back to article Boeing and Airbus fly new planes for first time

Airbus and Boeing have both debuted new commercial jets. Boeing's 787-10 took to the skies over South Carolina last Friday and spent four hours and fifty eight minutes strutting its stuff. The 787-10 is the biggest variant of the 787, also known as the “Dreamliner”. The plane boasts the same 60m wingspan and 574cm cross- …

  1. Chairo
    Coat

    Yes, they look beautiful

    but then again they look just the same than nearly all commercial jets that came out before.

    OK, they use new materials, engines and electronics, but basically all these passenger jets are direct descendants of the 707 and DC8 models of the late 50s.

    Sure, jet design is expensive and no one wants to go for a disruptive design that might fail, but somehow this evolutionary approach is a bit boring.

    The one that looks exactly like my last few coats, please ------------------>

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

      Well, form follows function.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

      Exactly what sort of 'disruptive design' are you wishing for, a flying wing?

      1. Chairo

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        Exactly what sort of 'disruptive design' are you wishing for, a flying wing?

        Flying wings are not so practical for passenger jets. What I am wishing for is something that shortens the time I have to spend in a cramped space with bad air and smelly fellow passengers that share the same armrest. Cruise speed of the 707 was 977km/h. Cruise speed of the 787 is, well, erm, 903 km/h.

        60 years of progress and we are moving slower than our grandfathers.

        Edit: @AC, I agree with you. yes, there has been a lot of progress. Certainly in commercial point of view. affordable tickets are nothing to sneer at. On the other hand I feel optimisation was too one sided. No one is really pushing the limits. Certainly not the airline companies.

        1. Doc Ock

          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

          >Cruise speed of the 707 was 977km/h. Cruise speed of the 787 is, well, erm, 903 km/h.60 years of progress and we are moving slower than our grandfathers.

          And how much fuel did the 707 burn per hour per passenger ? There was something that got you there faster but Concorde was extremely expensive and thirsty. There was also the Convair subsonic jet the CV 880 with a cruise speed of 990kph but that flunked because of the 707's slower but more efficient cruise speed.

          Ye cannae change the laws of physics, an inescapable equation - K.E. = 1/2 m v2

          1. lglethal Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Yes, they look beautiful

            There's a reason that the speeds havent increased much from what they are now - it's called the Transition Zone, the area between subsonic and supersonic (0,8-1,0 Mach, so about 960km/h and up) is highly unstable and really bad for your cruising efficiency. By staying out of this area you save a bunch of fuel. Going into the Supersonic regime unfortunately causes lots of problems with heat, even just going slightly above mach 1.0, means your unlikely to be able to use Alumnium for your Skins anymore (at least not leading edge). Not to mention the problems with sonic boom, and similar issues.

            Supersonic solutions have been looked at in the time since Concorde - most famously Boeing did the study of the Sonic Crusier. But theyre investigations found that economically, the Airlines werent interested because passengers were not willing to pay the premium to save a couple of hours of flight.

            On the topic of Composites, it will be the next generation of aircraft that benefit from the weight savings of using Composite structures. Aerospace certification authorities are extremely conservative. Because there was no long term data on Composite structures under flight loads (i.e. for the entire flight life of an aircraft), Designers had to use huge safety factors on the Composites meaning they weighed the same as the old metallic structures. Now that the data is there, the next Generation of aircraft will be able to use reduced design factors and so weight saving will start. You actually already see that to a degree on the A350, as Airbus was able to use the A400M as its Composite test bed. Maintenance of Composites has also been a problem which is another reason for building them extra strong and heavy, but now that Solutions are getting real world experience the additinal safety factors for this will be reduced.

            Finally, the reason all aircraft look pretty much the same is that they are actually pretty much the optimum design for Subsonic flight. Delta's and flying wings might be more efficient at supersonic, but for subsonic its hard to achieve any real saving comapred to whats already in the air. So sorry, but dont expect any major design changes until someone works out how to make a supersonic aircraft thats as efficient as a subsonic aircraft and does something about the sonic boom problem...

          2. Vic

            Re: Yes, they look beautiful

            Ye cannae change the laws of physics, an inescapable equation - K.E. = 1/2 m v2

            That equation is irrelevant to the discussion at hand: the actual KE doesn't matter, as there is plenty of energy stored in the fuel tanks.

            What matters is D = CdρV2A/2.

            Vic.

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            3. Doc Ock

              Re: Yes, they look beautiful

              >That equation is irrelevant to the discussion at hand:

              Oh yes it is, the faster you go you need to square your input energy even before you start to account for drag and gravity. Basic thermodynamics.

              Where do you think that equation (D = CdρV2A/2) is derived from ?

              Note the squared velocity term.

              >as there is plenty of energy stored in the fuel tanks.

              The more energy (i.e. mass) you have in the fuel tanks only makes matters worse as you have both an increased gravitational down force and energy required to reach your cruising speed.

              Please don't throw equations around until you fully understand them.

              1. Vic

                Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                Oh yes it is, the faster you go you need to square your input energy even before you start to account for drag and gravity. Basic thermodynamics.

                Not a pilot, are you? Drag is everything.

                Where do you think that equation (D = CdρV2A/2) is derived from ?

                It's the drag equation - which you'd know if you understood aerodynamics in any meaningful fashion. And it doesn't come from anything to do with kinetic energy, as you'd know if you'd read the very first link Google gives for the aerodynamic drag equation.

