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flee
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:20 am

 
mzlin
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:58 am

flee wrote:


Um, agrees with what part? STC said "“what the hell were the engine manufacturers doing? They were messing with derivative engines for the A380 – not new technology. I think they were overworked at the time and too busy to focus on something new.” Actually sounds rather sympathetic to the engine manufacturers.

I think we can ALL agree that the engines were not new tech. In fact the A380 sceptics and supporters all agree about that.

What STC didn't comment on was if that one thing could have made any difference in sales or program duration. That's one of the questions being discussed here, i.e. was it just the engines, or was it doomed anyway because of the other things (being overengineered for a stretch, being larger than the market needed)?

The other question being discussed, and which STC also didn't comment on, is whether the responsibility to find the best engine technology lies with Airbus or the engine manufacturers? Since Airbus didn't sue the engine manufacturers for any contract breach, it seems they delivered what they promised. And as it was Airbus' decision to go ahead with the plane with those engine specs, it seems the responsibility was Airbus'. (BTW Engine Alliance being a joint venture between 2 competitors, it's baffling that Airbus couldn't see that this was an inherent conflict of interest discouraging these 2 engine manufacturers using their most recent technology, relieving pressure on the 3rd to do so as well.)
 
Sokes
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:40 am

flee wrote:

O. k., let's start discussing it again.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
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Revelation
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:16 pm

enplaned wrote:
That takes us back to how we got into this - Airbus built the A380 as the last widebody to be built of metal. I guess they felt that carbon fiber was not feasible, for whatever reason. Whatever drove that decision, it did leave the A380 on the wrong side of a technological divide.

As Thomas tells us, they did their initial sums expecting metal to deliver scaling benefits of the order of 15% but instead found it was delivering 7% therefore they had to use more expensive tech around the edges, namely CFRP empennage and wingbox and TI landing gear and GLARE fuselage panels.

A380 was the largest application of CFRP up to that date. I think a more-CFRP plane would have added even more cost and risk to the program.

Image

Ref: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Com ... _317607272

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Ref: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The ... _303144941

mzlin wrote:
flee wrote:


Um, agrees with what part? STC said "“what the hell were the engine manufacturers doing? They were messing with derivative engines for the A380 – not new technology. I think they were overworked at the time and too busy to focus on something new.” Actually sounds rather sympathetic to the engine manufacturers.

I think we can ALL agree that the engines were not new tech. In fact the A380 sceptics and supporters all agree about that.

What STC didn't comment on was if that one thing could have made any difference in sales or program duration. That's one of the questions being discussed here, i.e. was it just the engines, or was it doomed anyway because of the other things (being overengineered for a stretch, being larger than the market needed)?

The other question being discussed, and which STC also didn't comment on, is whether the responsibility to find the best engine technology lies with Airbus or the engine manufacturers? Since Airbus didn't sue the engine manufacturers for any contract breach, it seems they delivered what they promised. And as it was Airbus' decision to go ahead with the plane with those engine specs, it seems the responsibility was Airbus'. (BTW Engine Alliance being a joint venture between 2 competitors, it's baffling that Airbus couldn't see that this was an inherent conflict of interest discouraging these 2 engine manufacturers using their most recent technology, relieving pressure on the 3rd to do so as well.)

It's pretty clear the engine makers did not have the same "drug like rush" that was sweeping through Toulouse at the time the A380 plans were being cooked up.

All three of the vendors were on the 777 and that must have given them the insight to see where things were going, towards the big twin and away from the VLA.

If they had new tech to offer it was going there first, witness GE90-115B.

If anything we should have a thread "Engine Makers Blame Airbus For The A380 Failure".

Airbus are the ones that burdened the launch platform with weight for a stretch and a freighter that they never built, had electrical and mechanical engineers using incompatible systems causing a ~2 year slip that made the platform miss its initial market window, wasted time and space on custom cabin layouts with grand staircases etc.

The engine makers are also going to book losses because the platform itself was too heavy, too draggy, too late and has no resale market so the life cycle profit opportunity is stunted.
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mzlin
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:23 pm

Revelation wrote:

If anything we should have a thread "Engine Makers Blame Airbus For The A380 Failure".



LOL, yes. Sums it up succinctly.
 
Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:31 pm

It's almost funny how people who seem to gain pleasure of seeing the A380 be a costly failure for Airbus even suggest it should have been build in CFRP. Making it even more radical and costly.
Looking back it seems that stopping the freighter was the moment of truth. They knew it wouldn't work out.

When the CFRP A350 was publicly launched so smooth and perfect they must have worked on it behind the scenes for quite some time. They knew they needed something else.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:42 pm

Noshow wrote:
It's almost funny how people who seem to gain pleasure of seeing the A380 be a costly failure for Airbus even suggest it should have been build in CFRP. Making it even more radical and costly.
Looking back it seems that stopping the freighter was the moment of truth. They knew it wouldn't work out.

Thomas suggests the freighter was stopped because dealing with both the freighter and the passenger models while dealing with the CATIA snafu was "impossible" and it's hard to argue otherwise. Reports from the time indicate things were chaotic. They were more or less hand modifying a few early A380s wiring bundles to get a few working airframes out the door while trying to merge CATIA v4 drawings into CATIA v5 without losing configuration control of the frames still being built. It was an "all hands on deck" effort, with no resources left to deal with the freighter.

Thomas says that Airbus should have kept on and built the freighter and the stretch after the -800 was straightened out and put new engines on it too, but by that point in time management had changed and there was no enthusiasm for such great spending on A380 whilst the A400M was still sucking up huge resources and A350 was in a high cost phase of development too.
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ScottB
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:51 pm

Vladex wrote:
Emirates is the number one international airline by passengers carried and miles flown and even by profits earned


Um nope. Emirates and IAG use different reporting periods, but for 2018-9, EK reported an operating profit of AED 2.647 billion, or GBP 539 million. IAG reported BA's 2019 operating profit as GBP 1.921 billion -- over three-and-a-half times EK's. Heck, Delta's operating profit for just the second quarter of 2019 -- $2.128 billion -- was basically triple EK's operating profit for the entire financial year. EK's operating margins (2.7% in 2018-9, 4.4% in 2017-8) are dismal in comparison to any of the IAG carriers, not to mention the better-run large U.S. airlines.

If you want to use "international airline" to exclude the US3 that's fine, but just keep in mind they are all significantly larger than EK in revenue and passengers carried, and none of them operate VLAs. Even WN is about five-sixths as large as EK by revenue (and carries over double the passengers) while operating nothing with over 175 seats.

enzo011 wrote:
Oh, you wanted him to lay bare all of his faults so you could pick over his carcass over those other failings. Or am I to believe everyone here would have just said good interview and lets leave it be if he had said he failed with the A380? And if you tell me people would not have found small details to attack him on, then I have a bridge to sell you.

Let's be honest with each other here, people are laying into him because they don't like him. They were going to find every little small details to pore over and attack him with and no matter what he said people would still have found something negative to say about the man. Look at your post, now it is apparently his fault for not only misreading the VLA market but also not having influence over the engineering department at Airbus or all other department to ensure the A380 was a success.


What we'd like is some candor about how he and his team so very badly misread the global aviation market. Remember, Airbus predicted 2,000 units sold over 20 years in the VLA segment and yet global demand was maybe 15-20% of that (including 747-8 sales). Instead we get some blather about how it's because the engine makers backstabbed Airbus and how he regrets not pushing engineering to optimize around a lower capacity. It's ridiculous.

Airbus was skating to where the puck had been ten years earlier. Yeah, Boeing probably did make bank on the 747-400 in the early '90s, but we also know they chose not to move forward with the 747-500/600 due to weak interest from customers. Airbus even had a product -- the A340 -- designed to address the part of the 747's market which needed range more than capacity.

