The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to come out of the Chicago-based airplane manufacturer’s South Carolina plant was celebrated recently at a function in North Charleston. The aircraft will undergo a string of systems checks and engine runs before taking to the air locally, in preparation for its flight across the Atlantic Ocean to India’s Mumbai International Airport and delivery to Air India. Speaking at the event, Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer, Jim Albaugh noted that the rolling out of an airplane from the company’s third final assembly site in South Carolina was a proud moment for Boeing.
Air India will take delivery of the history-making aircraft in mid-2012. It will be the second Boeing 787 Dreamliner of its 27-aircraft order, with the first having been delivered in March from the aircraft manufacturer’s Washington plant. Three more 787’s are to be delivered by the end of the year, with the balance expected in 2013.
Launched in April 2004, with initial orders for 851 airplanes valued at more than $175 billion, from sixty customers, the 787 goes on record for the most successful launch of a new commercial airplane in Boeing’s history. Following a number of delays in manufacture, the first 787 Dreamliner flight took place on 15 December 2009, with the first airline to fly the plane, All Nippon Airlines of Japan, taking delivery on 25 September 2011. Although the company has reportedly had 25 order cancellations this year, they have secured 19 new orders for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Private Russian airline, Transaero, has ordered four of the airplanes, while Japan remains the biggest buyer.
Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager Jack Jones noted that every one of the teammates at the South Carolina plant should be proud of the historic accomplishment of building airplanes to meet Boeing’s high quality standards, while at the same time maintaining an exceptional workplace safety record. Jim Albaugh endorsed this view by welcoming the South Carolina team into a “small and elite fraternity … of workers who have built one of the most complex machines in the world – a commercial airplane.”
Spectators at the PNC Airshow 2012 can look forward to a number of fantastic performances and displays. Performers will include Red Star and The Dragon Jet, Clyde Zeller, Mike Vaknin, Bill Leff, John Klatt, Skip Stewart and the Air Combat Command Heritage Flight. Static displays on offer will include commercial aircraft, military planes, historical airplanes, tanks, simulators and helicopters. Other attractions at the Prairie Air Show are the PNC Mobile Learning Adventure, helicopter rides, monster truck rides, a WW II vehicle display, Aviation Education display, the Navy ” Accelerate Your Life” Experience, Souvenir booths, food vendors, simulators, 182 Air National Guard Display and more.
Dates: 8 & 9 June 2012
Time: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Venue: Peoria Riverfront
Country: United States of America
With Boeing and Airbus dominating a global market valued at US$100 billion annually, the two aircraft manufacturers continue to vie for first place in this lucrative business sector. First quarter results for 2012 reveal that Boeing appears to be on course to recapture the top spot, as it delivered 137 commercial airplanes, compared to the 131 delivered by Airbus. Airbus has held the coveted number one spot since 2012, and with both manufacturers intent on increasing production of their best-sellers – the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 – they will be competing in emerging markets where medium-haul airplanes are becoming more in demand.
Boeing’s position was aided by the launch of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the enhanced version of its Boeing 747 – both of which had encountered major production delays. Among the airplanes delivered by Boeing were six Boeing 747-8s and five of the innovative carbon-composite Dreamliners. European manufacturer Airbus delivered four of its A380 superjumbos and has recently begun assembling its competitor to the Boeing 787 – the A350 – in its factory in Toulouse. It is anticipated that the A350 will enter service in mid-2014.
While airlines snapped up the fuel efficient model of the A320 in 2011, Boeing is reportedly ahead of Airbus in new orders for 2012. Furthermore, Airbus may lose some of its orders placed by China if the current conflict over emissions between the European Union and a group of countries including China is not resolved.
Just this week London Heathrow became the 200th airport welcome the Boeing 747-8, after having determined that the new airliner meets requirements for operating safely within an airport environment. Currently the Boeing 747-8 is the only airplane with a capacity of more than 400 seats approved by over sixty airports worldwide.
