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Anonz263x
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What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:54 pm

Ive read how McDonnell Douglas had a twinjet concept for the DC-10, but how come the idea was not pursued, and Airbus went ahead to make a300 a twinjet using the same CF6 and JT9D engines, was it to do with ETOPS, or were the engines on the DC-10 underpowered for it to be a capable twinjet?
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:03 pm

ETOPS was a major consideration, yes. In addition, while it was possible for the DC-10 to have been powered by two engines, the engines of the time meant that such a design would not have optimal performance, particularly at high airports like Denver or short runways (indeed, these two conditions were one of the main reasons why the DC-10 and Tristar were twin-engined even though the Tristar was originally envisioned as a twinjet). For the A300, it could get away with only two engines because it was originally envisioned as a short-to-medium haul transport and thus could be smaller, plus it was initially targeted towards the European market so issues such as overwater flying wasn't as much of an issue.
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:07 pm

The DC-10, especially the -30, had far more range than the A300- early A300s could barely even fly transcon, let alone across an ocean, and even the latest and greatest A300 could barely do TATL. Engines were not powerful enough at the time to use only two to operate the weights needed for those missions.

The A300 was originally designed to literally be an air bus on short haul routes. The DC-10 was not.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:53 pm

The DC-10 was meant to be smaller than the 747, but still able to get around the ETOPS restrictions without a problem (which required 3+ engines). That's why the DC-10 was made with 3 engines. A twin engined DC-10 would have likely only been able to serve domestic, high capacity routes, leaving the transatlantic/transpacific flying to the 747. In Europe, restrictions weren't that strong, since they relied on ICAO rules instead (90 minutes), so the A300 was able to carry smaller capacity than a 747 across mid-range routes OR able to fly to Canada and into the Indian Ocean without being restricted to the FAA's 60 minute rule.

The DC-10's initial ability to be exempted from ETOPS eventually made it inefficient as twins proved to be just as efficient or more than trijets on the same routes once ETOPS was expanded.

filipinoavgeek wrote:
plus it was initially targeted towards the European market so issues such as overwater flying wasn't as much of an issue.

That's not quite accurate. While European airlines were the initial buyers, the plane had been marketed to American airlines. A great portion of the design was American procured, it used GE/PW engines, and used US units instead of metric units (though this may have been because many airlines operated Boeing and Douglas aircraft).
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:59 pm

The two aircraft were designed for different roles.
The A300 was designed for high desity short haul routes e.g. London - Paris (before Eurostar tunnel was built) and was really where the name "Air-Bus" came from.
The DC-10 was designed to be the next generation on from the 707 and DC-8 on long haul routes, like TATL, West coast to Hawaii, US Transcon etc. Interestingly, these routes are considered "medium haul" at best these days!
When the A300 and DC-10 were designed, ETOPS was not a thing. If someone had told you then that planes with a few hundred passengers would eventully be allowed to roam the world's oceans 330 mins from land on only two engines you would have asked them what they'd been smokng!
Because of the above the DC-10 had to be designed with (a minimum of) three engines, but the A300 didn't.
As big fan engines became more and more reliable and IFSD rates reached low levels unimaginable a decade or two previously, ETOPS was cautiously introduced by the world's regulating authorities and longer range versions of the A300 and 767 opened up long haul flying for twins, and the rest is history. McDonnell Douglas did look at building a twin engined version of the DC-10 but never went forward with it. Probably because of all the additional structure required for having the third engine at the back, the basic frame would never be competitive as a twin.
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:03 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
ETOPS was a major consideration, yes.


No it wasn't. These designs were set down in the 1960s and were built starting in the early 1970s. ETOPS wouldn't be mentioned for another decade, and wouldn't become common practice for yet another decade. The engine power available at the time is why these designs came out the way they did.

The 747, DC-10, L-1011 and A300 were intending to take advantage of the new high-bypass turbofans that were then just new and appearing to be in the 40-45 klbs thurst range. Note this was more than twice the power of the leading commercial engine at the time, the JT3D. The initial production engines in the early 1970s would turn out to be above 45 klbs, and 50 klbs would become available a few years later.

Boeing developed the 747 for what they felt could be done with four of such engines. They made a huge airframe with massive weights. DC-10 and L-1011 were a bit more modest, with the DC-10 being the heavier of the two. Douglas wanted the DC-10 to have a particular fuselage size and range. Thus, there was no choice but to use three such engines in order to get what they wanted.

The A300 project used two engines. They designed a nice fuselage with a great cross-section, but it would result in a fair amount of weight. The two-engine weight budget meant that range would suffer. So they put a small wing on it and it was what it was - a regional widebody. It doved in with a concept of the time of widebody inter-city regional service. The range of the initial A300s was fairly meager - well less than 1000 nm fully loaded. But that's what the engines of the time could do.

Engine power increased as time went on. In the late 1970s Boeing developed the 767 based on better engines. Combined with a bit smaller fuselage but a larger wing, the 767 had much better range. Later, Airbus would attach engines of mid-60 to low-70 klbs to their nice fuselage with a new wing and would get the A330. But even then, the initial A330 wasn't all that capable until later engines and heavier weights came about. Before then, if you wanted the A330 cross-section but long range, you had to shop for the A340s.

ETOPS didn't really get attention until the 1980s, after the A300 had been out for awhile and the 767 was starting to show its capabilities. The idea would get developed in the 1990s but it was still not widely applied in the world - mostly TATL.

So why wasn't the DC-10 a twin? Engine power. There is no way you could have gotten that fuselage into service with just two 1970-vintage CF6s. To get it to flirt with 4000-5000 nm ranges, you needed the weights and so trijet it was. Maybe engines in the late 1980s could have gotten that fuselage similar performance configured as a twin (combined with a new wing and a bracing weight reduction), but MDD wanted a stretch and so they needed three 60 klbs-class engines in order to provide the performance to what became the MD-11.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:13 pm

aviatorcraig wrote:
McDonnell Douglas did look at building a twin engined version of the DC-10 but never went forward with it. Probably because of all the additional structure required for having the third engine at the back, the basic frame would never be competitive as a twin.