                The more energy (i.e. mass) you have in the fuel tanks only makes matters worse as you have both an increased gravitational down force and more energy required to reach your cruising speed.

                That's important for a rocket. Not nearly so much for an aircraft

                Please don't throw equations around until you fully understand them.

                Far be it from me to accuse anyone here of hypocrisy, but seriously - you clearly don't fly, so you might want to give some credit to those that do...

                Vic.

                1. Doc Ock

                  Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                  >Far be it from me to accuse anyone here of hypocrisy, but seriously - you clearly don't fly, so you might want to give some credit to those that do...

                  Vic.

                  No I'm a Chemist, thermodynamics is par for the course.

                  Ok Einstein, why does fuel consumption increase with payload ?

                  1. Vic

                    Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                    No I'm a Chemist, thermodynamics is par for the course.

                    But you're still going to argue subjects over which you have no knowledge. Is that also par for the course?

                    why does fuel consumption increase with payload ?

                    There are a number of factors, none of which are similar to the crap you've been touting so far.

                    The KE of a 787 at MTOW and at max cruising speed - a situation you'll never actually achieve - is less than 5.7GJ. With Jet A-1 quoted at a minimum of 42.8MJ/Kg, that's the energy of less than 133Kg of fuel - or less than 450Kg if you assume a 30% engine efficiency. The same 787 has a fuel capacity of over 101,000Kg - almost 3 orders of magnitude higher than the amount required to propel the aircraft to the KE that you claimed was the dominant factor in fuel use. So either Boeing are massively over-specifying their fuel needs, or - just perhaps, just putting this out there - you might be completely wrong when discussing topics you clearly know nothing about.

                    Vic.

                    1. Doc Ock

                      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                      > you might be completely wrong when discussing topics you clearly know nothing about.

                      Do you not understand simple physics ?

                      Double the 787-8's velocity assuming it doesn't fall apart.

                      Firstly normal cruising speed

                      Operating weight empty = 119,950kg, velocity (cruising speed of 903km/h) = 251m/s

                      KE = ((119,950)/2) * (250*250) = 3.78GJ

                      Double it

                      KE = ((119,950)/2) * (502*502) = 15.11GJ

                      for MTOW of 227,930 kg

                      KE = ((227,930)/2) * (251*251) = 7.18GJ

                      KE = ((227,930)/2) * (502*502) = 28.72GJ

                      I don't know where you get:

                      "The KE of a 787 at MTOW and at max cruising speed - a situation you'll never actually achieve - is less than 5.7GJ. "

                      Clearly bollocks.

                      1. Vic

                        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                        Do you not understand simple physics ?

                        One of us doesn't.

                        Double it

                        KE = ((119,950)/2) * (502*502) = 15.11GJ

                        Even if you could do that - which you can't - that's still a very, v ery long way short of the energy required for a flight. 101,000Kg of Jet A-1 at 42.8MJ/Kg is over 4.3TJ. Your maths is still three orders of magnitude out.

                        I don't know where you get:

                        "The KE of a 787 at MTOW and at max cruising speed - a situation you'll never actually achieve - is less than 5.7GJ. "

                        Simple mathematics. MTOW of a 787 is between 228t and 254t, depending on variant. Max cruise speed is 511kt. Even you can work out the KE from those numbers.

                        Clearly bollocks.

                        And yet surprisingly close to your nominal figure of 3.78GJ. And both numbers are so very, very different from the 4.3TJ in the wings.

                        So now perhaps you'd like to address that discrepancy, rather than just throw around meaningless numbers? You've got three orders of magnitude to account for.

                        Vic.

                        1. Doc Ock

                          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                          >And yet surprisingly close to your nominal figure of 3.78GJ. And both numbers are so very, very different from the 4.3TJ in the wings.

                          Yes you are stupid, that's assuming no other opposing forces once you have attained said velocity but hey shall we throw in drag per second then add gravitational downforce per second. Note from the drag equation the squared velocity term, look familiar does it ? It's the opposing KE force applied to the equation.

                          You are quoting total available fuel energy, try realising all that energy at once, you'll have might big fucking bang. How many newtons thrust does your engines provide ?

                          By the way what is the difference between velocity and speed, a very important concept ?

                          >Simple mathematics. MTOW of a 787 is between 228t and 254t, depending on variant. Max cruise speed is 511kt. Even you can work out the KE from those numbers.

                          WTF ? I've already done it for you as proof.

                          Now stop bullshitting you know what you are talking about.

                          1. Vic

                            Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                            Yes you are stupid

                            Nice to see the standard of debate is so high.

                            that's assuming no other opposing forces once you have attained said velocity

                            And that's exactly the point. Drag is everything. All that energy in the tanks is there to overcome drag. Your KE figure is entirely irrelevant; it is somewhere around 0.1% of the energy required for the flight, which is why my initial post mentioned that it was irrelevant. Drag is everything - have I said that? Drag is everything. That's where al the energy goes, and that's why I mentioned the drag equation in my first post. You keep harping on about KE, and now even you seem to have realised that it is irrelevant.

                            hey shall we throw in drag per second then add gravitational downforce per second

                            Now you're just making stuff up. Look at the units of what you've just attempted to throw in the air, and it should be obvious even to you that that is nonsensical.

                            It's the opposing KE force applied to the equation.

                            No, it isn't. There is a square term in there - as there are many square terms in mathematics. But if it were related to the KE of the aircraft, it would have the mass of the aircraft in there as well. You might notice that it does not.

