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burchfiel
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Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:01 am

I was wondering if engineers and aircraft designers take aesthetic value into account when designing airplanes. At first I would say 'no,' but a lot of recent airliners (the 777, 787, and A350 for instance) just look really classy. Is there any chance that Boeing/Airbus took aesthetic considerations into account when creating these planes?

I imagine that airline design is generally a case of function over form, but at least in my opinion, the 'form' has really been improving as of late. (Not that any one of these birds matches the 747.  &nbsp 

P.S.: Please don't turn this thread into a debate over which airplanes are 'ugly' or not. Please keep your responses focused on the question at hand.
 
26point2
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:11 am

Concorde.

Filler filler
 
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kanban
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:20 am

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
Is there any chance that Boeing/Airbus took aesthetic considerations into account when creating these planes?

there were some considerations in the concept stage (787 tail?) but production realities went towards a more easily produced design.. Actually the new wind tunnel models are turning up shapes that are more aesthetic with out a push to go there.. I'd say the Connie was the last where the mechanics were designed to fit the form.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:04 am

Aesthetics is probably a consideration, but it is a rather minor one. Efficiency trumps everything else. I you can make it look good without compromising efficiency, great.

Airlines would rush to buy aircraft as ugly as Vogon Spaceships if they were more efficient than current models.

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 1):
Concorde.

Filler filler

Concorde was absolutely beautiful, but it was also an example of form following function to the extreme.
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3MilesToWRO
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:35 pm

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
a lot of recent airliners (the 777, 787, and A350 for instance) just look really classy.

Well, they actually look all the same, we're just probably used to how the airplane "should" look like and consider this shape "nice". You can tell one airliner from another, sure, but it's hardly any aesthetic difference.
 
Max Q
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:59 am

Not any more if the B787 and A380 are any guide !
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Jetlagged
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:09 pm

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 1):
Concorde.

And I would add the VC10. The fin and tailplane was the most beautiful shape in the air. Unlike Concorde's wing the curving tail shape is not just a result of the aerodynamics, so may have been purely aesthetic.


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MD80
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:41 pm

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
I was wondering if engineers and aircraft designers take aesthetic value into account when designing airplanes.

IMO I don´t think so.
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KPWMSpotter
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:11 pm

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
I was wondering if engineers and aircraft designers take aesthetic value into account when designing airplanes. At first I would say 'no,' but a lot of recent airliners (the 777, 787, and A350 for instance) just look really classy.

Yes, there is certainly some consideration for aesthetics, but only to the point that it does not interfere with functionality.

Early Boeing mockups for the 787 (back when it was the 7E7) featured a heavily tapered vertical stabilizer and a very streamlined nose profile. Boeing marketing materials emphasized the futuristic and sleek design features of the plane. As the engineering work progressed, the nose and the tail were adjusted to a more conventional arrangement, but many of the same sleek lines on the wing tips and engine nacelles remained.

Another Boeing product, the YF-34, substantially ignored aesthetics and became one of the ugliest planes in the sky. While it may all be hearsay, I've heard plenty of reports that credit the F-35s superior "looks" as one factor in the USAF/USN/USMC selecting the F-35 over the YF-34.

Aesthetics are far more important in the world of private and business aviation. The current Learjet 45 isn't the most efficient, most spacious, or the fastest business jet available, but the sleek lines and the "fighter jet" lineage are enough to sell plenty of wealthy individuals on the Lear verses a comparable Citation or Hawker.
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Max Q
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:15 am

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 8):
Early Boeing mockups for the 787 (back when it was the 7E7) featured a heavily tapered vertical stabilizer and a very streamlined nose profile. Boeing marketing materials emphasized the futuristic and sleek design features of the plane.

Yes, that looked great, shame it was changed to the weird shape it is now.
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roseflyer
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:48 pm

Aesthetics are important, but not to the airplane exterior shape or contours. Exterior aesthetics matter when it comes to ability to paint. For example, the engine cowling would be better not to have the option of paint colors for aerodynamic reasons. Some can be painted in airline colors and some can't. Wings and horizontal stab almost never can be custom painted, although some airlines have put logos and a couple even painted a wing.

Aesthetics are incredibly important on the interior. The seats, sidewalls, stowbins, ceiling, lavatories, etc all include aesthetics as design considerations.

As far as shape of the airplane such as tail, nose, etc. I have never heard of aesthetics or appearance mattering. Maybe if there was something extreme, the marketing department would get involved. For marketing to get an influence on the design of the airframe outside ability to paint, it has to be significant and only a very small fuel burn penalty. I have not heard of this happening.

I would say that I have never seen exterior aesthetics matter in any way other than paint or an atrocious looking decal that is visible to the passengers. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of heated debates about a curve here or light there in the interior.