It would not have been a problem to delete most of that. The bulk of that structure were made up of the Banjo Fittings used to support —hang— the #2 Engine in a crane like manner. That would not have been present with a conventional Vertical Stabilizer. As well, the components that make up the Patio would likely also have been deleted as well, no doubt saving some Kgs there.

But you are right in the sense that what was proposed was a very heavy design, for its size. Most of this was in the wing box, and the wings themselves, which would have remained fundamentally the same. While that would have actually delivered fairly decent field performance with the upgrades in the pipeline for the CF6 family, the in cruise efficiency likely would not have been sufficient for TATL work. I do not have the figures at hand, but the per seat weight for that would have been the heaviest in commercial aviation. As well, it was a smaller frame than the original DC-10-10/30/40, which did not help.

In the end, they chose to go the other direction, continuing the DC-10-60 into the MD-11. The rest, as we know, is history.
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:19 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
ETOPS was a major consideration, yes. In addition, while it was possible for the DC-10 to have been powered by two engines, the engines of the time meant that such a design would not have optimal performance, particularly at high airports like Denver or short runways (indeed, these two conditions were one of the main reasons why the DC-10 and Tristar were twin-engined even though the Tristar was originally envisioned as a twinjet). For the A300, it could get away with only two engines because it was originally envisioned as a short-to-medium haul transport and thus could be smaller, plus it was initially targeted towards the European market so issues such as overwater flying wasn't as much of an issue.


To expand on this, the OP's post seems to have an assumption baked into it regarding the size of the airframes being roughly equivalent. They're not.

Even the D10-10 was a 240,000 pound OEW with an MTOW of 430,000 pounds. The A300B4 is roughly a 195,000 OEW and 363,000 MTOW. Sure, 8000 of that is the extra engine, but you're still left with nearly 20 tons more airplane on the -10, and the D10-30 is an even larger size gap. There wasn't an engine big enough to do that as a twin at the time, at least not with performance that would have been commercially acceptable (or even legal).
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:34 pm

smithbs wrote:

The A300 project used two engines. They designed a nice fuselage with a great cross-section, but it would result in a fair amount of weight. The two-engine weight budget meant that range would suffer. So they put a small wing on it and it was what it was - a regional widebody. It doved in with a concept of the time of widebody inter-city regional service. The range of the initial A300s was fairly meager - well less than 1000 nm fully loaded. But that's what the engines of the time could do.


Do you know the range of Eastern's A300s circa 1985? I recall BOS-IAH-SEA on the Moonlight Shuttle. viewtopic.php?t=248589
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:55 pm

I've borrowed heavily from wikipedia here, because I cannot really improve on their words

wikipedia wrote:
The A300 is powered by a pair of underwing turbofan engines (either General Electric CF6 or Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines);
the sole use of underwing engine pods allowed for any suitable turbofan engine to be more readily used.

The lack of a third tail-mounted engine, as per the trijet configuration used by some competing airliners (DC-10 & L-1011), allowed for the wings to be located further forwards and to reduce the size of the vertical stabilizer and elevator, which had the effect of increasing the aircraft's flight performance and fuel efficiency.


You can argue that this in turn forced the A300 to start out as a short-medium haul design, with a maximum range of "only" 2,900 naut miles. I don't see that this was in any way a "problem".
polot wrote:
The A300 was originally designed to literally be an air bus on short haul routes. The DC-10 was not.
Exactly!

In fact the earliest users were quite happy to use this design on some of their shortest routes. :o
FRA-LHR is is only 408 miles
Paris - LHR is just 228 miles

Occasionally A300s got a decent run out, all the way down to Tenerife e.g. BRU-TFS = 1671 nm

{One is reminded that back in 1974-78, the majority of aviation enthusiasts were english and seemed to congregate at LHR; hence nearly every A300 photo of that era is taken at LHR. And when these english fruitcakes went abroad, foreign governments just looked on with abject puzzlement at these crazy english spotters. :rotfl: (or possibly threw them in jail) }

filipinoavgeek wrote:
..plus it {the A300} was initially targeted towards the European market so issues such as overwater flying wasn't as much of an issue.
Is there much overwater flying between LAX and JFK? Or MEX and YYZ? I humbly suggest the A300 could serve a lot of markets without ever getting it's feet wet. :D

Bottom line; Airbus exploited a seemingly obvious gap in the market instead of going head-to-head with Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas. Probably a shrewd move for a new player.
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:58 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
DC-10 and Tristar were twin-engined even though the Tristar was originally envisioned as a twinjet

I suppose it's too late for me to edit that and fix the typo I made (saying "twin-engined" instead of "three-engined")
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:58 pm

Anonz263x wrote:
Ive read how McDonnell Douglas had a twinjet concept for the DC-10, but how come the idea was not pursued, and Airbus went ahead to make a300 a twinjet using the same CF6 and JT9D engines, was it to do with ETOPS, or were the engines on the DC-10 underpowered for it to be a capable twinjet?

A300 went ahead because their governments wanted to be in the airliner business. There's no way MD or any for-profit entity would have invested in A300 as it was at launch time. It did not have enough payload/range to be useful except for short hops. It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:08 pm

Revelation wrote:
Anonz263x wrote:
Ive read how McDonnell Douglas had a twinjet concept for the DC-10, but how come the idea was not pursued, and Airbus went ahead to make a300 a twinjet using the same CF6 and JT9D engines, was it to do with ETOPS, or were the engines on the DC-10 underpowered for it to be a capable twinjet?

A300 went ahead because their governments wanted to be in the airliner business. There's no way MD or any for-profit entity would have invested in A300 as it was at launch time. It did not have enough payload/range to be useful except for short hops. It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.