                            You are quoting total available fuel energy, try realising all that energy at once, you'll have might big fucking bang

                            And now you are confusing energy with power. I thought you were a chemist and thermodynamicist?

                            By the way what is the difference between velocity and speed, a very important concept ?

                            How is it relevant in this context? You're just throwing irrelevancies around now in the hope of having something stick. Your earlier posts were indicative ofd someone who'd not properly thought through what he was posting. Now you're just into nonsense territory.

                            WTF ? I've already done it for you as proof.

                            And yet you still haven't addressed how that energy is so much less than the energy required for flight. Even if we take your worst-case figure for an aircraft doing over 1000mph, you're still a rounding error in the energy required for flight. Yet you cling to this attitude that even 28GJ is somehow of any significance whatsoever to the flight; it simply isn't.

                            Now stop bullshitting you know what you are talking about.

                            Yeah, pot, kettle, ....

                            Vic.

                            1. Doc Ock
                              WTF?

                              Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                              >Drag is everything. All that energy in the tanks is there to overcome drag. Your KE figure is entirely irrelevant; it is somewhere around 0.1% of the energy required for the flight, which is why my initial post mentioned that it was irrelevant. Drag is everything - have I said that? Drag is everything.

                              WTF !

                              Seriously, stop digging you are making yourself a laughing stock.

                              1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                                Angel

                                Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                > Seriously, stop digging you are making yourself a laughing stock.

                                Erm, Vic is correct throughout. Drag eats your fuel, kinetic energy is no concern. Yours, a physicist. OK, ex-physicist. ----- totally me ---->

                                1. Doc Ock

                                  Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                  >Erm, Vic is correct throughout. Drag eats your fuel, kinetic energy is no concern. Yours, a physicist. OK, ex-physicist. ----- totally me ---->

                                  So what's drag ?

                                  Erm the kinetic energy of the fluid/gas hitting you and multiplying it by a constant (drag coefficient) and the area of your object and using your velocity (i.e the resultant velocity, you could have a tailwind). Hence drag reduces your kinetic energy and thus velocity so you must increase the kinetic energy of your system by using the kinetic thrust of the engines to keep the system in equilibrium. They are opposing forces of the same equation. Drag is a squared function due to KE this only serves to make matters worse the faster you go. Simple frictional force in opposition to applied force QED the more kinetic energy you have the more drag you have. It's all a function of KE.

                                  Are people just thick or obtuse on this subject ?

                                  1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

                                    Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                    > Are people just thick or obtuse on this subject ?

                                    Let me word this differently: the main part of the energy used through the whole flight (assuming it's not super short) is spend on the friction (which scales with abs(v)^2). The kinetic energy part is finished as soon as you have gained full speed, and that part is _small_ in quantity as Vic has indicated).

                                    The situation is similar to doing a couple of hundred miles by car: go 80 km/h to use something near enough to optimal gas consumption, go 250 km/h and see how much that costs you. That's almost exclusively caused by friction.

                                    If you are actually still puzzled at this point: why does an object flying in vacuum (in the absence of forces) keep constant speed? Hint: no friction.

                                    Classical mechanics, about week two.

                                    1. Doc Ock

                                      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                      >The kinetic energy part is finished as soon as you have gained full speed,

                                      You possess kinetic energy which is being dissipated by the opposing force of drag, if you didn't replace your kinetic energy by thrust you would slow down and crash or land. You are constantly being slowed down so you are actually constantly accelerating to maintain speed, i.e constantly changing velocity. Scalars and vectors.

                                      Basic GCSE physics.

                                      Newton's third law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

                                      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                                        Pint

                                        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                        No, no, no.

                                        > constantly accelerating to maintain speed,

                                        Accelerating means _gaining_ speed, or, in other words

                                        > i.e constantly changing velocity.

                                        which is not happening when you just keep the velocity.

                                        Here is another hint: Suppose the mass is vanishingly small, what does that change in friction? Answer: nothing.

                                        In yet other words: if you split the work into the "acceleration to top speed" and "friction" parts. You'll see (do the bloody calculations!) that the acceleration part is very small for all reasonable masses.

                                        If Vic's computation above is correct (and it looks like that) then even with mass = 0 you'd save about 1 per cent of the work. And that is even neglecting that inertia tends to give you back much of that (small) part at the decelerating phase.

                                        I'll stop, so beer shall end this discussion. ---- Prost! ---->

                                      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                                        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                        > You are constantly being slowed down so you are actually constantly accelerating to maintain speed, i.e constantly changing velocity.

                                        If you are maintaining speed (and direction) then you are _not_ accelerating at all (see definition).

                                        What you are missing is that the plane's movement through the air is accelerating parts of that air in various directions, mostly downwards. The energy required to do this is opposed by the thrust of the engines.

                                    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                                      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                      > That's almost exclusively caused by friction.

                                      In the case of a car, then yes, there is friction in the bearings, in the tires. But the main drag in a car moving fast is the result of pushing the air aside, accelerating it from stationary to some velocity, compressing it slightly at some points, and not being able to recover the energy expended in doing so.

                                      > If you are actually still puzzled at this point: why does an object flying in vacuum (in the absence of forces) keep constant speed? Hint: no friction.

                                      'Flying' in a vacuum is an oxymoron.

                                      > Classical mechanics, about week two.

                                      Classical, as in Aristotelian.

                                      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                                        Pint

                                        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                        > Classical, as in Aristotelian.

