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Boeing778X
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Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:39 am

As we all know, 50-seat jets, particularly in the U.S., are slowly going away. This includes smaller jets as well, like the E140, in which AA/MQ is in the process of removing from service.

Let's suppose that the niche for 50 seat jets is still prevalent, say, 8-10 years down the road. What could be used besides types like the CRJ-700, which would probably be the smallest thing eventually anyway?

Let's take an E145XR for example. What if we were to stretch it 2-3 frames to 54-56 seats, updated interior, uprate the AE3007, keep the wing but give it an angled E175EWT styled winglet, with 1600nm of range? E150?

The E145 line, AFAIK, is still active. How hard would it be for the type to evolve further?

Who would buy it? Skywest (Expressjet)? Envoy?
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BobleBrave
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:05 pm

In a ten years time, it could very well be the beginning of a new type of propulsion for 50 seaters. Something like an electrically powered hybrid Q300/ATR 42, using hydrogen fuel cell or a new type of battery (sodium-ion maybe?). Patrick De Castelbajac (ex ATR CEO) indicated in a may 2016 interview that ATRs would be the ideal platform to introduce such a tech in aviation and that they were on-going talks with Airbus about it.

Behind paywall and in french I am afraid : http://www.journal-aviation.com/actuali ... ommerciale

I believe the next substantial evolution in civil aviation will see its first applications in that regional segment due to a lower autonomy requirement among other things.

From here...

Image
1,5 tonnes German HY4

...to there

Image
15 tonnes ATR42
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keesje
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:01 pm

Hi I've be en considering too.

Obviously the ERJ and CRJ productline aren't what the airlines are looking for anymore.

The RF segment dissapeared as fast as it came.

I think eye hurting photo's like this send out a clear message. Parked RJ's long before their technical lifetimes.

Image

I think there is a market here, but it requires a step change improvement in efficiency / technology.

In terms of propulsion, required speed and operating costs.

:arrow: It would have to beat the popular ATR72-600, that totally outsold the faster Q400 over the last 10 years.
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:08 pm

If we have such tech we will probably see them being applied onto even smaller planes first
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Flighty
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:21 pm

No, 55 passengers would require another flight attendant. To justify that, you need at least say 66 passengers and a first class.

50 seater MAY be justifiable. A perfect 2x2 lightweight aircraft seating 50 pax might be viable. We still have many very depreciated airframes flying in that segment. When they all time out, I think more 50 seaters may be needed.

Otherwise, the RJ segment is really focused on 70 seaters that include a premium class. CRJ7/9 and EMB-175, which are all good airplanes.
 
VC10er
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:51 pm

Gosh, I recall LOVING my first E145 flight over some obscure brand of prop that I used to take on many very short routes, and frankly they scared me - and I am NOT someone who's afraid of flying. Today, I hate them and avoid them whenever possible. But recently I couldn't avoid it, and I was on a UA 145 from Newark to Nashville, and I realized it wasn't so bad after all. What WAS bad was how worn and ugly the interiors were...and I can't help but think that if everything on the inside is so visibly, horribly worn and patched, the seat cushions flattened hard after some 250,000 rear ends that were in it before me, and is that interior an indication of how well maintained the aircraft it if they are so unwilling to spend a dollar fixing anything inside?

One the way home I was on a new UA E175 and it was a joy and the interior and seats were like a new Mercedes Benz. Embraer no longer makes the E145 do they? I think they might still make it for Exec jets called a "Legacy"...can't they reintroduce a new commercial version with an improved wing and with fresh new interiors inspired by the E175?

If I am showing total ignorance, apologies, I admit I am a total novice on this.
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:07 pm

Many years ago we did have regional flying. Now we have fly over territory. Life and economics would be greatly improved in isolated rural areas if somehow we could reestablish affordable regional air transport. Many communities would be improved with even 2 or 3 times a week service which may be the minimum. A next question is how many passengers can a single pilot transport. Flights to the nearest city with daily service (and halfway decent medical service) is probably sufficient, few places are more than an hour or two away, given a regional plane that cruises at 300 knots. So far as I know there is no economical way of doing this now.
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keesje
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:33 pm

Lower speeds, lower range, lower maintenance, less crew, lower comfort, no freight, more noise. Variables that decrease costs.
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DfwRevolution
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:25 pm

VC10er wrote:
What WAS bad was how worn and ugly the interiors were...and I can't help but think that if everything on the inside is so visibly, horribly worn and patched, the seat cushions flattened hard after some 250,000 rear ends that were in it before me, and is that interior an indication of how well maintained the aircraft it if they are so unwilling to spend a dollar fixing anything inside?


