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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Delayed Again 214

Posted by kdawson
from the just-make-it-fly-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's not just that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner may be unsafe or vulnerable to hacker attacks. At this point, it seems everyone would be happy for it to arrive in any state. The 787's carbon-fiber construction and next-generation technology have pushed back their delivery schedule once again, this time requiring a redesign of the plane's wingbox. Airlines will have to wait 18 more months to get it delivered, which is an extremely serious blow to the credibility of the company and their financial standing, as they would have to pay penalties to the buyers of more than 850 of these planes. And we thought Airbus had problems." Good thing Boeing can still count on its patent portfolio.
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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Delayed Again

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  • Good for them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:51AM (#23052924)
    It's good they are at least owning up to the fact it isn't ready rather than sweeping design problems under the rug. Sure they probably shouldn't have had the huge 787 rollout fainfair [flickr.com] months ago.

    it scares the shit out of me just to think if Microsoft made airplanes.

    • Newfangled (Score:5, Funny)

      by AlienIntelligence (1184493) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:08AM (#23053018)
      I'm old... and I ain't gittin in one of them
      thar newfangled plastic planes never no-how!

      Delivery date met or not!

      Dadnabit!

      Git off my larn!

      -AI

    • by noidentity (188756) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:05AM (#23053208)

      it scares the shit out of me just to think if Microsoft made airplanes.

      Don't worry, they'd never get off the ground in the first place. Weight and the endless Allow/Deny questions would see to that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Weight? So what, they would just need Intel to make more powerful engines, as usual.
    • by xaxa (988988) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:41AM (#23053334)
      From fortune

      Unix Express:
      All passenger bring a piece of the aeroplane and a box of tools with them to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, the passengers split into groups and build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations.
      All passengers believe they got there.

      Windows Airlines:
      The terminal is very neat and clean, the attendants all very attractive, the pilots very capable. The fleet of Learjets the carrier operates is immense. Your jet takes off without a hitch, pushing above the clouds, and at 20,000 feet it explodes without warning.
      • Man, that is so out of date.

        Unix Express: Split into three operating companies.

        Linux Cooperative:
        All passenger bring a piece of the aeroplane and a box of tools with them to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, the passengers split into groups and build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations.
        All passengers believe they got there.

        Apple Airlines:
        The terminal is neat and clean, the attendants are attractive, the pilots very capable, the planes are beautiful, and you always reach the correct destination... unfortunately they have a fairly small fleet, most planes have no baggage compartment or overhead storage, and the seats aren't adjustable. Frequent Apple fliers are known to attack anyone who suggests that these are important features.

        Legacy Air:
        The terminal is neat and clean, albeit in an "industrial" style. You have to choose your plane ahead of time, because different planes only fly to different cities, and if your luggage doesn't match your plane you need to hire a baggage consultant to adjust it to fit. But the planes are fast, efficient, and always arrive on time or even ahead of schedule.

        Windows Airlines:
        The terminal is very neat and clean, with security barriers every few meters. The attendants are attractive, even if it's kind of creepy how much they want to "help" (especially in the restrooms). The pilots are allegedly very capable, though nobody ever sees them and there's an armed guard by the cockpit door. The fleet of jets it operates are immense. Your jet takes off without a hitch, pushing above the clouds, and at 20,000 feet a message pops up on the seat back in front of your asking "Should this plane explode now?". Some idiot always answers "Yes".
    • The funny thing is (Score:4, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:20AM (#23053710) Journal
      that Boeing which has a number of old MS engineers will have nothing to do with installing Windows in the cockpit and only rarely on the craft (they do use dos on the older seat controls).

      OTH, Airbus pushes that crap. They (and jeppesen) went to MS to try and get MS to DO-178B ANY version of Windows. After reading it, Gates actually responded that it would be another 1-2 decades before they could even THINK about doing something like that.
    • by PPH (736903) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:38PM (#23055450)
      Old joke at Boeing:


      Q: What weights nothing. But, when loaded onto an airplane, can keep it from taking off?