[Edited 2014-11-25 05:52:29]
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Max Q
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:51 am

Quoting Burchfiel (Thread starter):
(Not that any one of these birds matches the 747. &nbsp

I couldn't agree more.
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29erUSA187
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:25 am

I actually do think they take a little pride in making planes look sharper, especially recently. Look at the 787. Those wings are efficient and beautiful. Its almost a trademark. Even my cousin who lives in BOS, who has no interest in aviation, can see the JL/HU 787's landing from her house, and identifies them by the wings.

The 747 and A380 look very a-typical, and I think that is on purpose to make non-av geeks appreciate them a little more.

The recent planes, (excluding the A380, that atrocity of an airframe looks like a beluga whale    ) like the 787 and A350, are just too visually appeasing to have only been designed for efficiency.
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:12 am

Quoting 29erUSA187 (Reply 12):
The 747 and A380 look very a-typical, and I think that is on purpose to make non-av geeks appreciate them a little more.

Just taking the 747 as an example, it looks distinctive for two reasons, neither of which have anything to do with aesthetics:
- The hump originates from a requirement for cargo conversion since it was believed that SSTs would take over the pax market. The hump moves the flight deck up and away from the main deck.
- The sharply swept wing originates from the Pan Am requirement for 40 degrees sweep. Boeing wanted 35 degrees so the compromise of 37½ was reached.
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burchfiel
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:22 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13):
The sharply swept wing originates from the Pan Am requirement for 40 degrees sweep

Why did Pan Am want a 40 degree sweep, though? Could it have been for aesthetics reasons?
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:13 am

Quoting Burchfiel (Reply 14):

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13):
The sharply swept wing originates from the Pan Am requirement for 40 degrees sweep

Why did Pan Am want a 40 degree sweep, though? Could it have been for aesthetics reasons?


I think pan am wanted speed. More sweep is for more speed. Remember back then, speed was seen as the future of aviation with Concorde and the SST. No one thought about the impending fuel prices skyrocketing.
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:58 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13):
Just taking the 747 as an example, it looks distinctive for two reasons, neither of which have anything to do with aesthetics:

I'd say the same for the A380. The 380 looks distinctive because it is enormous. It is enormous because it's designed to carry a LOT of passengers.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 15):

Quoting Burchfiel (Reply 14):

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13):
The sharply swept wing originates from the Pan Am requirement for 40 degrees sweep

Why did Pan Am want a 40 degree sweep, though? Could it have been for aesthetics reasons?


I think pan am wanted speed. More sweep is for more speed. Remember back then, speed was seen as the future of aviation with Concorde and the SST. No one thought about the impending fuel prices skyrocketing.

It does seem kind of strange that Pan Am wanted a specific sweep angle, though, rather than an airplane capable of a certain speed.
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:16 pm

Does anyone remember that 767 designed with a hump? From under the tail to the wing box? Boeing killed that one off because airlines thought it was too ugly.
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PlunaCRJ
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:01 am

I remember reading somewhere that the Dassault Falcon´s series distinctive nose was indeed designed with aesthetics in mind.

I am not so sure about passenger airliners (don´t think so), but I believe in bizjets aesthetics do play a role (to a certain extent)
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:43 am

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 17):
Does anyone remember that 767 designed with a hump? From under the tail to the wing box? Boeing killed that one off because airlines thought it was too ugly.

Thou shalt not speak of the Hunchback of Mukilteo in polite company. That thing was so ugly that it is the exception that confirms the rule. 

 



[Edited 2014-11-28 19:04:02]
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FrmrKSEngr
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:51 pm

In aerodynamics, it is generally said "If it looks good, its probably good". Smooth flowing curves are generally good for aero. So you get the Connie and now the 787. On the down side they tend to be harder to build. With today's advances in manufacturing, the aerodynamics dream is becoming reality.
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:24 pm

Quoting PlunaCRJ (Reply 18):
I am not so sure about passenger airliners (don´t think so), but I believe in bizjets aesthetics do play a role (to a certain extent)

Several reports refer to the Mitsubishi MRJ as including some design elements strictly for aesthetic purposes, especially the long pointy nose which probably adds a few feet to the overall length.
http://aviationweek.com/commercial-a...ls-out-first-mrj-plans-2015-flight

Excerpt re the rollout ceremony last month:

A common remark among the guests was that in the flesh, the aircraft looked unusually pretty. This issue has some importance: Unlike other commercial aircraft, the MRJ incorporates some styling to please passengers and attract attention. In particular, it has a very pointy nose, presumably at some small cost in efficiency.