Wait, the ERJ has a cycle limit of 60,000 flights. How many rear-ends are you assuming per flight? :crowded:

All kidding aside, I think the 20-50 passenger market is an example where the today's regulatory framework under Part 135 is actually counter-productive to society. Air travel is 100x time safer than automobile travel. You could argue that society would achieve a net safety gain from relaxing some commuter airline safety standards if it made the 20-50 seat more economical and shifted travelers off the roads and onto airplanes. For instance, eliminating the FA position and the first officer would reduce labor costs by 33-50%. At the airframe level, permitting single-engine aircraft up to 50 seats would reduce maintenance cost and fuel consumption. I would ballpark 20% ownership cost savings over a CRJ200 or ERJ-145 with equal technology. I expect such an airplane and its operations would still be significantly safer than automobile travel.

I also expect that no regulatory agency, insurance company, or airline would accept that risk trade. I merely provide it as an example of unorthodox thinking required to trade one risk for another.
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MIflyer12
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:30 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Many years ago we did have regional flying. Now we have fly over territory. Life and economics would be greatly improved in isolated rural areas if somehow we could reestablish affordable regional air transport. Many communities would be improved with even 2 or 3 times a week service which may be the minimum. A next question is how many passengers can a single pilot transport.


Do you want governments to subsidize 1/2 of fuel costs? Half of pilot wages? The U.S. Federal government greatly to expand the EAS program? U.S. carriers had fast-growing regional jet fleets when oil was less than $20/barrel. Don't expect it to happen again.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:15 pm

keesje wrote:
Lower speeds, lower range, lower maintenance, less crew, lower comfort, no freight, more noise. Variables that decrease costs.


Nice summary, but I suspect that the USPS, Amazon, and high value freight would help recover costs.
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:19 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
Many years ago we did have regional flying. Now we have fly over territory. Life and economics would be greatly improved in isolated rural areas if somehow we could reestablish affordable regional air transport. Many communities would be improved with even 2 or 3 times a week service which may be the minimum. A next question is how many passengers can a single pilot transport.


Do you want governments to subsidize 1/2 of fuel costs? Half of pilot wages? The U.S. Federal government greatly to expand the EAS program? U.S. carriers had fast-growing regional jet fleets when oil was less than $20/barrel. Don't expect it to happen again.


We highly subsidize rural areas in any event. I suspect that carefully chosen subsidies could include some air transport, and little extra cost. The best way to help rural economies is to promote commerce and population. There are a lot of people who would consider moving to isolated areas were high speed internet and some air transport were available.
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keesje
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:09 pm

R&D is progressing on single pilot flight. E.g certified for autonomous, with enough redundancy and a pilot as back-up. Speeds for regional flights could be lower, making everything lighter.
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VS11
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:21 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:

We highly subsidize rural areas in any event. I suspect that carefully chosen subsidies could include some air transport, and little extra cost. The best way to help rural economies is to promote commerce and population. There are a lot of people who would consider moving to isolated areas were high speed internet and some air transport were available.


I think there is a better way without subsidies. Just change the regulatory regime for pilot licensing by introducing some sort of Advanced PPL which has some IFR training based on glass cockpit and commercial privileges and let GA aircraft owners/pilots to use their aircraft to transport people for pay. At the current level of technology, there is absolutely no reason why GA pilots should not be able to fly for pay between many smaller communities.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:15 pm

I would agree that there is a need for more service to smaller communities with up to 50 seat aircraft. As has been discussed on here ad nauseum, the small turbo props are quite economical with respect to fuel and maintenance costs. What kills them is the cost of crew. Having to keep two pilots and a flight attendant on board are expensive, fixed costs. Though I have read on here that some outfits have essentially pay to fly copilots, there is still cost there. I would suggest that on flights that are under one hour, on aircraft that are equipped with autopilot that can essentially accomplish a gate to gate (or pad to pad) flight operation, that there be only the requirement for one pilot and a locked cockpit door. With some rather obvious safety measures, such as pilot consciousness monitoring and automated emergency operation, this could provide very low operational cost service between smaller cities and mainline carrier operations.