I'd have greater respect for him if he'd truthfully said that he pushed back on the A380 project because he thought the market segment was too small, or if he just admitted that he and his team badly misread the true size of the VLA segment. He was Chief Commercial Officer so the buck stops with him there.

enplaned wrote:
originally the A330 was built to favor size over range (and therefore didn't sell very well) while the A340 had lousy performance, being somewhat underpowered in its first generation and then, of course, in its second generation it was embarrassingly inefficient relative to the 777-300ER. It's only been with the maturity of the A330 and A330NEO and with the A350 that Airbus has had a truly great long-range aircraft.


Honestly I think Airbus intentionally kneecapped the A330 on range to create more obvious segmentation vs. the A340. 4 engines 4 long haul, after all. Eventually the success of the 777-200ER made it obvious that many carriers were perfectly comfortable with twins (and their cost savings) on long-range routes and Airbus made intelligent improvements to the A330 which allowed it to address virtually all missions which had been the province of A340. Sure, they killed their own product, but they also created a market leader as a result.
 
smartplane
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 5:54 pm

ScottB wrote:
Honestly I think Airbus intentionally kneecapped the A330 on range to create more obvious segmentation vs. the A340. 4 engines 4 long haul, after all. Eventually the success of the 777-200ER made it obvious that many carriers were perfectly comfortable with twins (and their cost savings) on long-range routes and Airbus made intelligent improvements to the A330 which allowed it to address virtually all missions which had been the province of A340. Sure, they killed their own product, but they also created a market leader as a result.

Just like Boeing have done to the 787 to create a viable market space for the 777X. And Airbus have done to the A330NEO family to bolster A350 sales.

This tactic might work in a booming market, where customers prefer bigger aircraft with more capability, so as A350 / 777X enhancements are released, A330NEO / 787 low hanging family improvements can be drip fed into the market. For example, the A330NEO is being artificially squeezed at both ends, with elevated pricing to protect the high margin A321 family (and A320 volume production / economies of scale), and at the top end with elevated pricing and withheld capability improvements to protect the A359.

When customer demand is headed away from larger aircraft, the strategy creates a massive dilemma for OEM's.

With the benefit of hindsight, there would be a larger 787, a 2nd wing option on all models and no 777X, and at Airbus, there would be two A320 family wing options and an A330NEO with two wing options (and a A35X size equivalent), and no A350 family (though the NEO would include some of the design features).
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:10 pm

smartplane wrote:
With the benefit of hindsight, there would be a larger 787, a 2nd wing option on all models and no 777X, and at Airbus, there would be two A320 family wing options and an A330NEO with two wing options (and a A35X size equivalent), and no A350 family (though the NEO would include some of the design features).

With the benefit of hindsight, Boeing would not have outsourced and otherwise fouled up so much of 787 "moonshot" then done a clean sheet 737 replacement (Y1) and 777 replacement (Y3), but instead we got MAX, 787, 779 and 748. Y1 would have presumably been bigger and longer ranged to span the 738 to A321 market segment and Y3 presumably would be smaller to cover the 772 to 773/8 market segment with higher efficiency than MAX/779. Who knows, in that line up maybe they would have kept EMB to cover the market below 738.

I wonder if Spaeth will reach out to Boeing's Randy Mk1 and Mk2 to get the competitor's view of A380, or if he's doing more of a homage to A380 rather than a hard hitting analysis.
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enplaned
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:18 pm

Revelation wrote:
enplaned wrote:
That takes us back to how we got into this - Airbus built the A380 as the last widebody to be built of metal. I guess they felt that carbon fiber was not feasible, for whatever reason. Whatever drove that decision, it did leave the A380 on the wrong side of a technological divide.

As Thomas tells us, they did their initial sums expecting metal to deliver scaling benefits of the order of 15% but instead found it was delivering 7% therefore they had to use more expensive tech around the edges, namely CFRP empennage and wingbox and TI landing gear and GLARE fuselage panels.

A380 was the largest application of CFRP up to that date. I think a more-CFRP plane would have added even more cost and risk to the program.


I was the one who brought up the fact that it was the last non-CFRP widebody designed. I wasn't saying that it should have been CFRP, I was just noting that it was launched at an unfortunate time from a technology standpoint, both from engine and airframe standpoints. It was just before a significant improvement in engine efficiency and just before a whole new generation of widebodies came on the market that had the advantage of CFRP.

Noting that it was on the wrong side of a technological shift is different from arguing that it should have been CFRP. I'm not saying it should have been, just that it wasn't and therefore ended up competing against 787s and A350s that were, and that wasn't helpful to its case.
 
ScottB
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:50 pm

smartplane wrote:
Just like Boeing have done to the 787 to create a viable market space for the 777X. And Airbus have done to the A330NEO family to bolster A350 sales.


Eh, I'm not so convinced Boeing's strategy vis a vis the 787 vs. the 777X has been to hobble the 787 to create space for the 777X. Back in the early days of the A350XWB, Airbus wanted both RR and GE to participate by offering engines evolved from the Trent 1000 and GEnX, respectively. GE was unwilling to offer an engine for the A350-1000, apparently because they didn't feel they could scale the GEnX design to the thrust specified by Airbus, although they were willing to participate on the A358 and A359. There was obviously some speculation GE were trying to protect their very lucrative position on the 77W, of course.

But assuming that you're talking about the relatively limited range of the 78X, I suspect GE may have been candid about the limitations of scaling up the GEnX. So the 78X has the same MTOW as the 789, which does mean a trade of range for payload & airframe weight. Boeing wasn't going to snub its strategic partner GE by offering a more capable RR-only 78X.

As things stand, the 77W is still larger than the 78X, and the 779 is quite a bit larger. Boeing has increased the size of the 777 models in order to create more obvious segmentation vs. the 78X, as well as to be competitive with the more efficient A359/A35X.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:07 pm

GE is a Boeing risk sharing partner having joined the 777-300ER and 777-9 programs as exclusive engine supplier. There is no point to be their own competitor with some A350 product.
 
strfyr51
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:28 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
Airbus just took the excellent efficiency of the 8-10(11) fuselage (structurally and geometrically) and squandered it by building it for the 900. What for? What competitor was there to compete against above the 800, knowing that there actually was competition from below? What guarantee was there there market would be ready in time for such capacity? That was a very poor decision. Had they focussed on the 800 size, limit it's payload-range by 10% (drastically reducing it's weight), it would've faired much better against the 777W (and later the 787), there would've been a business case for a re-engine around 2015 (since the starting point would've been much more efficient and competitive in the first place) and they could've stretched it slightly at equal MTOW at the 2nd re-engine project in the mid-twenties.

Instead it got a payload-range capability that wasn't needed for it's hub-to-hub role, it didn't have the cargo capacity to make use of it (made worst by the very large MLG cause by the overcapacity built into the frame), it had a weight that didn't help with induced drag in the limited 80m wingspan.

A ~515T MTOW A380-800 would have been competitive in the market and could have shared engines with the mid-sized twins (although in the end it would have been just as parked during the COVID crisis).


For whatever reason? Airbus was trying to eclipse the 747, But? the 747's era had come and gone. the A380 would have been an airplane US carriers sat at their hubs and fed flights to both Europe and Asia, But? By the time it hit to market? Airlines like United,
American and Delta? Were more fragmented in their Hub structure and probably couldn't have used the A380 to it's potential. I worked at United. and just for SFO we woulkd have needed 2 for Tokyo, 2 for HKG, and 2 for SYD. one would be going and one coming back, One of the most impressive things I'd ever seen was the mid morning arrival bank at the international terminal. with our 747's and 777's parked wingtip to wingtip all Turning back outbound to Asia before 1400 hrs. and later to see all the European and Asian Carriers turning as well. Right up to 2200 Hrs.
 
