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BaconButty
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[Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:07 pm

Something I picked up from the Leeham interview with John Leahy, where he's discussing Airbus strateging errors:
GE, he says, would have paid for the development of putting the GE 90 on an A330. I can remember [Airbus] just rolling their eyes, saying ‘no, why would we want to do that?

https://leehamnews.com/2017/12/14/top-a ... more-25654

So lets imagine a GE90 powered A330, with, say, 90K lbf engines, similar to the 77E. What would the aircraft look like? Would you expect it to be stretched, perhaps a family in A333 and A345 lengths? What would the range be? Presumably the A333 length variant would be heading into 7-8000nm territory, even back then. What effect would it have had an the Airbus product line? Presumably the A340-5/600 would not have happened. Would that have led to a smaller A380? 6+9 seating? And what of Boeing. Would such an aircraft have put pressure on the 777? What effect on the 787? Initially probably none, but given the success the A330 line had as the 787 program hit the skids, would the putative A330NG have added competitive pressure?

Or would the aircraft have been an error. Fragmented the A330 line and generated no more incremental sales than the A340 developments did. Thoughts?
Down with that sort of thing!
 
SCAT15F
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:17 pm

Well, considering the GE90-90B (90k thrust variant) weighs 17,400 lbs and the GE CF6-80E1 weighs 11,200 lbs, I can see why Airbus would be rolling their eyes. Only a serious stretch of the 333 could make that weight penalty worth the fuel burn savings. Taller landing gear may also be required...
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:26 pm

You would have an overpowered plane, which was uneconomic for the vast majority of the routes its users flew. The end result would be them looking to replace it with a model with 20% better operating costs that could carry out 95% of the routes it flew. (Think 757 vs A321)
 
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KarelXWB
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:33 pm

The GE90 powerplant is too heavy for an A330 application.
What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived.
 
UA735WL
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:21 pm

Considering how utterly destroyed the 346 was by the 77W, I'd bet that Airbus (with 20/20 hindsight) sees that there could have been a benefit to mating a modified 346 wing and fuselage to twin GE90-115Bs. While it would've required some serious wing strengthening and possibly a gear extension, it would've been a lot more competitive than the 346. It certainly would've produced an interesting looking airplane. :scratchchin:



Jonas
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BaconButty
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:42 pm

KarelXWB wrote:
The GE90 powerplant is too heavy for an A330 application.

Yep sure. But turn it on its head. GE are no mugs and they proposed it and were willing to fund integration. Leahy is no mug and he views Airbus rejection of the offer as a major strategic mistake on their part.

So instead of pointing out the truism that as a like for like engine replacement the GE90 was too heavy, we could rather ask ourselves what were they envisaging? I'd suggest a new sub-family, co-existing with the A332 and A333, presumably at longer lengths, perhaps with the A343 275 tonne mtow and gear.

Maybe we'll have to wait for his book. It'll make for good reading.
Last edited by BaconButty on Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Down with that sort of thing!
 
mjoelnir
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:43 pm

Airbus could have build an A330/340 NG with the possibility of two or four engines. But a big point in the failure of the A340-500/600 was the overweight of the fuselage.
Airbus should have done a new frame one size up in fuselage diameter, perhaps offering again the choice of two or four engines.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:33 pm

Innovation is seeing opportunity before obstacle.
 
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BaconButty
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:47 am

Taxi645 wrote:
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1378023&p=19942033#p19942033


Nice your "alternative history" seems to have been grounded in reality. The aircraft Leahy regrets weren't bought to market can't have been far off these:
A330-300ER 1999 64.5m 60.3m 295 276.5T 7.500Nm 2 x 84.000
A330-400ER 1998 71.7m 60.3m 350 276.5T 6.600Nm 2 x 84.000
Down with that sort of thing!
 
Varsity1
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:15 am

The A330-400ER would have been a transatlantic beast.
 
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Narfish641
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:55 am

GE90 on an A330?....... Strange...
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LAX772LR
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:18 am

UA735WL wrote:
Considering how utterly destroyed the 346 was by the 77W, I'd bet that Airbus (with 20/20 hindsight) sees that there could have been a benefit to mating a modified 346 wing and fuselage to twin GE90-115Bs. While it would've required some serious wing strengthening and possibly a gear extension, it would've been a lot more competitive than the 346.

Actually, no; it would've had the exact opposite effect.

The A346's primary weakness against the 77W wasn't trust, it was WEIGHT.
A lower capacity aircraft, that weighed far more.

.....and you want to put engines on it which would increase that weight disparity by almost 6 tons? :crazy:
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
RJMAZ
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:21 am

Making the A330 heavier using the A340 landing gear and fitting a fuselage tank would have been easy. They could have used GE90's or more likely Trent 800's instead of the Trent 700's. Interesting fact is the Trent 800's from the original 777 are 2inch smaller and lighter than the Trent 7000 engines used on the current A330NEO. So weight and size would not have been an issue. They could have done another stretch of the A330 to A340-500 length.

This would have created market space for the smaller A300 to continue production. It could have got a new engine similar to the Trent 500 in 2000-2001. The A300NEO would still be in production today as the middle of market aircraft.

