Re: GE90 Engines

From:         Steve Lacker <>
Organization: applied research laboratories
Date:         07 Jul 95 14:26:19 
References:   1 2 3 4
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kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz) wrote:

>Yes, and for very similar reasons -- Rolls-Royce initially designed
>the RB.211 with composite fan blades instead of titanium.  When the
>composite blades failed the bird strike tests, they had to go back
>and redesign the fan, costing them a year and enough money to push
>them into bankruptcy, with Lockheed riding down the financial loo
>on their coattails.

I think its an oversimplification to blame the entire mess surrounding
L-1011 on the RR delay, although it was certainly a factor. Other factors
included Lockheed's reputation at the time as compared to Douglas's
(Lockheed was still smarting from the bad press the surrounding the
Electra), and the fact that Douglas was able to offer stretched/extended-range
DC-10 variants, where Lockheed chose to shorten the L-10ll in order to arrive
at an extended-range version (the TriStar 500).

The whole thing was rather unfortunate, because IMHO Lockheed built a far
better machine with the L-10ll than Douglas did with the DC-10 (just
compare the service records of the two planes, if you doubt this!). Even the
much-maligned Electra airframe turned out to be incredibly tough and reliable
in service as the Navy P-3, and there is no doubt that the RB.211 engine
family was also an engineering success. But alas for Lockheed, better
engineering doesn't always mean better sales, so today Lockheed is out of
the airliner business and travelers are being herded onto over-
streched DC-9-80s and yet another incarnation of the DC-10.

Steve Lacker	/	Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas
512-835-3286	/	PO Box 8029, Austin TX 78713-8029