 
Natflyer
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:28 am

Looking at decades of building ugly British airplanes, most of which were commercial failures as well says aesthetics are probably not high on the list. And it is getting worse, the Gallic nose of the A380, 787, A350 - all ugly imho.
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:49 pm

Quoting Natflyer (Reply 22):
IMO I don´t think so.

Why don't you think so?
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:02 pm

Quoting Natflyer (Reply 22):
Looking at decades of building ugly British airplanes, most of which were commercial failures as well says aesthetics are probably not high on the list. And it is getting worse, the Gallic nose of the A380, 787, A350 - all ugly imho.

Which ugly British aircraft do you mean? BAC-111, Trident, VC-10? Concorde? Hardly ugly by any standard. De Havilland were especially noted for their aesthetically beautiful designs.

As for the Gallic nose as you call it, look back as the DC-8, DC-9 and MD-80. It's a similar line and shape. If it has to be a Boeing style central, pointed nose to get your aesthetic approval, fair enough. But don't blame the lower nose lines more common these days on the French.
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:40 am

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 10):
Aesthetics are important, but not to the airplane exterior shape or contours.

See my example below.

Quoting PlunaCRJ (Reply 18):
I believe in bizjets aesthetics do play a role (to a certain extent)

I know for a fact that aesthetics have played a role. Cessna recently added small winglets to the Citation 525 (CJ1+), and rebranded it the Citation M2. The winglets were added to the design purely for aesthetic purposes. They were designed to minimize any negative affects on flight performance, but satisfy marketing's desire to stimulate demand for the Citation 525 that was rebranded the M2. It was certified in December 2013, and there are no photos of the M2 on A.net. See http://cessna.txtav.com/en/citation/m2
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:41 am

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 10):
For example, the engine cowling would be better not to have the option of paint colors for aerodynamic reasons.

They used to be bare metal. why aren't they still?

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 17):
Does anyone remember that 767 designed with a hump? From under the tail to the wing box? Boeing killed that one off because airlines thought it was too ugly.

Also because it just wasn't a good design. Look at all the wasted space in the forward taper of the upper deck. Also, I believe that there is now a requirement that all passengers have one door forward and one door aft, although I'm not sure if that would have affected this variant (the 747 is grandfathered).

But overall, airliners are an example of form following function. The result is often beautiful:

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And sometimes...not so much.

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dynamicsguy
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:07 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 26):
They used to be bare metal. why aren't they still?

It's hard to polish CFRP...

I have heard that there was a modest weight and performance budget for the 787 to make it look distinctive. I also know of a pointless change made between the 787-8 and 787-9 purely for aesthetic reasons.
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:23 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 26):
And sometimes...not so much.

In my opinion the A380 is a majestic and beautiful aircraft. Especially when you see it in flight. Rounded is not automatically ugly.
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:40 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 28):
Rounded is not automatically ugly.

As a matter of fact, I'd take *rounded* over *pointy* any time   
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DocLightning
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:09 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 28):
In my opinion the A380 is a majestic and beautiful aircraft.

You're wrong, then.     

I'm fine with rounded. It's the "broken nose" look that kills it for me. I think the 787 is attractive, for example.

Quoting dynamicsguy (Reply 27):
It's hard to polish CFRP...

Are the nacelle panels on the 777 and A330 CFRP? I thought they were aluminum.
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roseflyer
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:32 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 26):
Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 10):
For example, the engine cowling would be better not to have the option of paint colors for aerodynamic reasons.

They used to be bare metal. why aren't they still?

They are composites. I think they wanted to try to extend the laminar flow region as much as possible, which requires some very strict controls on the surface. Paint can interfere with that.
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LH707330
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:16 am

Quoting dynamicsguy (Reply 27):
I have heard that there was a modest weight and performance budget for the 787 to make it look distinctive. I also know of a pointless change made between the 787-8 and 787-9 purely for aesthetic reasons.

You know what that is?

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 31):
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 26):
Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 10):
For example, the engine cowling would be better not to have the option of paint colors for aerodynamic reasons.

They used to be bare metal. why aren't they still?

They are composites. I think they wanted to try to extend the laminar flow region as much as possible, which requires some very strict controls on the surface. Paint can interfere with that.

Correct, Boeing initially wanted everyone to have the same gray or white nacelles. Someone in BA's branding department said that was unacceptable and pushed them to find a way to make the blue work without too much of a penalty.
 
Max Q
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:54 am

The initial artists impressions of the 787 looked great but.


The redesign of the nose section just looks terrible to me, there's basically no 'nose' forward of the windshield to speak of, its far too blunt aesthetically for me and it sits way too close to the ground making it look squat and far smaller than it actually is.


