Re: Southwest Airlines 737-700

Date:         03 Mar 98 03:13:16 
From:         faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: NorthWest Nexus Inc.
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In article <airliners.1998.367@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
niels@nospam.demon.co.uk wrote:

> In article <airliners.1998.276@ohare.Chicago.COM> faurecm@halcyon.com
"C. Marin Faure" writes:
> >I was told today that as of right now, the dispatch reliability of
> >Southwest's 737-700s is 100 percent.  This won't last, of course, but it's
> >an impressive way to introduce a new plane.
>
> Not -quite- as impressive as your company memo may make it seem.  If it
> were a -completely- `new' plane , yes.  But you can't sell it by
> promoting its commonalities with older 737s and ease of fitting in with
> older 737 ops and maint.  and then claim it as being an impressive `new'
> plane. A new wing  and derivatives of a proven engine are unlikely to be
> the cause of any problems or bugs when attached to many proven systems
> not mention the 30 year old general airframe design.

My reliability statement was not taken from a Boeing memo but from
information put out by Southwest Airlines.  And I think you would be
surprised at the high number of differences there are between the New
Generation 737s and the 737-300/400/500.  Many of the airplane's systems,
while performing the same functions, have been completely redesigned.  The
wing's control surfaces are different from those used on the earlier
wing.  The interior has been completely redesigned.  There is a far
greater use of computers and software in the new 737s, and these are
usually the items that affect dispatch reliability these days.  The
engines and control systems of all of today's planes, Boeing and Airbus,
are extremely reliable. The computerized flight management and
fault-diagnostic and warning systems can be another story, however.  More
flights are delayed today by false fault warnings on the flight deck than
by actual component problems.  But regardless of the commonality between
the new and old 737 models, 100 percent dispatch reliability is an
impressive achievement, as few airlines can accomplish that with ANY
airplane, new, old, or derivative.

As far as your "new airplane" statement goes, an airplane IS the wing.
The fuselage is just a tube to keep the wind out of the passenger's faces,
although the finance department of an airline tends to view it a bit
differently.  Putting an all-new wing and tail surfaces on an existing
fuselage creates an all-new airplane as far as its aerodynamics and
efficiency is concerned.  The new wing on the 737 fuselage has created an
airplane that flies faster and higher than the previous model while
burning less fuel.  If the designers had started with a clean piece of
paper to come up with a plane to meet the New Generation 737's market, the
end result probably would have looked like the New Generation 737.  The
fact that we didn't have to design and build the fuselage tooling just
meant we were that much farther ahead.

C. Marin Faure
  author, Flying A Floatplane