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Wildlander
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:58 pm

Staying with the engine "blame game" theme, who knows how much better the A380 might have turned out with a single source supplier. Count GE out (too much riding on Boeing models, with/without exclusivity clauses), PW losing momentum fast and no wilingness to invest what was needed to recover in the large engine segment, RR perhaps lacking cash to spend on getting better efficiency? Either way, a sole source supplier with 250+ aircraft sold would have a stronger case to present to their Board to spend more to do better later and get closer to 400 or more over time.

Unrelated, what if orders had been more evenly spread instead of ME3 50%+, ROW the remainder. 20-30 each for the likes of AFR, KLM, DLH...to counterbalance the ME3 ascendency? Or if Airbus had ever managed to get Air China, Cathay, JAL or ANA on board for similar numbers? For sure the scope was limited but say 20 airlines buy an average of 20 each (including Freighters) and the numbers wouldn't have been so sad. But they didn't and history will show a "fail".
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:58 pm

mzlin wrote:
flee wrote:


Um, agrees with what part? STC said "“what the hell were the engine manufacturers doing? They were messing with derivative engines for the A380 – not new technology. I think they were overworked at the time and too busy to focus on something new.” Actually sounds rather sympathetic to the engine manufacturers.

I think we can ALL agree that the engines were not new tech. In fact the A380 sceptics and supporters all agree about that.

What STC didn't comment on was if that one thing could have made any difference in sales or program duration. That's one of the questions being discussed here, i.e. was it just the engines, or was it doomed anyway because of the other things (being overengineered for a stretch, being larger than the market needed)?

The other question being discussed, and which STC also didn't comment on, is whether the responsibility to find the best engine technology lies with Airbus or the engine manufacturers? Since Airbus didn't sue the engine manufacturers for any contract breach, it seems they delivered what they promised. And as it was Airbus' decision to go ahead with the plane with those engine specs, it seems the responsibility was Airbus'. (BTW Engine Alliance being a joint venture between 2 competitors, it's baffling that Airbus couldn't see that this was an inherent conflict of interest discouraging these 2 engine manufacturers using their most recent technology, relieving pressure on the 3rd to do so as well.)

Boeing and Airbus Both seek engines after they have delineated what the Airplane can do and for what they need. They then announce the needs to the engine Manufacturers to see if they can respond. GE couls Not field an engine on their own as they were bespoke to Boeing as a sole source provider. PWA was supplying engines for the KC46 though the PW4060- 4077 might well have filled the bill depending on the inlet size the A380 could take. But up to today? I've never seen an actual specification of what engine Airbus required for the A380. It flew with a 72K thrust engine didn't it? And my question is? Was 72K thrust enough? And? Exactly what was lacking that Airbus needed for it's performance? It's one thing to Blast faults at the engine makers, and another thing to lay out requirements for them to meet. Where did the Engine Makers Fail?? Was it Power? Specific Fuel Consumption? What?
 
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par13del
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:10 pm

Wildlander wrote:
Staying with the engine "blame game" theme, who knows how much better the A380 might have turned out with a single source supplier. Count GE out (too much riding on Boeing models, with/without exclusivity clauses), PW losing momentum fast and no wilingness to invest what was needed to recover in the large engine segment, RR perhaps lacking cash to spend on getting better efficiency? Either way, a sole source supplier with 250+ aircraft sold would have a stronger case to present to their Board to spend more to do better later and get closer to 400 or more over time.
.

Well, RR got onboard by promising a better engine than EA, so one would think that the RR powered A380's were much better than the EA birds and should have boosted sales or at least made it easier to convince potential clients, somehow it did not pan out like that. RR knew the target they were aiming at, should have been much easier than if they were starting off as a sole supplier. Still unsure why the a/c was not A380NEO when RR got onboard.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:14 pm

On engines - the GE90-115B first ran on the test stand in 11/2001, so Airbus had to be quite aware of its capabilities.

The number of engine manufacturer's on a plane changes the dynamics a lot. Having half of the expected 1,000 plane run over 30 years is far different than having all. Airbus insisting on two engines made both engine suppliers less willing to risk a lot of development cost. It would have been a good choice for a single engine supplier, an engine more tailored for the plane.

Possibly by doing a narrower upstairs, say a spacious 6 AB tailored to business & first class. Selection of that would be after the optimum wing dimensions were sized. Getting that last extra in made the wing a bit stubby. The first model needs to be optimum at design time, the stretch can be a range for payload type not requiring extra MTOW, different wings, etc.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:41 pm

par13del wrote:
Wildlander wrote:
Staying with the engine "blame game" theme, who knows how much better the A380 might have turned out with a single source supplier. Count GE out (too much riding on Boeing models, with/without exclusivity clauses), PW losing momentum fast and no wilingness to invest what was needed to recover in the large engine segment, RR perhaps lacking cash to spend on getting better efficiency? Either way, a sole source supplier with 250+ aircraft sold would have a stronger case to present to their Board to spend more to do better later and get closer to 400 or more over time.
.

Well, RR got onboard by promising a better engine than EA, so one would think that the RR powered A380's were much better than the EA birds and should have boosted sales or at least made it easier to convince potential clients, somehow it did not pan out like that. RR knew the target they were aiming at, should have been much easier than if they were starting off as a sole supplier. Still unsure why the a/c was not A380NEO when RR got onboard.

Yet at EIS, the GP7200 had lower fuel burn. Or you referring to the T900 PiP RR botched for EK? They promised better fuel burn than they delivered.

A NEO is expected to burn at least 12% less fuel, otherwise it is not worth the billions to develop.

If there had been an exclusive, Airbus could have demanded and received about 3% lower fuel burn. That would have cost the engine maker about $1 billion more to develop.

Boeing was able to demand the best as Pratt was very aggressive. Basically, Pratt offered what they had bid for a similar Airbus twin. Boeing refused to be the first GTF and that was that.

GE refused to show their new tech to Pratt, so that limited the GP7200. They even refused a counter rotating set if spools; Pratt is big on that, but is why the PW1100G has 35% higher bearing and seal speeds than any prior engine (hence the initial issues). Just as GE has higher combustor temperatures in the LEAP and combustors that only last 8,000 hours of flight time.

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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:04 pm

flee wrote:


Well, he has to, or else he looks like an idiot for buying into a flop he is now sending to the desert. Emirates pretty much IS the A380 program.
In fact, Mr. Clark has been the A380s greatest supporter and has blamed airlines for using the giant jet incorrectly.

More blame shifting!
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:02 am

JayinKitsap wrote:
On engines - the GE90-115B first ran on the test stand in 11/2001, so Airbus had to be quite aware of its capabilities.

The number of engine manufacturer's on a plane changes the dynamics a lot. Having half of the expected 1,000 plane run over 30 years is far different than having all. Airbus insisting on two engines made both engine suppliers less willing to risk a lot of development cost. It would have been a good choice for a single engine supplier, an engine more tailored for the plane.

Possibly by doing a narrower upstairs, say a spacious 6 AB tailored to business & first class. Selection of that would be after the optimum wing dimensions were sized. Getting that last extra in made the wing a bit stubby. The first model needs to be optimum at design time, the stretch can be a range for payload type not requiring extra MTOW, different wings, etc.

Do we have any way of knowing what GE was telling Airbus about GE90?

Was there an upside for GE to "sandbag" Airbus?

As for time lines, A380 was launched 19 December 2000:

On 19 December 2000, the supervisory board of newly restructured Airbus voted to launch an €9.5 billion ($10.7 billion) project to build the A3XX, re-designated as A380, with 50 firm orders from six launch customers

Given the 50 firm launch orders, they had to have made engine selection many months earlier.

