Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Mon Nov 06, 2000 2:44 pm

With longer-range ETOPS standards coming out along with more powerful and fuel-efficient engines, is the four-engined airliner going to become obsolete in the near future?

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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Mon Nov 06, 2000 2:46 pm

Not if Airbus and their massive A3XX have anything to say about it...

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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Mon Nov 06, 2000 2:50 pm

Four-engined aircraft are definitely getting competition from aircraft such as the 777 and A330. But the 747, A340 and A3XX are here to stay.

RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Mon Nov 06, 2000 5:37 pm

All it will take is a couple of incidents with ETOPs aircraft and 3 and 4 engined aircraft will be firmly replacing them again.
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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Mon Nov 06, 2000 5:52 pm

A twin engined A3XX? Immagine how big those nacelles would be. They may as well just use A300 fuselage segments for the things!!!
No, seriously, I think 4 engines will stay around. I doubt that Boeing will succeed in pushing for any further extension of ETOPS over 180 (I heard some talk about trying to get it up to 240 or something...). Still, what happens will happen. I'd be very interested to see the development of Hydrogen powered engines, myself...
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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 9:30 am

Four-holers will stay, The general public usually feels safer flying on a 4 engined jet rather than a 2 or 3 engined jet. Airbus has new A340 series(500,600) and those are selling well(orders) I have a feeliing they won't be leaving for awhile.
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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 9:38 am

Honestly,I think that the 747,A3XX and the A340 will stay, but not for long.As soon as airlines find out that a two engined jet is more efficient,they will start replacing their 747,A3XX,A340 ect ect. with the A330,767 and the 777.

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Then Why No More Three Holers?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 9:52 am

All you have to do is look at the demise of the L1011, DC-10/MD-11, and B727. Why were/are these being phased out, never to return? Because there is a more efficient and equally as safe way to power the newer airline designs. Case in point, the demise of the 4 engined DC-8 and B707. Yes, four engine airliners will remain for megasize designs such as A3XX or B747s that require more power than 2 engines can provide. Look at the orders for the B777 vs A340. This will tell you about the future of 4 engines.

I don't buy the argument that passengers feel more safe with more engines. Some may, but they are a minority in my opinion. These are the same people that wear both a belt and suspenders at the same time.


RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 10:15 am

No, four-holers aren't going anywhere. There is no, lemme repeat that, *no* way to carry an A3XX load on two engines. Plus, with Airbus staking a huge bet on the 3XX and the 340NG, they simply won't allow the four-holer to die. If sales of the A340NG go low, I would honestly not be surprised to see them simply refuse to sell A330s for a while in order to get some 340 orders.
Boeing, however, is clearly hoping the four-holer is headed out, as all of their future developments (except the 747X) use two engines.
Final verdict? Four-holers aren't going anywhere, and won't for a *long* time.
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RE: Are

Tue Nov 07, 2000 10:33 am

The idea of sitting in excess of three hours in a single engined A/C crossing the Pacific is not exactly my idea of a safe and comfortable journey.

We do have a choice, and I thus rather spend a few hours waiting for my 4 engined A/C to take me across those extensive and deep waters in safety.

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RE: Then Why No More Three Holers?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 10:42 am

Why no more three holers?
Turn the question 180 degrees: Why were the three holers designed 30-35 years ago?
And the answer: Because the rules were different at that time. You had to have minimum three engines to fly any substantial distance where there were not plenty of airports underneath. With ETOPS rules of today the situation has changed completely.
The market for four holers more and more looks like a niche market. We saw ETOPS 60, then 90, 120, 180 and even 180+15% (207) and of course 240 is the next thing to discuss.
Forget about what passengers prefer. Most passengers don't even remember the number of engines on the plane they flew on five minutes ago. Airlines and airliner manufacturers decide the number of engines with respect to the rules drawn by FAA and other CAAs.
Hopefully we won't see ETOPS related incidents or what is even worse. Should that happen one day, then the rules may very well be rolled backwards again. It will increase the demand for four holers.
The A330/340 design seems to be a very clever move. It lets the customer decide the number of engines he wants on basically otherwise the same plane. And there are still Pacific or polar routes which are best served with four holers with present ETOPS rules.
The rest of the four holers are more complicated to explain. The 747 is a 35 years old design, which has come to a crossroad of its further development. It may be developed into something bigger, or it may fade away slowly. We don't know yet.
The last one A3XX is (also) too big to be powered by less than four known engines. But then we don't know if it will ever fly. The only thing we know pretty sure is, that if both an enlarged 747 and an A3XX goes into production, then at least one of them - maybe both - will have very hard times and will probably very soon fade away.
Then of course there is the niche bird above all other niche birds, the Avro RJ-70/85/100. It's a different story - not made for maximum economy, but made for going places where no other similar jet bird goes. It reduces needed runway length, not by noisy power, but by substantially reducing the spare runway the twin needs in case of engine failure at V1 speed.
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Tue Nov 07, 2000 12:38 pm

Your statment is terribly ironic. Not only has there never been a documented case of duel inflight engine failures of different origin, (the only cases are same mechanic, same mistake...), but the 4 engine plane you wait for, obvisouly has TWICE the probability of an engine failure as a twin. You feel safer with twice the chance of an engine sheding a fan balde and maybe cliping the wing if not contained, or punctures the fuel tank?