Yes, we do have to keep in mind the A300 wasn’t a smash out-of-the-park hit. It struggled immensely to get its footing, with a lot of white tails and intensive wheeling and dealings to get planes sold. But it’s difficult to determine how much of that was the aircraft and how much of that was because it was from a new entity (even if that entity was made up of established companies).
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:21 pm

I honestly think the MD10 could have benefited from being a twin-engine, but I am not sure if at the time you had the thrust rating needed in an efficient enough engine. Could have extended the vertical stabilizer and ruder giving it more control too...
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:21 pm

Polot wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Anonz263x wrote:
Ive read how McDonnell Douglas had a twinjet concept for the DC-10, but how come the idea was not pursued, and Airbus went ahead to make a300 a twinjet using the same CF6 and JT9D engines, was it to do with ETOPS, or were the engines on the DC-10 underpowered for it to be a capable twinjet?

A300 went ahead because their governments wanted to be in the airliner business. There's no way MD or any for-profit entity would have invested in A300 as it was at launch time. It did not have enough payload/range to be useful except for short hops. It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.

Yes, we do have to keep in mind the A300 wasn’t a smash out-of-the-park hit. It struggled immensely to get its footing, with a lot of white tails and intensive wheeling and dealings to get planes sold. But it’s difficult to determine how much of that was the aircraft and how much of that was because it was from a new entity (even if that entity was made up of established companies).

That, and it was genuinely difficult to find routes where you could make money flying it. Some high volume close in city pairs exist but even then can you find ~300 people who want to make that hop all at the same time without trashing yields? What is the world wide fleet size requirement for that? If not you fly around a lot of empty space. It had lots of room for cargo but not enough payload/range to carry it far enough to make money carrying it.
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:30 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
smithbs wrote:

The A300 project used two engines. They designed a nice fuselage with a great cross-section, but it would result in a fair amount of weight. The two-engine weight budget meant that range would suffer. So they put a small wing on it and it was what it was - a regional widebody. It doved in with a concept of the time of widebody inter-city regional service. The range of the initial A300s was fairly meager - well less than 1000 nm fully loaded. But that's what the engines of the time could do.


Do you know the range of Eastern's A300s circa 1985? I recall BOS-IAH-SEA on the Moonlight Shuttle. viewtopic.php?t=248589


I'd have to figure out exactly which model of A300 they had. The initial A300s around 1975 had very short range, but they kept working on it and as you flip through the payload-range graphs, they got better over time. Given the dates, I'd imagine Eastern had either B4-200's or maybe brand new 600s - either were certainly more capable than the models out of the 70s.

The initial wing was fairly small and a limitation in the type's growth. The revised wing helped, but even the range of the A310 with the new wing was not competitive when compared to 767. And as I said, even A330 out of the gate was not impressive either. The A330 finally defined what the lineage was capable of after the year 2000, with the latest engines and heavier weights.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:36 pm

smithbs wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
smithbs wrote:

The A300 project used two engines. They designed a nice fuselage with a great cross-section, but it would result in a fair amount of weight. The two-engine weight budget meant that range would suffer. So they put a small wing on it and it was what it was - a regional widebody. It doved in with a concept of the time of widebody inter-city regional service. The range of the initial A300s was fairly meager - well less than 1000 nm fully loaded. But that's what the engines of the time could do.


Do you know the range of Eastern's A300s circa 1985? I recall BOS-IAH-SEA on the Moonlight Shuttle. viewtopic.php?t=248589


I'd have to figure out exactly which model of A300 they had. The initial A300s around 1975 had very short range, but they kept working on it and as you flip through the payload-range graphs, they got better over time. Given the dates, I'd imagine Eastern had either B4-200's or maybe brand new 600s - either were certainly more capable than the models out of the 70s.

The initial wing was fairly small and a limitation in the type's growth. The revised wing helped, but even the range of the A310 with the new wing was not competitive when compared to 767. And as I said, even A330 out of the gate was not impressive either. The A330 finally defined what the lineage was capable of after the year 2000, with the latest engines and heavier weights.

EA had B4s, with two or three B2s that I’m pretty sure were mostly used on their LGA-BOS shuttle but did other routes as well. They were intended exclusively for the shuttle iirc but EA couldn’t get permission to use them in DCA.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:46 pm

To add to the above posts, another significant reason the DC-10 (and the L1011) were trijets was that they needed additional power to get out of airports like LaGuardia, Indeed, the initial design spec that American and other airlines released was for a larger plane capable of carrying more passengers into and out of smaller airports like LaGuardia, with that airport being specifically mentioned as the operating template. A large twin couldn't do that with the engine technology of the time, but a trike could. Essentially, the DC-10 and L1011 had to have three engines to operate from these smaller airports safely and still carry a reasonable load.

Have a great day, everyone.

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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:47 pm

fpetrutiu wrote:
I honestly think the MD10 could have benefited from being a twin-engine, but I am not sure if at the time you had the thrust rating needed in an efficient enough engine. Could have extended the vertical stabilizer and ruder giving it more control too...


The engine power wasn't there when the design was set down. If they REALLY wanted a twin, they would have had to dial back the fuselage until the weights worked out. If they did that, it would have been a fairly small fuselage with capacity not terribly different than maybe a DC-8-63. It would probably have been 757-like but with JT9Ds or CF6s. :shock:

And even if they did, the thought of a twin going TATL on twins was unthinkable at the time. These are first-gen JT9Ds and CF6s after all - are you just going to hand out life preservers as passengers board, or what? And so you'd risk putting out a marginal aircraft for a dubious mission. The trijet configuration, despite its shortcomings, was the solution for all of this.

A300 kind of got away with it by giving up on range and instead pushing forward with their big fuselage.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:59 pm

Revelation wrote:
Polot wrote:
Revelation wrote:
A300 went ahead because their governments wanted to be in the airliner business. There's no way MD or any for-profit entity would have invested in A300 as it was at launch time. It did not have enough payload/range to be useful except for short hops. It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.

