Re: Boeing 747-300

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works
Date:         Tue, 24 Nov 1992 11:31:58 GMT
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In article <airliners.1992.23@ohare.Chicago.COM> weiss@mott.SEAS.UCLA.EDU (Michael Weiss) writes:
>Well, Boeing no longer makes the -300; I personally saw the last -300 being
>built in mid-September of 1991.  The -300 has been replaced by the -400 ...

[ Moderator's note: When I started reading this I thought "oh no, yet
  another answer to the same question ... time to play moderator and
  turn on the squelch."  But there were some interesting points
  further down.  If you think we're beating a dead horse or would
  somehow like to see the thread split, please send suggestions to me
  at ]

>In my aero classes, we were taught that winglets are supposed to reduce the
>trailing vortices and downwash from the wings.  However, according to my
>cousin, who used to work for Lockheed's Skunk Works, the winglets have a cost
>in drag that is roughly equivalent to the gain, and therefore is more a
>marketing ploy than anything else.

I've seen this comment before, either on sci.aeronautics or perhaps on
rec.aviation.  Would anyone care to provide a more scientific discourse
on the subject for the benefit of the rest of us?

>Airbus is truly working on the plane, and hopes to knock Boeing out of the
>747 sales.  However, Boeing has a history of being the best aircraft in the
>world in terms of maintenance; Airbus apparently makes planes that are almost
>as difficult to repair and inspect as McDonnell-Douglas.

I've heard some comments about Airbus maintenance being exorbitantly
expensive.  In particular, one comment I heard was that they are very
unforgiving about substitution of equivalent parts and gold-plate the
prices of Genuine Airbus Parts.

I have not previously encountered negative comments regarding
McDonnell-Douglas products in this context, however, and in fact have
heard that the DC-10 is rather well-liked because it's somewhat like
a big Chevy V-8 -- solid, and easy to fix when it breaks.  (Problems
with the design of the hydraulics notwithstanding.)

Seems to me that Lockheed, the L-1011 in particular but perhaps the
Electra in its time as well, tended toward somewhat more finicky
products that compensated by giving better performance.

Again, any more concrete comments on the subject would be welcomed.

>McDonnell-Douglas has basically dropped out of that race, to my knowledge,
>apparently because they require such a large amount of capital.

With regard to the MD-12, MacDAC seems to remain in the race nearly as
much as Boeing and Airbus, though their ability to carry through with
an actual aircraft is certainly less certain given their finances.  In
any case all three are paper planes until the airlines get themselves
into better financial shape.

>    Airbus              AE-400   1994
>Sounds about right.  Well, they were talking about '93, but that
>likely means 1994.  Supposedly, it will compete directly with the 747.

That would be the A-340, which is well along in its test program and
looks likely to make its scheduled first delivery (to Lufthansa) in
the first quarter of 1993.  It competes with the 747 in the sense
that it is a long-range aircraft, in fact exceeding the range of the
747-400 by a little bit, but it's somewhat smaller, on the order of
two-thirds the size.  In that sense it competes more closely with the

>>    Boeing              777      1995-6
>I would guess sooner, simply based upon the information I have
>heard.  I could very well be wrong, though.

It is indeed due the first half of 1995.  This seemed an inordinately
long gestation, but at launch time Boeing still had its hands full
with the 747-400, and was also painfully aware of the delays in the
747-400 program due to an over-ambitious schedule.  They simply did
not have the resources to commit to an earlier delivery.

The extra time has not at all been leisurely, however.  Boeing is
using many new design techniques with the 777, for example doing all
the mockups in computers.  (Actually a mockup *was* built of the nose
section, but more as a check on the computer models rather than of
the fit of the parts.)  There is also an aggressive commitment to
delivering an aircraft that's ready for service from day one, without
a substantial period of teething problems in operation.  This is an
area of some controversy in that they are striving for ETOPS rating
at initial delivery.

Karl Swartz	|INet		
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