to any needed MTOW...

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
If it were that easy, Boeing would be doing it already.

Of course not. A new wing for the 787 would not be easy. But also not more complicated than for the 777X...

The reasons I listed support the business case of a rewinged 787.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
Or maybe the fact is that the 787 wasn't meant to be a 77W replacement in the first place?

I get that impression too. Which would have been a mistake.

Because it would be a clear case of silo-mentality, if they have constrained the design without any other reason, than to keep some clearance to the 777...

But these constraints can be overcome.

Quoting CXB77L (Reply 44):
One size does not fit all.

No, certainly not.

But on the other hand just look in how many lenghts the 737 was succesfully sold?

And why exactly do you advocate for the second and the third stretch of the 777 if you have troubles with the second and the third stretch of the 787?
 
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Faro
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RE: WSJ: Makeover Of 777 Agitates Boeing

Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:09 am

Quoting rheinwaldner (Reply 43):
The 777 will always be a half step behind the A350. So the A340NG-kind of outcome could also happen with a heavily modified 777X. In that case the minimalistic upgrade would be not so dumb....
Quoting rheinwaldner (Reply 48):
Cost is the disadvantage of just about everything (except free wifi in McDonalds).

Given the heinous escalation in R&D costs between successive generations of widebody airliners, it may be doubtful whether we may ever again have direct, new-generation to new-generation widebody competitions. One manufacturer will launch a totally new widebody and the other will attempt a patched-up version of an existing airframe and always be "half a step behind". It is difficult to see both A & B launch any rival newbuild widebodies simultaneously.

A heavily modified 777X would for all intents and purposes mimick a new widebody in R&D cost terms. A minimalistic upgrade will probably be the sensible way forward for B. It may not be able to compete meaningfully with the A350, but timing and cost of a new-wing 777X launch are the real constraints here.

Cost as rheinwalder says is the disadvantage of just about anything. The problem is that with increasing complexity, cost is becoming proportionally a heavier and heavier burden to bear...so either you get your timing right or you don't in which case you just have to accept that you're substantially going to skip out on a whole generation of a particular widebody. We saw this with the A330 vs the 763ER/764 and the 772ER/77W vs the A343/A345/A346.


Faro

[Edited 2012-09-26 03:55:16]

[Edited 2012-09-26 03:56:06]
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