Posts Tagged 'B787 Dreamliner'

Aircraft Winglets

Many of us who fly regularly have most probably seen a so-called winglet or wingtip device at the end of the wing of an airliner at least once. It is showing up more and more often on more and more types of aircraft, thus we felt it’s time to give an overview to our readers about these sometimes funny, sometimes cool and stylish looking aircraft parts.

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on Airliners.net

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on Airliners.net

History, Reason and Benefits

The initial theoretical concept goes back to times before even the Wright Brothers first took to the skies in 1905, but it was picked up and developed by Richard T. Whitcomb of NASA after the 1973 oil crisis – in order to reduce fuel consumption. The first tests were carried out in 1979/80 in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force. At almost the same time, but independent of any U.S. military organization, a private jet producer, LearJet exhibited a prototype in 1977: the LearJet 28 that featured the first winglets on a jet and a production aircraft. Flight tests made with and without winglets showed that the winglets increased range by about 6.5 percent and also improved directional stability for the LearJet- these two factors are the major reasons behind using this facility at any fixed wing aircraft ever since.

Airflow around the wingtip with or without a wingletA winglet is a (near) vertical extension of the wing tips. The upward angle of the winglet, its inward angle as well as its size and shape are critical for correct performance – this is why they can look quite different. Air rotating around the wing strikes the surface of the winglet that directs it in another direction – thus creating an extra force, basically converting otherwise wasted energy to thrust. This is a small contribution but can save a lot for an operator in an aircraft’s lifetime. Another potential benefit of winglets is that they reduce the strength of wingtip vortices, which trail behind the plane. When other aircraft pass through these vortices, the turbulent air can cause loss of control, possibly resulting in an accident.

Winglet Types

In general any wingtips that not end the wing simply horizontally are considered as some kind of a winglet. Even though in strictly technical terms Wingtip Fences are not real extensions of the wing, and Raked Wingtips do not have a vertical part, they are still widely considered as winglet variants.

WINGTIP FENCES are a special variant of winglets, that extend both upward and downward from the tip of the wing. Preferred by European plane-maker Airbus, it is featured on their full product range (except the A330/340 family and the future A350). The Airbus A300 was actually the first jet airliner to feature this kind of solution by default, but it was a very small version of the tool. Provided that most of the Airbus planes (including all A320 family jets) feature such wingtip fences, this may be the most seen and most produced winglet type. Even the new Airbus A380 double-decker features wingtip fences.

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets seen from onboard

Airbus Winglets as seen from onboard

BLENDED WINGLETS (the real “Winglets”) are the most popular winglet type, leveraged by Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier but also by Russian Tupolev and Iljushin. Blended winglets were first introduced on the McDonnel Douglas MD-11 aircraft in 1990 with launch customer Finnair (it also features a smaller winglet at the bottom side of the wing). In contrast to Airbus who applies the wingtip fences by default on most of their aircraft (and the winglets on the A330/340 family), blended winglets are considered by Boeing for example as an optional extra feature on their products, except for the Boeing 747-400. For some of the older Boeing jets (737 and 757) such blended winglets have been offered as an aftermarket retrofit, these are the newer, tall designs and do not connect to the tip of the wing with a sharp angle, but with a curve instead. These winglets are popular among airlines that fly these aircraft on medium/long haul routes as most of the real fuel savings materialize while cruising. Longer flights mean longer cruising, thus larger fuel savings. And they also server as marketing surface for airline logos or web addresses usually.

Just recently the Boeing 767-300ER has received 3.4 m high (!) winglets produced by Aviation Partners Inc. with American Airlines as the launch-customer with Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines following with orders of 5 and 8 aircrafts respectively. 141 shipsets have been pre-sold already as the forecasted fuel savings range around 4%-6% for medium/long-range flights. Airbus earlier tested similar blended winglets designed by Winglet Technology for the A320 series, but determined that their benefits did not warrant further development and they stayed with the wingtip fences instead. Aviation Partners Boeing claims that winglets on 737s and 757s have saved a collective 1.2 billion gal. of fuel since they were introduced and 11.5 million tonnes of CO2 while reducing those types’ noise footprint by 6.5%. It has sold winglets to 140 airlines and 95% of all 737NGs are fitted with them. It is working on four winglet concepts for the 777 and hopes to finalize a design for that aircraft type by December, 2008.