Since JL says the engineers went off and did their own thing, how would he know what GE had or had not told them?
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Boof02671
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:13 am

Noshow wrote:
It's almost funny how people who seem to gain pleasure of seeing the A380 be a costly failure for Airbus even suggest it should have been build in CFRP. Making it even more radical and costly.
Looking back it seems that stopping the freighter was the moment of truth. They knew it wouldn't work out.

When the CFRP A350 was publicly launched so smooth and perfect they must have worked on it behind the scenes for quite some time. They knew they needed something else.

Remember this 350 isn’t the same as it was first designed and announced. This is the s find version of the plane.
 
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flee
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:21 am

strfyr51 wrote:
Exactly what was lacking that Airbus needed for it's performance? It's one thing to Blast faults at the engine makers, and another thing to lay out requirements for them to meet. Where did the Engine Makers Fail?? Was it Power? Specific Fuel Consumption? What?

I think both the GP7200 and Trent 900 failed to meet promised fuel burn performance at EIS - EA achieved it only later on with PIPS. RR never quite achieved its promised fuel burn - they only reduced the gap later on.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:05 pm

Below a rough economics table based on:

- An A380 with a 515T MTOW, by a reduced payload-range and parts designed solely for that 515T MTOW instead incorporating potential growth up to 650T. Fuel consumption reduction the result of lower weight, significant reduction in surface drag as well as induced drag.

- A 2015 A380NEO, same length, just new engines and minor aero updates (scimitar, wing profile).

- Then finally somewhere between 2025 and 2030, a small stretch with ultrafan engines.

Image

Point-to-point vs. hub and spoke is mostly debated overly simplistic in the A380 context. As said, Airbus screwed up by throwing away most of the efficiencies gained by the double deck configuration by trying to squeeze provisions for megalomanic ambitions and market projections into a 80m wingspan. The hub model needs sufficient economy advantage for the given capacity and the A380 never provided that sufficiently because of the overly ambitious design choices and market projections, more so than because of it being a double-decker, a quad or not using as much CFRP.
Innovation is seeing opportunity before obstacle.
 
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Wildlander
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:58 pm

As previously mentioned, Airbus saw the A380 as the next 747, a product (family) with a 50 year production life. Recall that the original 747 had WAY more capacity than the 707/DC-8 types it sat above. It was range deficient and (relatively) quickly evolved into higher weiight/higher thrust -200B models. It took a while for the market to grow into it. Same starting formulae. Fancy layouts (remember 9 abreat YC?), technical issues, engine problems and financial losses before it eventually came good.

Had the A380 been designed as a lighter airframe (smaller wing area?) with lower thrust engines and a lighter gear (fewer MLG wheels?) , the same relatively rapid/expensive development path would have been needed, or more, during which time the faster evolving 777-300ER would have had it for lunch even sooner.

Perhaps the only oversizing was for the fuselage width for YC comfort but a smaller ovoid to suit sardine class seat widths would have compromised the double deck cargo space. Ironic that these were never put to good use.

As for CFRP construction. Still (more) expensive than metal today. Would have been X times more expensive back in the early 2000s. Not helpful in shrinking development cost and sticker prices.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:24 pm

Wildlander wrote:
As previously mentioned, Airbus saw the A380 as the next 747, a product (family) with a 50 year production life. Recall that the original 747 had WAY more capacity than the 707/DC-8 types it sat above. It was range deficient and (relatively) quickly evolved into higher weiight/higher thrust -200B models. It took a while for the market to grow into it. Same starting formulae. Fancy layouts (remember 9 abreat YC?), technical issues, engine problems and financial losses before it eventually came good.

Had the A380 been designed as a lighter airframe (smaller wing area?) with lower thrust engines and a lighter gear (fewer MLG wheels?) , the same relatively rapid/expensive development path would have been needed, or more, during which time the faster evolving 777-300ER would have had it for lunch even sooner.


Yes, 15% smaller wing area, smaller empennage, smaller engines, 16-wheeled MLG instead of 20 to name the main structural differences. However I disagree on the need for a rapid development path as with the 747. The 747-100 had a 4.620 nmi range, which indeed was lacking. A dedicated 515T MTOW A380-800 would've have a ~7.200+ nmi brochure range. Plenty for a first version and with much better economics than the 800 that was launched. As such much more competitive with the 777W.
Innovation is seeing opportunity before obstacle.
 
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Polot
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:30 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
Wildlander wrote:
As previously mentioned, Airbus saw the A380 as the next 747, a product (family) with a 50 year production life. Recall that the original 747 had WAY more capacity than the 707/DC-8 types it sat above. It was range deficient and (relatively) quickly evolved into higher weiight/higher thrust -200B models. It took a while for the market to grow into it. Same starting formulae. Fancy layouts (remember 9 abreat YC?), technical issues, engine problems and financial losses before it eventually came good.

Had the A380 been designed as a lighter airframe (smaller wing area?) with lower thrust engines and a lighter gear (fewer MLG wheels?) , the same relatively rapid/expensive development path would have been needed, or more, during which time the faster evolving 777-300ER would have had it for lunch even sooner.


Yes, 15% smaller wing area, smaller empennage, smaller engines, 16-wheeled MLG instead of 20 to name the main structural differences. However I disagree on the need for a rapid development path as with the 747. The 747-100 had a 4.620 nmi range, which indeed was lacking. A dedicated 515T MTOW A380-800 would've have a ~7.200+ nmi brochure range. Plenty for a first version and with much better economics than the 800 that was launched. As such much more competitive with the 777W.

It should be also be pointed out that it was mostly available engine thrust that was limiting the first 747, which was known from the beginning and why the -200 followed quickly after. Ditto with the 772A/77E. Available engine thrust wasn’t holding back the A380, they could have easily designed it around a lighter frame that would still have attractive payload range specs for most airlines.
 
Okcflyer
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:08 pm

One other significant point of consideration: Back in the late 90's and early 2000's, during the early years of the A380 project, fuel prices were quite low and expected to remain fairly low. The laser focus on fuel efficiency and, more importantly, trip fuel, wasn't as such a high priority back then. Extending maintenance intervals, increasing revenue opportunities (larger seats, wow-factor of double deck, quieter cabin, more space in coach, etc) were the "buzzing" topics.

Shortly after introduction to service, fuel/oil prices went through the roof. This was a major shake up in the industry and changed/altered overall strategy at the airline level. They had to factor in survival in high fuel cost environments, typically coinciding with or near economic recession periods. This changed the focus to building frames/models that had best chance to allow airlines to survive the tough times but gave up some revenue/profits in the best of times. This was a fatal blow to the A380 as it only works well in best of times. Even if it's fuel costs were 15% less (rather unrealistic in my opinion), it would have sold better but still died. There is no getting away from this survival modeling.

This is also the exact reason A359/788/789 have sold so well, whereas the A35K and 779 are struggling. These are round-two bets on growing air traffic demand, slot constraints, and network models needing higher capacity on a good number of routes.

Thus far, it's looking like a poor bet this time around again. Airlines have fragmented demand (more competition/airlines, more hub skippings of the traditional large hubs) and focused on yield (legacy carriers, leaving demand/room for start ups, especially in 3rd World countries). COVID is fuel on this fire and going to hurt the sales of these frames for the next several years. They may never recover.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:21 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
Below a rough economics table based on:

...

Image


Your efforts in putting together this table are greatly appreciated, but I think you might have some errors in your percentage computations. You indicate the as-produced A380-800 as the 100% datum but it appears some trip fuel and fuel consumption percentages are computed against the hypothetical 515T A380-800 (apart for itself, which is compared to the extant A388). To wit, trip fuel of 114.4 tons for 77W is 62% of actual A388 vs. 68% of 515T A388. I only noticed because the modest difference in per-seat fuel consumption between 77W and A388 (3.11 l/100 km vs 3.09) amounts to under 1% rather than 10%.