Yes, we do have to keep in mind the A300 wasn’t a smash out-of-the-park hit. It struggled immensely to get its footing, with a lot of white tails and intensive wheeling and dealings to get planes sold. But it’s difficult to determine how much of that was the aircraft and how much of that was because it was from a new entity (even if that entity was made up of established companies).

That, and it was genuinely difficult to find routes where you could make money flying it. Some high volume close in city pairs exist but even then can you find ~300 people who want to make that hop all at the same time without trashing yields? What is the world wide fleet size requirement for that? If not you fly around a lot of empty space. It had lots of room for cargo but not enough payload/range to carry it far enough to make money carrying it.


On the other hand, route flying was different back then. A flight from LIS to TLV would not usually be non-stop. No, it would be something like LIS-MAD-BCN-MXP-ATH-TLV. Many airlines worked like that. And so it kind of made sense that if airlines flew like that, then give them a 300-pax+cargo monster that's short on range. It's like a bus, right? Get on, make some stops, get off at your stop.

That's not how it works today. But in the 1970s...
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:00 pm

Revelation wrote:
That, and it was genuinely difficult to find routes where you could make money flying it. Some high volume close in city pairs exist but even then can you find ~300 people who want to make that hop all at the same time without trashing yields? What is the world wide fleet size requirement for that? If not you fly around a lot of empty space. It had lots of room for cargo but not enough payload/range to carry it far enough to make money carrying it.

It was pretty common to use widebodies on short haul flights back then, and frequency was less important than today. You would even find numerous DC-10 and L1011 - as well as the A300 - at LGA. The original 767 wasn't exactly a long-haul aircraft either, rather comparable to the A300-B4.
Nowadays, quantity has given way to frequency, as is evident by the hundreds of small flights that now bombard La Guardia. The massive three-holers, specifically American’s DC-10-10s were often used on flights of a few hundred, to a few thousand miles.

These large jets were seen as AA563/1170 ferried passengers to/from Raleigh/Durham, NC (RDU) from LGA, a mere 375nm. AA068 was an even shorter hop from LGA to Buffalo, NY (BUF), a 250nm flight that is today flown by American Eagle ERJs and US Airways Express Dash-8s. Initially, though, American’s DC-10 flights were destined for either Chicago (ORD) or Dallas (DFW).

Eastern and Delta deployed their L-1011-1’s in a constant stream to Boston (BOS), only 160nm away, in addition to Atlanta (ATL), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), West Palm Beach (PBI) and Washington, D.C. (IAD).

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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:09 pm

There actually was a DC-10 Twin project, but it was never approved by McDonnell Douglas leadership:

https://www.flightglobal.com/clipped-wi ... te%201970s.

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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:13 pm

Revelation wrote:
A300 went ahead because their governments wanted to be in the airliner business. There's no way MD or any for-profit entity would have invested in A300 as it was at launch time. It did not have enough payload/range to be useful except for short hops.
Short hops? I think you have just described a vast proportion of the world aviation market for that era.
These days 20 year old kids feel hard done by if they haven't been to five different continents and visited Machu Pichu.
In those days 20 year old kids counted themselves lucky if they'd been to Majorca, and seen the Eiffel Tower.
Short haul was where the market was at. (Maybe North America was different?)

Revelation wrote:
It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.
Oh come on! You're better than that! :banghead:

Polot wrote:
Yes, we do have to keep in mind the A300 wasn’t a smash out-of-the-park hit. It struggled immensely to get its footing, with a lot of white tails and intensive wheeling and dealings to get planes sold.
Yes it did struggle at first, but I will query the "lot of white tails"; was it more than 16? But I'll agree even that small number must have been very worrying for the flagship/only program of a new entrant to the market,
Polot wrote:
But it’s difficult to determine how much of that was the aircraft and how much of that was because it was from a new entity (even if that entity was made up of established companies).
Exactly! Plus the inevitable not-made-in-America; MAGA isn't exactly a new concept.
Up until the arrival of Airbus, Europe had the choice of British or American. And as far as many Europeans were concerned, it was simply a choice of Boeing or Douglas. Supporting your home-team wasn't even an option.
Revelation wrote:
That, and it was genuinely difficult to find routes where you could make money flying it. Some high volume close in city pairs exist but even then can you find ~300 people who want to make that hop all at the same time without trashing yields? What is the world wide fleet size requirement for that?
I believe you mean to ask "what was the world wide fleet size requirement for that?"
In 1974 people in the UK didn't have much connectivity out of Glasgow (Scotland), Cardiff (Wales), Belfast (NI) or even Liverpool/Manchester/Birmingham (wherever they are :duck: )
People took trains or buses, or sometimes flew down to Heathrow, and then expected to fly across to Paris, regardless of their ultimate destination within France.
That's how you fill up a 300 seat Airbus.

Things were different then! And not just in the UK

Plus you didn't need to fill anywhere close to 300 seats to make it profitable.
An A300 with 3 crew (up front), two big turbofans and 200 pax is easily going to be cheaper to operate than the four [!] SE,210 Caravelles / 12 crew / 8 thirsty turbojets that AF would have offered in it's place.
And on short haul, everyone wants the first flight of the day, and the last one back home. Perfect for an A300.

(ok, I may have over-simplified the idea, but you get the gist) :D
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intotheair
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:26 pm

One missing piece of all of this that hasn't been mentioned here is that the A300 was originally expected to have much more powerful engines. Rolls was going to design an engine for it. The British government eventually withdrew from the Airbus project, leaving the off-the-shelf GE engines from the DC-10 as Airbus' only viable option. A plane with only 2/3 the power will only be able to go 2/3 as far, to put it crudely.