I realize that this will require legislation, operations development work, and different insurance risk modeling, all for generally low revenue operations. It will still be too ex pensive for most smaller outfits to startup with as the upfront costs will still be high, and the payback will be quite long. Larger carriers will not be able to approach it due to labor union contracts. Medium size regional outfits that are already in existence may be able to expand into it, but that is still an expensive proposition. Revenues are certain to be uneven as some flights will be near empty frequently. Many of them will never qualify for essential air service grants. Most people will see the expense and compare it to the cost of driving to the nearest major airport themselves for up to three hours and not bother.

In the long run, what would probably work better is just additional bus service to those communities. Much lower costs all around, maybe triple the travel time. You could pick a regional airport that already has a regional carrier serving it, establish a handful of buses that have twice daily service to surrounding communities, and accomplish the same thing for much less cost, and likely earn more money on a tenth of the revenue.
 
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:12 pm

Nodal connections in an effective transportation system should be mode neutral. In truly isolated areas a system that provided insurance, background checks, vehicle inspections, and coordination could even take advantage of the likely commuters who work in the regional city, but live in the isolated one. There almost always are such workers. An 'uber like' entity could do much of this. Automobiles might be the most practical for really small communities.

Also, is the isolated community willing to tax itself just a bit to provide that insurance, fees for background checks, vehicle inspections, special licenses. If they don't value the service, why should us city folks pick up the whole bill?
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:56 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
there be only the requirement for one pilot and a locked cockpit door. With some rather obvious safety measures, such as pilot consciousness monitoring

What good would that do, if there's only one?
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LightningZ71
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:10 pm

To allow automatic automated systems takeover of high level flight decisions and to initiate automated ATC alerts of a flight emergency and automated landing sequence engagement.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:51 pm

I find it a bit ironic that people are suggesting to put just one pilot in a cockpit of a regional airliner. More than any other type of flying, regional aircraft are bound to benefit two pilots more than any other type. A regional pilot will fly more flights per day in and out of smaller airports and is more likely to encounter non-precision approaches and other traffic.
It is much more demanding type of flying than a 777 that cruises in and out of major international airports with radar vectors, SIDs and ILS approaches once a day. If anything, make those aircraft single-pilot first.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:58 am

I don't disagree with a word that you said. But the simple fact of the matter is cost. Having two pilots and a FA is VERY expensive, especially if you are going to only be able to spread that cost over less than fifty seats. Subregional service in small craft has to be price competitive with alternative services. For example, I can pay a livery company to come pick me up at my house and drive me to the next closest city with decent air service for less than the cost of getting a flight to that same airport from the closest airport to me. Addmittedly, it's only 90 minutes away, but it also is faster when you include travel time to that airport, the wait for the flight, security, etc. That is what those small planes and their service are up against. When you factor in the cost of parking for a few days, or the uber/taxi to and from the airport, the difference grows.
 
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:19 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
I don't disagree with a word that you said. But the simple fact of the matter is cost. Having two pilots and a FA is VERY expensive, especially if you are going to only be able to spread that cost over less than fifty seats.

Cutting corners in the name of profitability is no way to operate an airline when safety is THE top priority. The number of seats behind the cockpit door is truly inconsequential to trapping errors, decision making and sound judgment that can only be reliably performed by two pilots.
 
bunumuring
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:31 am

Hey guys,
What the world needs now is ...
A new 50 seat turboprop... and here in Australia I am sure that REX would be looking at it very closely to replace its large fleet of Saab 340s. Qantaslink too may look at it for the peculiar and unique situation with flights between Sydney and Lord Howe Island, that don't allow (I believe) profitable operation of Q400s (and Q300s? Im not sure about them) atm and mean that QF have to retain some shortbody Q200s in the fleet specifically for that service.
Could Embraer make a move in this segment? I can't see Bombardier doing so (surely the CS500 will be next for them) nor ATR who appear to be looking 'up' in passenger capacity rather than 'down'.
I don't see a need for a new jet-powered 50 seater for a while unfortunately.
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bluefltspecial
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:41 am

Two things.

One. With technology doubling every year, I can only assume it's a matter of time before we have a much lighter 50 seat aircraft with more efficient engines making that type of aircraft a reality again. At some point it will happen again.

Two. Does anyone remember how much havoc all those 50 seat jets flooding ATC resulted in? I can remember being in JFK and on an RJ in the rain, being number 47 in line for takeoff, and turning and seeing a line of almost all RJs ahead of us. While a 50 seat jet will come back into play at some point, the US along with a number of other areas needs to get on the ball and revamp our archaic current ATC so when it does happen they're ready.