But the table is extremely enlightening -- it certainly explains why A388 would be a failure if the advantage in fuel consumption per seat-km vs. 77W is so minimal. Further, the 5-10% advantage held by the 777-9 over an A388neo, along with far greater cargo capability, would explain why there was so little interest in the neo apart from EK. Airbus would have had to get out to 2027 and the UltraFan, if it could have even been delivered by then, in order to gain a sufficient advantage in fuel efficiency, at the cost of greater capacity risk.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 7:11 pm

flee wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
Exactly what was lacking that Airbus needed for it's performance? It's one thing to Blast faults at the engine makers, and another thing to lay out requirements for them to meet. Where did the Engine Makers Fail?? Was it Power? Specific Fuel Consumption? What?

I think both the GP7200 and Trent 900 failed to meet promised fuel burn performance at EIS - EA achieved it only later on with PIPS. RR never quite achieved its promised fuel burn - they only reduced the gap later on.

Both engine makers met fuel and performance targets. RR eventually exceeded. The issue for both was performance decay, especially for ME3 operators. RR promised, and made a number of efforts to meet. EA gave up. RR compensate via lower monthly engine maintenance fees.

GE won't get off the hook so easily with the 777X.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:16 pm

ScottB wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
Below a rough economics table based on:

...

Image


Your efforts in putting together this table are greatly appreciated, but I think you might have some errors in your percentage computations. You indicate the as-produced A380-800 as the 100% datum but it appears some trip fuel and fuel consumption percentages are computed against the hypothetical 515T A380-800 (apart for itself, which is compared to the extant A388). To wit, trip fuel of 114.4 tons for 77W is 62% of actual A388 vs. 68% of 515T A388. I only noticed because the modest difference in per-seat fuel consumption between 77W and A388 (3.11 l/100 km vs 3.09) amounts to under 1% rather than 10%.

But the table is extremely enlightening -- it certainly explains why A388 would be a failure if the advantage in fuel consumption per seat-km vs. 77W is so minimal. Further, the 5-10% advantage held by the 777-9 over an A388neo, along with far greater cargo capability, would explain why there was so little interest in the neo apart from EK. Airbus would have had to get out to 2027 and the UltraFan, if it could have even been delivered by then, in order to gain a sufficient advantage in fuel efficiency, at the cost of greater capacity risk.


Just a quick reply here. The table is based on one once done By Bjorn Fehrm at Leehamnews. I just modified it a bit for this alternative history scenario. It's more educated guesses than real solid modelling behind it though. More intended to make people consider alternative scenario's.
Innovation is seeing opportunity before obstacle.
 
Opus99
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:12 pm

Okcflyer wrote:
One other significant point of consideration: Back in the late 90's and early 2000's, during the early years of the A380 project, fuel prices were quite low and expected to remain fairly low. The laser focus on fuel efficiency and, more importantly, trip fuel, wasn't as such a high priority back then. Extending maintenance intervals, increasing revenue opportunities (larger seats, wow-factor of double deck, quieter cabin, more space in coach, etc) were the "buzzing" topics.

Shortly after introduction to service, fuel/oil prices went through the roof. This was a major shake up in the industry and changed/altered overall strategy at the airline level. They had to factor in survival in high fuel cost environments, typically coinciding with or near economic recession periods. This changed the focus to building frames/models that had best chance to allow airlines to survive the tough times but gave up some revenue/profits in the best of times. This was a fatal blow to the A380 as it only works well in best of times. Even if it's fuel costs were 15% less (rather unrealistic in my opinion), it would have sold better but still died. There is no getting away from this survival modeling.

This is also the exact reason A359/788/789 have sold so well, whereas the A35K and 779 are struggling. These are round-two bets on growing air traffic demand, slot constraints, and network models needing higher capacity on a good number of routes.

Thus far, it's looking like a poor bet this time around again. Airlines have fragmented demand (more competition/airlines, more hub skippings of the traditional large hubs) and focused on yield (legacy carriers, leaving demand/room for start ups, especially in 3rd World countries). COVID is fuel on this fire and going to hurt the sales of these frames for the next several years. They may never recover.

I think Boeing and Airbus developed the A35K and the 777X for replacement primarily if you really think about it. The a380 clearly wasn’t focused on replacing Anything it was built as an aircraft for “growth” in a class of its own
 
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thekorean
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:21 pm

It sucks how whats profitable, and whats cool, do not often align.
 
strfyr51
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:11 am

enplaned wrote:
Leahy was massively important to Airbus's success - if not for his US origins, he'd likely have had the CEO position at some point, but de-facto a French or German passport is necessary. So he had to make do with a special C-level position. Must have grated a bit.

That said, he, like many others at Airbus, were overly focused on knocking the 747 off its perch, and made the same mistake as others in thinking it was size, not range, that was the key 747 attribute.

Airbus was a bit snake bit when it came to range. The A300/A310 was thoroughly outclassed by the 767, and originally the A330 was built to favor size over range (and therefore didn't sell very well) while the A340 had lousy performance, being somewhat underpowered in its first generation and then, of course, in its second generation it was embarrassingly inefficient relative to the 777-300ER. It's only been with the maturity of the A330 and A330NEO and with the A350 that Airbus has had a truly great long-range aircraft. The A380 was built with range in mind too, is the point.

But it even took Boeing a long time to believe in the virtues of a smaller, longer-range aircraft. The fact of the matter is the virtues of fragmentation were clear to anyone with eyes to see - the 737-300, for instance, became the dominant US domestic aircraft notwithstanding that it was a stopgap solution in the wake of deregulation when it became clear that the 757 and 767 were too big - smaller, higher frequency flights ruled. Boeing built the 757-300 instead of the 757-200ER. The 757-300 sold in pathetic numbers. Range, not size, was the lesson. I wonder whether Boeing might have sold more 767-400s had it been built for range, not size (i.e. as a truly trans-Pacific 767-300LR instead). The pre-Covid success of the A321LR/XLR shows what Boeing left on the table by not pursuing a 757-200ER. For that matter, think of Boeing with the 747-8 - if Boeing had truly believed in the fragmentation potential of the 787, it would never have bothered with the 748. The 748 was Boeing hedging its bets. Turned out fragmentation was real - the 748 is also a failure, along with the A380.

The point is that if Leahy got it wrong on the A380 (and there's no question he did) he was in good company. The OEMs took forever to wrap their head around this.

Ironically, the one great success of the A380 probably served to further boost the popularity of the long-range twins. Once Emirates created that massive, low-cost connecting complex at DXB, about the only good response the European carriers had to offer was a nonstop flight. They weren't going to have lower costs than Emirates, or better service - but if they bought long-range twins they could overfly DXB and offer a better product to those willing to pay.

And in that regard, the A380 lucked out, because Boeing shot off its foot with the insane original industrial organization of the 787, delaying it for years, holding back the day the long-range twin threat to the A380 became effective.

The A380 was built at a dangerous time relative to technology. Leahy mentions engine tech, but there was also metal vs fiber. It was pretty clear that the A380 was going to be the last widebody aircraft designed to be built out of metal - well, not entirely metal, but also that GLARE stuff. It was pretty clear that the next one was going to be carbon fiber, and it was - the 787 (and for Airbus, the A350). And since carbon fiber turned out to work well, the A380 was stuck on the wrong side of another technological divide. Add new engines to the A380, the A380NEO would still be a metal aircraft.