      A: Software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:02AM (#23052986)
    The advantages of the 787 so ridiculously out class it's peers (weight savings with agressive use of composites) that as long as there's nothing forth coming that competes with it, it won't matter. Back in the 90's when I paid 98 cents for a gallon of gas shaving 1 lb off the weight of an aircraft saved airlines 20k a year in operating costs for that aircraft. Now with oil prices so high, imagine the savings by shaving up to 1/3 of the weight of some parts looks like?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:40AM (#23053118)
      Well, that depends on what your calculations say. Does running three 787s on one route twice a day work out cheaper than two A380's once a day? What do your projections say: do expect to continue running the same route for the next ten or twenty years?

      When the bill is hundreds of millions of [dollars|Euros] you don't make your decision based on whether one is made with a cooler process than the other.
      • by Y-Crate (540566) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @08:19AM (#23053456)

        Well, that depends on what your calculations say. Does running three 787s on one route twice a day work out cheaper than two A380's once a day? What do your projections say: do expect to continue running the same route for the next ten or twenty years?
        Not to mention the serious decline in the number of open takeoff and landing spots at many airports. The rise in air travel combined with the trend towards smaller aircraft has helped choke many of them.

        Airlines are being faced with the situation of not having the ability to add more and more flights to their schedules from certain locations. So it's not even necessarily a choice between fuel cost X and fuel cost Y. More like "We've got Z number of landing spots, and we can free up three of them with one plane. We can serve other markets with the two open spots the A380 gives us."

        The Airbus isn't some magical solution applicable to all situations, and there are many where the 787 is the better option, but it's disingenuous to say the A380 is some kind of relic of a time gone by, a plane that doesn't meet the requirements of today's airlines.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Smallpond (221300)
          It doesn't free up a spot if it takes just as long to unload, service and load one big airplane as it would two smaller ones. They increase spots by decreasing choices. It is getting more expensive to get direct flights. Two hop routes on bigger airplanes through a hub city are preferred by the airline because they can fill all the seats.
          • It doesn't free up a spot if it takes just as long to unload, service and load one big airplane as it would two smaller ones.

            Only if your throughput is limited by the terminal facilities. But normally it is limited by the capacity of the airspace, not by the ability to process planes on the ground. One can be solved by building more terminals, or by moving to better organization. But increasing the capacity of the airspace is much more demanding. It requires near-universal adoption of new air traffic co

        • by Solandri (704621) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @01:24PM (#23055032)

          Not to mention the serious decline in the number of open takeoff and landing spots at many airports. The rise in air travel combined with the trend towards smaller aircraft has helped choke many of them.

          Airlines are being faced with the situation of not having the ability to add more and more flights to their schedules from certain locations. So it's not even necessarily a choice between fuel cost X and fuel cost Y. More like "We've got Z number of landing spots, and we can free up three of them with one plane. We can serve other markets with the two open spots the A380 gives us."

          There are plenty of open slots. It's just the major hub airports which are having capacity problems. Both the A380 and 787 were designed as solutions to this problem. The A380 tries to solve it by increasing capacity per plane when flying hub to hub. The 787 tries to solve it by eliminating the hub and flying point to point.

          The main rationale for using a hub is fuel efficiency by reducing the overall number of flights. A fuel efficient small plane can tip the balance the other way and make point to point routes economically viable again, as well as allowing less-used airports become hubs (since the number of passengers per plane is lower, you don't need to as many passengers to justify a hub flight). Based on the number of pre-orders the 787 has gotten, it would appear that the airlines all did the math and it came out in favor of the point to point routes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kristoph (242780)
      Well,not quite ...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A350 [wikipedia.org]

      Which, like the 787 is a composite carbon fiber aircraft. Airbus claims considerable efficiencies above the 787. Boeing has 930 orders for the 787 while Airbus has 580 orders for the A350 so this delay is likely to have an impact on Boeing by pushing more customers to Airbus.