The chance of 2 engines failing for different reasons is technically zero, as it has never happened. So if two engines do fail, it is not becuase of the number of engines that you are in trouble. Out of fuel, go through volcanic ash. Either way, all engines go out and in a four holer you have twice as much to worry about. A twin is 100% overpowered, a four only 33%. Since most crashes (statistics can prove anythign I admit) tend to be controlled flights into terrain, would you rather have 100% extra power to get over a mountain, or 33%.

I don't think a four engine is any more dangerous than a twin, as I would get on any Boeing/Airbus widebody twin or four accross the Pacific at anytime. It is just ignorant to say that four engines are better than two simply because there are twice as many.....

My $.02

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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 1:01 pm

The truth is that twins are more reliable than 4 engines because on 4 holers, there is twice as much to go wrong.
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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 2:38 pm

Then i think we should start lobbying Boeing and Airbus for a single engine A32X/B737!

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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Tue Nov 07, 2000 4:31 pm

Also, on the 777, and probably the A330, the engines are maintained at the highest standards, because there are just two. So that even more greatly reduces your chances of a problem with a twin.
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RE: Are

Tue Nov 07, 2000 5:51 pm

Surely not.

B747X, A3XX, A340: You´ll see them newly delivered even in 20 years from now (ok, maybe the 747X will have a successor then).
If traffic rises and rises, the demand for very large aircraft will rise too. And a A3XX size aircraft with only two engines? I don´t think so. The engines will be too big, so big that the undercarriage has to be very long and therefore more vulnerable. The engines will have to be so big and mighty that I fear an engine explosion inflight might rip off the whole wing. (Actually thats what I think always when I see a 777).
Also I´m sure that its just betraying yourself if you think (the new) Big twins might be safer than the (mostly older) 4-engined aircraft. I expect ETOPS-incidents and accidents in the future. Its only that the ETOPS planes are very young and not so common that nothing serious happened so far. I have the feeling that in recent months the number of engine-shutdowns inflight on Big Twins are increasing. And about the mentioned higher maintenance standards of ETOPS engines: Think 5, 10 years ahead when the first used 777s will be available for less than excellent airlines: The standards will decline, the risks going up like a rocket - or the 777s will be very cheap to buy secondhand because of expensive service.
Actually, when you look at 747s and A340s of the same age as 777s, their engine-related incident rate isn´t higher.

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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Wed Nov 08, 2000 12:00 am

I think four-engines will be with us for a long time, but only the largest airliners--A3xx/B747 and their sucessors--will have them. Twins use less maintenance, labor, and fuel, and it all comes down to the bottom line. Maybe airlines and pax will reconsider if and when an ETOPS accident occurs, but for now airlines want low operating costs and pax want low airfares.

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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Wed Nov 08, 2000 1:02 am

Hey guys, do you know that one 777 engine has the power of all eight engines on an early B-52 bomber. Great idea for a B-52 re-engining program!!!
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RE: Are

Wed Nov 08, 2000 1:03 am

A twin is safer than a quad only if a quad can't fly with two working engines. But I never heard 747 or 340 falls from the sky if two engines are shut-down (correct me if I'm wrong). So, yes, with 4 engines there are twice more things to go wrong, but a twin with a single engine working is in MUCH MORE WRONG situation than a quad with three.
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RE: Are "four-holers" On The Way Out?

Wed Nov 08, 2000 2:46 am

I doubt that four-engine planes will be disappearing soon, especially for the over 350-seat market.

Given that the Airbus A3XX and Boeing 747X are designed specifically for four-engine operation, the very large planes will continue to have four engines (though that could be reduced to three if the new flying wing transports being studied by Boeing and Airbus become reality in 10-15 year's time).

But for the under 350-seat market, the Boeing 777-200ER/200LR/300ER with its twin-engine design will be the norm. After all, the 772ER has actually more range than the 747-400, and has proved to be very popular with AF, BA, CO, DL, and UA for operations over long international trunk routes.

The A340-500/600 series may sell at a slow and steady pace, primarily being used on very long over-water routes where even ETOPS 207 is not sufficient and for customer preferences (VS is buying the A346 because it polled its own customer base and the customers had reservations about two-engined planes on long overwater routes).

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