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delta88
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A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:30 am

Is it possible that there could be a one size fits all airplane?

-Good Field Performence, both at regular and Hot/High Airports
-Good Pax Capacity, say between 200-400 passengers
-Be Small and lightweight, but have very good efficency at short haul flights
-Be Able to fly extreme distances but still carry payload, and not just fuel to carry fuel
-Be Realatively cheap to operate, simple maintenance costs
-Not Too Big or too Small
-Comfortable cabin
-Fit into smaller airports

The Idea here is what could be designed, a long thin aircraft, or short but much wider fusealage, or thicker shorter wing, longer thinner wing, more fuel capacity, less, all the variables, do you all think its possible?

Dont Shoot me down if this is immpossible. Its more to get people thinking of what COULD be possible!
Give it your best Shot!


Delta88
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ssteve
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:43 am

No.

In a sense, today's 787 or A350 was 1971's miracle airplane-- they can probably do everything better than any plane available then. But in terms of being everything to everyone all at once at any point in the present day, no. Even the Model S has poor off-road performance and high acquisition costs.
 
boeing773er
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:48 am

This plane you describe is not impossible. It's just going to be awhile before we see a plane like this.

What you describe in terms of seats sort of goes over many different categories of planes. At the 200 seat range, you have a A321. At the 400 seat range you have the B772. I'm not exactly sure how Boeing/Airbus would be able to make a plan with such a large seat range, but I'd imagine it would have to be at least four different variations. Maybe something at 225, one at 260-300, one in the 375 seat range, then maybe something a little over 400?

Now one other problem I see out of this is, the engines. I'm not really sure how common 400 seat short haul planes are, outside of Asia. So they would have to have a bunch of different engine variations, unless some engine company can come up with a way to have equal efficiency for such a large variation in weight. Also an other problem that would arise with this is, the wing. The wing would have to be able to support different weight of engines.

This plane would be great in theory, it would really save airlines a great amount of money in terms of fleet commonality, staff training costs, and anything other cost associated with different fleet types.

This could also launch a true LLC longhaul, since they would be able able to operate an A321 at the same efficiency as a B777. Like I said, this is not going to be soon but maybe in 20-25 years it could become a possibility.
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NAV20
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:38 am

Quoting delta88 (Thread starter):
a one size fits all airplane?

In a sense there have already been quite a few, delta88. In the 1940s-60s, flying just about anywhere, you'd mostly have found yourself sitting in a Douglas DC3 Dakota; and from the seventies on, on any sort of long trip (especially crossing the ocean) you'd almost inevitably have found yourself on a B747. Both those aeroplanes came close to being 'one size fits all' in their time.

But circumstances change, and technology improves. At the present time, in terms of 'circumstances,' there is very strong demand for air travel in general, and people increasingly want 'point to point' rather than 'hub to hub.' In terms of technology, the big changes are the continuing development of engines that are both more powerful and more economical, plus lighter composite construction; so that only two engines will henceforward be needed to carry 400-plus people, even on long trips. Thus, one can expect the big fours to be 'retired' over a period, and the next 'one size fits all' candidates to be the B787, the A350, and the 'next-generation' B777.

We can all take our pick as to which of those will emerge as the best 'one size fits all' type this time around. My bet is on the B787 proving to be the best and most 'remembered' type - and also the one that sells most - but either of the other two might eventually emerge as the 'champion' over time.

[Edited 2013-09-13 21:40:09]
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kengo
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:19 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
Quoting NAV20 (Reply 3):
My bet is on the B787 proving to be the best and most 'remembered' type - and also the one that sells most - but either of the other two might eventually emerge as the 'champion' over time.

Agreed! More so if Boeing offers a 787-10ER/HGW version in the future.
 
Mir
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:47 am

Quoting boeing773ER (Reply 2):
This plane you describe is not impossible.

Yes it is. Let's ignore the "200-400 seats" issue for the moment (because that's the most obvious stumbling block) - the requirement to have good field performance at hot/high airports is going to kill the efficiency of the airplane, because the sort of aerodynamic and engine tweaks it would take in order to achieve that are going to be detrimental in other areas. You see it with the A340, which, by nature of having four engines, has great field performance - unfortunately, by nature of having four engines, it's not as efficient in cruise and maintenance costs. Going with a twin design would mean a whole lot of high-lift devices in the wings, which adds weight and thus reduces efficiency.