      ]{
  • This is why Rutan is such a big deal.

    • This is why Rutan is such a big deal.

      Why? What do the Rutans have to do with the B787?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by astromog (866411)
        Probably nothing directly, but he did build a sub-orbital space ship out of composites.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AlecC (512609)
        Not Boeing, composites. Rutan has made a significant number of aircraft using composites on large scale. However, none within sight is the size of a B787, few intended for large-scale production, and none intended for the 365 days a year utilisation of a commercial airliner.
      • by mpe (36238)
        What do the Rutans have to do with the B787?

        They are probably still trying to work out how many Sontarans fit in an A380.
    • Massive hiring of the engineers and trademen by a number of other companies. Had the buyer of Adam been smart they would have put together their bid before adam went under. I know several local engineers went to bigelow (and maybe more). I thought that was interesting.
  • Comparison (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Bender (801382) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:06AM (#23053006) Homepage
    Ok, so everybody schedules aggressively, and everybody has unforseen delays. It's kind of funny now remembering how Boeing were crowing over the A380 problems, but what I'd like to know is how the 380 vs 787 delays stack up against each other.

    Anyone got a clue?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The A380 and 787 are two completely different types of airplanes... Meaning, the A380 is nearly all alum and is the largest production commercial airplane in the world. The 787 is all about efficiency..

      The A350 is the equivalent to the 787, and yes they are exceptionally very similar. The only real advantage that the 787 has over it right now is that it will still come out earlier, and it already have over 900 firm orders...
    • Re:Comparison (Score:5, Informative)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:02AM (#23053198)
      The A380 entered service for Singapore Airlines roughly 18 months late, with other airlines suffering between an 18 month and 22 month delay when they start receiving them later this year.

      Airbuses delays were almost advantageous to the A380 however, since they were all post first flight and pre EIS (entry into service) - this allowed Airbus to iron out most of the issues a new type has when first put into service, with SQ having only three technical problems with their first three A380s in 6 months, which is a lot lower than other new types.

      Boeing, however, are suffering their delays before they have even achieved the first 'power on' milestone in their first aircraft, and they are still relying on an uneventful flight test program to bring the aircraft in under the new schedule. This means that the 787 will probably still be subject to the usual new type issues with its first operators. And thats not even taking into account the possibility of *another* delay - which many in the industry are considering highly likely.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by johannesg (664142)

      ...what I'd like to know is how the 380 vs 787 delays stack up against each other.
      You can stack up about two dreamliners inside the A380 and still have some spare room for passengers.

    • Re:Comparison (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:14AM (#23053244) Journal
      . It's kind of funny now remembering how Boeing were crowing over the A380 problems,

      I remember a lot of crowing over those delays, but not from Boeing themselves. I heard it from their fans, who seemed to have a major ego investment in the idea that a company from their country is superior to a foreign company.

      -jcr
      • by Nethead (1563)
        I live about 3 miles across the bay from Paine Field so I do kind of root for Boeing. It is cool to see the Dreamlifter over my house every few days. That is one big ass plane!
    • Re:Comparison (Score:5, Informative)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:41AM (#23053332)
      Oh, in addition to my other post, this 18 month delay is not the whole story - Boeing has put back the 787-9 stretch to 2012 (around a 2 year delay from its original EIS date of 2010) and decided to not commit to a schedule for the the 787-3 short range variant, which was supposed to EIS before the -9.

      What impact does this have? It drastically reduces the head start Boeing had over Airbuses closest comparable aircraft, the A350-800, from 4 years to 2 years (the A350-800 has an EIS of 2014), meaning suddenly the A350-800 becomes a much more palatable rival. This may cost Boeing sales in the long run.

      This delay also pushes back Boeings production schedule a full two years - Boeing now has two years less production slots to sell, which will certainly cost them sales in the medium term.

      But the biggest impact this will have is Boeing is not in a position to offer the 787-10 stretch, which airlines have been demanding for about a year now - Airbus will be able to offer a comparable product, the A350-900, in 2013 right after the 787-900 EIS. This will definitely cost Boeing sales.