As an upstart planemaker, Airbus never had the clout with engine manufacturers to play a big role in engine development until more recently. You can see that pattern play out comparing the development of the 777 and the A330/340.
300 319 320 321 332 333 345 346 380 717 733 734 735 73G 738 739 744 752 753 762 763 772 77W 788 789 CR2 CR7 CR9 CRK Q400 E175 DC10 MD82 MD90
AA AF AS AY AZ B6 BA BR DL F9 FI GA HA KF LH MI QX SK SN SQ UA US VY WN
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:56 pm

DL747400 wrote:
There actually was a DC-10 Twin project, but it was never approved by McDonnell Douglas leadership:

Would have been interesting to see the DC-10 Twin panning out. That might have prevented the A300 from having the relatively modest success it had, at least in the American market.
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armagnac2010
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:49 pm

A300 went ahead because their governments wanted to be in the airliner business. There's no way MD or any for-profit entity would have invested in A300 as it was at launch time. It did not have enough payload/range to be useful except for short hops. It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.


Quite a ridiculous statement. The A300 outsold the DC-10 and had customers all over the world, including in the US. Later versions were used on transtlantic flights.
 
TYWoolman
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:04 pm

Eastern A300!!! First trip Disney World 1982! Just had to give a shout out!
 
b4thefall
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:15 pm

It's also worth mentioning that the A300 was a hit in the Asia/Pacific region. It was the perfect aircraft for those high density short-medium haul routes in the region. If it hadn't been for the A300, the DC-10 and 1011 would have sold many more copies in the region.
 
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ADent
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:57 pm

United bought a lot of DC-10-10s and Hawaii was an important destination.

Until ETOPS was a thing 3 or 4 engines needed for those routes.
 
BowlingShoeDC9
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:22 pm

DL747400 wrote:
There actually was a DC-10 Twin project, but it was never approved by McDonnell Douglas leadership:

https://www.flightglobal.com/clipped-wi ... te%201970s.

Image

Image


Man they really missed a great marketing opportunity with a DC-Twin/DC-Twen.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:30 am

Polot wrote:
The DC-10, especially the -30, had far more range than the A300- early A300s could barely even fly transcon, let alone across an ocean, and even the latest and greatest A300 could barely do TATL. Engines were not powerful enough at the time to use only two to operate the weights needed for those missions.

The A300 was originally designed to literally be an air bus on short haul routes. The DC-10 was not.

That's correct. But part of the story is that the A300 was in fact initially designed to be a plane with capabilities - payload and range - similar to the tri-jets. 300 was chosen for its name because it was designed for 300 passengers. And then it should use the substantially more powerful RR RB-207 engine.

However, the smaller and simpler RB-211 for the L-1011 Tristar had priority over the RB-207, and the RB-211 ran into enormous delays and development difficulties. In the end it bankrupted RR, but long time before that Airbus had realized that they had a plane without an engine. No RB-207 prototype was ever produced.

So they modified - shortened - the 300 pax plane into roughly 250 pax capacity and reduced fuel capacity and range to fit existing engines - CF6 and JT9D. It would have been sensible to also change the name into A250, but that didn't happen. They changed it into A300B.

Two decades later engines such as RR Trent had evolved into what was planned with the RR RB-207. And the A330 was made as a plane with very similar capabilities as what was originally planned for the A300 non-B.
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:15 am

prebennorholm wrote:
That's correct. But part of the story is that the A300 was in fact initially designed to be a plane with capabilities - payload and range - similar to the tri-jets. 300 was chosen for its name because it was designed for 300 passengers. And then it should use the substantially more powerful RR RB-207 engine.
I cannot see how that would be possible unless Rolls-Royce pulled a rabbit-out-of-the-hat with the RB207
The "substantially more powerful RR RB-207 engine" was only more powerful (on paper) than the early models of the RB211.
(as a reminder, the earliest RB211 only offered 33,260 lbf)

So they modified - shortened - the 300 pax plane into roughly 250 pax capacity and reduced fuel capacity and range to fit existing engines - CF6 and JT9D.

However the CF6-50 engines fitted to the A300B2 already exceeded the output of the proposed RB207.

Obviously something doesn't add up here! :scratchchin:

RB.207 = 47,500 lbf
CF6-50 = 51 - 54,000 lbf :o

Two decades later engines such as RR Trent had evolved into what was planned with the RR RB-207.
It's stating the obvious to point out that's two decades too late for the launch of a larger transcontinetal A300. Even if Rolls Royce had proceeded with the RB207, it would have been a much less powerful engine in 1974, possibly growing to Trent output only after 20 years of PIPs. The larger A300 required an engine from 20 years into the future, and hence was just a dream.

And the A330 was made as a plane with very similar capabilities as what was originally planned for the A300 non-B.

Er.... have you ever heard of the A300B9 and B11?
In the mid-1970s, Airbus began development of the A300B9, a larger derivative of the A300, which would eventually become the A330. The B9 was essentially a lengthened A300 with the same wing, coupled with the most powerful turbofan engines available. It was targeted at the growing demand for high-capacity, medium-range, transcontinental trunk routes. The B9 was seen as a viable replacement for the DC-10 and the Lockheed L-1011 trijets.

[And the four-engined A300B11 would similarly materialize as the A340]
Airbus anticipated the need; they just had to wait for the larger engines to come along.

thx wikipedia
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prebennorholm
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:42 am

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
I cannot see how that would be possible unless Rolls-Royce pulled a rabbit-out-of-the-hat with the RB207
The "substantially more powerful RR RB-207 engine" was only more powerful (on paper) than the early models of the RB211.
(as a reminder, the earliest RB211 only offered 33,260 lbf)

In 1966 the RB.207 was the top end of the RR A.T.E. project (Advanced Technology Engine) and was supposed to deliver around 60,000 lbf. That was what the initial A300 project was based on. You are of course right calling that rabbit-out-of-hat or paper-power because no hardware existed.

