Archive for the 'A350' Category

Dubai Air Show Orders II

New orders at the Dubai Air Show:

1. DAE Capital

The Dubai based leasing company ordered 85 Boeing aircrafts; 75 B737 NGs, 10 B777-300s and 5 747-8F frighters. According to gossips there is a chance DAE Capital will extend its order to 15 additional B787s. DAE also ordered 70 A320s and 30 A350XWBs.

2. LCAL

Low Cost Aircraft Leasing, a Dubai based leasing company increased the number of a previous order by 6 B787s, thus instead of the original 15, they will buy 21.

3. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud

Signature at Dubai Air Show

Prince Alwaleed is the first private person who confirmed the order of an A380 for private purposes. The A380 Flying Palace will probably be the most luxurious private jet.

4. Air Arabia

Air Arabia ordered 34 Airbus A320s and took options on 15 more. Air Arabia is the first low cost airline in the Middle-East and its base is the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai Air Show Orders I.

On the first day of the 2007 Dubai Air Show great orders were revealed, and there are three more days to go…

Emirates Logo   Emirates Airbues A380

Emirates have voted for Airbus, by placing the largest order to date for the new Airbus A350, by 70 pieces. They took option on an additional 50, while added 11 A380 to the already largest fleet of A380’s to raise the total number to be operated by the airline to 66 (47 original orders + 8 commitments earlier this year, and the 11 yesterday). If they take all of their options on the A350’s, Emirates would operate a 186 piece modern Airbus fleet by the end of the next decade (!). By selecting the A350 over the Boeing B787 Emirates gave a boost to the new Airbus program. Probably to bridge the time before the A350’s arrive, they also placed an order with Boeing for 12 long-range 777-300ER’s.

Qatar Airways Logo  Qatar Airways on the other hand selected Boeing with placing firm orders for 30 B787 Dreamliners with options for another 30, while buying 27 B777’s as well, with 5 options. This is a total of 57 firm + 35 optional orders.

Virgin Nigeria Logo  Virgin Nigeria ordered 10 Embraer jets. The order consists of 7 E170 and 3 of the larger E190, with options for 6 more E190 regional jets.

The show goes on until Thursday and will display daily flights of the A380.

by balint01

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Composite Airframe May Be Unsafe?

A former employee of Boeing who has been laid off last year claims that the new carbon-composite airframe of the upcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliner may be unsafe. According to ATW News, Vince Weldon who had worked for Boeing for 46 years claims in an interview with journalist Dan Rather that he was fired in 2006 because he pointed out safety glitches in relation to this new breakthrough technology to be used widely in the construction of the Dreamliner (composite is to replace aluminium in the bodyframe of the airliner).

The new Dreamliner – which was revealed a little more than two months ago – is to have a body fully built from composite materials, which guarantee weight reduction (thus increased fuel efficiency and less environmental harm), as well as the possibility of more humidity in the passenger cabin, which would reduce the effects of flying on the human body. At the time when he was laid off, he was working for the Phantom Works technology centre of Boeing, developing the new composite plastic materials for the new aircraft. Boeing officially claims they had to fire him as he had assaulted his bosses several times.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Composite Fuselage - by Boeing

The former employee claims that the new structure carries several risks, which are known to Boeing as well, who try to hide it as they wish to begin manufacturing and delivering the aircraft as soon as possible. Boeing has more than 700 firm orders for the aircraft already, the first one due for delivery to ANA in MAY2008. The former engineer says he can support his arguments with archived internal e-mails between Boeing colleagues, while Boeing announced that they were earlier faced with such problems, which have been solved by nowThese risks according to Mr. Weldon would be:

 

  • the brittle carbon-composite compounds based airframe would break much easier than the traditional, more flexible aluminium aircraft body in an emergency landing for example (more likely to shatter on any impact actually),
  • if ignited and catching fire, it would omit poisonous and toxic gases and chemicals while burning,
  • the fuselage is less resistant to lightnings while flying,
  • any damages are harder to see and visually locate.

According to him these risks would reduce the chance of survival in case of an accident involving any of the above described situations. Just to remember: last week a McDonnel Douglas airplane has broken in two and caught fire during an (emergency) landing in Thailand, claiming 88 deaths and leaving 42 survivors who could escape the burning airplane – so such a situation can happen with a traditionally built aluminium aircraft as well unfortunately, but he says the risk of such a situation largely increases by the usage of composite materials.

The B787 is currently undergoing the tests of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which will allow the production later on if all tests are passed, and therefore justify the worries expressed above, or reject them. The first crash-tests (drop-tests) brought good results for the new aircraft, but most of the testing (and all flight tests) are still to take place in a reduced, speeded up schedule of about 6 months – much shorter than previous airliner programs (see our earlier post about the delay of the first flight).

At first one could even think that these arguments may be fueled by Airbus but separately last week Airbus confirmed to ATWOnline that it has ditched the aluminum frame for a composite frame on the A350 XWB. The move came after key customers ILFC and Emirates expressed concerns about maintenance on an aluminum structure. The original plan involved composite panels on an aluminium frame, but now Airbus has voted to go for an all-composite structure, similar to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which suggests that the technology must be safe enough to be rolled out to production.

An Airbus spokesperson said last week that the decision was taken for “simplification of maintenance.” (Mr. Weldon argues that maintenance of composite structures becomes more complicated due to some damages remaining invisible…) The company expects to complete design refinement by year end with first delivery in late 2013 (some 5 years behind the planned first delivery of the 787).

So what can we do? I think the best is to wait for the test results of the 787, which will be the first aircraft with a composite airframe, but the doubt will now be there in some people’s minds for sure. I’m still excited to fly the Dreamliner and am looking forward to a better, more humanly onboard environment with the different pressure and humidity, that would never be possible in an aluminium framed aircraft and of course hope that such risks mentioned above will never be tested in real life…

by balint01


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