      Airbus on the other hand, are looking likely to deliver the A350 on time and within schedule - they have laid out a schedule which is almost double that which Boeing laid out for the 787 (7 years from industrial launch to EIS for the A350 verses 4 years from industrial launch to EIS for the 787). That padded schedule gives Airbus more breathing space.
    • The biggest problem is the the US Government should have blocked the Boeing / Mc Donald Douglas merger. Then Boeing would have competition and have to actually work to be in business, not just know they had the US Military corporate welfare check in their pockets.

      I think Boeing / MD should be broken up now under anyi trust laws.

      While Boeing was scheming how far they could gouge the tax payers with the new Military tanker, they just forgot they have work to do on the 'VaporLiner'.

      This is the perfect exampl
      • by schnell (163007)

        Then Boeing would have competition and have to actually work to be in business ... While Boeing was scheming how far they could gouge the tax payers with the new Military tanker, they just forgot they have work to do on the 'VaporLiner'.

        Boeing already has more competition than they can handle. The fact that they lost the tanker bid to EADS/Northrop should tell you something. Boeing can NOT count on US military business, and they have huge amounts of competition in the commercial airliner business. BTW, the commercial and military programs are separated, so there's little likelihood that one actually impacted the other in terms of priorities.

        Boeing is a terribly arrogant company but it's not for lack of competition or because they're a

      • by PPH (736903) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @03:08PM (#23055576)

        The biggest problem is the the US Government should have blocked the Boeing / Mc Donald Douglas merger. Then Boeing would have competition and have to actually work to be in business, not just know they had the US Military corporate welfare check in their pockets.

        Douglass Aircraft was, for all practical purposes, dead. McD-D had no real interest in building commercial aircraft and pushed much of the process out of the company.

        After McD-D lost that big fighter contract, they were dead in the water. Boeing probably could have waited for the bankruptcy sale and picked up the pieces that they wanted. But the "merger" was a bailout for the McDonnell family. Had the company gone under, they would have gotten pennies on the dollar for their shares.

        In fact, there are those who suspect that the Pentagon (friends of the McDonnells) encouraged Boeing to merge, using the last stage of the fighter contract competition as bait. It was a real sucker move on Boeing's part. Worse yet, much of Boeing's management has been replaced with McDonnell-Douglas management. That might be why we are seeing Boeing Commercial head down the same path Douglas Aircraft went.

  • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:33AM (#23053102) Homepage Journal

    At this point, it seems everyone would be happy for it to arrive in any state.
    Nope. I'd rather have it working properly in a year than have it falling out of the sky right now, thanks all the same.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:40AM (#23053116)

    At this point, it seems everyone would be happy for it to arrive in any state.

    Not me. When I catch a plane to California, I sure don't wanna end up anywhere else!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BOFHelsinki (709551)
      On an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, a passenger suddenly pulls an automatic rifle, storms into the cockpit, and demands: "I'm hijacking this plane to Moscow! Take us to Moscow immediately or everybody dies!" The captain attempts to explain: "Calm down, this *is* the flight to Moscow." The man screams: "Yes I know, but it's been hijacked every time I've tried to get there!"
    • At this point, it seems everyone would be happy for it to arrive in any state.


      I would much prefer solid, i honestly dont think i'd trust a gaseous plane. Though I thought the article was complaining about vapourware in the first place.
  • by lbbros (900904) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:52AM (#23053158) Homepage
    explain to me what issues are there for which in 2008 we still have to resort to sub-sonic air flights? I wonder that sometimes (and I also wonder on Concorde's failure for the same reason)

    Yes, somewhat OT, but it's been bugging me for a while.
    • Yeah I've always wanted to fly supersonic.
      It would cut the long flights dramatically.

      I also dont know why no one is going there anymore.
      • by AndGodSed (968378) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:26AM (#23053276) Homepage Journal
        Uh I am a bit fuzzy on the details - used to be an aviation nut - but there is a payoff between fuel used/distance traveled/paying passengers.

