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acjbbj
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Any hope for "different" designs?

Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:35 pm

In the future, is there any hope for any airplane designs that are not two-engined with a conventional tail? This is for carrying passengers, not cargo, and includes three and four engine designs.

Maybe a "Lockheed TriStar Next Generation" (for example) could have a gas turbine drive a generator, and that generator would power three electric motors turning fans. But that will have to wait.
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NameOmitted
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:48 pm

Absolutely. Look at ship design. 150 years after the screw propeller, we get the bulbous bow, which became ubiquitous. Now, they are starting to be replaced by the hatchet and x-bow. We still have not settled on the best design going forward.

Jet powered aviation is much younger, with many fewer actors creating designs. While we have found a very good overall arrangement, it's safe to say we have not found the ultimate arrangement yet. Just look at how recent winglets really are, and how many types we've tried in the last two decades.
 
Dash9
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:50 pm

Assuming you are referring to civilian aviation (commercial/business).
I believe we'll still have 'tube and turbofans' for a very long time, most probably with the engines under the wings but T-tail still possible (mostly biz jets). Today's industry is very build tightly around certification, airline operations, airport design, etc. Any major disruption is a huge undertaking. Which manufacturer (and engine/avionic/airframe/airline/regulator partners) would be ready to commit billions for development if they can't even tell if it can even be certified and / or integrated in today's airport and airline systems?

Perhaps evolution will come from the military and /or autonomous 'utility' (w/o passenger). These are not bound to the same certification/airport/airline requirements and as such may evolve more freely. Maybe a blended-wing/electrical/pilotless/rotating engines for vertical take-off/[add whatever sexy feature here] aircraft will prove its worth (and efficiency and security and maintainability over time...) and eventually adapted into the civilian market? But thats ifs far, very far down the road.

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acjbbj
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:18 pm

Three engine CARGO/VIP planes in the future?
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:20 pm

Nope. Just look at what FDX is buying—B777, B767; as is the military. The current design standard is simply very efficient. As to VIP planes, Falcon, the last holdout, is not designing another tri-motor.

GF
 
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akiss20
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:08 am

NASA has run the N+3 program looking for future concepts of civilian airliners from 3 groups (Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and MIT/Aurora). I am most familiar with the MIT submission as the program was run out of the lab I am in. You can find more info on it below. It is pretty different from current designs

http://www.aurora.aero/d8/
http://web.mit.edu/drela/Public/papers/ ... 1_3970.pdf
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are
 
CowAnon
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:19 am

acjbbj wrote:
In the future, is there any hope for any airplane designs that are not two-engined with a conventional tail? This is for carrying passengers, not cargo, and includes three and four engine designs.

Maybe a "Lockheed TriStar Next Generation" (for example) could have a gas turbine drive a generator, and that generator would power three electric motors turning fans. But that will have to wait.

Someone in another thread predicted that the Emirates practice of buying new planes and dumping them after 12 years to avoid a scheduled heavy maintenance round would become the industry norm (at least for widebodies, IIRC). Since ease of maintenance was one of the main reasons that twin-engine planes became dominant, wouldn't there be an opening for 3/4 engine designs to reappear if other airlines copy Emirates's model?

Airbus's patented double-fuselage, tandem forward swept-wing concept is unlikely to happen (although it is very cool), but I wonder if the tandem wing part of that design could be adapted for the standard single fuselage? I've read a few people say that the largest existing widebodies are severely disadvantaged by the current 80-meter wingspan limits at airports, so if you could cut the weight supported per wing in half by using tandem wings, you could increase the span loading (and thus reduce drag) without having to make the plane wider than 80 meters. (Also, you could attach the jet bridge to the center of the plane instead of the front, resulting in faster boarding and deboarding.)
 
WIederling
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:48 am

NameOmitted wrote:
Absolutely. Look at ship design. 150 years after the screw propeller, we get the bulbous bow, which became ubiquitous. Now, they are starting to be replaced by the hatchet and x-bow. We still have not settled on the best design

IMU those are more or less niche solutions. ( stealth, looks, extremely difficult operational conditions.)
Murphy is an optimist
 
rigo
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:49 am

I think we can hope for some interesting developments. Over the next decades there is likely going to be some all electric designs (probably at first in regional airliners). For mainline jets, the push for ever lower weight and drag means that we could at some point see V tails. As for the number of engines, it is very possible that the current ETOPS craze may come to a halt when (unfortunately, it's likely to be WHEN, not IF) a high profile accident occurs where additional engines would have prevented it. Something like TNA235 but on a larger scale. With that said I would hate not just the accident happening but also the consequence because I would pick a twin over a trijet any day ;-)
 
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NameOmitted
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:59 pm

It is worth remembering that Boeing was considering a tri-jet of sorts when growing the 777. It was a matter of math and engine size for the VLA.

It was to be a smaller engine in the tall that was used for takeoff, reducing the needed size of the main engines, and reducing the size of the control surfaces to handle asymmetric thrust from an engine-or event.

It did not pencil or then, but it might later, should a new generation of VLAs be needed.
 