Much later, when RB.211 had been run on test with disappointing result, then it was realized that the similar but bigger RB.207 would never reach 60,000 lbf. Then a revised RB.207 with 45-50,000 lbf was proposed to compete against the CF6 on the A300B. But the bankruptsy ended all RB.207 plans.
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chunhimlai
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:11 am

In fact MD has talked with Airbus to develop 777-size widebody together
Airbus rejected and developed very large size aircraft —later called A380 instead
 
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Wildlander
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:42 am

The previous posts pretty much answer the original question, but it's worth recalling that the A300 was aimed at filling a market need not occupied by US products. Going head to head would have been a recipe for failure. New kid on the block, no worthy history (sorry to anyone who views the Caravelle, BAC 1-11, Trident, etc as runaway successes when benchmarked against the 727 737 and DC-9 families), no guarantee of after sales support (Superjet anyone?) and Europeans working together as never before???

The A300 was conceived in a regulated era where frequencies were (relatively) low. Take Paris-Toulouse as an example. Without looking it up, circa 3 flights/hour today, maybe more with EZY and other LCCs. Back in the 70s you had a two-hourly Air Inter A300 out of Orly. Very little if anything else. A 300 seater made (more) sense then than it would if the business case was to be attempted today with the other parameters untouched and the same 1970s traffic numbers. Even by the 80s, 300 seats was looking too many for Europe (great for Asia), hence the advent of the A310.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:48 pm

smithbs wrote:
The range of the initial A300s was fairly meager - well less than 1000 nm fully loaded.


It was not that bad! The original A300B1 model with 130 ton MTOW had a range at MTOW of 1850nm. <5 units of this variant were produced and all used for testing. The 5 B1's were later sold to Inter Air and after some years were seen doing duty with an African Airline. The first production variant was the B2.
Variant - Capacity - MTOW - Range
AB1 - 330 seats - 130 tons - 1850nm
AB2 - 345 seats - 140 tons - 1850nm (6 frames longer)
AB4 - 345 seats - 165 tons - 2900nm
AB6 - 345 seats - 172 tons - 4000nm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:

Bottom line; Airbus exploited a seemingly obvious gap in the market instead of going head-to-head with Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas. Probably a shrewd move for a new player.


I dont think Airbus was quite the player it was now. Their priority was to build a European aircraft industry and their design goals were framed accordingly. A lot of what I read suggests that there was a lot of discussion before starting the project on the size of the aircraft - Bureaucrats of participating govts questioned if 345 seats (HD layout) would be too big which is why the orig design was shrunk to create the B1. By the time the aircraft flew, it was resized to the appropriate 345 seat layout in the production B2 variant.

IMO, They weren't thinking of the American market at the time because of the feeling that American carriers would only buy domestic and the DC10 had pretty much sewn up the US market. It was only much later with international sales success in Asia that Airbus felt confident enough to approach US carriers. Even then, they had to virtually give away the first few frames to US operator Eastern. But it worked!
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smithbs
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:17 pm

BawliBooch wrote:
smithbs wrote:
The range of the initial A300s was fairly meager - well less than 1000 nm fully loaded.


It was not that bad! The original A300B1 model with 130 ton MTOW had a range at MTOW of 1850nm. <5 units of this variant were produced and all used for testing. The 5 B1's were later sold to Inter Air and after some years were seen doing duty with an African Airline. The first production variant was the B2.
Variant - Capacity - MTOW - Range
AB1 - 330 seats - 130 tons - 1850nm
AB2 - 345 seats - 140 tons - 1850nm (6 frames longer)
AB4 - 345 seats - 165 tons - 2900nm
AB6 - 345 seats - 172 tons - 4000nm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:

Bottom line; Airbus exploited a seemingly obvious gap in the market instead of going head-to-head with Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas. Probably a shrewd move for a new player.


I dont think Airbus was quite the player it was now. Their priority was to build a European aircraft industry and their design goals were framed accordingly. A lot of what I read suggests that there was a lot of discussion before starting the project on the size of the aircraft - Bureaucrats of participating govts questioned if 345 seats (HD layout) would be too big which is why the orig design was shrunk to create the B1. By the time the aircraft flew, it was resized to the appropriate 345 seat layout in the production B2 variant.

IMO, They weren't thinking of the American market at the time because of the feeling that American carriers would only buy domestic and the DC10 had pretty much sewn up the US market. It was only much later with international sales success in Asia that Airbus felt confident enough to approach US carriers. Even then, they had to virtually give away the first few frames to US operator Eastern. But it worked!


From what I see:
A300B2 100/200 Max Payload Range: All under 1000 nm.
A300B4 100 Max Payload Range: Between 1250 - 1750 nm.
A300B4 200 Max Payload Range: Just over 2000 nm.

Those are Airbus ACAP payload range graphs, so figure maybe 10% reduction for real world routing.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:16 pm

ETOPS did not come into the picture until the 80s. Prior to that no twin-engined plane could ever be more than one hour from an emergency landing site (that is one hour on one engine). That pretty much ruled out even transatlantic. The DC-10 was intended to be an intercontinental plane, and as such it had to have at least three engines. By the 80s it became clear that jet engines were reliable enough that it would be safe to allow a twin to go farther than 1 hour from an emergency landing site, and so the ETOPS regulations were developed. And to this day there has never, to my knowledge, been a case of two unrelated engine failures on any jet airliner. Of course, with things like running out of fuel or flying through a volcanic ash cloud having 20 engines won’t help you.
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luckyone
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:37 pm

armagnac2010 wrote:
A300 went ahead because their governments wanted to be in the airliner business. There's no way MD or any for-profit entity would have invested in A300 as it was at launch time. It did not have enough payload/range to be useful except for short hops. It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.


Quite a ridiculous statement. The A300 outsold the DC-10 and had customers all over the world, including in the US. Later versions were used on transtlantic flights.

The A300 may have outsold the DC-10, but it’s important to keep in mind that the DC-10 effectively shared the Trijet market and it was outsold by the DC-10 and L-1011 combined, despite being on sale longer than either of those two aircraft. At least the last 40-50 or so A300s were also pure freighters, and I can’t readily access and count additional pure freighter numbers from my phone at the moment. Somewhere between 10-20 DC-10s left the factory as pure freighters. And no Tristers were factory built freighters.