        Concorde just couldn't ride that fine balance economocally enough.

        Then - most countries do not allow supesonic overflights - I remember concorde had to fly subsonic while over land and could only go supersonic while over the ocean on the trans atlantic crossing.

        The Concorde was noisy - the engines needed to push a large plane to go that fast are very noisy, no leaky turbofans here - and with airports being so close to cities the overflights over suburban areas were problematic.

        There is the issue of the optimum aerodynamic shape - there are basically three wing shapes: Swing wing (think B1 Bomber), works well in subsonic and supersonic flight - it is efficient during both flight profiles, but the mechanics is heavy. Probably the best option for the future.

        "Normal" swept wings - not optimal for supersonic flight. Is the optimum configuration for carrying heavy loads long distances.

        Delta Wings (Like the Concorde) - great for high speed flight, the Valkyrie bomber used a nice Delta wing design that "rode" the shock wave of supersonic flight at high speed to conserve fuel. It is not an optimum load carrying wing, and is not good for low-speed flight. Delta wings have a poor take-off and landing performance, i.e. it means that it lands and takes off at a high speed, and the landing profile is very "low" meaning it flies low over urban areas when taking off and landing. Also it needs a long runway to take off and land - the larger the plane the longer the runway needed. Whereas a wing for the A380 could be optimised for better performance in this flight envelope and not lose a lot of performance when it is actually airborne, for a delta the line to be walked is much finer.

        Thus while the speed of supersonic flight would be great for international travel - plus the coolness factor - and there are technologies available today that were not available to the designers of the Concorde and Valkyrie (composite materials for one) there is still the trade-off of a wide range of flight envelopes (take-off, landing, subsonic flight, supersonic flight), size (the bigger you go the less efficient any design is), fuel use (supersonic flight uses a LOT of fuel - hence impacting plane size which makes the design less efficient and on and on) and then the greenies of course haha that makes large supersonic airlines not economically viable today.

        Then also designing a supersonic superjumbo is a lot more expensive than is the case for a subsonic superjumbo. Development time is also much longer due to the newer tech, optimizing the design for all the flight profiles, engine design...

        It is just not economically viable. It would actually make more sense to design a passenger liner that would "hop" into space to cross vast distances in the upper stratosphere and then fly down to land like a subsonic jetliner.
        • It would actually make more sense to design a passenger liner that would "hop" into space to cross vast distances in the upper stratosphere and then fly down to land like a subsonic jetliner.
          The problem is that going ballistic is almost as hard as going to orbit. I think it is 5 km/s to go half way around the earth and 7 km/s to reach orbit. That little hop is actually going to cost you 70% as much as going to orbit.
        • by mpe (36238)
          Then - most countries do not allow supesonic overflights - I remember concorde had to fly subsonic while over land and could only go supersonic while over the ocean on the trans atlantic crossing.
          The Concorde was noisy


          Even flying subsonic, with reheat off, it was much louder than just about any other civil aircraft.

          the engines needed to push a large plane to go that fast are very noisy, no leaky turbofans here

          In terms of passengers and cargo capacity Concorde was not a large aircraft.

          Delta Wings (
          • by AndGodSed (968378) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @08:51AM (#23053610) Homepage Journal

            the engines needed to push a large plane to go that fast are very noisy, no leaky turbofans here

            In terms of passengers and cargo capacity Concorde was not a large aircraft.
            Well, as far as supersonic aircraft go the Concorde was big - Bigger than the B1 if I am not mistaken, and I have been at an airshow where a B1 did a few fly-by's (with and without 'burner - schweet...) and it is NOISY!

            The Valkyrie never made it out of the prototype stage. IIRC the wingtips would fold downwards in supersonic cruise.
            It did make a maiden flight - and an F104 crashed into it and the program was killed. It sucks to think that this beauty was killed off due to no fault of its own. Yes the wingtips folded down.

