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Topic Author
Posts: 144
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:25 am

Old Design?

Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:18 pm

Why do people say that an airplane that has been constantly improved over many years in service is still an old design? Lets take the 747-400 for example. The first 747 flew in 1970? But compare the 747-100 to the 747-400 and you'll see that they are two totally different airplanes. IMO, same concept, different design.

Same with the 737. To me 737-100 and 737-700/800/900 and 737 classics are totally different airplanes.

Same goes with the A340. A342/3 to me is different than the A345/6.

Anyone elses thoughts?
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2003 3:17 pm

RE: Old Design?

Wed Dec 31, 2003 5:37 pm

The original aircraft design dates back to a different era in the matters of design philosophy. I agree they did make it better, but they still need to work with some drawbacks from the original design. By bringing in new brand new platforms, they can make it even more efficient. Just look at cars, for example. A model will last anywhere from 4 to 8 years with some minor evolutions. After that, they usually bring a brand new chassis wich will benefit from new material, manufaturing and design technologies. Same thing applies to aircraft designs. Just think of the advance in composite materials for example wich can save a lot of weight. Fly-by-wire, wich takes all of the mechanical linkage and cables out of the flight control system.
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Posts: 477
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 4:49 am

RE: Old Design?

Wed Dec 31, 2003 6:00 pm

The main advances on airliner design since the 1960s has been in wings. Although Airbus boast about the wonders of digital Fly By Wire, the real secret of Airbus performance is their advanced wing designs. Both the Boeing 737 and 747 are saddled with wings that were drawn up (literally) in the early to mid 60s. Of course they have been subject to modifications since those days but the designers are essentially stuck with the basic wing shape as originally designed. You only have to look at the plan view of a 737/747 compared to an A320/A330 to see how things have changed over the decades.

The only Boeing with truly modern wing shape is the 777.
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Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Old Design?

Wed Dec 31, 2003 6:11 pm

Boeing designed a completely new supercritical wing and flap system for the 737NGs. As mentioned, the 747 still sports its 1960s-vintage airfoil, but Boeing proposed "reshaping" it to a more supercritical cross-section for the 747X. This change may appear on the 747 Advanced, if built.

Interesting link on the 747X wing:

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