                                        Yes, everything you say is correct, thanks. I did my posts while tired.

                                        Oh look, beer o'clock again!

                                        1. Doc Ock

                                          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                          > Classical, as in Aristotelian.

                                          Yes, everything you say is correct, thanks. I did my posts while tired.

                                          Oh look, beer o'clock again!

                                          ----

                                          Ok let me ask you three questions.

                                          1) Switching engines off at T=0 will kinetic energy of the aircraft be equal to the force of gravity, drag and friction ?

                                          2 ) What is the direction of your energy gradient as per the second law of thermodynamics ?

                                          3 ) What will be the kinetic energy of an aircraft if it doubles it's speed ?

                                          1. Anonymous Coward
                                            Anonymous Coward

                                            Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                            @Doc Ock: Are you still here? You're Matt Bryant and I claim my £5.

                                            1. Doc Ock

                                              Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                              >@Doc Ock: Are you still here? You're Matt Bryant and I claim my £5.

                                              Yes I'm still here and you lose £5.

                                              Too ashamed to reveal yourself ?

                                              1. Doc Ock

                                                Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                                Do note people not a singe mathematical disproof of my point. If you're really bothered take this thread over to physicsforums.com/or similar. We live in a quantum world, things have moved on a bit since Aristotle.

                                                1. Doc Ock

                                                  Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                                  Wow instant down vote, how sad you are still monitoring me.

                                                  I'm not interested in votes, but in scientific truth.

                                  2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                                    Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                    > Simple frictional force

                                    Aerodynamic 'Drag' is not 'friction' (though there may be a small amount of actual friction*). Drag is the result of accelerating the air in various directions, mainly downwards (otherwise the plane would fall out of the sky). The force required to do this imparts an 'equal and opposite' force on the structure (see Newton).

                                    * aerodynamic heating, especially in supersonic flight, is mainly not caused by 'friction', it is because compressing a gas, as happens at the leading edge, raises it temperature (see Gay-Lussac).

                                    1. jeffdyer

                                      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                      "Drag is the result of accelerating the air in various directions, mainly downwards (otherwise the plane would fall out of the sky)"

                                      That's rubbish, it's the Venturi effect that keeps a plane up, whereby air moving quickly over the top of the wing exhibits less pressure than the slower air moving under the wing, thus sucking the plane upwards. Nothing to do with pushing air downwards (like a rocket)

                                      0/10.

                                      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                                        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                        > That's rubbish, it's the Venturi effect that keeps a plane up, whereby air moving quickly over the top of the wing exhibits less pressure than the slower air moving under the wing, thus sucking the plane upwards. Nothing to do with pushing air downwards (like a rocket)

                                        I can tell that you have never stood, or lay down, at the end of a runway.

                                        > 0/10.

                                        I am not sure whether that is a score you are giving to your post or a prediction of the up/down votes that you will get. Perhaps it is dual purpose.

                                        1. jeffdyer

                                          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                          Good grief. I cannot believe you got any recommends, there must be some seriously uneducated people out there.

                                          https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/UEET/StudentSite/dynamicsofflight.html

                                      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                                        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                        > That's rubbish, it's the Venturi effect that keeps a plane up, whereby air moving quickly over the top of the wing exhibits less pressure than the slower air moving under the wing, thus sucking the plane upwards. Nothing to do with pushing air downwards (like a rocket)

                                        Actually it has _everything_ to do with pushing air downwards. A plane's wing is an air pump that pushes air downwards. Without doing that it would fall from the sky (and sometimes that happens). It is just that the plane is flying along faster than the air is going down so it streams in a down wash behind the aircraft.

                                        A helicopter rotor blade is exactly like a wing, except it moves through the air, pumping it downwards, without the fuselage needing to move forward. This can easily be seen in any photograph of a helicopter flying low over the sea, or over long grass or crops. An agricultural aircraft, flying low, causes the same effect on crops.

                                        The amount and downward speed of the air that is required can be directly calculated from the mass of the aircraft and gravitational acceleration (ie the weight), just as it is calculated for a rocket exhaust, or the efflux from a VTOL aircraft.

                                        Think of it this way. Normal air pressure over a particular area of land has a certain value (average is 14.7 lb per sq in or so at sea level). This is caused by the weight of all the air over that area. ie the column of air over 1 sq inch of ground from the ground up to space weighs around 14.7 lb (depending on weather, altitude of ground, etc). If a plane flies into the volume of air over a particular area (much more than 1 sq in) then the weight of that plane adds to the weight of all that air. This would increase the pressure at ground level over that area (granted by a small amount). The only way to increase the pressure between the aircraft and the ground over that area is for the plane to pump air from above it to below it.

                                        A hovering helicopter close to the ground does this very well over quite a small area and the air pressure increase is easily measured (and is equal to the weight of the helicopter divided by the area covered by its downwash). A 747 does exactly the same except the area covered is very large and often well behind the current position of the plane, but at the end of a runway when it is landing it is _very_ noticeable.

                                        The pressure distribution above, below and around the wing is part of the means of pumping the air downwards. Air at some distance above the wing 'falls' into the lower pressure caused by the alleged 'venturi effect' while the higher pressure created under the wing pushes air below that downwards.

                                        Gravity applies a force of mass x 32 ft/sec/sec. The plane opposes that by accelerating air downwards, taking a particular mass of air in each second that is, in effect, stationary and accelerating it in a downwards direction (and also in unwanted lateral and rotational directions) until the mass of air in each second x acceleration applied matches the force of gravity pulling at the aircraft (more if it is climbing).