Just my .02 though...
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iamlucky13
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:11 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
I don't disagree with a word that you said. But the simple fact of the matter is cost. Having two pilots and a FA is VERY expensive, especially if you are going to only be able to spread that cost over less than fifty seats. Subregional service in small craft has to be price competitive with alternative services. For example, I can pay a livery company to come pick me up at my house and drive me to the next closest city with decent air service for less than the cost of getting a flight to that same airport from the closest airport to me. Addmittedly, it's only 90 minutes away, but it also is faster when you include travel time to that airport, the wait for the flight, security, etc. That is what those small planes and their service are up against. When you factor in the cost of parking for a few days, or the uber/taxi to and from the airport, the difference grows.


I think you overstate the matter somewhat. Just to try some rough numbers that I believe to be in the correct ballparks, if the pilot makes $75,000, the first officer $50,000, and the flight attendant $35,000, with a 2x cost-of-employment overhead, and they each accrue 800 flight hours per year, with a 75% load factor, then that's $10.67 per passenger worth of crew cost per flight hour.

In comparison, if we're looking at a 150 seat narrowbody, with a $150,000 pilot, $100,000 first officer, and 3 x $45,000 flight attendants, and an 80% load factor, then that's $8.02 flight per passenger worth of crew cost per flight hour.

For a 300-400 mile flight, how many passengers does $2-3 difference make or break the economics for?

There are numerous reasons why the comparison is not entirely valid, including the differing typical stage lengths, but clearly the flight crew costs alone do not radically alter the economics. There's a host of various costs that don't scale down well driving the regional CASM upwards.

I'm talking about regional flying. What you seem to be describing as sub-regional I agree is an extremely limited market probably best suited for charters and other modes of transportation.

Crazily enough, if I were able to buy a SEA-PDX ticket (~130 miles / 45 minutes) for the same cost per mile as I recently did for SEA-LAX, it would be a $20 flight, which is not much more than you would spend on gas for a typical car if you drove. Instead the actual ticket prices are showing as $85 and up.
 
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:07 am

bluefltspecial wrote:
With technology doubling every year, I can only assume it's a matter of time before we have a much lighter 50 seat aircraft with more efficient engines making that type of aircraft a reality again.


You're mixing up aerospace with the exponential improvement which was ONLY happening in microelectronics - and that's already slowing down.

Although there was a similar 50 years of exponential improvements in aerospace during the early 20th century, it's been slow evolution since the pressurised tube+wings & jet engine format was established in the 1960s.
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VSMUT
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:41 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
I don't disagree with a word that you said. But the simple fact of the matter is cost. Having two pilots and a FA is VERY expensive, especially if you are going to only be able to spread that cost over less than fifty seats. Subregional service in small craft has to be price competitive with alternative services. For example, I can pay a livery company to come pick me up at my house and drive me to the next closest city with decent air service for less than the cost of getting a flight to that same airport from the closest airport to me.


Safety is a reality in this business, it's a fact, it can't (and should not) be discussed.

If you can't operate an aircraft profitably without reducing safety, then you shouldn't be operating that aircraft/route in the first place.

LightningZ71 wrote:
Addmittedly, it's only 90 minutes away, but it also is faster when you include travel time to that airport, the wait for the flight, security, etc. That is what those small planes and their service are up against. When you factor in the cost of parking for a few days, or the uber/taxi to and from the airport, the difference grows.


If the time of travel by road to the next bigger airport is so short, then there shouldn't be an air-service in the first place. No amount of reduction of cockpit crew will ever make a route like that profitable. If you want fast and efficient public-transportation on such a route, the focus should be on rail-transport.
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:43 pm

I think a new small airliner in the 30-50 seat market segment would be viable - depending on a few things: It needs to be very economical, and it needs to have excellent runway performance. There are a lot of old Dash-8-100/200/300 out there with no real substitute when they time out. Widerøe have together with Bombardier completed a life-extension program on theirs, but eventually they'll run out of cycles and hours as well.

There are zero commercial airliners in production with 30-50 seats and sub 1000m takeoff and landing performance.
 
KCaviator
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:49 pm

Would a re-engined 50 seat RJ with a first class work? Put 6 F seats in and extend the aircraft by a couple rows so that the total capacity is still 50 seats.