            With the TU144 retractable canards were needed to ensure stability at low speeds.
            Yes, and one crashed during an Airshow - grounding the project as well...

            A conventional swept wing comes with flaps, slats and slots which are used to vary the shape of the wing (and make it considerably larger) for takeoff and landing. This creates more lift, at the expense of increased drag, which enables the aicraft to take off and land at much lower speeds.
            Yes, and with a delta having poor Angle of Attack characteristics and being inherently low drag the extra mechanics needed to make it behave like a conventional swept wing at low speeds is prohibitively heavy.
            • by AndGodSed (968378) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:19AM (#23053704) Homepage Journal
              Bad form, but your Comment about the XB70 Valkyrie prompted me to read it's wikipedia entry and I found this:

              The biggest problem with sustained supersonic cruise is the buildup of heat due to skin friction. Duralumin, the traditional aircraft material, starts to go "plastic" at relatively low temperatures, and is unsuitable for continuous use above Mach 2.2-2.4. During the period that WS-110A was being studied, solutions to these problems were beginning to become available. New materials, especially titanium and stainless steel, were becoming more widely used in the industry, allowing operations at much higher temperatures.

              Another concern for continued high-speed operation is the engines. Jet engines create thrust by increasing the temperature of the air they ingest, and as the aircraft speeds up, this air increases in temperature before it reaches the engines. The maximum temperature of the exhaust is determined by the materials in the turbine at the rear of the engine, so as the aircraft speeds up the difference in intake and exhaust temperature the engine can extract decreases, and the thrust along with it. Air cooling the turbine area was a key solution, which continued to improve though the 1950s and on to this day.

              Intake design is also a major issue. The engine can only ingest subsonic air, so ramps in the intake are used to create shock waves that slow the airflow before it reaches the engine. Doing so removes energy from the airflow, causing drag. The key to reducing this drag was to use multiple small oblique shock waves, but this was difficult because the angle they made inside the intake changed with changes in Mach number. In order to efficiently operate across a range of speeds, the shock waves had to be "tuned." North American had already worked with advanced inlets on the A3J supersonic bomber for the U.S. Navy, which featured multiple ramps which were moved and angled automatically.

              An aircraft able to operate for extended periods at supersonic speeds has a potential range advantage over a similar design operating subsonically. Most of the drag an aircraft sees while speeding up to supersonic speeds occurs just below the speed of sound, due to an aerodynamic effect known as wave drag. An aircraft that could fly past this speed saw a significant drag decrease, and could cruise supersonically with improved fuel economy. However, due to the way lift is generated supersonically, the lift-to-drag ratio of the aircraft as a whole drops, leading to lower range, offsetting or overturning this advantage.

              The key to having low supersonic drag is to properly shape the overall aircraft to be long and skinny, as close as possible to a "perfect" shape, the von Karman ogive or Sears-Haack body. This has led to almost every supercruising aircraft looking very similar, with a very long and skinny fuselage and large delta wings, cf. SR-71, Concorde, etc. Although not ideal for passenger aircraft, the shaping is quite adaptable for bomber use.
        • Concorde didn't have the range to do the US to Asia Pacific routes.
          That in and of itself was enough to kill it, not to discount the other factors you mention.
    • Sound and fuel costs. We currently have no way of stopping the sonic boom caused by an aircraft, so flying over populated areas supersonic is completely out of the question, and designing an aircraft that can carry an economical number of people longhaul while traveling at supersonic speeds but also while not costing an arm and a leg to operate is not an easy feat - you have to use a tremendous amount of fuel to get to your cruise speed (fuel usage drops off quite sharply actually after around Mach 1.2 - the biggest fuel usage area is the Mach 0.95 - Mach 1.5 areas) and people are no longer willing to pay the sort of money that would take.

      Its worth noting however, that Concorde, while a program failure, was quite profitable for British Airways in operation - at some points it was BAs most profitable area of operations across its entire business.
      • by jcr (53032)
        We currently have no way of stopping the sonic boom caused by an aircraft

        Not stopping it, but the lockheed skunk works has come up with a design that should vastly reduce it.

