sassiciai wrote:I am not an aeronautical engineer, just a retired software man who has followed this thread from the start and read - sometimes not understanding some - every post. It seems quite evident seen through my lenses that 2 aircraft competing to do a more-or-less similar task of flying 90+tons of freight circa5000km should be largely similar. But if one is already 20 or 30tons heavier than the other when empty, how is this even a competition? If this premise is close to correct, then this Airbus launch surely cuts the 777F off at its knees!
All the big fleets of A300/B767/B747/MD-11/20-year old P2F will time out/cycle out in a future where the current A350/B777X are just becoming mature, and the competition will become much sharper as there will be limited alternative choice. Will the 20-30ton advantage work in Airbus' favour?
I guess we'll need to see the actual operational specifications, but will say there are cost/benefit tradeoffs for weight, it's not as simple as lighter is better.
Pretty much every new generation of engines weighs more. That's because internal heat and pressure are higher on newer more efficient engines, and short of breakthroughs on cooling or materials the result is more material for more strength and thus more weight. Also the fan is usually bigger, so that means the fan weighs more (again short of a breakthrough on materials), you need to absorb more energy in your containment structures so it needs to be bigger/stronger, pylon has more weight hanging off it so it needs to be stronger, etc. Did GE9X make the right cost/benefit tradeoffs? I guess time will tell. In general the additional weight has paid out over time, but who knows, GE9X may have hit a point of diminishing returns.
Similar thing is true for wings: longer thinner wings are better in cruise but need more structural strength and make fuel storage a bit more of a challenge, more exact airfoils produce better aerodynamics also at some cost in structures, folding wing tips add weight but also add span and thus better cruise performance.
I guess it is encouraging Calhoun speaks of 778F with a lot of confidence since they must have more than enough data by now to tell them what they can expect for performance from the platform. I think he'd be a bit more circumspect if the platform was a non-starter as some here suggest, yet he too could be dissembling.
Any dissembling won't last for too long when we have actual market competition. That's why orders matter, it means the customer has looked all the options in detail and is willing to tie up a lot of their money for a long time in order to get the product. For instance I was a big fan of A330neo and thought it would do well but we see it is not getting the big blue chip orders outside of Delta's. Personally I expected it to do a lot better as it was a proven platform with a proven engine (small delta on T1000/TXWB family) and could be produced relatively cheaply and with relatively quick turn around time, yet we see customers willing to wait longer and pay more for A359/B789. The market took a good look at what was on offer and voted with their wallets. It'll be interesting to see if A350F vs 77XF ends up happening then ends up with one product dominating over the other.