                                        1. jeffdyer

                                          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                          Are you a flat earther, perchance, they use the same twisted semi science.

                                2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                                  Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                                  "Drag eats your fuel, kinetic energy is no concern."

                                  The same applies to cars and haulage vehicles too.

                                  Air is a fluid and a surprisingly dense one when you try moving anything through it at speed.

                  2. cray74

                    Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                    why does fuel consumption increase with payload ?

                    It has to do with the lift-to-draft ratio, doesn't it? The function of the wing is to generate lift from the air flow over it. The amount of lift you need is related to the weight of the airplane. Ultimately, that effort comes from the engines and fuel they consume.

                    (Not a rhetorical question, I'm curious if my understanding is even vaguely correct.)

                    1. Vic

                      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                      The function of the wing is to generate lift from the air flow over it. The amount of lift you need is related to the weight of the airplane.

                      Yeah, mostly.

                      To achieve more lift for the same airspeed, you need to raise the nose slightly to increase the Angle of Attack. This gives you more lift at the cost of an increased drag coefficient Cd.

                      Vic.

                    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

                      > It has to do with the lift-to-draft ratio,

                      You are think about beer too much. How much draft do you lift of an evening?

        2. Vic

          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

          What I am wishing for is something that shortens the time I have to spend in a cramped space with bad air and smelly fellow passengers that share the same armrest

          Many people have said the same - but when the airlines tested that market, what they found is that people actually choose the cramped and smelly flight over the more expensive one that is both faster and more comfortable.

          TL;DR: people choose the cheap flights, and that means cramped.

          Vic.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Yes, they look beautiful

            "What I am wishing for is something that shortens the time I have to spend in a cramped space with bad air and smelly fellow passengers that share the same armrest".

            What i wish for America is fast trains.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

          "Flying wings are not so practical for passenger jets."

          Apart from the lack of windows: From a comfort and space point of view they'd be pretty good.

          The big problem with all flying wing designs is evacuation capabilities.

          The A380's ~880 passenger loading is significantly smaller than its all-economy seating capabilities because of this. (But on the other side, carrying fewer people than that allows more revenue cargo in the belly which is also important for airlines)

        4. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

          "Cruise speed of the 707 was 977km/h. Cruise speed of the 787 is, well, erm, 903 km/h."

          Range of the 707 was about 5000km

          Range of the 787 is 10-12,000km

          Going a little slower but not having to land and refuel leads to faster overall trips.

      2. rh587 Bronze badge

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        Exactly what sort of 'disruptive design' are you wishing for, a flying wing?

        Branson's new Boom?

        Although that's not so much disruptive as an evolution of Concorde, but a delta wing will make a pleasingly distinct silhouette in the sky compared to other airliners.

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

          So far they have $33 million which is probably enough to test that the paint doesn't come off.

          I'd like to see something delta-shaped blast through the sky, but anything with Branson attached is nine parts hype to one part reality.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        The Flying Bedstead would be 'disruptive'?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

      Sure, jet design is expensive and no one wants to go for a disruptive design that might fail, but somehow this evolutionary approach is a bit boring.

      The 787 family was intended to be disruptive, but hasn't been really. Carbon fibre, electric ancillary systems instead of air bleed, superior comfort; it all sounds disruptive, but it hasn't turned out that way. It's heavier than intended, the electrics have been problematic, and the comfort ain't that great (the airlines generally squeeze in an extra seat per row, and omit the optional sound deadening to save weight).

      Don't get me wrong - 787 is now a pretty good aircraft, but it's not lived up to the initial billing. That's partly the fault of the airlines which jam in the extra seat and skip the optional sound deadening, and it's not the featherweight suggested by the chosen construction material.

      It is more efficient, and a large part of that is the engines from RR and GE. It wouldn't be worth it otherwise. Putting those same engines on old airframes, one of the things Airbus is doing, is pretty efficient too and a lot cheaper.

      Airbus is a good demonstration of 'disruptive'. By incorporating some very minor design differences they've gone from nothing to we'll over half the global market. The most important example is the A320 family vs 737. The only real difference is that the A320 is a bit wider, and has longer under carriage. From Airbus's point of view this is as disruptive as they've had to be to pinch most of the narrow body market from Boeing.

      Anyway, if disruptive airliner design gets no more ambitious than that, it kinda suggests that the basic layout is already fairly optimal. It leads to cheaper maintenance (easy access to the engines), good fuel consumption (long/thin tubes are the easiest shape to push through the air), and it's cheap to make them different lengths to be able to sell an aircraft to suit the customer's needs.

      Blended wings and other such ambitious designs are probably better technology from an aerodynamic point of view, but commercially they're very doubtful. A big part of the 'cost' of the A380 has been updating the airport facilities to deal with it; and that was simply adding another air bridge. A blended wing design sounds really difficult to get an air bridge up alongside it, so all that would have to change. Very expensive.

      1. toughluck

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        @AC:

        Airbus certainly didn't go from "nothing", since it was formed as a consortium of assorted European manufacturers.

        Other than A320 being a bit wider (not that much, mind you!) and having higher undercarriage, there is one vastly more important change: A320 allow automatic baggage handling (with load containers) as opposed to manual baggage handling on 737. In fact, what Boeing should do is revive the 757 and offer it at 737 cost level.