None of that means it was a lesser aircraft, but we’d be ignoring the reality that Airbus was an unknown company, many of its early orders were indeed European carriers which at the time were in some part run by the governments which had vested interest in Airbus, customers bought more of the established manufacturers’ products, and the production numbers were buoyed by late run freighter production.

Edit: I must also acknowledge that the DC-10s production run includes the KC-10, which I had originally presumed was counted as a separate production mode. It’s not.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:04 pm

luckyone wrote:
The A300 may have outsold the DC-10, but it’s important to keep in mind that the DC-10 effectively shared the Trijet market and it was outsold by the DC-10 and L-1011 combined,
Red herrings!
You might just as well argue that the A300 had fewer sales because it shared the twinjet market with... let's see now
....Boeing 757, 767, 777 and of course the A310 and A330.

None of these were around in 1974 when the A300 was launched, but later on they competed with it just as much as the two trijets competed with each other.
But if you add all the possibilities together, y'all find that the different twinjets outsold the trijets. Who could've guessed? :lol:


luckyone wrote:
None of that means it was a lesser aircraft, but we’d be ignoring the reality that Airbus was an unknown company, many of its early orders were indeed European carriers which at the time were in some part run by the governments which had vested interest in Airbus,

Not just "many"; ALL of its early orders were European carriers run by the governments which had vested interest in Airbus.
{I could have said "both early orders", but then I remembered Air Inter}

So that's Air France / Air Inter, and ...<drum roll> Lufthansa

Did I miss anyone? :scratchchin:

After these launch customers, and an unpleasant interval when nobody bought the A300, there were another 80 or so operators across the world.
EIGHTY !
But the legend that keeps getting repeated conveniently focusses on these government-backed launch customers. Enough already! :roll:
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:40 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
So that's Air France / Air Inter, and ...<drum roll> Lufthansa

Did I miss anyone? :scratchchin:

After these launch customers, and an unpleasant interval when nobody bought the A300, there were another 80 or so operators across the world.
EIGHTY !
But the legend that keeps getting repeated conveniently focusses on these government-backed launch customers. Enough already! :roll:

Why should that not be focused on? Governments provided the money to develop the airliner and provided the early customers to get the production line up and running. Without early customers you don't survive to get later customers. Once the startup costs are paid off you can offer great deals like was done with Eastern and PanAm and build up volume. Once you have volume, you can offer even more discounts. Getting to 80 customers with such a start is not something to shout about, IMO.
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880dc8707
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:36 pm

For Eastern, the range was perfect for the many northeast cities to Florida.
As for widebody feel, my first A300, PHL-MIA seemed like a big 727 vs a little L-1011. It just didn't
feel heavy.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:42 pm

Revelation wrote:
SheikhDjibouti wrote:
So that's Air France / Air Inter, and ...<drum roll> Lufthansa

Did I miss anyone? :scratchchin:

After these launch customers, and an unpleasant interval when nobody bought the A300, there were another 80 or so operators across the world.
EIGHTY !
But the legend that keeps getting repeated conveniently focusses on these government-backed launch customers. Enough already! :roll:

Why should that not be focused on? Governments provided the money to develop the airliner and provided the early customers to get the production line up and running. Without early customers you don't survive to get later customers. Once the startup costs are paid off you can offer great deals like was done with Eastern and PanAm and build up volume. Once you have volume, you can offer even more discounts. Getting to 80 customers with such a start is not something to shout about, IMO.
And there was I thinking that manufacturers simply built aircraft and then waited for the orders to materialize. :roll:

It's the exact twisted phrasing that I object to. And that comes from certain individuals with obvious agendas. Or very poor memories.
Here's one;
luckyone wrote:
...many of its early orders were indeed European carriers which at the time were in some part run by the governments which had vested interest in Airbus

You know full well that sentence is phrased to imply much more than just two countries and two/three carriers. They are so few that they can be specifically named. And that is what I did.
I didn't deny their existence, or the fact the airlines were tied to the respective governments. I simply quantified the "many" because "two" is not the first number that springs to mind when you see that word.

Here's another
Revelation wrote:
It largely sold to airlines owned by the same governments or those influenced by them.
Utter garbage!


Would it be fair to characterize the whole 747 program by saying;
"many of its early orders were from one American airline which at the time was the de facto flag carrier for the USA, and had vested interests in buying US goods"?
Take Pan Am out of the picture, and what's left? Oh yeah, decades of success with every major airline in the world. But we won't mention that!

Shall we discuss the US Government bankrolling the 707 program by purchasing over 800 KC-135s? What was it you said? "Getting to 80 customers with such a start is not something to shout about, IMO"

How about Vickers building the Viscount, Vanguard, and VC-10, all on the back of production lines and drawing offices created to produce thousands of Spitfire fighters and Wellington bombers?

Is there an aircraft company anywhere that hasn't benefitted from Government orders (for military purposes)? Airbus is almost unique in that respect.

BTW It wasn't the fact the A300 saw service with 80 varied customers that was the issue. My point was that 80 qualifies as "many", whereas two is most definitely not. :shakehead:
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
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armagnac2010
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:01 am

Why should that not be focused on? Governments provided the money to develop the airliner and provided the early customers to get the production line up and running. Without early customers you don't survive to get later customers. Once the startup costs are paid off you can offer great deals like was done with Eastern and PanAm and build up volume. Once you have volume, you can offer even more discounts. Getting to 80 customers with such a start is not something to shout about, IMO.


Well, at least, the design was sound and was not grounded a couple of years after its certification, as we recently saw twice in another part of the world...

More seriously, a quick look at the list of early Airbus customers dismisses this simplistic analysis, as it includes Korean Airlines, Siam, Thai or Indian Airlines.