It's stuff like that that makes the idea unworkable. Every aircraft design is a tradeoff - if you add capability in one area, you're going to be taking away from it in another area. So you take the most common mission and design the plane around that, tweaking as necessary for important outliers. And because there is a wide variety of missions, you can't hope to cover them properly with one airframe design.

-Mir
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NAV20
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:22 am

Quoting Kengo (Reply 4):
More so if Boeing offers a 787-10ER/HGW version in the future.

Not sure that that will ever happen, Kengo. Every design has its limits. The 787-10 currently only has 50 firm orders. Sure, it's early days yet, but the 787-10 will apparently have a relatively-short range (by modern standards) compared to the 8s and 9s. Increasing the range would presumably require new wings etc., which might turn out to be an (expensive) 'stretch too far.' Much as I (almost literally  ) 'love' the 787, my guess is that the 787-10 will be the last 787 model.

The 777 is an incredible aeroplane, in my view. The 772 has been discontinued (overtaken by the 787), but the 773ER STILL has 339 orders outstanding. Yet Boeing are pressing on with the 777X. My guess is that, besides developing and producing the 777X (to compete with both the 748 and the A380), Boeing will keep the 777ER in production as well?

Giving them, on the face of it, a pretty unbeatable range of twin-engine models?
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
tortugamon
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:36 am

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 7):

Increasing the range on a 787-10 would not need new wings. It just needs a MTOW bump like the A330 and others have received many times over the last decade. The landing gear would need strengthening. How is 7000nm short range? The 788 is barely 8000nm. You say a stretch but it wouldn't require a stretch. As Boeing already announced a 787-9 freighter the engines will need a boost anyway so this is the logical next step.


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DocLightning
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:51 am

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 8):
As Boeing already announced a 787-9 freighter

"Announced" is a strong term. They have indicated that the 787-9 freighter is a project that is under consideration and even that it's likely. They've also said that it is a "far future" project, probably >10 years out and explicitly did not commit to (or even announce) a timeline.

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
Yes it is.

   What is being described is a "master of all trades." You can either be a jack of all trades or a master of one. You can't be both.

While it is possible to design a single airframe that can be shrunk to 50 seats and stretched to 450, the resulting design would be so absurdly inefficient that we might as well go back to steam trains and ocean liners.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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rwessel
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:12 pm

Quoting delta88 (Thread starter):
-Be Small and lightweight, but have very good efficency at short haul flights
-Be Able to fly extreme distances but still carry payload, and not just fuel to carry fuel

Absent a quantum leap in fuel energy density, you can't have both of those. A major reason that long haul aircraft are inefficient on short routes is that they need to be much bigger to be able to handle the fuel requirements for the long routes.

For example, the A380 is much heavier per seat than an A320 because it's designed to fly 7500nm missions, and the A320 2500nm missions. The A380 is designed to carry some 900lbs of fuel per passenger, the A320 some 300lbs. So the A380 is built to haul approximately 1100lbs off the ground for each passenger on board, vs. 500lbs for the A320. And it does that by being only 35% heavier per-seat. And keep in mind that a larger aircraft is inherently more efficient, so that 35% is an underestimate if we were comparing short and long range aircraft with the same capacity.

But if you're only flying a 2500nm mission, that extra weight kills the economics of the long range aircraft.

Now, if we came up with a fuel that was significantly denser on a mass (and volume) basis, it would probably be more reasonable to build a single aircraft for both missions. Let's say you managed a factor of 10: so that instead of Jet-A's 43MJ/kg, you had 430MJ/kg. At that point a A320 with half tanks would have 12000nm range, and you'd only be looking at a couple of percent structural savings (at best) for reducing the fuel capacity any more.

A second problem is structural, short range aircraft have beefier structures to handle the higher number of cycles - and adding that extra structure to a long range aircraft will mess up its economics.
 
PGNCS
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:33 pm

Although it's military aviation, a brief history of the F-111 program could be very instructional here.
 
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N776AU
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:31 am

The 757 fits most of those criteria.
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timpdx
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:54 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 11):
Although it's military aviation, a brief history of the F-111 program could be very instructional here.

or the ongoing saga of the F-35   
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cosyr
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:55 am

Quoting delta88 (Thread starter):
Is it possible that there could be a one size fits all airplane?