        Yes, I am omitting what gets them from "revive the 757" and "offert it at 737 cost level", but ultimately, if Boeing offered a modern in A319-A321 variety of sizes (or slightly larger for the same capacity), they would have a winner. As Airbus gains foothold, servicing A320 family becomes as inexpensive as servicing 737, which makes Boeing's position untenable in the long run.

        @lglethal: At cruise altitude (FL350, 35,000 ft. and up), speed of sound is ca. 1062-1063 km/h (compared to ca. 1225 km/h at sea level). 787's speed at cruise altitude is Mach 0.85 -- precisely in the transonic zone, which actually gives the most efficiency.

        Going higher than the speed of sound creates a problem with heating up (air pressure can displace air particles only up to the speed of sound, so compression heating does not occur up to the speed of sound).

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

      You could say the same about any form of transport except perhaps the Tardis.

    5. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Yes, they look beautiful

      Disruptive could be much smaller, faster planes with long ranges. On trips under 4 hours passengers spend as much time travelling to and from airports, sitting around in the terminal and waiting for luggage as they do flying.

      Getting rid of the huge-airport-shopping-centre hub approach and having small 4 to 6 seat taxi planes with long ranges and no one living more than 30 mins from a useable airport would be disruptive. Catching a plane would be almost the same as getting a cab.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        Nope. You need a huge airport because you need runways. Even a small airport takes up a huge chunk of expensive land. In my experience, Orlando Executive takes 1,055 acres and Ocala "International" takes 1,532 acres, and these are tiny airports. I still laugh at the Ocala "International" moniker. It's about as international as my bicycle.

        And there's no such thing as a "small 4 to 6 seat taxi planes with long range" - small planes have even smaller fuel tanks.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Adam JC

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        I fear economy of scale (number of passengers) makes this financially unviable. Nobody will pay £1500+ for a flight that would ordinarily cost then £50 and so on. Uber for planes already kind-of exists, but the costing is exorbitant. The chances of finding 7-8 people at a tiny local airport going to the same location as you is also questionable.

      3. EnviableOne Bronze badge

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        they exist but work out too expensive to use as a taxi service and you need to go to 8-10 pax to get the range.

        they start at at about $30 million and go up to 3 times that for basic models to buy, then you are looking at 2kph running costs or cost between 4 and 5k per hour to hire

        we are talking:

        Bombardier Global

        Gulfstream Gseries

        Dassault Falcon

      4. DougS Silver badge

        @Headley_Grange - small planes with long range

        We have that now. I live 10 minutes from the nearest airport, and if I pull out my NetJets card I can fly anywhere in the world I want to go and bring my friends for free. Well up to 7000 miles in a go, so I might need two flights to get the furthest reaches of the planet.

        Oh wait, I forgot I don't have a NetJets card because it costs $150K for 25 hours of flight time on the least expensive jet!! But if I did I could use my local airport which does not have any commercial flights, but does have a runway long enough for everything NetJets flies.

        This isn't a matter of someone needing to be "disruptive", it is a matter of economies of scale and the limitations of physics. It is like wishing for someone to be "disruptive" and sell a car that gets 200 mpg, or a phone with 200 hours of talk time.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: @Headley_Grange - small planes with long range

          > a car that gets 200 mpg

          They did say that if cars had been developed as fast as computers the cars would cost $500, would do 500mph and 200mpg, ... but would be 6 inches long.

      5. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        "On trips under 4 hours"

        It's generally easier to take the train.

        What? You don't have High Speed Rail? How quaint!

      6. ma1010 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        @Headley_Grange

        Sounds good, but I think I'll just take my flying car.

        Oh, wait....

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, they look beautiful

        "Getting rid of the huge-airport-shopping-centre hub approach and having small 4 to 6 seat taxi planes with long ranges and no one living more than 30 mins from a useable airport would be disruptive. Catching a plane would be almost the same as getting a cab."

        And hugely expensive. Paying .2 of a pilot's salary for a day, plus overheads and profit, is a lot more expensive than paying .003 of a pilot's salary... and a small plane needs roughly as large a chunk of airspace and landing / takeoff time as a large one.

        Going to a pilotless plane might fix the pilot problem, but not the airspace and landing slot problems, unless you are willing to let them fly much closer together than human controlled aircraft.

        Increasing the number of airports needs a lot more land, more airspace, more complicated air traffic control, and produces issues with both connecting flights and noise/pollution (aka Not in My Back Yard).

        1. Vic

          Re: Yes, they look beautiful

          produces issues with both connecting flights and noise/pollution (aka Not in My Back Yard).

          I went to visit a gliding site a couple of weeks back. They only run winch launches - no aerotow.

          The guy told me they'd experimented with the idea of running aerotow - and the noise complaints started before the first powered aircraft (on its way in for the day) had come anywhere near the airfield...

          Vic.

  2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

    So about 1 meter = 8 passengers?

    Mooo!!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

      That seems about right for the current breed of "rack 'em, stack 'em, and pack 'em" airlines. I basically gave up flying about 20 years ago when they started with the so-called "wide-bodies".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

        I agree. When the seat pitch in Cattle Class became less than the length of my thigh bone, I stopped flying unless it was at the front of the plane.

        Airlines seem oblivious to the fact that we are getting taller and more broad shouldered. Soon only people under 5ft 5in will be allowed to fly at the back of the plane. Animal Transportation rules mean some they get more space than Cattle Class do on long haul.

      2. Ivan Headache

        Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

        Are you talking about the planes or the passengers?

