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DN4CAAD
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How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:55 pm

Essentially, how does the first few A320/738/etc differ from the latest models of the same A/C on the production line. While a more exaggerated example, the A333 and A332 series aircraft have gained MTOW since 2015 with an intentional upgrade. I'd imagine internal software and hardware upgrades as production progressed have resulted in newer A/C that have marginally better ranges/MTOW/etc than their older counterparts from the same line.
 
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AirKevin
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Mon Aug 30, 2021 9:34 pm

With the 737, they had a performance improvement package, lights have gone to LEDs, I think the beacon light is more aerodynamic, short-field performance package came around, although I don't know if that became standard or not.
 
LH707330
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:27 pm

Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Mon Aug 30, 2021 11:21 pm

Many aircraft families have changes during the production run, either to standardize parts, make things a bit better, lower costs, etc. Sometimes an enhancement developed for a new model gets backported. A few I can think of:
A320: tortilla chips, winglets, new tank layout (designed for 321 then backported), new WBF, new engines, exhaust chevrons (CFM A321), new software (gust alleviation MTOW tweak), new door layouts (321)
737NG: PIP that AirKevin mentioned, plus new VGs by the flight deck, removal of the eyebrow windows
A330/340: wing twist change (l/n 74 IINM), new stabilizer fairing (introduced on A332, then backported to 333/343/342, l/n 182 IINM: https://airlinercafe.com/forums.php?m=posts&p=75318), switch from CRT to LCD (intro on 500/600, then made standard on other types), new fin for the 332 (standardize production with 345/346, l/n 555), new flaptrack canoes (l/n 1627)
747: outboard engine angle tweak, wing twist tweak, stabilizer fairing change (https://airlinercafe.com/forums.php?m=posts&p=75330), WBF change (intro on 400, backported to last 200/300)
777: PIP in 2016ish that reduced flap gap and no more tail skid on the 300ER

707: https://airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=72
DC-9: https://airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=396
DC-10: https://airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=392
 
DN4CAAD
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Mon Aug 30, 2021 11:37 pm

Thanks for the replies

Do airlines have any issues of getting, let's say, two 738s of which one was made before a production mod and one was made after and thus has a different part scheme in certain systems?
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Tue Aug 31, 2021 1:05 am

LH707330 wrote:
A330/340: wing twist change (l/n 74 IINM), new stabilizer fairing (introduced on A332, then backported to 333/343/342, l/n 182 IINM: https://airlinercafe.com/forums.php?m=posts&p=75318), switch from CRT to 2


Also on the newer A330s: FBW rudder, digital backup instrumentation instead of steam, LCDs instead of CRTs, updated MCDU/FM, Backup Speed Scale, increased gross weights.



The A330

DN4CAAD wrote:
Thanks for the replies

Do airlines have any issues of getting, let's say, two 738s of which one was made before a production mod and one was made after and thus has a different part scheme in certain systems?


You get multiple manual editions for one thing. :)
 
LH707330
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:52 am

Starlionblue wrote:
LH707330 wrote:
A330/340: wing twist change (l/n 74 IINM), new stabilizer fairing (introduced on A332, then backported to 333/343/342, l/n 182 IINM: https://airlinercafe.com/forums.php?m=posts&p=75318), switch from CRT to 2


Also on the newer A330s: FBW rudder, digital backup instrumentation instead of steam, LCDs instead of CRTs, updated MCDU/FM, Backup Speed Scale, increased gross weights.



The A330

DN4CAAD wrote:
Thanks for the replies

Do airlines have any issues of getting, let's say, two 738s of which one was made before a production mod and one was made after and thus has a different part scheme in certain systems?


You get multiple manual editions for one thing. :)

Did the 330/342/343 also get the electrically-actuated rudder of the 500/600, or was that change not ported back?

DN4CAAD wrote:
Thanks for the replies

Do airlines have any issues of getting, let's say, two 738s of which one was made before a production mod and one was made after and thus has a different part scheme in certain systems?

That's sometimes an issue, especially with customizations, especially when the customer options are different. Reportedly TWA bought Boeing jets that had the switches backward from the norm (IINM to keep standard with the Connies), that caused headaches when they were sold to other operators. I think some had them flipped back, others changed their SOPs. Delta bought a bunch of second-hand 757s and 767s that have many of the different door layouts, that raised their costs for spares and FA training.

The 747-400 had a few problems in the early production months with their long list of customizations. I think I read this in Legend and Legacy, Lufthansa wanted the signs on the PSUs in LH gray instead of in black, and the supply chain was having problems with those and it delayed the rollout. Newer aircraft tend to be more standardized in the underlying hardware and options to reduce these headaches and streamline production. You see more signs that are symbols (e.g. the green running dude versus the text "exit/ausgang/salida/sortie," the crossed-out cigarette instead of "no-smoking," and so forth) to make it more comprehensible and simplify production.

Last, a bunch of the more recent changes are software configurations vs hardware: configuring units on the flight deck, mood light schedules and tones, and many other items all have the same hardware with different programmable display outputs. If a company wanted to buy 50 planes with glide path angle in radians, I bet it could get done :D
 
DarQuiet
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:54 am

Aircraft owners/operators are regularly notified by airframe manufacturers ahead of production about the modification status and changes of an aircraft.

DN4CAAD wrote:
Thanks for the replies

Do airlines have any issues of getting, let's say, two 738s of which one was made before a production mod and one was made after and thus has a different part scheme in certain systems?
 
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AirKevin
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:28 am

I think the 787-8 now uses the same tail as the 787-9 and -10.
 
N1120A
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:59 am

AirKevin wrote:
I think the 787-8 now uses the same tail as the 787-9 and -10.


This is correct, and one of the reasons the line is still open.
 
Lukas757
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Re: How do late production A/C differ from earlier examples?

Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:05 pm

DN4CAAD wrote:
Thanks for the replies

Do airlines have any issues of getting, let's say, two 738s of which one was made before a production mod and one was made after and thus has a different part scheme in certain systems?


IIRC Air France requested from Airbus once that they get the „old“ tail fin on some of their newer A340 for maintenance compatibility.

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