I definitely hope not! It would make this website a lot less interesting.
 
eaglewarrior
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:38 am

What about the BWB? I know it's been shelved/scrapped but in theory could it work?
 
woodsboy
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:09 am

The 737 has ranged in size from the original small -100 to the -900 with 100% increase in size from the beginning to the current largest model, around 100 pax for the -100 and almost 200 for the -900.

The Airbus A300 spawned not only the smaller A310 but the fuselage cross section and twin jet config remained the same for the A-300, 310, 330-200 and A330-300 and I guess even the A340 was the same cross section along with the flight deck windows as the original A300. So there you have a general family derived from one common ancestor ranging in passenger capacity from around 200 seats to around 400 for an A340-600.
 
ECFlyer
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:13 am

Has anybody ever studied a four-holer that could shut down two engines in flight? Sort of like cylinder deactivation? Maybe with a fairing of some sort so the dead engines don't windmill? Do that, plus use GTF technology and you could have a serious variable-thrust setup. Late in cruise with much of the fuel burned off you could just spin two fuel sipping GTFs. Early on you might take off hot and high with all four blasting. Maybe composite engines could impose less of a weight penalty when shut down and faired.
 
incitatus
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:17 am

Quoting panais (Reply 6):
You might want to look at Keesje's Greenliner.

Great work but not quite green enough due to the measures of comfort. A green airplane with technology similar to today's has to have tight pitch, narrow seats and in this seat range a single aisle.
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N776AU
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:53 am

Quoting ECflyer (Reply 17):
Has anybody ever studied a four-holer that could shut down two engines in flight?
Quoting ECflyer (Reply 17):
Maybe composite engines could impose less of a weight penalty when shut down and faired.

I would think even without the weight penalty the drag would be too much to justify.
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rwessel
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:25 am

Quoting ECflyer (Reply 17):
Has anybody ever studied a four-holer that could shut down two engines in flight? Sort of like cylinder deactivation? Maybe with a fairing of some sort so the dead engines don't windmill? Do that, plus use GTF technology and you could have a serious variable-thrust setup. Late in cruise with much of the fuel burned off you could just spin two fuel sipping GTFs. Early on you might take off hot and high with all four blasting. Maybe composite engines could impose less of a weight penalty when shut down and faired.

There was the B-36 and the Trident-3B, which did something quite like that. And there have been a number of proposals (and a handful of small-scale implementations) for thrusting APUs, which would also serve a similar function.
 
SchorschNG
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:25 am

Quoting rwessel (Reply 20):
There was the B-36 and the Trident-3B, which did something quite like that. And there have been a number of proposals (and a handful of small-scale implementations) for thrusting APUs, which would also serve a similar function.

Switching off engines makes sense if you have turbojets or fly at low altitude. The B727 serving Berlin from West Germany often switched an engine off, as they flew at 10000ft (and were pretty low weight). With high-bypass turbofans there is no need to switch off anything.

To the original question: any "one size fits all" design will always be less efficient than a specialized design. However, we see that evolving technology has allowed an increase in capability. For example, today's single aisles are able of flying 2500nm, yet the average flight distance is around 600nm. One would think that airlines ask for 1000nm aircraft and cash in the ~10% benefit in fuel burn. Actually, they don't.

Long range aircraft are designed for 7000nm, but most routes are well below 5000nm.
From a structural standpoint, passengers are the worst possible payload. [Michael Chun-Yung Niu]
 
tortugamon
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:44 am

Has anything that claims to be one size fits all ever fit all that well? If all airlines have unique and varying needs could one aircraft ever do all of these better than one specifically made for that purpse? Does a 77L perform as well as an A330 on LHR-JFK as it does on ATL-JNB?

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DocLightning
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RE: A One Size Fits All Aircraft...Is It Possible?

Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:48 am

Quoting woodsboy (Reply 16):
The 737 has ranged in size from the original small -100 to the -900 with 100% increase in size from the beginning to the current largest model, around 100 pax for the -100 and almost 200 for the -900.

And with that, you will notice that the smallest model (the -600) is no longer in production and that the 737-7MAX isn't selling too well, either.

Comparing today's 737 to the 737 jurassic is like comparing the A330 to the A300. They might be related, but they aren't the same plane.
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