jamies80085
Topic Author
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:05 pm

Aircraft Development Costs

Sat May 29, 2010 7:30 pm

Good evening,
I've been trying for weeks to find a definitive answer to what make up the cost of developing an airliner, including the breakdowns of design cost, testing, and other areas that may be included. I can't find anything at all, so I'm hoping one of you may be able to help.

what % of the development cost is due to:
Design
new buildings for manufacture
testing.

Kind regards,

Jamie
Cross my heart and hope to fly, f**k right off into the middle of the sky... that would be my ecstasy
 
BMI727
Posts: 11099
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Aircraft Development Costs

Sat May 29, 2010 7:49 pm

I don't quite have the numbers you are looking for, but I have heard that for spacecraft most of the money is for design and labor. So when somebody blows up a billion dollar satellite, they haven't really wasted the full billion. Most of that money stayed on the ground.

I suspect that airliners are similar, but not to that extent since more money needs to be put into testing and manufacturing facilities.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
jamies80085
Topic Author
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:05 pm

RE: Aircraft Development Costs

Sat May 29, 2010 8:13 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):

Thanks
Cross my heart and hope to fly, f**k right off into the middle of the sky... that would be my ecstasy
 
GST
Posts: 808
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:27 am

RE: Aircraft Development Costs

Sat May 29, 2010 10:24 pm

With the current systems engineering approach to development, pretty much all of the design is done before you start building. There is a nice graph that I cant find about now, but will keep looking, and just describe it here. On the X axis you have time, and on the Y, money. You have two lines, cost committed, and cost spent. When you are doing design work, you employ a large number of people, but they are utilising relatively little resources, and almost never use much resources. On the other hand, when you finish more and more pieces of the design, the cost you have committed in the development increases. Therefore, the low financial burden of cost spent on design gives a low gradient, but the cost committed starts off very steep. Approaching half way you're building test pieces, building plants etc, the money spent begin to climb, whilst the design work is winding down, so the committed cost line climbs less and less rapidly. Usually about 60% of the way through the process, you start building an aeroplane. At this point, the spent cost reaches its highest gradient, and pretty much stays there until project end, and the design is wound down. the lines end converging at a point of the final time of the development process, and the total money spent. Both lines have positive gradients along their entire length, as you are always spending money, and committing more.

Hope that's clear, I will try to answer questions, and find the graph tomorrow.
 
jamies80085
Topic Author
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:05 pm

RE: Aircraft Development Costs

Sun May 30, 2010 8:17 am

Quoting GST (Reply 3):

Thanks, so the initial cost is quiet low until the actual production starts?
Cross my heart and hope to fly, f**k right off into the middle of the sky... that would be my ecstasy
 
GST
Posts: 808
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:27 am

RE: Aircraft Development Costs

Sun May 30, 2010 9:07 am

Quoting jamies80085 (Reply 4):

Yeah, it will still be significant, but for most of the design period, you aren't spending much on infrastructure etc. Engineers wages are relatively high though, but at the end of the day, until you're close to being done with the design work and have plants being built, the project costs will not be prohibitively high, and you could say in most cases the project would still be cancel-able.
 
cobra27
Posts: 939
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:57 pm

RE: Aircraft Development Costs

Sun May 30, 2010 9:29 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
I don't quite have the numbers you are looking for, but I have heard that for spacecraft most of the money is for design and labor. So when somebody blows up a billion dollar satellite, they haven't really wasted the full billion. Most of that money stayed on the ground.

Couldn't said better myself.

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