Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Post 787 Design Era

The 787 entered a brave new world in the aviation saga from Wright Brothers to the new 777X types, AKA 777-8 and 777-9.  What sticks out is two different configurations much like the auto industry conundrum of building a Tesla all electric or a Honda Hybrid. The 777X class has all plastic flight surfaces including its massive wings. There are some disadvantage's still remaining on the table for all plastic airplanes. The 737 is  too small at this time for plastic and the 747 and 777X is too big for all plastic skins, using barrel configurations.  The A350 uses panel with added weight found in its under lying support structure just because it uses more fasteners and ribbing for attaching panels while maintain structural integrity. It gains ground through plastic skin over aluminum skin.

Boeing does not want to go small with an all plastic post Max aircraft in 15 years since they have stated the cost in doing an all plastic 737 would not make the aircraft cost feasible for its gain in efficiency, they chose tricking out the 737 with all the internal advances, engine evolution, and aero design. This makes the MAX more relevant than the NEO. The Neo could have gone plastic panel version but didn't since the A350 has not reached the market place at this time.. That would be a big risk as demonstrated by Boeing's 787.


The Marines had it down over Seventy Years Ago with the Corsair. Now Boeing waves its Corsair over Dubai with A Patent on this 70 year old feature


However, Boeing is rapidly closing off its proof of concept glitching while in service. The overly complex 787 will live up to its over the top promise in two more years of service where a whole new genre of aircraft reaches that dream. The A350 falls short as does the Max and 777X types because they laid up short to make a chip shot on the design board. What is really intriguing is Boeing's hybrid approx for the MAX, the 747-8i and finally the 777X. The 747 did what it could with designed flight surfaces including the body by working in aluminum. Then went with a new engine performance package for power and fuel burn economy. A common theme ran throughout the aircraft matching the 787 in seating appointments and electronics. It added the feel of flying with 787 like commonalities. It uses computer like precision on optimizing the aircraft. Mission was accomplished with a beautiful new aircraft.

What to with the Max? All plastic is out because it does not give the performance return  for the investment cost of developing an all plastic single aisle aircraft. So Boeing said, let's do a 747 number on the Max. New engine performance, new engine placement on the wing and much more design work on the aluminum frame would make this aircraft fly like a 787, as much as possible giving it a remarkable efficiency improvement during operation, even down to the maintenance cost. Boeing improves it like it was 787 without the plastic body and wings. Its competitor went NEO on its metal frame and Boeing Maxed the 737 frame and its newly created performance. The 737 became a safe buy for its customers with a strong yield of improvements, flying like a 787 for crew and passengers without those windows.

This brings us to a grand finale of patch work advances placed on the 777 frame coming directly from the 787 play book. Boeing gleaned through the very best of 787 and placed it on the 777. Then they reviewed the best of the 777 and kept it. Yes they went with a slightly bigger window but not in the 787 class. They decided that all plastic body was another 8 years in the making and "went with what they do best". The engine guys are on a hot streak and Boeing implored "give us more fuel efficient heat"! So goes the 777 call out for those 787 wings that are so beautiful, and they fly as the best in the world. Boeing wants two of those for every aircraft. Boeing will go Swiss Army knife on those wings, so we can pass airport security by docking it in a 787 spot at the airport. We want the 787 wing to fold up in a pinch. "Corsair Cool, Huh" So goes the "List" and checking it twice before going on a road trip to Dubai. Boeing just got a Black Friday like order book in Dubai as the aviation world marveled at the response. Even some Sheiks were impressed as its county's leaders stepped up to the camera and beamed with pride. Boeing final guessed right with the help of its customers. "Build something we want", is the battle cry, and Boeing gave up delusion of grandeur with the 777 and came out with a marvel that will change the world more than the A380 or an A350. The 777 is rapidly becoming the Best of series or show for its customers.

  • Plastic wings and wing box 787 era
  • Plastic control surfaces  787 era
  • 777 favorite things added from prior generation
  • New technology Aluminum body, evolved and matured
  • The GE engine advancements from 787 era
  • 787 era commonalities, flies like a 787, flight bags. maintenance checks etc.
The favorite things category moves forward with confidence. The Mid Eastern delegation has stated, "no 787 like problems at launch". Boeing blinked, and said "okay, we can do that" So goes giving what customers want not what Boeing dreams up. The MAX, 777 and 747 is following the Airbus line of attack  of having no show stoppers during developement. Boeing is stealing from the Airbus play book as well.

The 787 will be a corner stone of everything possible as it tweaks out the 787 aircraft over the next two years, with the 787-9 and 787-10 in the tooling. Developmental risk becomes a chapter in Business school book, "Production Management 301". When the 787 problems go to text books then the 787 is etched in stone and can become that proven method for building airplanes in the future. Right now only the wings become the best of the best, and will show up sometime into the future on a Max or 747 (if in demand)and 777's. The engine advance can attach to any wing and  the electric storm remains a 787 electrical storm, until a "solid" solution updates the system as a whole. The 787 will fly safely in the meantime giving the dream a full workout to perfection. Just like the early internal combustion engines from the past have become something great in 2013 with its hybrid counterparts.