More revenue from the addition of F class + presumed fuel savings from updated engines.
 
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:01 pm

KCaviator wrote:
Would a re-engined 50 seat RJ with a first class work? Put 6 F seats in and extend the aircraft by a couple rows so that the total capacity is still 50 seats.

More revenue from the addition of F class + presumed fuel savings from updated engines.


When the Q-400 Combi was first announced there was some discussion that BBD was attempting just that. An aircraft with the crew costs of a sub 50 seat aircraft, without the development costs of a new program, and with additional cargo revenue to pay for the extra weight over the Q-300 it would be replacing.

That being said, aside from the original order, I don't know of any airline that has taken the bait.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:09 pm

JetBuddy wrote:
I think a new small airliner in the 30-50 seat market segment would be viable - depending on a few things: It needs to be very economical, and it needs to have excellent runway performance. There are a lot of old Dash-8-100/200/300 out there with no real substitute when they time out. Widerøe have together with Bombardier completed a life-extension program on theirs, but eventually they'll run out of cycles and hours as well.

There are zero commercial airliners in production with 30-50 seats and sub 1000m takeoff and landing performance.


ATR disagrees:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ge-433391/

the manufacturer has devised several “manageable modifications” that would enable the 50-seater to operate from runways that “no other [comparable in-production] turboprop airplane can access”.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:42 pm

VSMUT - I agree that safety is paramount, and my thoughts on this specific topic are taking those into account. I'm not suggesting that this could, or would be done tomorrow. I'm suggesting this for 5-10 years down the road. In that time frame, we should have a fairly sizeable number of self driving cars on the road, including OTR semis doing overnight deliveries from city to city. In that same time frame, I suspect that there will be a provable commercial package for a fully automated autopilot system that can manage a gate-to-gate commercial flight. Such a system should count as one of the pilots for the purpose of such a discussion. However, I do not propose that the cockpit ever be unmanned. For flights of up to, and this is just a suggested timeframe, two hours, a plane so equipped could operate with a single human pilot and carry up to 50 passengers. I dare say that such an arrangement would be statistically safer than those same 50 people riding in a bus for the same distance traveled. The only problem that I see here is the potential for a suicidal pilot, though, as we have recently witnessed, even having a second pilot doesn't completely eliminate that danger.

I don't want to compromise safety one bit, but I am also of the opinion that such an autopilot is technically possible. Large drones are piloted fully autonomously every day from hangar to hangar. There is absolutely someone watching over them remotely, and that may become part of the solution to this issue (i.e. there is an operation center that has a handful of pilots sitting around and waiting for one of a fleet of semiautonomous aircraft to have an in-flight emergency). If we want to expand air service to smaller cities that are further away from major airports, it has to be economically viable. This is a way for that to happen.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:22 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
For flights of up to, and this is just a suggested timeframe, two hours, a plane so equipped could operate with a single human pilot and carry up to 50 passengers. I dare say that such an arrangement would be statistically safer than those same 50 people riding in a bus for the same distance traveled. The only problem that I see here is the potential for a suicidal pilot, though, as we have recently witnessed, even having a second pilot doesn't completely eliminate that danger.


I fly a regional turboprop for a living (although thankfully not on regional flights). I said it in one of my previous posts, regional flying is significantly more demanding than long-haul is. Regional flying will always require a more hands-on approach, and is more than anything going to be the last segment of aviation to be completely automated. When technology reaches the stage where it is mature enough to operate a regional flight automatically, then all the other flights will also have gone automatic long before.

You must remember that the big jets typically fly from one major airport to another, flying in a controlled environment with instrument procedures all the way.
Regional planes don't do that. They may have to leave controlled airspace, may encounter uncontrolled VFR traffic, may have to perform visual approaches to airports without a tower (or AFIS) etc. The entire instrument approach setup is extremely expensive, so small airports are unlikely to have the IFR setup of a major airport.
Realistically, there are so many decisions to be taken by the crew (in regional flying in particular) that it requires an artificial intelligence to take over the job of a pilot.

I have no issue with automating aviation, but you seem to have a false idea that regional planes are somehow going to be easier to automate because those plane are smaller. Reality is the exact opposite, it's the big ones that are easy to fly and operate. They feature more automation, and fly "simpler" routes.

