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Mortyman
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Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:41 pm

KLM "Indus" Boeing 747-200SUD ( Stretched Upper Deck )

How do they stretch the upper deck ? Sounds like a big job and expensive ...


"Indus" before and after:


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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.
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Photo © George polfliet

 
 
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OA412
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RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:58 pm

 
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Mortyman
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RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:02 pm

Thanx guys ! Was this a common thing to do for airlines ?
 
petertenthije
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RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:10 pm

Not common at all. Just two '200s coverted for UTA, ten '200s coverted for KLM and two '100s for JAL.
 
aloges
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RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:13 pm

I didn't think it would, but Google came up with a decent result:
Photos of Boeing 747-200 Stretched Upper Deck (SUD) Process
also:
An Inside Look at the Boeing 747 Stretched Upper Deck (SUD)

edit: Damn... beaten to it twice!  laughing 

[Edited 2016-06-13 14:15:05]
 
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Siren
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RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 pm

The original question, though, was whether or not this was an expensive conversion. As we can see by the amount of work involved, it most certainly cost millions of dollars per plane - essentially converting a -200 into a -300 (some minor differences exist between the types, but a -300 is essentially a factory build -200 with a stretched upper deck)...

I'm genuinely curious if the extra seats and capacity paid for itself over the life of the plane... to me, I don't see the numbers working out favorably - at most, break even, but that's my armchair CEO analysis... I really would love to hear from anyone who had first hand knowledge about these things.
 
MEA-707
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RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:46 pm

If it was worth it?
The fact that few airlines bothered speaks for itself.

A factor for KLM might have been that they might have presumed in the early 1980s that the -300 would be the ultimate 747 with many built for a long time to comeand this was a way to upgrade their whole fleet of about 13 aircraft looking like the newest version. But the 300 wasn't popular and as soon as the 400 appeared in 1988 already, the 300 turned into yesterdays plane and hardly survived the 200 in other fleets.
Yet I never heared if KLM regretted it. Maybe it was worth it because all their 747s (after the older P&W engined -200Bs were gone around 1989) had the same capacity, so they could easily swap aircraft on most routes and their cabin crew between the 200SUDs, proper 300s and 400s.
 
ODwyerPW
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:43 pm

Interesting. I got curious and did some research. I had no idea the 400 entered service just a bit less than 6 years after the 300. I also didn't realize that every 300 was a SUD, as there never was a 300 Freighter program launch. Freighter conversions came later, that's it.
 
seanm243
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:19 pm

Thats a really cool set of pictures right there. How long did the conversion take?
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:52 pm

MEA-707 wrote:
A factor for KLM might have been that they might have presumed in the early 1980s that the -300 would be the ultimate 747 with many built for a long time to comeand this was a way to upgrade their whole fleet of about 13 aircraft looking like the newest version. But the 300 wasn't popular and as soon as the 400 appeared in 1988 already, the 300 turned into yesterdays plane and hardly survived the 200 in other fleets.


The 300 was never intended to sell huge numbers. It was just a stopgap intended to help keep the 747 line moving till the 747-400 was ready. It offered some of the aerodynamic improvements developed for the 747SP that would also be incorporated into the 747-400 as well as its increased passenger capacity. Once the 747-400 was certified, there wasn't any interest in ordering any more 300's, because the 400 had lots of improvements especially the 2-man glass cockpit.

KLM was interested in the SUD upgrade to its fleet mostly due to the ability to add more seats to its fleet of 747-206M combi freighters. JAL was interested in adding more seats to its domestic 747's. That's why the they had 747-146SR's built with the stretched upper deck, because it was lighter than a 747-246.
 
caverunner17
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Re: RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:54 pm

Siren wrote:
The original question, though, was whether or not this was an expensive conversion. As we can see by the amount of work involved, it most certainly cost millions of dollars per plane - essentially converting a -200 into a -300 (some minor differences exist between the types, but a -300 is essentially a factory build -200 with a stretched upper deck)...