This would have put Airbus in the ideal position right now. The A300NEO would be probably getting another new engine today to keep it competitive. The A330-400 would be getting directly replaced by the A350. Their range and capacity would have been identical where as today the current A330 is slightly smaller.

mjoelnir wrote:
But a big point in the failure of the A340-500/600 was the overweight of the fuselage.
Airbus should have done a new frame one size up in fuselage diameter, perhaps offering again the choice of two or four engines.

This is definitely the case. A long and skinny fuselage ends up being heavier than a wider fuselage after a certain point.

I constantly mention this in the MOM threads to people who insist it will be 757-300 size instead of 767-200 size.
 
Dardania
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:49 am

I wonder was there an implicit exclusivity deal from GE e.g. they would be sole supplier of engines to the A330/A340 programme. That would have been a mistake.

But limited to the A340 line...sure, would have been a good idea
 
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zeke
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:06 am

The GE90 engine is too big for the A330, it burns a fair bit more than the A330 engines, one of the reasons that 777s have died out on short to medium haul routes.
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RalXWB
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:26 am

Considering the sales figures of the 330 I guess Airbus has no regrets about engine choices...
 
parapente
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:08 am

Whilst I hate along with others the 'someone said to someone' stories there is one I recall.
A commercial helicopter pilot was talking to someone in Airbus at the time of the 346 and 777er product developments.
He was told that Airbus had doubts about the 773er from an engine out POV.That the 'twisting?' Momentum at T/O with one giant engine at max thrust would be too much for the tail to correct.Hence they went for the 4 engined 346 option rather than doing a large stretched twin ie a 336 if you like.
Could be total **** I don't know.But in hindsight would have had a better chance than the quad they went for.Still all history now.Clearly they corrected this expensive mistake with the 350 series later.
 
WIederling
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:47 am

SCAT15F wrote:
Well, considering the GE90-90B (90k thrust variant) weighs 17,400 lbs and the GE CF6-80E1 weighs 11,200 lbs, I can see why Airbus would be rolling their eyes. Only a serious stretch of the 333 could make that weight penalty worth the fuel burn savings. Taller landing gear may also be required...


Even the heaviest current A330 makes do with ~67klbs thrust.

longer gear:
What is nacelle wise bigger : GE90 or Trent7000 ?

Apropos:
Where is the thrust limit at which the GE::BCA exclusivity arrangement cuts in?
Murphy is an optimist
 
VSMUT
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:00 am

parapente wrote:
Whilst I hate along with others the 'someone said to someone' stories there is one I recall.
A commercial helicopter pilot was talking to someone in Airbus at the time of the 346 and 777er product developments.
He was told that Airbus had doubts about the 773er from an engine out POV.That the 'twisting?' Momentum at T/O with one giant engine at max thrust would be too much for the tail to correct.Hence they went for the 4 engined 346 option rather than doing a large stretched twin ie a 336 if you like.
Could be total **** I don't know.But in hindsight would have had a better chance than the quad they went for.Still all history now.Clearly they corrected this expensive mistake with the 350 series later.


That is completely true. It is part of the reason why 777s struggle out of hot and high airports where A340s don't. The air gets so thin that the rudder losses it's effectiveness, and in order to maintain the requirement of no more than 5 degrees of bank while maintaining your course, you will then have to reduce the power on the remaining engine, and in turn reduce the payload to maintain a safe climb gradient with a corresponding lower power setting.

In hindsight though, it didn't really pay off for Airbus. I can really only think of South African Airways and Iberia who ordered the A340-600s for that specific reason.
 
parapente
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:46 am

Thx VSMUT.My source was a good one but I could never believe that Airbus would make an error like that.But as you say engine out at T/O can be tricky!But the fact is Boeing did manage it so well done them.
It is interesting (well I think so) to wonder what might have happened had Airbus gone for their 'cut and shut' route with the 330 rather than the 340 platform.
Still the 350 is now that plane and no doubt a much better one than an overstretched 330 could ever have been.
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: [Hindsight] GE90 powered A330

Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:34 pm

WIederling wrote:
Where is the thrust limit at which the GE::BCA exclusivity arrangement cuts in?


The GE has exclusivity on any 777 variant over 700,000 lbs MTOW. The exclusivity agreement doesn't constrain engine thrust.

There was some brief talk about a 777-200ER+ with a MTOW bump from 656 klbs right up the 700 klbs. This was aimed at loyal Trent customers like AA, who was royally pissed when GE was given exclusivity on the 777LR.

RalXWB wrote:
Considering the sales figures of the 330 I guess Airbus has no regrets about engine choices...


More sales are always better. Higher prices are always better. Airbus probably could have achieved both if they had offered bigger/heavier A330 variants in the 2000s. Again, that's just hindsight.

SCAT15F wrote:
Well, considering the GE90-90B (90k thrust variant) weighs 17,400 lbs and the GE CF6-80E1 weighs 11,200 lbs, I can see why Airbus would be rolling their eyes. Only a serious stretch of the 333 could make that weight penalty worth the fuel burn savings. Taller landing gear may also be required...


KarelXWB wrote:
The GE90 powerplant is too heavy for an A330 application.


Why are we constraining ourselves to think GE was pitching the exact same -94B variant as the 777? Maybe they would have arrived at a scaled version for the A330 like the GEnx-2B. The GE90 was a big advancement over the CF6-80E1 at the time.
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