LightningZ71 wrote:
There is absolutely someone watching over them remotely, and that may become part of the solution to this issue (i.e. there is an operation center that has a handful of pilots sitting around and waiting for one of a fleet of semiautonomous aircraft to have an in-flight emergency). If we want to expand air service to smaller cities that are further away from major airports, it has to be economically viable. This is a way for that to happen.


Have you seen how many people monitor those drones while they are airborne? They have practically an entire cockpit crew sitting watching over it at any given time. What would the advantage be in that? All you are going to do is take the pilots from the cockpit and move them into a remote center. They will still be there, and still be a burden on the economy.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:23 pm

"Safety is a reality in this business, it's a fact, it can't (and should not) be discussed."

That may not have been intended as such, but is a prime example of anti-rational thinking. Safety is always discussed, and in terms of benefit/cost ratios. The first objection might be safety of a short plane trip as compared to a difficult road trip. If the plane is safer, it is safer. When a medical flight is justified (and a lot of them are not), we discuss time to tertiary care versus by land ambulance.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
cvgComair
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:36 pm

keesje wrote:

I think eye hurting photo's like this send out a clear message. Parked RJ's long before their technical lifetimes.

Image



And all of those from CVG previously operated by Comair... :-( It's crazy how many ex-CVG aircraft are at Kingman Airport counting both Comair and DHL fleets!

However, smaller regional airlines are already emerging and they will need smaller regional aircraft in the future. For instance, Cincinnati-based Ultimate Air Shuttle (UE) operates 30 seat ERJ-135's and Fairchild Dornier 328JET's on LUK-MDW/PDK/CLT/MMU/BKL. While they are no Comair, airlines like this are having issues acquiring aircraft and as they expand, they will need new 30-50 seats jets. There is a market and I expect airlines like Ultimate Air Shuttle to continue expansion. I would like to see them pick up some old Comair CRJ-100's, they are already using ex-AA ERJ-135's, so its not out of possibility. They have mentioned LUK-TEB/MEM/BNA/CPS as possible future routes, building quite an impressive network from Cincinnati. They are experimenting with one-stop flights through LUK and I think we could see true "connections" within the next 9-15 months.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:59 am

I must concede your point on the rigors of regional flight. I focused on it more due to the tighter economics of it being a big motivator for autonomous flight systems. I also believe that society as a whole would be more accepting of autonomous flight when there are fewer lives at risk.

I've actually had recent time in the flight management facility for Saif drones through my work. I will not go into specifics on it as it was for a gov't agency. I will say that there is at least one head per asset for anything in flight, plus a whole cadre of support people. However, that is entirely because there is no one in those birds actively involved with them. There's nothing magical that happens when a plane crosses 12500 lbs to require a second pilot. The same sorts of automation that allow some small commuter turbo props and a handful of jets to certify with one pilot don't change as a plane gets larger. It is not unreasonable to suggest an even more developed autonomous flight system coupled with a live pilot wouldn't be suitable for the 50 or less seat market, especially turboprops, which is the most likely scenario. Having one pilot minding a half dozen single pilot aircraft remotely is much more economical, saves weight on the plane itself, and is easier to staff. I don't think that you are negatively affecting safety in a significant way beyond what is already allowed in the books already. This may actually be an improvement for some of the smallest flights out there in the 19 or less seat category.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:57 am

LightningZ71 wrote:
Having two pilots and a FA is VERY expensive


Here is a cost breakdown for "small rj" and "large rj" and "turboprop". I would not say that two pilots and an FA are VERY expensive. For example, for an Air Wisconsin CRJ200, the crew is 1/3 the cost of the whole flight.
http://www.planestats.com/bhsr_2015jun
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:54 am

Looking at that chart, something is very odd about the spread between the Dash 8 and the EMB 120. The ASM costs for the EMB 120 are quite high, likely due to its small capacity. The Dash 8 has lower ASM numbers, but is also larger than the 50 seat number that is the target of this conversation. Also, look at the AC cost numbers for several of the aircraft in the list. It seems that many of them have been almost fully depreciated as their cost numbers are near zero in many cases. What it does show is that the block hour crew costs seem to be rather stable between frame sizes, which means as the frames get smaller, the crew costs per seat mile must go up. The EMB 120 numbers support this, the Dash 8, having the same seating capacity as a large regional, has very low crew costs per seat mile. Comparing the smaller RJs and turboprops to the larger RJs, you see the crew costs sink to something below 25%. This is the point that I was trying to make, as the frames get smaller, the proportion of the cost per seat mile represented by the crew goes up. In the sub 50 seat class, that ratio is at its worst.
 