      3. Mage Silver badge

        Re: I basically gave up flying about 20 years ago

        Well, TSA, etc too.

        Skype at home desk is better.

        Holidays? Doing nothing at home and good take outs is far less stressful and safer. DVDs, Streetview , Wikipedia and friends on Skype etc for "foreign". But then I do have good scenery. Dutch, Germans, Americans, Chinese etc pay to come here.

    2. Chairo
      Devil

      Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

      So about 1 meter = 8 passengers?

      Yes, in a 2-4-2 configuration as in the cattle class of the 787 this is what you get. But hey - you got real LED lighting that'll stop you from falling asleep and none-reclining slide-forward seats to support your spine and squeeze your kneecaps.

      Good thing is that airlines are not allowed to issue standing room tickets (yet).

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

        Yes, in a 2-4-2 configuration as in the cattle class of the 787 this is what you get.

        And that's before one considers that most airlines run the 787 with 9 seats per row, not 8.

        Airbus with the A350 have been ever so subtle. It's about 6 inches wider than the 787 and is a slightly oval cross section, but that's all it takes to make 9 per row seating pretty good. Good for the airlines (they get their 9 seats), good for the passengers (they get a bit more room at the shoulders).

        Airbus seems to have a thing about passenger comfort that Boeing doesn't. A380 is wildly popular with passengers, to the extent that Emirates cannot mix 777 and A380 on the same routes (passengers weren't buying tickets for the 777, they were always choosing A380). A350 is also pretty good, and done in a way the airlines cannot squeeze in a 10th. A320 is just a little bit wider than the 737.

        787 has been turned into a sardine can, 737 is still a sardine can (always has been). The new 777 is going to be 10 across as standard which doesn't sound promising, that's what a lot of current 777 carry (the few that still are 9 across are apparently very nice!). Apparently Boeing are doing something to thin the insulation and lining of the airframe, so that might make 10 across OK.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

          2-4-2 on a 787?

          OK, I'm worried now. I fly AA 787 on Wednesday and I've chosen our seats, the configuration is 3-3-3, so an extra seat has been crammed in, if I get stuck next to a prize bloater it's going to be a miserable 10 hours.

          1. muddysteve

            Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

            I flew on a 3-3-3 787 last month. Leg room was great - headroom was great, but the seats are only 17" wide. I sat next to a slightly larger gentleman (but not a porker by any stretch of the imagination), and we rubbed arms and shoulders for most of the flight. It was not ideal. 2-4-2 is much more suitable for couples (and pairs of couples).

            1. Red Bren
              Joke

              Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

              @muddysteve

              "2-4-2 is much more suitable for couples (and swingers)."

              FTFY (I think)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

            My comisserations for choosing to fly AA.

            After 40+ years of flying, mostly long haul they are the worst airline I've had to use and that includes flying as a PAX in a Hercules. Even Aeroflot on routes outside Russia is better.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

              My comisserations for choosing to fly AA.

              I didn't, it's a BA flight operated by AA.

              None of us are carrying any extra blubber though, so it will be tolerable.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

                I flew on the AA 787-8 a few weeks ago. I had the bulkhead row at the front of economy, and it was awful.

                The tray tables were so close in to your body that they were unusable unless you had T-Rex style arms.

                The seats and aisles were too narrow, constantly being barged by rude and overweight cabin crew (if you've got a massive arse, working in the narrowest aisle mankind has ever seen is not a good fit).

                The toilets are stupid, with an over-sensitive automated flush that inevitably hoovers your arse at least twice while you're using them.

                The map view on the main bulkhead screen was set to what seemed like max brightness for the entire (night) flight.

                The seats were thin and uncomfortable; and they cranked the heating up, which made it an unpleasant sweaty experience.

                I'm never flying a 787 with 9 seats per row in economy ever again. I will actively avoid them. American's 767s are far more comfortable...

                1. Red Bren
                  Coat

                  Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

                  "The toilets are stupid, with an over-sensitive automated flush that inevitably hoovers your arse at least twice while you're using them."

                  Is that to increase "throughput"?

                2. Blotto Bronze badge

                  Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

                  "The seats were thin and uncomfortable; and they cranked the heating up, which made it an unpleasant sweaty experience."

                  hot planes remind me of a horror Air India 747 flight from Mumbai to LHR. the plane looked like it had never had a refit, still had the old projectors stuck to the ceiling, broken of course. more crew than passengers and had a fault resulting in 4 hours of delay and multiple returns to the gate before they decided to just get on with it. It was roasting on the plane all flight. so glad to have gotton off that thing.

                  i prefer a cool temperature, makes me feel less claustrophobic. If its cold wrap up in a blanket rather than make everyone else hot, uncomfortable and bothered.

        2. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

          Don't forget, the aircraft builders don't stipulate the interior layouts (they don't even make the seats), the crunching of passengers behind the wing is all down to airliners racing to the bottom.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

          "And that's before one considers that most airlines run the 787 with 9 seats per row, not 8."

          As others have said, 9 rows (3-3-3) is a standard config.

          What's worrying is that some are running 3-4-3 at the back. You'd better be skinny or be prepared to hold your breath the entire flight.

      2. Stuart 22

        Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

        "Good thing is that airlines are not allowed to issue standing room tickets (yet)"

        Oh yes they do: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/pakistan-pia-probes-standing-passengers-incident-170225201715193.html

      3. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

        You will find that 3-3-3 is a standard configuration in the B787 as suggested by Boeing themselves... it's not the airlines directly who just come up with that. A 3-3-3 layout with suggested business and/or first still has to fit into the maximum capacity at any one time.