I don't know how much less the A380 would have weighed if it had been designed as a carbon fiber aircraft instead (if that was even possible - think of how big the autoclave would be). Might that have made an A380NEO more likely to survive? I'm skeptical. Fragmentation is just too powerful, a nonstop is so much better than a connection. I think it's a trend that Airbus (and to some extent OEMs in general) were just far too slow to understand.


as good as Laehy was? the A380 was already too late to overtake the 747 as it was so late to the market. the High Bypass engines had all found their mark on the 747 and 777 by the time the A380 came to market. the A380 was too Big for one and too Short for the other. It wasn't Airbus' fault and Nor was it RR,GE or PW's fault either. It's a one off airplane that I doubt anybody BUT Airbus or Emirates was bullish on. Once no USA Carrier wanted to operate the airplane? How much chance did ot have in the USA when very few Airports were going to be able to support it? Airbus only had very few destinations to fly it into the USA, And even though the rest of the world could have operated it? How many Could they have fielded as compared to the US3??? I think? Had the US3 seen Fedex and UPS operating and making money with them? It may have gone a Long way toward them being bought in the USA as there might have been an industry related JUST to repair and overhaul of the A380.
 
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Matt6461
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:04 am

I haven't read the whole thread but haven't seen anyone definitively point out the bold-faced lie that John Leahy is telling:

Image

So we're talking a maximum 4.5% SFC difference between GEnx and GP7200, not the ridiculous 12% that Leahy is throwing around. GE's own PR claimed ~10% improvement over the 767's CF6's so Leahy is plainly taking the readers and all of us for complete morons. After the greater nacelle area for a scaled-up GEnx, we're talking a net 3% difference attributable to engines. Complete dishonesty to blame the engine makers.

But given that he was able to say ridiculous stupid things about the A380 for decades, and able to sell governments on funding it, can you really blame him for assuming we're all morons?

--------------------------------------------------------

That said, Leahy betrays that he's smarter than he let on when speaking for a paycheck. He acknowledges that the A380's design flaws played a big role in its failure, something he surely realized years ago. The interview shows Leahy only partially retired as a rhetorical matter: he's still lying to protect his reputation, only he now can blame others in Airbus more frankly than in the past.

------------------------------------------------

But this part really jumped out to me as critical:

The commercial department has to have much more input upfront on the design and performance parameters of an airplane. If you let the engineers just go off, designing what they think is really cool, you end up like we did with the A380. In commercial we never really focused on the fact that we built an airplane not optimized as the -800, but really built a -900, and we just had to put up with the -800 for a few years until we came out with the -900. Had we all sat around the table and discussed that strategy upfront, I would have been inevitably against it, as would have been the airlines. Who wants to buy a suboptimal aircraft?


...because it reveals that no non-engineer should ever have had Leahy's role (or at least not somebody lacking the intellectual curiosity to educate themselves on the fundamentals of airliner performance). Nobody with a foundation in the fundamentals could have failed to understand how deeply the -800 would be compromised by a long-range -900.

The engineers could just "go off" because they lacked a coherent vision from leadership, including Leahy. Airbus conceived the A380 market as a thing existing outside of a particular plane's economics, treating size as something for which efficiency could be sacrificed when the converse was true. Had Leahy and his pals properly conceived enormous size as an evil necessary to attain compelling efficiency, the engineers would have had a different program and would have made different choices.

A general who blames his soldiers for not coming up with the best strategy is a bad general. Same with an executive who blames engineers for not having the best strategy.

---------------------------------------------------

One last (?) dig at Leahy: I didn't know that he's a former pilot. From my experience on this forum and IRL, pilots are content to learn only as much as they need to know and lack intellectual curiosity/capacity. At a personal level it's an entirely honorable type of man: action-oriented, non-neurotic, trustworthy with the lives of hundreds of passengers (if a bit dull in conversation). At the analytical level this type can be disastrous and so it went for the A380.
 
744SPX
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:26 am

Lack of full passenger loadout is the only reason for the A380 "failure". On a per-passenger basis It's still significantly more efficient than the 773 and just as efficient, if not more so, than the 77X when fully loaded.

With current-tech engines the A388 would DESTROY the 77X, to say nothing of an optimized 389 stretch.
 
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FrenchPotatoEye
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:56 am

744SPX wrote:

With current-tech engines the A388 would DESTROY the 77X, to say nothing of an optimized 389 stretch.


Neither of which existing, so your point is invalid I guess.

Also, you meantions lack of full PAX load for 380 failure. So how the earth would a stretched 380-900 be any better when it too would be the harder to fill up because it has more seats???

anyway, Mr leahy is welcome to say what he wants. He failed at seeing 380 in big numbers and the project is a huge financial deadweight. That's why the project is terminated.
 
brindabella
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:46 am

strfyr51 wrote:
enplaned wrote:
Leahy was massively important to Airbus's success - if not for his US origins, he'd likely have had the CEO position at some point, but de-facto a French or German passport is necessary. So he had to make do with a special C-level position. Must have grated a bit.

That said, he, like many others at Airbus, were overly focused on knocking the 747 off its perch, and made the same mistake as others in thinking it was size, not range, that was the key 747 attribute.

Airbus was a bit snake bit when it came to range. The A300/A310 was thoroughly outclassed by the 767, and originally the A330 was built to favor size over range (and therefore didn't sell very well) while the A340 had lousy performance, being somewhat underpowered in its first generation and then, of course, in its second generation it was embarrassingly inefficient relative to the 777-300ER. It's only been with the maturity of the A330 and A330NEO and with the A350 that Airbus has had a truly great long-range aircraft. The A380 was built with range in mind too, is the point.

But it even took Boeing a long time to believe in the virtues of a smaller, longer-range aircraft. The fact of the matter is the virtues of fragmentation were clear to anyone with eyes to see - the 737-300, for instance, became the dominant US domestic aircraft notwithstanding that it was a stopgap solution in the wake of deregulation when it became clear that the 757 and 767 were too big - smaller, higher frequency flights ruled. Boeing built the 757-300 instead of the 757-200ER. The 757-300 sold in pathetic numbers. Range, not size, was the lesson. I wonder whether Boeing might have sold more 767-400s had it been built for range, not size (i.e. as a truly trans-Pacific 767-300LR instead). The pre-Covid success of the A321LR/XLR shows what Boeing left on the table by not pursuing a 757-200ER. For that matter, think of Boeing with the 747-8 - if Boeing had truly believed in the fragmentation potential of the 787, it would never have bothered with the 748. The 748 was Boeing hedging its bets. Turned out fragmentation was real - the 748 is also a failure, along with the A380.

The point is that if Leahy got it wrong on the A380 (and there's no question he did) he was in good company. The OEMs took forever to wrap their head around this.

Ironically, the one great success of the A380 probably served to further boost the popularity of the long-range twins. Once Emirates created that massive, low-cost connecting complex at DXB, about the only good response the European carriers had to offer was a nonstop flight. They weren't going to have lower costs than Emirates, or better service - but if they bought long-range twins they could overfly DXB and offer a better product to those willing to pay.

And in that regard, the A380 lucked out, because Boeing shot off its foot with the insane original industrial organization of the 787, delaying it for years, holding back the day the long-range twin threat to the A380 became effective.

The A380 was built at a dangerous time relative to technology. Leahy mentions engine tech, but there was also metal vs fiber. It was pretty clear that the A380 was going to be the last widebody aircraft designed to be built out of metal - well, not entirely metal, but also that GLARE stuff. It was pretty clear that the next one was going to be carbon fiber, and it was - the 787 (and for Airbus, the A350). And since carbon fiber turned out to work well, the A380 was stuck on the wrong side of another technological divide. Add new engines to the A380, the A380NEO would still be a metal aircraft.