Nean1
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:00 pm

If the regulation moves in the right direction and the oil price remains at a reasonable level (40-60 USD / bpp), we will have some incentive for advanced regional aircraft with capacities between 30 and 50 passengers (ARJ-30 e ARJ-50). This class of aircraft should be sufficiently distinct from current 76-passenger models to find a significant niche. If this premise materializes, the aircraft I hope to find is:

- Single pilot cockpit (the flight attendant may remain in the cabin on takeoff and landing, acting as first officer). The flight attendant profession would be seen as a step in the career of a commercial pilot;
- Cabin in three side layouts, with level of comfort, space for carry-on luggage comparable to larger jets. That means a fuselage diameter about 6 inches larger than the ERJ-145;
- Fuselage configuration similar to Honda Jet and VFW-Fokker, with turbofans above the wings, providing penalty minimization for future larger diameter engines.
- Geared fan engines. It means less noise for passengers, neutralizing a negative aspect of the engine position.
- Optimized wings for relatively low speeds (~ 400 knots), and short distances (up to 2 hour trips). Excellent landing and takeoff characteristics. Possibly a more favorable operating condition for the configuration of engines above the wings.
 
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keesje
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:28 pm

.
Ouch.. Nov 2016.

Image

I wonder how much the availability of good used ones with spares for extremely low prices is kiling the business case for anything new for some time to come..
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:27 pm

Nean1 wrote:
If the regulation moves in the right direction and the oil price remains at a reasonable level (40-60 USD / bpp), we will have some incentive for advanced regional aircraft with capacities between 30 and 50 passengers (ARJ-30 e ARJ-50). This class of aircraft should be sufficiently distinct from current 76-passenger models to find a significant niche. If this premise materializes, the aircraft I hope to find is:

- Single pilot cockpit (the flight attendant may remain in the cabin on takeoff and landing, acting as first officer). The flight attendant profession would be seen as a step in the career of a commercial pilot;


A copilot for a RJ makes on the order of $50 / flight hour. The plane costs more than $1,000/flight hour. The copilots pay will not make or break anything.
 
N353SK
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:00 pm

Nean1 wrote:
:

- Single pilot cockpit (the flight attendant may remain in the cabin on takeoff and landing, acting as first officer). The flight attendant profession would be seen as a step in the career of a commercial pilot


I don't understand this. A "flight attendant" in the cockpit for takeoff and landing only would either be:
A) trained as a flight attendant and therefore not useful in the cockpit
B) trained as a pilot and therefore requiring the salary of a pilot, which has been rising rapidly lately.

Furthermore, from a safety perspective it seems very risky to not have a flight attendant in the cabin during the portions of flight that are most likely to result in an evacuation.
 
tjh8402
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:32 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
I must concede your point on the rigors of regional flight. I focused on it more due to the tighter economics of it being a big motivator for autonomous flight systems. I also believe that society as a whole would be more accepting of autonomous flight when there are fewer lives at risk.

I've actually had recent time in the flight management facility for Saif drones through my work. I will not go into specifics on it as it was for a gov't agency. I will say that there is at least one head per asset for anything in flight, plus a whole cadre of support people. However, that is entirely because there is no one in those birds actively involved with them. There's nothing magical that happens when a plane crosses 12500 lbs to require a second pilot. The same sorts of automation that allow some small commuter turbo props and a handful of jets to certify with one pilot don't change as a plane gets larger. It is not unreasonable to suggest an even more developed autonomous flight system coupled with a live pilot wouldn't be suitable for the 50 or less seat market, especially turboprops, which is the most likely scenario. Having one pilot minding a half dozen single pilot aircraft remotely is much more economical, saves weight on the plane itself, and is easier to staff. I don't think that you are negatively affecting safety in a significant way beyond what is already allowed in the books already. This may actually be an improvement for some of the smallest flights out there in the 19 or less seat category.


