Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft drag reduction, Part 13

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 19, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: In the last Corner, we described how the boundary layer theory lead to the understanding of Friction drag for aircraft. The mechanisms behind Induced drag was understood about the same time.

Once again Prandtl was involved, but it was an English person who first postulated the physical root of induced drag, Fredrick Lanchester.

Figure 1. Focke-Wulf Condor, a high aspect ratio aircraft from the 1930s. Source: Wikipedia.

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Boeing raises airliner list prices 4%

Jan. 18, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Boeing quietly raised its list prices by 4.1% for its commercial airplanes, the same day Airbus did (Monday)—but without the fanfare of an announcement, as did Airbus.

The 737-700, which has been out of favor with customers for years, now lists for $85.8m. The MAX 7, which has yet to find traction in the market, lists for $96m.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape: Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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January 18, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the first article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, the CR929, we described the route to a joint program company and the launch of the project.

We now analyze the aircraft, based on available information. With the information, it’s possible to model the aircraft in our performance model and get the first understanding of performance and efficiency.

  • The CR929-600 is closely modelled after the Boeing 787-9. The overall design and dimensions are similar.
  • The major difference to the 787-9 is in cabin width, allowing comfortable nine abreast seating, and the Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW).
  • The decision to design CR929-600 for a lower MTOW has restricted range to 6,500nm with the nominal cabin capacity of 280 passengers.

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Airbus raises list prices about 2%; more profits or bigger discounts?

Jan. 17, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Airbus announced a list price hike Monday of just under 2%.

The popular A321neo goes to $129.5m from $127m. The A350-900 goes to $317.4m from $311.2m, for example.

Such price hikes are common. Boeing hasn’t announced whether it will raise the list prices this year, but in the past, it’s typically done so.

Airbus continues to list the A318 and A350-800 in its price list. There hasn’t been a commercial sale of the A318 in years and Airbus skipped creating a neo version of this double-shrink airplane.

Ostensibly, Airbus continues to offer the aircraft as an Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ), but sales of this are few and far between.

Airbus also continues to list the A330-800 despite having only one customer with a small order for the airplane.

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Airbus delivers record 718 aircraft amid strong sales

By Bjorn Fehrm 

January 15, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus announced record 2017 airliner deliveries of 718 aircraft today. It was the 15th consecutive year of increased production, this time with 30 aircraft over 2016. Fabrice Bregier, the Chief Operating Officer of Airbus, predicted Airbus would pass Boeing in deliveries by 2020.

The company also booked its third best year in orders, with 1,109 aircraft giving a Book-to-Bill of 1.5. The backlog is at a record 7,256 aircraft (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Summary of Airbus 2017 orders and deliveries. Source: Airbus.

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Pontifications: Embraer twice became focus of US trade commission complaints

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 20, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The US aircraft manufacturer claims the foreign company is unfairly subsidized, undercutting pricing in US sales and threatening its future. A trade complaint is filed.

A prominent politician lines up on behalf of its constituent industries, claiming unfair competition. He calls for a trade investigation.

No, it’s not Boeing vs. Airbus.

It’s not even Boeing vs. Bombardier.

The complaints were against Embraer, twice.

Once in 1982 and again in 2010. In both cases, the US International Trade Commission was involved.

The rhetoric is remarkably consistent with the Boeing-Bombardier trade case.

In both Embraer cases, the ITC dismissed the complaints.

Its decision in the Bombardier case will take a preliminary vote next week, absent a schedule change, and a final decision will be issued Feb. 9.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody Project takes shape

By Bjorn Fehrm

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January 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Chinese and Russian Widebody program started in earnest over the last year. After signing a joint venture agreement in 2016, the project now has a joint management company, CRAIC, formed 22nd of May 2017, and standing for China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation.

The company will have final assembly and management located in Shanghai.  The aircraft has also got its final name, CR929-600. It will hold 280 passengers in a three-class cabin with a range of 6,500nm, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The CRAIC CR929-600, the main aircraft in the Chinese-Russian widebody program. Source: CRAIC.

  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has taken off after the joint company was established spring 2017.
  • The organization of the company is set, with the Chinese taking the rudder by the power of a five times larger market and economy and a 10 times larger population.
  • The joint company, CRAIC, issued its first vendor RFP to GE and Rolls-Royce before Christmas for the aircraft’s propulsion system.
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It’s time to unwind, get healthy, eat right and avoid jet lag, says Airbus’ Leahy

John Leahy has been with Airbus 33 years, holding his current position as COO-Customers for more than 20 of these. He retires this month. Jan. 15’s 2017 year-end Orders and Deliveries press conference will be his last. LNC interviewed Leahy about his tenure at Airbus. Parts 1, 2 and 3 appear here, here and here. Today is Part 4. LNC’s Scott Hamilton has known Leahy for nearly 30 of these 33 years.

 Jan. 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: “I want to unwind, get healthy, eat right and not be in a constant state of jet lag. At 44, 45, I didn’t mind it. Right now, the thought of

The end of an era. Airbus President Fabrice Bregier (L) and COO Customers John Leahy. Bregier leaves Airbus next month after more than two decades. Leahy retires this month after more than three decades. Photo via Google images.

doing trips to Australia, I’d be jet lagged for three days.”

These are John Leahy’s plans for the first year after he retires in a matter of days after 33 years at Airbus.

When he was younger—that age 45 he referenced above—he thought nothing of working in Toulouse, Airbus headquarters, on Monday, getting on a plane to fly to Southeast Asia and Australia and be back in Toulouse to put in a full day on Friday—working the clock to make the long, long round trip.

“It was sort of fun,” he recalls. “I did a lot.” But not now.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft drag reduction, Part 12

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 12, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: In the last Corner, we described how the theory for the boundary layer was proposed by Ludwig Prandtl, and how this led to an understanding of the source of Friction drag for an aircraft.

We will now continue with describing how the role of Friction drag was researched and how aircraft designers learned how to reduce it.

Figure 1. Sopwith Camel fighter of the WW 1. Source: Google images.

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737-7 MAX future appears to be niche, BBJ and military

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Jan. 11, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The decision last week by Southwest Airlines to defer for four years delivery of 23 of 30 Boeing 737-7 MAXes does not bode well for this sub-type.

Concurrently, Southwest exercised options for 40 of the larger 737-8.

One of only four identified customers for the 7 MAX, with the largest order of 30, LNC considers it highly likely that a good portion of the 23 remaining orders will be

Boeing 737-7.

converted to the 8 MAX.

With only 63 identified 7 MAX orders, the aircraft risks becoming a narrowly purchased niche aircraft.

  • Despite Boeing claiming in a trade complaint the 737-7 has a good future if Bombardier’s C Series is subject to 292% in tariffs, the airplane seems destined to be no more than a niche airplane with airlines.
  • The largest customer for the 7 MAX is up-gauging.
  • The 7 MAX future appears to be with business jets and military transports.

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