I don't know how much less the A380 would have weighed if it had been designed as a carbon fiber aircraft instead (if that was even possible - think of how big the autoclave would be). Might that have made an A380NEO more likely to survive? I'm skeptical. Fragmentation is just too powerful, a nonstop is so much better than a connection. I think it's a trend that Airbus (and to some extent OEMs in general) were just far too slow to understand.


as good as Laehy was? the A380 was already too late to overtake the 747 as it was so late to the market. the High Bypass engines had all found their mark on the 747 and 777 by the time the A380 came to market. the A380 was too Big for one and too Short for the other. It wasn't Airbus' fault and Nor was it RR,GE or PW's fault either. It's a one off airplane that I doubt anybody BUT Airbus or Emirates was bullish on. Once no USA Carrier wanted to operate the airplane? How much chance did ot have in the USA when very few Airports were going to be able to support it? Airbus only had very few destinations to fly it into the USA, And even though the rest of the world could have operated it? How many Could they have fielded as compared to the US3??? I think? Had the US3 seen Fedex and UPS operating and making money with them? It may have gone a Long way toward them being bought in the USA as there might have been an industry related JUST to repair and overhaul of the A380.


SQ seemed to like it. :smile:

OTOH, AJ from QF was asked about the 8(?) A380 options outstanding.

His summary:
"I would have to be very drunk to ever order another A380".

So I guess it didn't work quite as well for QF.
:ouch:

cheers
Billy
 
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Wildlander
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:29 am

History will record that the A380 was too much 'plane, probably launched at the wrong time, with too much emphasis on "bling" interiors (that Airbus promoted and the airlines welcomed), but for those who adhere to the view that it should have been smaller, lighter and less performant (an A370 perhaps) consider what happened before in European aerospace with the Trident, the VC-10 and the Mercure. All ended up being undersized, securing but a few sales against their fast-selling, bigger, longer-legged US competitors.

I am saddened by the criticism levelled at those behind the launch of the A380. Unless intimately involved in the process and party to the reasoning behind the choices made, may I suggest that such condemnation is unfair, freedom of option notwithstanding.
 
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Polot
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:51 am

Wildlander wrote:
History will record that the A380 was too much 'plane, probably launched at the wrong time, with too much emphasis on "bling" interiors (that Airbus promoted and the airlines welcomed), but for those who adhere to the view that it should have been smaller, lighter and less performant (an A370 perhaps) consider what happened before in European aerospace with the Trident, the VC-10 and the Mercure. All ended up being undersized, securing but a few sales against their fast-selling, bigger, longer-legged US competitors.

I am saddened by the criticism levelled at those behind the launch of the A380. Unless intimately involved in the process and party to the reasoning behind the choices made, may I suggest that such condemnation is unfair, freedom of option notwithstanding.

The VC-10’s main failure wasn’t that it was it undersized, it was because it was too optimized for hot and high/short runway use that made its operating costs too high compared to the 707/DC-8 on normal routes (and many of its target markets ended up lengthening their runways so they would be suitable for the American planes, negating need for VC-10’s take off performance). If anything the A380’s failure mimics the VC-10’s: too focused on certain performance criteria that its operating costs relative to competition suffered elsewhere.

The A380 is not at the cusp at acceptable performance. It’s range is greater than that of the 77W. Aside from speciality ULR aircraft like the 77L or A345 it has the most range of anything out there. Range similar to the 744/77E/A343 would have been acceptable to most airlines while cutting out a lot of fat. Keep in mind many major range boosts (the rapid improvements you keep on insisting on) are the result of engine improvements allowing more range with the same amount of fuel, not because of beastly aircraft structure.
 
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Wildlander
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:22 pm

Fair comment re VC-10 runway performance, but it was undersized as well. Substitute the underpowered BAC 1-11 instead if you wish.

Headline ranges are often deceptive, especially with LR widebody craft. Pile in all the amenities tucked into the non-seating areas, allow for the -800 carrying 600+ pax (which it would have done with ease in a J/W/Y configuration with the redesigned stair designs mooted towards the end) and its range was not excessive at all. Look how the MTOW was pushed higher to satisfy customers, even when the seat counts were sub 500.

I respect your views but I'm convinced they are off-target.
 
enplaned
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:07 pm

Wildlander wrote:
History will record that the A380 was too much 'plane, probably launched at the wrong time, with too much emphasis on "bling" interiors (that Airbus promoted and the airlines welcomed), but for those who adhere to the view that it should have been smaller, lighter and less performant (an A370 perhaps) consider what happened before in European aerospace with the Trident, the VC-10 and the Mercure. All ended up being undersized, securing but a few sales against their fast-selling, bigger, longer-legged US competitors.

I am saddened by the criticism levelled at those behind the launch of the A380. Unless intimately involved in the process and party to the reasoning behind the choices made, may I suggest that such condemnation is unfair, freedom of option notwithstanding.


? It's entirely appropriate to discuss what might have led to a poor decision. How else are people to learn from mistakes?
 
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Revelation
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:53 pm

Matt6461 wrote:
So we're talking a maximum 4.5% SFC difference between GEnx and GP7200, not the ridiculous 12% that Leahy is throwing around. GE's own PR claimed ~10% improvement over the 767's CF6's so Leahy is plainly taking the readers and all of us for complete morons. After the greater nacelle area for a scaled-up GEnx, we're talking a net 3% difference attributable to engines. Complete dishonesty to blame the engine makers.

Great points. JL the ultimate salesman till the end. Remembers things in a way that sound plausible but don't bear up under scrutiny. Intensly protective of his legacy, facts be damned.

Matt6461 wrote:
...because it reveals that no non-engineer should ever have had Leahy's role (or at least not somebody lacking the intellectual curiosity to educate themselves on the fundamentals of airliner performance). Nobody with a foundation in the fundamentals could have failed to understand how deeply the -800 would be compromised by a long-range -900.

In his interview Jurgen Thomas even gives some estimates of how much making the A380 main deck tall enough for full sized containers cost, so the numbers did exist.

Thomas obviously understood the fundamentals but felt having a family of airplanes to sell was a "feature" that marketing could sell to customers. The disconnect between Thomas and Leahy is a disconnect that Spaeth needs to explore if he really wants to get to the heart of what happened on the A380 program, rather than writing an honorarium.

Apparently Jurgen Thomas had a different philosophy on optimization to that of Roger Beteille ( ref: https://www.flightglobal.com/programmes ... 25.article ).

Matt6461 wrote:
The engineers could just "go off" because they lacked a coherent vision from leadership, including Leahy. Airbus conceived the A380 market as a thing existing outside of a particular plane's economics, treating size as something for which efficiency could be sacrificed when the converse was true. Had Leahy and his pals properly conceived enormous size as an evil necessary to attain compelling efficiency, the engineers would have had a different program and would have made different choices.

The evidence really is that the engineers did cook up the A380 and got the C-suite to buy into it.

A year ago I wrote:

Revelation wrote:
The project started long before it got to the board level. The reasons it started was because people in Airbus's new products development group wanted to break the 747 monopoly by building a bigger aircraft, and because "we badly needed the design work". All this is according to the man who brought the project together, Jean Roeder ( ref: Page 7 of Airbus A380: Superjumbo of the 21st Century ).

It wasn't because marketing did a study and found the market wanted such an airplane. At best everyone involved in A380 knew air travel would grow and they leaped to the conclusion that the way to capture the growth was a VLA, without thinking much (enough?) about the other ways the growth could be handled. The engineers went big, they got the C Suite to buy in, and the drug like rush took over.

Ref: viewtopic.php?t=1414917&start=150#p21082417

Things haven't changed since.

The real issue is why the commercial division bought into the project, given Leahy's statements about how unsuitable the design was.

Matt6461 wrote:
A general who blames his soldiers for not coming up with the best strategy is a bad general. Same with an executive who blames engineers for not having the best strategy.