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

RAKED WINGTIPS are the most recent winglet variants (they are probably better classified as special wings, though), where the tip of the wing has a higher degree of sweep than the rest of the wing. They are widely referred to as winglets, but they are better described as integrated wingtip extensions as they are (horizontal) additions to the existing wing, rather than the previously described (near) vertical solutions. The stated purpose of this additional feature is to improve fuel economy, climb performance and to shorten takeoff field length. It does this in much the same way as “traditional” winglets do. In testing by Boeing and NASA, raked wingtips have been shown to reduce drag by as much as 5.5%, as opposed to improvements of 3.5% to 4.5% from conventional winglets. Airliners to use raked wingtips: Boeing 747-8, Boeing 767-400ER, Boeing 777(-200LR; -300ER; and freighter versions) plus the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350. The 747-8, the 787 and the A350 will have special, new kind of wings, which do not have a separate winglet, but have raked, and blended wingtips integrated – without a sharp angle between the wing and the winglet.

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

As you can see, wingtips/winglets have developed and changed very much over the last 30 years, but are becoming the standard, which is not proven better by anything else than the wing designs of future aircraft by the largest airplane-makers that feature a built-in winglet at the tip of their new, revolutionary wings.

(Most of the winglet pictures in the montage images taken from airliners.net taken by several photographers.)

by balint01

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Boeing to Further Delay 787 Dreamliner

DreamlinerAccording to reports around Air Travel News Online, and even The Wall Street Journal, Boeing is set to announce another delay in the first flight of the new 787 Dreamliner, which will now be scheduled for June 2008 instead of the original September 2007. It is reported that Boeing will announce today that they will not deliver any 787 to their customers this year. The first plane was to be delivered to Japanese carrier ANA sometime in May, just in time before the Beijing Olympics. This further delay puts the plans of delivering 109 (!) planes to customers in 2009 also in jeopardy.

Boeing shares have dropped yesterday based on this information, which at this point is coming from an unknown source. The company staged an elaborate international rollout ceremony in July, but the aircraft it unveiled was held together by numerous temporary fasteners and did not include flight control system software and other key parts. The manufacturer has detailed numerous problems with its global supply chain. Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson has said that “traveled work” from suppliers arrived at its final assembly plant in Everett “out of sequence” and with inadequate documentation. It also has contended with a global fastener shortage.

Boeing announced the first delay of 6 months in October 2007.

by balint01

Earlier articles about the Dreamliner

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Delivery Delayed By 6 Months

Boeing has announced that the first delivery of the long-awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be delayed by at least 6 months. Industry analysts have foreseen this announcement coming, especially since Boeing earlier had to postpone the first flight tests of the 787 by two months, which would have caused a very ambitious and extremely tight flight test schedule. That news were communicated early September, two months after the ceremonial rollout of the first aircraft.

B787 At The Rollout 

The first flight was originally planned for September 2007, then it was delayed to late November or December 2007 (due to software problems and shortage of bolts), and now the company says, the first flight has been pushed back to the end of the first quarter in 2008. That alone represents a 6 months delay in the program, but with the new first delivery date, it looks like the original test schedule will be in place (actually they have added an extra month to it), and tests will not be rushed through. They now plan for a test period of 8 months, while the flight testing and certification on Boeing’s last new airliner, the 777, took 11 months some years ago.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan, that is the launch customer for the 787 will receive its first aircraft instead of MAY2008, around late November or early December. The delay is a blow to ANA, which was hoping to fly passengers to next summer’s Beijing Olympic Games in the initial planes of its planned 50-strong 787 fleet. By the delay of the first delivery, approximately a further 30-35 787s scheduled for delivery in 2008 will slide into 2009, affecting around 15 customers. However, Boeing expects to have delivered 109 aircraft by the end of 2009, only three fewer than originally contemplated. While calling it “an aggressive plan,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson  said he “remains confident it is achievable.” Airlines with orders for the first 100 Dreamliners may have problems finding replacement planes while waiting for 787s, but may also be entitled to compensation from Boeing. Qantas for example, one of the world’s largest buyers of the new plane, said Boeing had assured it that the first of the 15 aircraft scheduled for delivery from August 2008 would still arrive within six months of the original delivery date. “Boeing said the August 2008 aircraft would slip, but not by six months. Once that aircraft arrives, the remaining 14 aircraft deliveries will be staggered until December 2009,” Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said in a statement, which echoes Boeing’s announcement, that they plan to eliminate the backlog in deliveries caused by the shift of the first delivery, by the end of 2009.

