Re: Convair CV990 "Coronado"

Date:         07 Aug 99 01:22:44 
From:         scottp4-remove-this-to-reply@mindspring.com (Scott Peterson)
Organization: MindSpring Enterprises
References:   1
Followups:    1
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

James Matthew Weber <jmweber@goodnet.com> wrote:
>The 990 was a commercial disaster for Convair. There weren't all that
>many made, and I suspect Convair management forgot that when you enter
>into a commercial contract, if you have cost overruns, the customer
>isn't going to eat them, you are. I don't know if there is an official
>figure of not, but my recollection the 990 program ran up losses of
>several hundred million dollars.

Part of the problem as well, was that Convair management bet that
Boeing and Douglas would not be able to produce economically feasible
aircraft using turbojets. They decided to design the 990 to use early
fanjets and were locked in to an exclusive deal with GE after GE
assured them that they had the patents on the technology.  As
expected, the engines were late and early versions were uneconomical
and unreliable.

Also Pratt and Whitney did an end around on the GE patents and
produced a competing product much faster than was expected so their
hoped-for advantage never really materialized.

>It marked Convair's exit from the ranks
>of commercial aircraft manufacturers. They continue to make parts of
>aircraft (like the D10 fuselage), but not complete aircraft.

This is a farce itself with involving TWA, Howard Hughes and Convair's
insisting on designing aircraft that everyone (except Howard Hughes)
told them no one would buy. In the end not even he could buy them.  It
not only meant the end of Convair's commercial aircraft division, it
lead to Convair being unable to avoid being absorbed by General
Dynamics.

The irony is that Convair had a major portion of the shuttle and short
route market with the 240/340/440 series.  Had they build on their
expertise and brand loyalty in these areas there's a good chance they
could have taken away Boeing's hugely profitable 727 and 737 lines
with competing designs.

Oh well.

                         		Scott Peterson

First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
so beautifully.