        Airbus has in the past taken the approach that they strongly *discourage* high-density seating, and the A380-flying airlines all have looked at the cabin ergonomics and agreed with that approach. So yes, on an Emirates A380 you will get superior passenger experience compared to their B777, and passenger experience experts have decried the horrible passenger experience in the Dreamliner compared to the other jets (such as the Airbus A340/330) it is designed to replace. Sure, the B787 has fancy lighting and lower cabin altitude, so you feel somewhat better, but when Boeing happily provides 17" seats in their product catalogue on the basis that 'pile 'em high, man, pile 'em high' is a good approach, yeeeeeeah, your passenger experience will suck.

        Funnily enough, that was the differentiator for the A350 XWB... more lateral personal space compared to others...

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: So a 5 meter increase in lengths delivers 38 more passenger slots?

          "Airbus has in the past taken the approach that they strongly *discourage* high-density seating, and the A380-flying airlines all have looked at the cabin ergonomics and agreed with that approach"

          There's an added incentive on A380s - the more people up top, the less space in the belly for revenue cargo. It's better to run lower density and sell vast empty spaces for silly money because then you can put more cargo mass downstairs where it makes more money than the passengers it's not carrying.

      4. grumpyoldeyore
        Facepalm

        Re: standing room tickets

        Well, not officially anyway : http://avherald.com/h?article=4a55f544&opt=0

  3. Chris Miller

    The A319 is the littlest member of the A320 family

    You're forgetting the A318*, perhaps not surprising as Airbus only sold 80 of them. BA use 4 to operate their luxury service from London City to New York. I don't think there are any plans for an updated version.

    * The joke among aircrew is of a 317 version that joins the flight-deck directly to the tail without the annoying inconvenience of self-loading freight.

  4. MJI Silver badge

    787

    Nice to see first flight using RR Trent engines.

    Something world beating and British

    Boeing or Airbus, both use a lot from the UK.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: 787

      It's something I found surprising, but after all these years in which all of our airliner production disappeared and our companies were merged out of existence, Britain is still the second largest producer of aviation technology in the world.

      So yay us! And let's hope Airbus doesn't decide to relocate in two years time.

  5. Mike Richards Silver badge

    'five metres longer than the 787-9 and can therefore pack in about 38 extra passengers in Boeing's recommended configurations.'

    Or about 70 in British Airways new 'densified' (yep, an actual word used in cold blood by BA) configurations. Anyone who has previously 'enjoyed' BA's 3-3-3 cattle class will doubtless be thrilled that the company is now refitting long-haul aircraft - beginning with 777s - to 3-4-3 at the back of the plane.

    1. Vic
      Joke

      Anyone who has previously 'enjoyed' BA's 3-3-3 cattle class will doubtless be thrilled that the company is now refitting long-haul aircraft - beginning with 777s - to 3-4-3 at the back of the plane.

      It's been a while since anyone posted the Delta Seating Chart

      Vic.

      1. Craig 2
        Thumb Up

        Very good, never seen that chart before. Also, I would just like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this comment thread even though the aerodynamic arguments were generally beyond me. I get the impression that you're right simply because your posts don't look like unhinged rants :)

  6. Mike Richards Silver badge

    If you're ever in the Seattle area

    Do take a trip to Everett to visit the Boeing assembly plant. It is utterly jaw-dropping to go into a building and see three brand-new 747s at various stages of completion (all three for South Korea was I was there last month), then go a bit further along and see a line of 777s rolling slowly towards completion, and next to them, a seemingly endless line of ANA 787s.

    Well worth a morning of anyone's time - and there's even a little gift shop.

    Oh and you aren't allowed to take cameras or mobile phones into the building, which is a shame, but understandable.

  7. CN Hill

    What is this 'debuted' of which you speak?

  8. theworm123

    A319 is not the smallest ...

    The smallest in the A320 family is the A318.

  9. Mr_Pitiful
    Flame

    I don't understand something

    Why are they still building new models, when eventually no-one will be allowed to fly on them?

    I mean, they are banning laptops/tablets/cameras/liquids so soon they'll ban scientific equipment & phones.

    There are now 'no fly' lists with loads of people affected, religion is partly banned as well

    If I were a god fearing, C of E or Catholic or any other religion for that matter, am I gonna get black listed, as a radical something or other?

    Flame, for the hell of it!

  10. John L

    One aisle across the pond?

    "While the A319 can hop the Atlantic if required, it will likely do duty on shorter routes around the world as its single aisle means it's not well-suited to longer flights."

    I've taken quite a few trans-Atlantic flights on single aisle 707s and DC-8s and 757s, and can assure you that single aisle planes can fly the Atlantic just fine. It is true that for most transatlantic markets there's enough traffic to want bigger planes, there are some thin markets like London to Newfoundland that only have single aisle planes. and others like New York to Paris that have a mix of 757 and bigger planes.

  11. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    The reason of mach 0.85 speed limit is if you go over this the air over the wing has to go supersonic and back to sub sonic as it passes the wing, which increases drag and then requires extra thrust to maintain speed, once the whole airframe is traveling supersonic, the issue disapates, so its mach 0.85ish or mach 1.2 with a costly conversion in the middle.

    http://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/11936/are-we-at-peak-speed-efficiency-for-jet-airliners-at-mach-0-85

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