Bjorn’s Corner: New aircraft technologies. Part 5. Optimal fuselage

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 24, 2023, ©. Leeham News: This is a summary of the article New aircraft technologies. Part 5P. Optimal fuselage. The article discusses different cross-sections and how these drive drag and weight. The cross-section chosen depends on the container type employed for the area below the floor.

Figure 1. Cross sections using different size cargo containers. Source: Leeham Co.

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Bjorn’s Corner: New aircraft technologies. Part 5P. Optimal fuselage

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By Bjorn Fehrm 

March 24, 2023, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 5. Optimal fuselage. It discusses in detail the optimal fuselage for an airliner with 250 seats using different architectures and building methods.

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A Chinese intervention in Ukraine would kill its aerospace industry

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By Bryan Corliss


March 23, 2023, © Leeham News – Chinese leader Xi Jinping flew into Moscow this week for a three-day summit with accused Russian war criminal Vladimir Putin. 

They wined and dined. They talked publicly about economic accords and oil pipelines and pledged mutual support. In private, Putin almost certainly made a plea for stepped-up Chinese support for his faltering invasion of Ukraine. They made bold statements about banding together to oppose the hegemony of the West, which has united against Russia with sanctions including bans on providing Russia with the basic technology it needs to build weapons

And at the end of it all, on Wednesday, Xi walked up the jet stairs to his Air China 747, built by Boeing in Everett, America. He turned and waved, and then flew back to Beijing.

That moment, with Xi standing in front of the massive American-made jet, may just illustrate China’s conundrum right now: Xi, by all accounts, wants nothing more than to shove aside the post-Cold War order that has confined his nation from global Great Power status. An alliance with Putin’s Russia could be a key step toward that.

And Xi, as he looks around the interior of his jumbo jet, has to be acutely aware that China remains dependent upon the Western democracies for software, computer chips, and – critically – aircraft. 

  • War has created headaches for aerospace
  • Chinese tensions are bigger issue
  • China loses in a proxy war with West
  • Boeing’s China business is effectively frozen
  • Airbus in China may also be at risk

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Pontifications: Complacency, arrogance aren’t a Boeing exclusive

By Scott Hamilton

March 21, 2023, © Leeham News: Airbus is resting on its laurels while Boeing struggles to recover from one crisis after another since the March 2019 grounding of the global 737 MAX fleet.

Multiple sources tell me that Airbus, aside from the production problems it has in common with Boeing, is enjoying Boeing’s deep freeze by China. The decision by Boeing CEO David Calhoun to delay the “introduction” of a new airplane until the middle of the next decade took the pressure off Airbus to be ready to move sooner than later.

While Boeing struggles, Airbus has become conservative, complacent and—gasp—even arrogant, a longtime Boeing trait.

What’s happening?

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Regulatory filings spell out key 2023 challenges for Boeing, Airbus

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By Bryan Corliss

March 20, 2023, © Leeham News – In a filing with federal regulators, The Boeing Co. acknowledges it struggled to stabilize 737 MAX production rates at 31 a month last year.

However, the company is sticking to that and expects a “gradual” increase in 737 rates this year – dependent upon the ability of key suppliers to keep up.

Those are some of the takeaways from Boeing’s annual report, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.

The reports, which are required under U.S. law for publicly traded companies, include much of the fine print that isn’t included in typical earnings releases and calls, including detailed discussions of the risks companies face.

The filing doesn’t contain any shocking revelations but does shed more light on how Boeing is coping with the challenges facing the industry: workforce recruitment and retention in a globally tight labor market, supply change management challenges, inflation, and geopolitical turmoil in key markets including China and Russia.

Reports also mirror information provided by Airbus in regulatory filings in the Netherlands, where the company is registered.

The filings paint a picture in which 2023 will be an important year for both OEMs as they try to recover from a series of serious setbacks.