Leahy came across as the 'face of Airbus' during his career, but it seems he really just was a salesmen selling whatever engineering handed him to sell. In this interview he suggests he had very little influence on the main design parameters and strategy of the A380. I suppose we can understand why he wants to distance himself from the A380 but it's not a good way to spin one's legacy IMO. It also suggests no executive did serve to mediate between engineering and marketing. It's a huge disconnect.

Matt6461 wrote:
One last (?) dig at Leahy: I didn't know that he's a former pilot. From my experience on this forum and IRL, pilots are content to learn only as much as they need to know and lack intellectual curiosity/capacity. At a personal level it's an entirely honorable type of man: action-oriented, non-neurotic, trustworthy with the lives of hundreds of passengers (if a bit dull in conversation). At the analytical level this type can be disastrous and so it went for the A380.

I agree with your characterizations. In the Leeham/Hamilton post-career he said before Airbus he worked for Piper and flew himself to visit customers, which seems to be a natural thing for a Piper salesman to do. He came at it from a marketing/sales angle rather than a technology/engineering angle. I have seen interviews with him and was surprised by the relatively flat and distant tone he used. He was selling via depth of knowledge and cleverness as opposed to personality and passion.
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:57 pm

Another point of view Spaeth should incorporate is that of former Airbus COO Tom Williams:

"The decision to go ahead with the A380, which Williams admits “he was part of”, may have been a mistake. The company is breaking even on each one it makes but after multi-billion development costs Williams admits the programme “will never be profitable”. However, he notes the decision more than a decade ago to make the giant jet came at a time when Airbus saw “Boeing making a ton of money on the 747, exchange rates were different, the oil price was different”.

Things have changed at Airbus since the company was set up in the Sixties with backing from European governments to take on US dominance in aerospace, Williams claims. “The days when we did some projects for ego, valour or pride are gone,” he says.

Was the A380 done for these reasons? “I don’t know but it was probably on the cusp,” he says."


Ref: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=602795
Ref: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... Fixit.html
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ScottB
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 3:09 pm

Wildlander wrote:
I am saddened by the criticism levelled at those behind the launch of the A380. Unless intimately involved in the process and party to the reasoning behind the choices made, may I suggest that such condemnation is unfair, freedom of option notwithstanding.


That is pretty much exactly what historians do for a living. Ditto for opinion columnists in newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc.

And the A380 ended up costing Airbus something like 25 billion euro. It cost European governments a bunch of money, too, since apparently the "repayable loans" weren't entirely repaid. It consumed management and engineering resources which delayed an effective response to the 787 for several years (fortunately for Airbus, Boeing's execution on the 787 was only slightly better than COMAC on the C919).

Wildlander wrote:
for those who adhere to the view that it should have been smaller, lighter and less performant (an A370 perhaps) consider what happened before in European aerospace with the Trident, the VC-10 and the Mercure. All ended up being undersized, securing but a few sales against their fast-selling, bigger, longer-legged US competitors.


How is that relevant to the A380? It wasn't going to face larger competitors. I don't think anyone is suggesting it needed to have as poor range as a late-90s A333 but the number of routes which require ultra long range is small, and even fewer have demand large enough for even a 747.

If anything, we see the danger of designing a product which doesn't address the sweet spot of a market. And, perhaps, of giving a single (government-controlled) airline too much influence on the design of an airliner, unless that's the only market you care about.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:02 pm

My point on "undersizing" being (historically) costly in terms of commercial success is based on the notion of it being potentially much more expensive to resize a design later rather than stretch/extrapolate from the base model. I submit that a smaller A380 would simply have bolstered 777 sales prospects and been even less successful.

Fully agree that the A380 took away resources and funding that (with hindsight) could have been used better elsewhere, but had Boeing executed the 787 and 747-8 to plan and to cost, Boeing would have been much better placed to cement its advantage at the top of the capacity league into place.

I believe the Sonic Cruiser spawned many of the technologies that were embedded in the 787. Airbus would have been challenged to better an on time 787, even with resources and funding availability.

For sure, the A380 ended up costing way more than expected. By the same token, in retrospect, they should never have done the A3456, but I won't go there as it takes us further off topic and has surely been well debated in the past.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:19 am

Wildlander wrote:
My point on "undersizing" being (historically) costly in terms of commercial success is based on the notion of it being potentially much more expensive to resize a design later rather than stretch/extrapolate from the base model. I submit that a smaller A380 would simply have bolstered 777 sales prospects and been even less successful.

Fully agree that the A380 took away resources and funding that (with hindsight) could have been used better elsewhere, but had Boeing executed the 787 and 747-8 to plan and to cost, Boeing would have been much better placed to cement its advantage at the top of the capacity league into place.

I believe the Sonic Cruiser spawned many of the technologies that were embedded in the 787. Airbus would have been challenged to better an on time 787, even with resources and funding availability.

For sure, the A380 ended up costing way more than expected. By the same token, in retrospect, they should never have done the A3456, but I won't go there as it takes us further off topic and has surely been well debated in the past.


Every airliner that has been successful of the last decades/over multiple generations has started out below the average ideal market range and has grown into (and passed) the optimal range with subsequent updates in (engine) efficiency:

The 747
777
767
737
A320
A330
With the 787, we will see the same.

All started out below average optimal range and grew into it. This is the best (and cheapest) way to maximize revenue-minus cost over the duration of the design. If you start out at (or beyond) average optimal range, with subsequent generations, you will overshoot the optimal range and you will sooner need to stretch the airframe (if possible) to maintain a sufficiently profitable balance between payload-range and CASM in relation to new market competitors.

I also wonder how Airbus will address this with the A350, but that's another topic (a thread I started a few years ago, but got the "kiss of death" for some reason).


ScottB wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
Below a rough economics table based on:

...

Your efforts in putting together this table are greatly appreciated, but I think you might have some errors in your percentage computations. You indicate the as-produced A380-800 as the 100% datum but it appears some trip fuel and fuel consumption percentages are computed against the hypothetical 515T A380-800 (apart for itself, which is compared to the extant A388). To wit, trip fuel of 114.4 tons for 77W is 62% of actual A388 vs. 68% of 515T A388. I only noticed because the modest difference in per-seat fuel consumption between 77W and A388 (3.11 l/100 km vs 3.09) amounts to under 1% rather than 10%.

But the table is extremely enlightening -- it certainly explains why A388 would be a failure if the advantage in fuel consumption per seat-km vs. 77W is so minimal. Further, the 5-10% advantage held by the 777-9 over an A388neo, along with far greater cargo capability, would explain why there was so little interest in the neo apart from EK. Airbus would have had to get out to 2027 and the UltraFan, if it could have even been delivered by then, in order to gain a sufficient advantage in fuel efficiency, at the cost of greater capacity risk.


I think I have (most) errors out now:

Image

Keep in mind that the listed 777-9 is with a 3% engine PIP, which would probably will only come out around 2026-2027. The 8% fuel burn savings on the dedicated 515T MTOW 800 are probably on the conservative side, I expect MTOW 60T lower (10,5%), OEW 22T lower (-8%) along with significant reduction in induced drag and surface drag.

Like Matt said Leahy's engine story does not match well with reality. So for the total 10% efficiency gain for the NEO I assumed a 8% SFC improvement, the same 4% aero improvement from the plus proposal and a 1.5% drag penalty for added drag from the larger, higher by-pass engines.
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Armadillo1
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:36 am

looking for all old topic 77W have significant fuel burn advantage over 380
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:26 pm

I seem to be alone on this, but think I am right. JL bought into the 'group think' on the 380 beginning to the end. As did governments, the board, the engineers, the sales force and JL was in the middle of it all and as guilty as any and he knows it. I read the interview as his admitting all of this.
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AleksW
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:47 pm

The A380 is simply too big and too expensive for today's trends - frequency over capacity.
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