NOT the end of the line for the 747

Date:         30 Mar 99 01:53:12 
From:         "Jerry" <jerry.williamson@amd.com>
Organization: AMD
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>The current predication for the 747 line is to keep the line at 1/month
>rate. The obvious impact of the Asian Crisis along with the development of
>better twins has drastically lessend the economic value of the 747, (and for
>that reason, why Airbus keeps pushing off the A3XX IMHO), but I doubt the
>line will cease to exist anywhere in the near decade. There are many
>transpacific and transatlantic routes that Etops restricted plains can't
>reach but I was reading an Article in AvWeek that was talking about the
>Boeing Pitch to raise ETOPS limits from 180 to 210-270 minutes thereby
>allowing better distances for the 747.

I think you mean "better distances and or routes for the 777", but
anyway...

I have flown on many wide-bodied aircraft including the 747 (-100, -200,
and -400), the 777-200, DC-10, L-1011, and the A-300.

My absolute favorites are the 747 and the 777, so don't get me wrong if
I seem difficult when I critique the 777 aircraft.

When Boeing, British Airways, and United Airlines were first considering
the concept of designing an all new Boeing airplane back in 1988-89 to
fill the capacity gap between the 767 and the 747, the propulsion
systems question was a HUGE issue.

The engines comprise up to 20-25% of the cost of the aircraft itself;
and two very large engines are cheaper to run and maintain (and to
develop and airframe for) than three or four engines for a similar sized
aircraft.

Airlines want the cheapest cost per seat-mile they can obtain. The 747
presents a bargain; the 777 presents an even BETTER bargain, especially
for those routes that do not require the capacity of the 747.

The problem is obvious. Boeing wants *very* relaxed ETOPS so it can sell
airlines on the idea that "this plane can practically fly anywhere".

Airlines want that extra nickel per seat-mile they can squeeze.

Can some explain to me what happens on an MD-11 or a 747 when you have
a very rare Double Engine Out scenario? Even then you still have one or
two engines left.

I understand that the engines on the 777 as well as the airplane itself
were designed *not* to fail. But sooner or later down the road, a
high-cycle 777 with 20 years of service might just have that happen. The
odds are *very* remote.

Today it is a new airplane and a beautiful one at that -- sleek, very
graceful, and a pleasure to ride in. I flew up to Seattle last year just
to watch some of the 777-300 testing at Boeing Field. Competition with
Airbus aside, I am hoping that Boeing wasn't *too* easy with United and
BA with this ETOPS deal just to fill its order book at an increase risk
in safety not today, but 20 years from now.

>Obviously, any 4 engine plane will be more expensive to operate than twins,
>but we must not forget that although the 747-400 is the most advanced 747 to
>date, it is still being built with technologies of the 60's and 70's for the
>most parts where as the newer generation planes such as the 777, and the
>A340/A330 are all fly-by-wire systems.

Yes, but fly-by-wire systems and in-flight entertainment, etc., etc. are
the least of my concerns when it comes to safety. I love to fly whenever
I can and many passengers not to mention flight crews have gone their
entire careers flying and never had an engine shutdown. Maybe I'm being
too cautious, but today I have no problem flying on a new 777 or 747.
Twenty years from now, I'll spend the extra $100 to fly on the 747 or a
tri-jet for the reasons cited above.

/JW