  • MAX rates could go up; Airbus backs off
  • Supply chain a factor for both
  • Boeing finding workers; Airbus raised pay
  • Geopolitical tensions affect industry

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Bjorn’s Corner: New aircraft technologies. Part 4. Fuselage trades

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 17, 2023, ©. Leeham News: This is a summary of the article New aircraft technologies. Part 4P. Fuselage trades. In the article, we discuss the trade-offs involved in designing a fuselage of an airliner with 250 seats using different architectures.

We examine what parameters decide the performance of an aircraft and how fuselage changes like single aisle versus dual aisle affect these parameters.

Figure 1. induced drag comes from the global air circulation from the bottom to the top of the aircraft. Source: Leeham Co.

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Bjorn’s Corner: New aircraft technologies. Part 4P. Fuselage trades

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March 17, 2023, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to New aircraft technologies. Part 4. Fuselage trades. It discussed in detail the trades involved in designing a fuselage of an airliner with 250 seats using different architectures.

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Pontifications: One step forward, two steps back for Boeing

By Scott Hamilton

March 14, 2023, © Leeham News: There is a phrase in the US about the politician’s dance: one step forward, two steps back and a sidestep.

I couldn’t help but this about this dance step in connection with Boeing in recent weeks. For every step forward, Boeing seems to take two steps back.

The delivery suspension of the 767/KC-46A line—none has been delivered since the first of the year—was the first step back.

Then, for a second time, deliveries of the 787 were suspended. While the 767/KC-46A deliveries remain “paused,” to use Boeing’s favorite word, the Federal Aviation Administration last Friday cleared Boeing to resume deliveries of the 787.

I recall that Boeing CFO Brian West recently said a month ago that there will be some bumps ahead on the way to Boeing’s recovery. He didn’t allude to the 767/KC-46 issue at the time and the 787 was being delivered then. But as these issues emerged, Boeing once more seems snake bit.

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Embraer deliveries surge; executives proclaim rebound from Covid, failed merger

By Bryan Corliss

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March 13, 2023, © Leeham News — Embraer executives said last week that the company is on a flight path to growth after weathering two major storms in 2020.

“As we have said, since 2020, the 2021 and 2022 years would be dedicated to the business recovery after two simultaneous crises – the pandemic and the end of the Boeing deal – and the focus will be on growth from 2023,” Embraer CEO Francisco Gomes Neto said Friday. 

“We can now state we have fulfilled what was promised,” he continued. “The business turnaround was completed in 2022, and we are ready to start a new growth phase.” 

Embraer still faces “supply chain challenges this year,” he acknowledged, “but we are optimistic about the company’s future in terms of revenue growth and profitability.”  

Neto made the declaration as his company reported delivering 80 regional and executive jets in the fourth quarter of 2022, which was roughly half of the total deliveries for the year. 

The company reported earnings before interest and taxes of US $166.2 million for the quarter, which was 196% better than its earnings in the same quarter of 2021. 

  • Embraer sees orders recovery
  • China is one of two promising markets
  • Business jet market ‘very robust’
  • Continued investment in decarbonization
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CFM to increase LEAP production 50% this year, GE Aerospace executives say

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By Bryan Corliss

March 10, 2023, © Leeham News – GE Aerospace executives said Thursday that production of LEAP engines will increase 50% this year to meet increased demand from Boeing and Airbus. 

LEAP engines, which power Airbus A320 Neos and Boeing 737 MAX jets, are produced by CFM, the joint-venture partnership between U.S.-based GE and French-based Safran. 

“This is no small feat,” said GE CEO of Commercial Engines and Services Russell Stokes. He noted that the network for LEAP includes 160 external suppliers and 20 internal GE shops.

Stokes, GE CEO Larry Culp and other executives spoke at GE’s 2023 Investor Conference. 

  • Strong demand driving Commercial growth
  • GE9X growth expected in 2025
  • 70% of GE Aerospace revenues from services
  • Work continues on SAF, RISE
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