While cost-cutting may be a priority for commercial air travel, the world’s super-rich are offering Boeing and Airbus a new source of revenue. In early March this year a bespoke Boeing 747-8, dubbed the 747-VIP, took off from Paine Field near Seattle for delivery to an unnamed customer in the Middle East. Airbus is reportedly working on an A380 for the Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, with the original plans making provision for transporting two Rolls-Royces, horses and camels, and a rotating prayer room which will always point toward Mecca. Business people in emerging and fast-growing economies such as China and Russia are also entering the market for larger long-range planes providing direct service to their destinations.
In response to increasing demand from airlines, Boeing has launched an improved version of the popular 737 in which a more fuel efficient engine will be used. The Boeing 737 is cited as the world’s best-selling aircraft for commercial use, and this engine upgrade is one of the measures being taken by Boeing to ensure that it retains its market share. Rising fuel costs have become a heavy burden on airlines struggling to remain competitive in the commercial travel market, and engines offering greater fuel efficiency can translate into big savings for airlines.
The new 737 MAX will be fitted with the Leap-1B engine, manufactured by current engine supplier, CFM International – a joint venture between French company Safran and General Electric. The new engines are expected to be up to 12 percent more fuel efficient than the current engines, with changes including a larger fan and design adjustments to allow more of the air entering the front of the engine to bypass the engine core. Moreover, new materials used in the engines are able to withstand more heat and there will be a reduced gap between the tips of the fan and the shell enclosing the engine. According to associate aerospace engineering professor at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Magdy Attia, all these changes will result in the new engine being more fuel efficient than those in the 737 airplanes currently in service.
It has been reported that Boeing had been considering a complete redesign on the 737, but with Airbus due to release its more fuel efficient airplane in 2015 and up to 1,000 already on order, it was decided to keep the current 737 design, and replace the engine. Research has revealed that airlines are quite satisfied with the current design of the 737 and are willing to support Boeing’s changeover to the new 737 MAX. The new version is expected to go into service in 2017 and Boeing already has a commitment from five airlines to buy 496 of the 737 MAX. Boeing executive vice president, and head of Boeing’s commercial airplane division, was reported as saying with regard to the 737 MAX: “Our customers have told us that they want efficiency, and they want it soon, and they want it with certainty, and that’s what this airplane will do.”
The first commercial Boeing 747 was wheeled out on 30 September 1968. It grew to become one of the world’s most used commercial aircraft. Now, forty-four years later, the latest model of its generation has made its debut, to the awe of workers, investors and spectators. It is the fourth generation of the 747 series and has been named the Intercontinental. With orders already in for this magnificent aircraft, testing will be commencing shortly. Then construction, to meet the demand, will get underway.
The 747-8 freighter is the plane that caught the attention of the international aviation community, and a commercial liner, near to its specifications, kick-started the demand. Instead of seeing the typical blue Boeing emerge for its unveiling, a breathtaking red-orange colored aircraft made its appearance. The massive two storey aircraft has a breathtaking wingspan of two hundred and twenty-four feet and has the capacity to accommodate approximately four hundred and seventy passengers in great comfort. General Electric Company constructed the GEnx-2B67 engines that will allow the aircraft to fly at Mach 0.86 as a cruising speed. Elizabeth Lund, the 747 program manager and vice president, expressed her excitement over the new aircraft, saying: “It carries more people, it carries more cargo, it flies further, it flies faster, and I think it’s much more economical than its ever been. And I really do think it will revolutionize the industry once again.”
Economy class will feature rows of three seats at the windows and four down the middle, while business class seats will be a little more spacious with two seats at the windows and three in the middle row. Business class seats will also be able to pitch to a ninety degree angle. First class passengers will enjoy the comfort of personal pods that can be folded out into a hundred and eighty degree bed, providing passengers with some privacy due to the design of the pod. Not only will the new Intercontinental be more spacious, environmentally friendly and fuel efficient, it will also be faster than its predecessors. The average price for the Intercontinental is $317.5 million, and so far thirty-three orders are waiting for Boeing.