I'm genuinely curious if the extra seats and capacity paid for itself over the life of the plane... to me, I don't see the numbers working out favorably - at most, break even, but that's my armchair CEO analysis... I really would love to hear from anyone who had first hand knowledge about these things.

That's what I've always wondered. I would think that a handful of extra seats (can't be more than what, 8 or 12 with 2-3 additional rows?) wouldn't be enough to push them over.
 
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Stitch
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Re: RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:34 am

caverunner17 wrote:
I'm genuinely curious if the extra seats and capacity paid for itself over the life of the plane... to me, I don't see the numbers working out favorably - at most, break even, but that's my armchair CEO analysis... I really would love to hear from anyone who had first hand knowledge about these things.

That's what I've always wondered. I would think that a handful of extra seats (can't be more than what, 8 or 12 with 2-3 additional rows?) wouldn't be enough to push them over.[/quote]

If they were all Business Class, that would be significant extra revenue per flight so over the many years of service, it may very well have covered the cost and then some.
 
factsonly
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Re: RE: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:57 am

Stitch wrote:
caverunner17 wrote:
I'm genuinely curious if the extra seats and capacity paid for itself over the life of the plane... to me, I don't see the numbers working out favorably - at most, break even, but that's my armchair CEO analysis... I really would love to hear from anyone who had first hand knowledge about these things.

That's what I've always wondered. I would think that a handful of extra seats (can't be more than what, 8 or 12 with 2-3 additional rows?) wouldn't be enough to push them over.

If they were all Business Class, that would be significant extra revenue per flight so over the many years of service, it may very well have covered the cost and then some.


In the early 1980's KLM operated both P&W and GE powered B747-200B. KLM opted for Boeing's option to stretch the B742 Upper Deck, as its GE powered 747s were young aircraft at the time (del. late 1970s/early 1980s) and the aircraft had sufficient life left in them to warrant the expense.

Only the ten newest GE powered aircraft were reconfigured from 747-200B to 747-200SUD.

The re-configuration offered KLM the opportunity to make big improvements to its Business Class, as the small upper deck changed to a much larger cabin. Initially KLM offered a F-class lounge upstairs, but after the lounge was abolished KLM struggled to fill the upper deck. The airline tried 32 Y seats, but this was quite cramped. Possibly worse than flying a narrowbody across the Atlantic. So Boeing's offer to stretch the upper deck presented an opportunity to offer a vastly improved Business Class on a dedicated upper deck. This proved to be highly popular with business travelers.

Remember that Boeing was short of business at that time as well, the B747 wasn't selling that well and the manufacturer sought projects to fill its factories. A sweet deal was done as KLM's 747-200B's were very young at the time, so it definitely was an economic proposition.
 
yeahfelipe
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:21 am

Funny, I had a conversation about this very topic with a friend two days ago and we couldn't find photos of the actual conversion process. Thank you for clearing some things up. That massive conversion work once again shows, what a durable plane the 747 is/was. Just reminds me of the LH Cargo 747 D-ABYZ with the massive hull damage; at that time more than a few people thought, that the damage couldn't be fixed. However that 747 flew until 2012.
 
bmacleod
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:24 pm

I imagine besides the fuselage upper deck replacement, the new engines would also be very pricey..
 
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:50 pm

bmacleod wrote:
I imagine besides the fuselage upper deck replacement, the new engines would also be very pricey..

I don't think they fitted new engines. KLM took delivery of 7 747-206B aircraft with P&W JT9D-7 engines 1970-71. It then took two more aircraft in 1975 with GE CF6-50E2 engines and a further 8 1978-81. It was the 10 GE aircraft that had the SUD conversion. The P&W birds left 1989-91 as the 747-406s came on stream.
 
suske
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:42 pm

Many airlines were offered the option to stretch. But is was assumed that the cost were not going to redeemed by the additional revenue. However it turned out that the aerodynamics of the 747SUD turned out better than the 747B (flow separation was at the end of the hump. With the stretch that was put at the wing theretore reducing drag), thus making it more fuel efficient. From what I understood, as soon as this became known, more airlines wanted to stretch the upper deck, but Boeing had stopped offering it (probably to encourage 747-400 sales).
 
