Re: A3XX vs B747-600 (was: Airbus lawsuit coming?)

From: (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         23 Aug 96 13:45:02 
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In article <airliners.1996.1679@ohare.Chicago.COM>, wrote:
> So, before saying that Airbus has to build a brand new plane from
> scratch at great expense, and Boeing can just extend its 747 at little
> expense, I would be more interested in a comparison of the major systems
> which Boeing and Airbus would have to design FROM SCRATCH for their new
> big planes and which systems could be used with few modifications from
> their existing planes.

One of the greatest savings realized by building a derivative airplane as
opposed to an all-new airplane that is often overlooked by people outside
the industry is the reduced cost of the tooling.  While there may be
enough differences in a derivative airplane to make it almost entirely new
except for its appearance, the EXTREMELY expensive tooling for the
previous model(s) generally can be modified very cost-effectively or used
as is.  The tooling savings alone from a derivative can make a substantial
difference in the eventual purchase price of the airplane, something which
has become of critical importance to the airlines these days.

Tooling used to be of little significance to me until I produced a video
for Boeing several years ago for use in recruiting tooling engineers.
That project was quite an education for me, and I've since come to realize
that without good tooling, you're wasting your time.  The best design and
the best assembly mechanics in the world won't amount to a hill of beans
if the tooling is even just a tiny bit off.  In terms of quality and
tolerances, the tooling has to be more exact than the airplane.  VERY
expensive stuff...

C. Marin Faure
   author, Flying a Floatplane