The delay may be embarrassing for Boeing, as they have repeatedly said they will not follow Airbus in its test and delivery delays connected to the new Airbus A380 superjumbo. Airbus had problems with the wiring of its two floor aircraft, while Boeing is now struggling in the assembly of its first composite airplane. During a webcast yesterday, Carson said the issues driving the decision revolved around “traveled work and parts availability on aircraft number 1. It simply proved to be more difficult than we had anticipated to complete the out-of-sequence work in our Everett factory.” He said the main problems were installing parts of the plane’s structure, which had been thrown out of sequence by some suppliers sending incomplete work to Boeing’s main plant, aggravated by a shortage of some small parts. Flight control software and systems integration activities are not pacing items in the revised schedule for first flight, he added.

by balint01

British Airways Orders Airbus A380’s And Boeing 787’s

Airbus A380 in BA colors - by Airbus

 

 

British Airways has announced today what the airline industry has been looking forward to for a long time: the first orders to replace their long-haul fleet.

BA that has been using Boeing 57 B747-400’s and 43 B777’s and 14 B767-300’s for long-haul travels, have decided to place firm orders for 12 Airbus A380 superjumbos and 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners to replace 34 of their older planes (20 B747 jumbojets and all 14 B767-300’s). This also means an increase of 2 planes in the fleet. The order includes options for a further 7 A380’s and 18 B787’s.

BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh told reporters the airline would use the A380 superjumbo to make best use of its limited take-off slots at London’s crowded Heathrow Airport and will be the first long-haul Airbus BA would ever use. It will fly on routes from London to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa (Johannesburg) and the west coast of the United States (Los Angeles and San Francicso) and possibly to Indian destinations as well. The 24 mid-sized 787 Dreamliners, will be used to open up new routes and increase the frequency of flights on existing ones. The two types of new aircraft will be delivered between 2010 and 2014, with the first 787 joining the fleet in 2010 and the firs A380 in 2012.

He denied the company had experienced political pressure to buy the superjumbo, the wings and engines of which will be built in Britain. “There was absolutely none,” he told reporters. “There was no contact, be it formal or informal. The decision was made in the best interest of British Airways. In the engines, the choice of Rolls-Royce was because British is best.” He also added that environmental concerns were a critical consideration: “These aircraft set the gold standard when it comes to environmental performance. . .[and] will contribute significantly to our target of improving fuel efficiency by 25% between 2005 and 2025.”  BA took delivery of its first B747 jumbo on April 22, 1970, becoming just the fifth airline to get one and had used all types of the largest Boeing aircraft. That tradition will be broken now, as even though the new B747-8 is out on the market (and Lufthansa has ordered a few pieces of it as well), BA chose the A380.

BA said it was considering aircraft to replace a further 37 Boeing 747s and is examining the Boeing 777-300 ER, the Airbus A350XWB, as well as a stretched version of Boeing’s 787, the 787-10, which the planemaker has yet to launch to replace the remaining 747-400s. A follow-up order should not be expected before 2010 according to BA.

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

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: REVEALED!!

Boeing 787 Revealed (Grant M. Haller / P-I)

And so the day has finally come, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been revealed at Boeing’s Everett factory, the world’s largest building (actually just outside of it)!

You can watch the full length video of the Premiere here:

http://787premiere.newairplane.com/ 
(you can not forward or rewind, only watch the full length from beginning to end)

More pictures from the flickr 787 Community Group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/boeing_787/pool/ 

It is a real show, with live broadcasts from all around the world (contracted partners’ Headquarters from Japan to Italy and to the US), Boeing leaders, Launch Customer and loads of animations and videos. And after all the show, they finally open the Hangar doors… 🙂

By balint01

Dreamliner

Boeing’s 787 was called Dreamliner before it became 787. Why?

Take a look at these pictures and decide it yourself:

The Dreamliner
OK, A 380 looks good, too. So why is Dreamliner really a dream aircraft for an airline? Its size is the same as 767 – a small plane among the big ones. Dreamliner can be operated on a much lower cost though as the new engines burn 25% less fuel than 767. he medium sized plane can be easily loaded both on short and long haul and due to low operation costs, it can be very cost effective destinations and for luxury purposes mostly. Today I was still a little bit for the airline. A veryThe Dreamliner basic proof of this idea is the fact Ryanair has already ordered 130 of these and apparently they will change their complete fleet and use only 787s. A 380s were ordered only by airlines with massive long haul surprised to read it in the news that Aeroflot ordered Dreamliners. Not because it wasn’t a logical decision. Rather because I thought it was unreachably expensive for an Eastern European airline, but apparently it is not the fact. Aeroflot is getting prepared for the upcoming competition in Russia. They joined Sky Team, one of the 3 main alliances in the world and now they are renewing their fleet. They are still state-owned, which is always a huge wieght an airline needs to carry, but I really hope they will cope with the new business situation.


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