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NameOmitted
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:03 pm

WIederling wrote:
NameOmitted wrote:
Absolutely. Look at ship design. 150 years after the screw propeller, we get the bulbous bow, which became ubiquitous. Now, they are starting to be replaced by the hatchet and x-bow. We still have not settled on the best design

IMU those are more or less niche solutions. ( stealth, looks, extremely difficult operational conditions.)

You are right with regards to the x-bow, but as cruise ships get bigger, expect to see the hatchet bow save just that much space in port.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:21 pm

I also think that a lot of people forget that there is more to airplane design than how it behaves in the air, aerodynamics, etc. Ground operations are far from a trivial concern. An aircraft that is a significantly different shape from other aircraft might not be compatible with existing ground equipment.

For example, in a BWB design, if the cargo hold hatches face almost straight down, that's going to cause issues for a belt loader or a scissors-lift truck. And so now if your airline wants to operate an airplane like that, you also have to buy a bunch of specialized cargo loading vehicles for all of your stations.
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ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:11 pm

DocLightning wrote:
I also think that a lot of people forget that there is more to airplane design than how it behaves in the air, aerodynamics, etc. Ground operations are far from a trivial concern. An aircraft that is a significantly different shape from other aircraft might not be compatible with existing ground equipment.

For example, in a BWB design, if the cargo hold hatches face almost straight down, that's going to cause issues for a belt loader or a scissors-lift truck. And so now if your airline wants to operate an airplane like that, you also have to buy a bunch of specialized cargo loading vehicles for all of your stations.


^^^ That

Tube with wings is cheap to design, build, maintain, and also nicely plugs into all the existing infrastructure. It is just too important to ignore.

I think a real good example of this is all the effort Boeing went to to put folding wing tips on the B77X so it would fit in the same gate as a B777.

On a side note. For a BWB I would expect some sort of part near the cargo door that would lift to provide headroom with a dropping lower lip. That way you can plug into existing cargo handling equipment. Kinda like what some military cargo planes do with the rear door. Still have the issue with plugging into the other ground servicing vehicles.
 
FrmrKSEngr
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:21 pm

DocLightning wrote:
I also think that a lot of people forget that there is more to airplane design than how it behaves in the air, aerodynamics, etc. Ground operations are far from a trivial concern. An aircraft that is a significantly different shape from other aircraft might not be compatible with existing ground equipment.

For example, in a BWB design, if the cargo hold hatches face almost straight down, that's going to cause issues for a belt loader or a scissors-lift truck. And so now if your airline wants to operate an airplane like that, you also have to buy a bunch of specialized cargo loading vehicles for all of your stations.


The industry went through that with the introduction of the 747 and other wide bodies. Even the A380 brought challenges with Jetways. Adjustments were made. I will agree that BWB brings different challenges, but if the flight economics out weight the infrastructure economics, we will evolve to BWB designs.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:58 am

FrmrKSEngr wrote:
The industry went through that with the introduction of the 747 and other wide bodies. Even the A380 brought challenges with Jetways. Adjustments were made. I will agree that BWB brings different challenges, but if the flight economics out weight the infrastructure economics, we will evolve to BWB designs.


They haven't so far. We'll see what happens.
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"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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parapente
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:59 am

Most people accept that a 'battery breakthrough' will occur in the next decade.Most likely 'metal lithium' but there are various 'others'.
All promise a doublimg of energy densities and shortening charging times,some more.All would be safer and lighter.This work is primarily being done for the automotive industry but can of course be carried across.
Of course doubling energy density is no where near what is achieved via hydrocarbons but it will make hybrid aircaft more feasible.
At the same time carbon composites are getting better,stronger,lighter.
I think it's well possible that we may seethe start of development of a short range hybrid commercial aircraft,perhaps a hundred seater? In perhaps a decade from now.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:50 am

parapente wrote:
Most people accept that a 'battery breakthrough' will occur in the next decade.Most likely 'metal lithium' but there are various 'others'.
All promise a doublimg of energy densities and shortening charging times,some more.All would be safer and lighter.This work is primarily being done for the automotive industry but can of course be carried across.
Of course doubling energy density is no where near what is achieved via hydrocarbons but it will make hybrid aircaft more feasible.
At the same time carbon composites are getting better,stronger,lighter.
I think it's well possible that we may seethe start of development of a short range hybrid commercial aircraft,perhaps a hundred seater? In perhaps a decade from now.


Almost certainly. But I expect such an aircraft will still follow the tried and tested tube with wings design. At most having more smaller props or ducted fans.

It's just hard to beat good enough. And any changes will have to be distinctly better than the existing design dogmas. After all the longer B77X wing is better but not so much better to make it worth restricting to Code F gates. The extra complexity of folding wingtips to fit in Code E gates and the longer wing do make it better enough to be worth doing.
 
parapente
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Re: Any hope for "different" designs?

Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:36 pm

Totally agree.Indeed just posted on supercritical wings and super/ultra RR fan in other threads.As you say the classic wing and tail on tube formula is easily 'good enough' - effectively it is for birds too!

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