Besides, the assumption EU airlines will obediently do what they are told to do by their respective government is also a phantasy. The A300 fulfilled a need, it was ordered. At about the same time, Air France resisted the pressure to buy the Dassault Mercure and went for the 737-200 to replace its Caravelles; elsewhere, the VFW 614 was another dismal commercial failure.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:33 am

I can remember working at McDonnell Douglas in ‘79 and seeing the drawings of the Twin 10. At the time, I heard it was shelved because 1) Airbus was not even viewed as competition, 2) Lack of public acceptance of an over-water twin (sorely mistaken assumption), and 3) Three engines were surely safer than two. Then a couple years later Boeing flew the 767 and 757 to LGB and parked them in full view of the Douglas engineering building.
 
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Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:57 am

I have a vivid memory of going to our flight planning room in EWR in the Continental days to review our pre-flight paperwork when I was on the 727


In those days Cal was always short of DC10’s so they used the A300 transcon from EWR to LAX, SFO, SEA etc


Occasionally I’d glance at the paperwork for those flights, it nearly always had red stamps on it ‘weight restricted flight, contact load planning’


The west bound flights were at the limit of what our B4 series aircraft were capable of with a decent payload, of course that’s not what it was designed for



Nice aircraft though, I never flew it but the guys that did liked it a lot, comfortable, spacious cockpit and it was nice in the back too


Shame to see them go, but once Bethune took over we went all Boeing


And of course Continental never figured out how to maintain them and they were very unreliable, mostly due to lack of spare parts


Trivia, Continental rotated the GE CF6 engines between the A300 and DC10-30 fleets
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
VSMUT
Posts: 4570
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:34 am

luckyone wrote:
The A300 may have outsold the DC-10, but it’s important to keep in mind that the DC-10 effectively shared the Trijet market and it was outsold by the DC-10 and L-1011 combined, despite being on sale longer than either of those two aircraft. At least the last 40-50 or so A300s were also pure freighters, and I can’t readily access and count additional pure freighter numbers from my phone at the moment. Somewhere between 10-20 DC-10s left the factory as pure freighters. And no Tristers were factory built freighters.


I'm definitely nitpicking, but only 138 of those DC-10s were short range models. The long range variants were aimed more at the 747-200 than the A300.
 
USAirKid
Posts: 660
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:42 am

Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:40 am

Max Q wrote:
Shame to see them go, but once Bethune took over we went all Boeing


And of course Continental never figured out how to maintain them and they were very unreliable, mostly due to lack of spare parts


One of the things Bethune wrote in his book about CO’s turn around is that they couldn’t make money with the A300. They could lose less, but there wasn’t a profitable spot for it in the CO network.
 
GDB
Posts: 13780
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:34 am

Worth remembering that the idea for an 'Airbus' was essentially from an AA executive in the mid 60's fed up with being as a pax, stuck in a stack of aircraft waiting to land, an airborne traffic jam, yet again.
He drew (reportedly on a napkin in flight), a twin engined airliner with the emerging promise of high bypass engines, with a wide body for short to medium haul.

For the reasons already gone into, it was a bit ahead of it's time, certainly the US manufacturers were busy, MDD and Lockheed were working on their own wide-bodies, Boeing was consumed by 747 development.
Though the latter would have it's own idea for solving the problem of rapid advances in pax numbers and congestion on short haul, the 747SR, as it turned out there were no US takers for this variant, only Japan.
As seen here;

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... Airbus.jpg

What they had not seemed to have grasped is that the original idea by that AA executive, had still not been realized, the DC10-10 and L1011-1 covered a lot of the ground but as stated, in development not service were the uprated engines to make the DC10-30, L1011-200 and the A300.
But when they were, leading with the CF-6 for the DC10-30, they were also for the A300.
Now, on short/medium routes the A300 was a more economical proposition than the initial tri-jet versions.

We also have to consider the effects of the 1973/74 oil crisis, which hit all of the airframers hard. This was a major factor factor in that order drought for the A300 but also it's salvation?
After all on the short/medium routes it could do much of the tri-jets work on two engines.
Not all of the earlier orders for the A300 were from state European carriers, unless you think the likes of SAA, Indian Airlines, Korean and Iran Air were stooges.

Bottom line, Airbus was a new, uncertain player, in a market dominated by massive US corporations with political clout, with huge defence divisions, plus entering the market at about the worst possible time in the industry post WW2.
If you really think their survival was down to the whims of France and Germany you are not seeing how it and the industry was at the time, the A300 was something new, innovative and after the oil shock, very attractive to a lot of carriers. Which by the late 70's included a large US one.

It didn't end there, certain assumptions, I still recall a letter to Flight International from a Boeing executive in early 1984 that derided the idea of a new Airbus project, a 150 seat narrow body with FBW.
Seems some at Seattle didn't see that one coming either.
 
Max Q
Posts: 8508
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: What made Airbus make the a300 as a twinjet, and why couldnt McDonnell Douglas do the same with the DC-10?

Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:55 am

USAirKid wrote:
Max Q wrote:
Shame to see them go, but once Bethune took over we went all Boeing


And of course Continental never figured out how to maintain them and they were very unreliable, mostly due to lack of spare parts


One of the things Bethune wrote in his book about CO’s turn around is that they couldn’t make money with the A300. They could lose less, but there wasn’t a profitable spot for it in the CO network.



I think very highly of Bethune and his team, they did an outstanding job leading our turnaround with the considerable help of our hardworking employees



But Bethune was a Boeing guy, he used to work for them and that’s where his loyalties were. That was fine, he placed large orders for 757 / 767 and 777 aircraft and negotiated very favorable terms


Under those circumstances there was just no room for the A300 in the fleet any longer but it wasnt that they couldn’t turn a profit


We were filling them in all markets, as a hub to hub or major city aircraft it was outstanding. The problem was it’s lack of reliability as the company never invested in a consistent maintenance program and were always short on spare parts.


The A300 wasn’t given the support it needed, that and Bethune’s bias against it
made its exit a self fulfilling prophecy
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg

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