Viscount724
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:32 am

FlyCaledonian wrote:
bmacleod wrote:
I imagine besides the fuselage upper deck replacement, the new engines would also be very pricey..

I don't think they fitted new engines. KLM took delivery of 7 747-206B aircraft with P&W JT9D-7 engines 1970-71. It then took two more aircraft in 1975 with GE CF6-50E2 engines and a further 8 1978-81. It was the 10 GE aircraft that had the SUD conversion. The P&W birds left 1989-91 as the 747-406s came on stream.


Yes, only the later GE-powered KL 742s were converted to SUDs, not the early P&W aircraft.
 
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hOMSaR
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:36 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
The 300 was never intended to sell huge numbers. It was just a stopgap intended to help keep the 747 line moving till the 747-400 was ready.


This sounds a little fishy. The 747-300 was launched in 1980 and entered service in 1983. The 747-400 was launched in 1985. While the -300 certainly wound up being short-lived, I can't imagine that when Boeing first launched the -300, their thinking was that it would just be to hold them over until the next major upgrade.
 
sabenapilot
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:01 am

One of the things which hasn't been mentioned yet when considering the economic viability of this stretch is that it not just added seating capacity, it also improved the aerodynamics of the plane (and thus lowered its fuel burn) despite adding some weight to the structure.
 
bmacleod
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:08 pm

FlyCaledonian wrote:
bmacleod wrote:
I imagine besides the fuselage upper deck replacement, the new engines would also be very pricey..

I don't think they fitted new engines. KLM took delivery of 7 747-206B aircraft with P&W JT9D-7 engines 1970-71. It then took two more aircraft in 1975 with GE CF6-50E2 engines and a further 8 1978-81. It was the 10 GE aircraft that had the SUD conversion. The P&W birds left 1989-91 as the 747-406s came on stream.


Thanks for the info.

I thought new engines were needed to handle the increased weight as the 747-206B PW JT9D-7 powered were older models- but since SUD conversion only limited to the more powerful GE engined aircraft no engine upgrade was needed.
Last edited by bmacleod on Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:15 pm

I am almost certain I flew a 747-100SUD on JL from Frankfurt to TYO all the way back in 1991... at least I do remember reading the safety card and wondering what a -SUD 747 was... I was pretty surprised as I remember being absolutely sure I was about to board a -300.
 
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FlyCaledonian
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:13 pm

KL was obviously a major customer of the SUD conversion. I wonder what other carriers could have been interested? Off the top of my head, some suggestions (but no evidence if they considered it): -

QF - Took 6 RR powered 747-338 aircraft but also had 5 RR powered 747-238Bs (including two combis) delivered 1979-81
CX - Took 6 RR powered 747-367 aircraft but also had 7 RR powered 747-267Bs delivered 1979-84
SV - Took 10 RR powered 747-368 aircraft but also had 8 RR powered 747-168Bs delivered 1981-82
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Boeing 747-200SUD Expensive Conversion?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:34 am

hOMSaR wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
The 300 was never intended to sell huge numbers. It was just a stopgap intended to help keep the 747 line moving till the 747-400 was ready.


This sounds a little fishy. The 747-300 was launched in 1980 and entered service in 1983. The 747-400 was launched in 1985. While the -300 certainly wound up being short-lived, I can't imagine that when Boeing first launched the -300, their thinking was that it would just be to hold them over until the next major upgrade.

That is my understanding as well. I have read that Boeing had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do the 744 at all; their view was that the 742/743 had no competition, so why spend more money upgrading it to something that will have even less competition? This was when the L-1011 was already dead, the DC-10 was on life support and the A340 was not yet a gleam in the Airbus engineer's eye. Also, Airbus was just a fringe player at that time-they only had the A300/A310 and I doubt Boeing was taking them seriously.

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