The A350 looks a lot better, but the A380 is officially the ugliest jet transport ever made.

[Edited 2014-12-05 21:55:41]

[Edited 2014-12-05 21:57:15]
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dynamicsguy
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:18 am

Quoting LH707330 (Reply 32):
You know what that is?

Yes, but I'm sorry to say I can't post it publicly. It left a lot of engineers scratching their heads.
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:54 pm

To the vast majority of air passengers, airliners look all the same... a squarish door at the end of the jetway!
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:33 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 33):
The A350 looks a lot better, but the A380 is officially the ugliest jet transport ever made.

You haven't seen the A318, have you? Although I admit, they look pretty similar.
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:18 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 16):
It does seem kind of strange that Pan Am wanted a specific sweep angle, though, rather than an airplane capable of a certain speed.

That was Juan Trippe for you. He wanted to control EVERYTHING.
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Max Q
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:02 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 36):
You haven't seen the A318, have you? Although I admit, they look pretty similar.

It's a little tubby Doc but its nowhere close to the ugliness of the A380, I still can't believe the country that made the beautiful Mirage and Falcon jets could build such a homely machine.


And I'll put this out there, as good as it's numbers are it would have sold a lot more if it looked better, aesthetics do count when you're paying hundred's of millions for a jet.

[Edited 2014-12-07 03:03:24]
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:22 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 38):

And I'll put this out there, as good as it's numbers are it would have sold a lot more if it looked better, aesthetics do count when you're paying hundred's of millions for a jet.

I really doubt that. It might make a difference between to essentially similar options, but when you consider that the only real competition is the 748 (which I believe is one of the most beautiful jet airliners ever built) and the A380 has won every head-to-head competition with it, I think your contention is pretty much disproved.
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advent8t
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:58 am

Is it possible that airplanes have become such an important part of our culture that their design has, over time, broadly influenced aesthetic values in general?

In that case, then the answer to the OP's question is "yes," just in a more indirect way.
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:02 am

Quoting Advent8T (Reply 40):

Is it possible that airplanes have become such an important part of our culture that their design has, over time, broadly influenced aesthetic values in general?

Do you have any examples of this broad influence?
Huff
 
advent8t
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:32 am

Quoting hufftheweevil (Reply 41):
Do you have any examples of this broad influence?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_set

Jets entered the pop culture lexicon as a symbol for wealth and speed and style. Now, according to DOT research, 2 in 5 Americans fly every year. As for aesthetics specifically, automobile design, which is indisputably aesthetically driven (pun intended), and which has broad influence, has been inspired by and compared to airplane design for many years.

[Edited 2014-12-09 23:32:44]
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:21 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 30):
You're wrong, then.

I said "in my opinion". How can you say my opinion is "wrong"?

People now generally regard the 747 as beautiful, but it wasn't always so. It took a while to get used to the hump. Humps generally aren't aesthetic.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 33):
but the A380 is officially the ugliest jet transport ever made.

When was that "officially" decided?

There is no accepted definition of aesthetic beauty. It's all in the eye of the beholder. Opinions differ.
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LH707330
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:43 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 43):
People now generally regard the 747 as beautiful, but it wasn't always so. It took a while to get used to the hump. Humps generally aren't aesthetic.

There are people who think that half the population looks very nice with raised upper decks  
 
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:11 pm

If only the A380 would have proper winglets and a nose a-la 747 with the cockpit further up, the A380 would probably be very good looking, especially if you also added a little more fuselage length.
 
FrmrKSEngr
Posts: 409
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:05 am

RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:46 am

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 28):
Rounded is not automatically ugly.

It is called Rubanesque.

The high forehead on the 380 bothers me the most. Paint on a few windows on that mass of white. That is the plane that should be called Beluga.
 
Max Q
Posts: 8126
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:40 am

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 43):
Quoting Max Q (Reply 33):
but the A380 is officially the ugliest jet transport ever made.

When was that "officially" decided?

10/21/12 at 1600 Zulu time.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
Pihero
Posts: 4318
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:11 am

RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:48 pm

Quoting FrmrKSEngr (Reply 46):
t is called Rubanesque.

Interesting : the definition is :
"Rubenesque
adj (of a woman) having the physique associated with Rubens' portraits of women; plump and attractive
"

Suits me   

In my very humble opinion, to call a 747 beautiful is stretching the canons of accepted beauty.
To me, the 747 has always been associated with a tadpole... a jumbo one !.. which I loved to fly, btw.
Contrail designer
 
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DocLightning
Posts: 21779
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RE: Does Aesthetic Value Influence Airliner Design?

Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:04 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 43):
I said "in my opinion". How can you say my opinion is "wrong"?

The smilies were there for a reason.
-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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