With possible fuel shortages in the future being a very real cause for concern, coupled with dire observations on the damage fossil fuels are doing to our environment on a world-wide scale right now, much emphasis is being placed on developing alternative, ‘green’ energy sources, as well as finding ways to use the fuel we have in the most efficient way possible. In a project that forms part of a $2.1 million NASA grant, a team led by researchers from MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics have come up with designs for commercial aircraft that will use up to 70 percent less fuel than airliners are currently using, while at the same time reducing noise and nitrogen oxide emissions. Referred to as an ‘N+3’ airplane, denoting three generations from now, its design will incorporate new technologies, such as advanced propulsion systems and innovative airframe configurations, in order to cut back drastically on fuel consumption.
Two designs have been developed by the MIT team: Model D 180-passenger series, which would replace the current Boeing 737 class of aircraft aimed at domestic flights; and the Model H 350-passenger series to replace the Boeing 777 class of aircraft used for international flights. Referred to as the ‘double bubble’ series, the Model D could burn around 50 percent less fuel than the current 737, however, using advanced technology and materials, fuel savings could be as high as 70 percent. Further beneficial features will be the use of bio-fuels as opposed to fossil-fuels, and a slimmer wing design along with a smaller tail resulting in reduced drag.
As the larger of the two models, the Model H makes use of a triangular-shaped hybrid wing body, creating a forward lift and eliminating the need for a tail to balance the airliner, thereby reducing drag. It is calculated that the Model H will also meet the 70 percent fuel reduction target set by NASA, with a reduction of 75 percent in nitrogen oxide emissions. Upon NASA’s approval of the project thus far, researchers will move ahead with the goal of having the new designs in commercial service by 2035, in an effort to meet increasing air travel demands.
With the popularity and rising demand for air travel in China, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, under the leadership of Wu Guanghui, began to design a commercial aircraft that will suit the needs of the aviation industry. A model of the aircraft was recently revealed, and Wu Guanghui spoke to the media in regard to the design process and vision that he has for the aircraft. It is estimated that the design will be completed by the end of 2010, revealing a new era of Chinese aviation to the world.
The new aircraft, named C919, will offer a range of features to increase the comfort of passengers, as designers are striving to improve on the designs used by trusted carriers such as Airbus and Boeing. One of the main design features will be bigger seating for passengers, as the C919 will be able to give passengers additional centimeters to ensure a comfortable journey. The new aircraft will still be able to provide seating for 150 passengers, with six seats being available in each row, but customers will have the choice between widening the aisle space or the seating size. With the correct outlay, the C919 team hopes to achieve new design innovation and move forward in the development of future commercial aircraft.
Another feature that will create interest amongst customers is the fact that the C919 will be ten percent more cost efficient than its contemporaries. A decrease in maintenance and running costs will lead to cheaper airfares, allowing the aviation industry to gain more passengers and offer affordability to the public. The maiden flight for the C919 will take place in 2014, and it is hoped that carriers will be able to accept delivery of the C919 by 2016. Wu Guanghui has predicted estimated sales to be at approximately 2000 units, saying: “I believe we can sell more than 2,000 aircraft, in general, the 150-seat aircraft has a breakeven point of approximately 300 units.” The new C919, will be developed and new models designed to grow with the industry and the demand of the public. It is foreseen that with the rate of growth in air travel in China that more than 2000 units will be needed in the country alone. The aviation industry will be waiting in anticipation to see the C919 take to the skies.
The 10th annual LIMA Exhibition, or Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition, will take place from the 1st to the 5th of December 2009. Hosted by the Mahsuri International Exhibition Center, the exhibition provides networking opportunities for aviation community members and displays the latest technology in regard to aerospace, military aviation and maritime industries. Leaders from various countries also attend the exhibition to explore new airport, defense and commercial aviation technology.
For more information about the exhibition and its exhibitors, visit the official exhibition website at http://www.lima.com.my/index.php.
Date: 1 – 5 December 2009
Venue: Mahsuri International Exhibition Center
One of the many reasons the concord was grounded was because of the massive amount of noise pollution generated as the aircraft continually broke the sound-barrier. But recent research and development efforts seem to be targeted towards getting supersonic aircraft back in the air on a commercial level. What has changed?
Sales at China’s biennial air show skyrocketed this year with the show closing with total sales valued at around US$4 billion. There were concerns that the global financial crisis would affect the show negatively. Now, it seems, those concerns were completely unfounded since there was around a US$1 billion increase in total sales compared to the last show.