12,500 lb is not a hard and fast rule. There are single pilot certified aircraft that weigh more than that and there are plenty of bizjets that weigh less and are not single pilot. It's not necessarily based on weight; it's based on the performance and flying characteristics of the aircraft. I'll also add as someone that worked line service at an FBO for 8 years that just because the plane is single pilot certified didn't mean it was flown that way. Single pilot jets and larger (Pilatus and King Air and above) size turboprops commonly flew with two pilots, probably more often than not, and especially if it was a commercial operation. Forget the FAA - good luck getting insurance on a commercially operated single pilot jet. Unless it was a piston, if the person sitting in the left seat was wearing a pilot uniform, there was most likely someone in the right seat wearing one as well.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:18 am

I can't disagree with what you say, as it matches what I see on a fairly regular basis. I'm speaking to a future environment that is 5-10 years on down the line. I see it like the computer is essentially considered a pilot in its own right, and not just a fancy auto pilot. While there will always be a human in the cockpit that can validate what the AI is doing, or is flying with the AI looking over his/her shoulder, there is never an operational moment without a shared workload. The ground based pilot monitor is there for redundancy.

I see this as a part of the cost savings that will enable greater secondary market service where it might be cost prohibitive now. I don't even see this as a major risk factor for insurance purposes. There will be regs for AI capability and functional validation, including redundancy for critical components. We already have AIs flying multi-day missions that include in flight refueling and precision surveillance objectives. (Granted, that is still considered prototype level, but it does work) There is a time fast approaching where there will be AI systems proving on passenger air transport type aircraft for typical passenger missions. It's no longer an "IF" but a "when".
 
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Btblue
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:25 am

Turkey have bought the rights to the Dornier 328 programme and intend on building a new regional jet, the 628.

viewtopic.php?t=590127
 
DiamondFlyer
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:53 am

keesje wrote:
.
Ouch.. Nov 2016.

Image

I wonder how much the availability of good used ones with spares for extremely low prices is kiling the business case for anything new for some time to come..


You'll notice that there are some open spots in the large row of Delta CRJ200's. A number have been returned to service in the last year. Honestly, the ones parked there are some of the newer 200's Delta had, they were just due for a MX check. So, if they decide to keep 50 seat flying around longer than everyone expects, as the current frames time out, it might be a case of take an old one out service to bring one out of IGM to replace it.
From my cold, dead hands
 
georgiabill
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:21 pm

Strange to see a Lynden Air Cargo C-130 there. Do they normally store aircraft there, or their business plan does not need this aircraft due to less military contracts?
 
VC10er
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:45 pm

Wouldn't it stand to reason that an aircraft design and manufacturing company like Embraer (for one) has studied this to death? I have worked closely with them for years branding their line of Exec jets and they are extremely smart folks and they would know the market interest as well as the talent to do it. I must assume they have looked to build a fast, comfortable, stylish, reliable 50ish seater with the latest technology, (aeronautics, wings, engines, etc) who's operating costs are far better than their very old E135/45...and that it is currently NOT solvable? (yet!) And I would wish it was them because of how much I love the E175-95, especially the large well positioned windows and the beautiful birds to look at as well. All of that was carefully planned...as was the Phenom
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:52 pm

VC10er wrote:
Wouldn't it stand to reason that an aircraft design and manufacturing company like Embraer (for one) has studied this to death?


:thumbsup:

I am pretty sure both Embraer and Bombardier crunch the numbers from time to time to see if they work out. The fact that they haven't done anything (and neither has anyone else) indicates that either it can't be done at the moment (or can be done better with turboprops) and/or the market just isn't there.


VC10er wrote:
And I would wish it was them because of how much I love the E175-95, especially the large well positioned windows


While I love those massive windows, the positioning can be hit and miss. Worst I tried was a Lufthansa -195 where the windows alligned perfectly with the seatbacks through the entire cabin, meaning that nobody had a full window.
 
Nean1
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Re: Hypothetical: New 50-55 Seat RJ

Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:26 am

kitplane01 wrote:
Nean1 wrote:
If the regulation moves in the right direction and the oil price remains at a reasonable level (40-60 USD / bpp), we will have some incentive for advanced regional aircraft with capacities between 30 and 50 passengers (ARJ-30 e ARJ-50). This class of aircraft should be sufficiently distinct from current 76-passenger models to find a significant niche. If this premise materializes, the aircraft I hope to find is:

- Single pilot cockpit (the flight attendant may remain in the cabin on takeoff and landing, acting as first officer). The flight attendant profession would be seen as a step in the career of a commercial pilot;


A copilot for a RJ makes on the order of $50 / flight hour. The plane costs more than $1,000/flight hour. The copilots pay will not make or break anything.


A new generation of aircraft is justified by the reduction of the CASM of 15%. If this idea is possible it meets 1/3 of the goal, there will be only 10% remaining for other initiatives (GTF, wing optimization, ..).

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