        -jcr

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          From what I have read, its a design which does reduce the pressure wave but its too heavy for an airline to consider when talking about economics. When its weight comes down through use of next generation materials (further hybrids beyond CFRP), it may become economical to use.
      • Its worth noting however, that Concorde, while a program failure, was quite profitable for British Airways in operation - at some points it was BAs most profitable area of operations across its entire business.

        Yeah but not everybody can base a business on shuttling mega rich people between London and New York at mach 2.

    • explain to me what issues are there for which in 2008 we still have to resort to sub-sonic air flights? I wonder that sometimes (and I also wonder on Concorde's failure for the same reason)

      Yes, somewhat OT, but it's been bugging me for a while.

      Supersonic flight uses a lot more fuel than subsonic flight. If the cost of keeping an airplane in the air rises to the point where the time saved by going supersonic is worth the additional cost of fuel then airliners will be built which travel faster than sound.

      The other way it could go is to use semiballistic transport. You would build something like a space shuttle. The engines would burn for a couple of minutes and accelerate you to 5 km/s. You would get about 30 minutes of free fall followed by aerob

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mpe (36238)
        The other way it could go is to use semiballistic transport. You would build something like a space shuttle. The engines would burn for a couple of minutes and accelerate you to 5 km/s. You would get about 30 minutes of free fall followed by aerobraking and landing at your destination. It is perfectly feasible, just horribly expensive.

        Especially if you need an extra long runway (imagine what those protesting at Heathrow would have to say were they to be told that the new 09L/27R was going to be nearly 5km
      • The other way it could go is to use semiballistic transport. You would build something like a space shuttle. The engines would burn for a couple of minutes and accelerate you to 5 km/s. You would get about 30 minutes of free fall followed by aerobraking and landing at your destination. It is perfectly feasible, just horribly expensive.

        And ever so slightly uncomfortable for the passengers, doing that just isn't feasible or realistic. What about infants, children, the elderly etc? Hell, my aunt pukes up
    • by call-me-kenneth (1249496) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:45AM (#23053344)

      explain to me what issues are there for which in 2008 we still have to resort to sub-sonic air flights?
      Simple. Drag increases as the square of velocity [wikipedia.org]. Have you seen fuel prices lately?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by basiles (626992)
      The Concorde was extremely fuel hungry, even if supersonic. IIRC, Concorde is one of the few civilian aircrafts (I am not talking of military aircraft) whose take-off mass was more than 50% kerosene - so a Concorde was at take-off a huge amount of kerosene with some metal and human flesh... BTW, most of the time in my trips (only in Europe - I'm French) is not spent flying. It is spent to reach (or go away from) the airport and waiting. Supersonic flights (that are much too expensive for me) do not help h
      • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:39AM (#23053800) Journal
        Because we had high speed transportation via airports for over 50 years from just about any city to another city. And it has been much cheaper than Europe's due to deregulations. Even now, the only high speed rail that really makes sense for the bulk of America (geographically speaking), is the transrapid Maglev (much faster than the TGV and far less energy). Keep in mind that unsubsidized flight is lower price than even our heavily subsidized slow trains. And a new highspeed rail would costs many times more.

        About the only reason why we will see high-speed rail come here is the use of nuclear power. Our next president will no doubt be pushing nukes/AE and combine that with the expected carbon tax from EU and we will see change come here.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by alienw (585907)
          You have GOT to be kidding me. Compared to what the airlines are getting, Amtrak in the US gets practically jack shit. It doesn't even have a rail network, it has to rent it from the freight companies. Airlines, on the other hand, get all these nice expensive-as-fuck airports built, generally at taxpayer expense. They also get nice big federal bailouts about every 5 years or so. If the government built and operated a rail network with taxpayer money (which would cost a hell of a lot less than all the i
      • a few reasons (Score:3, Informative)

        by Trepidity (597)
        The first is that our cities are a lot further apart than Europe's, for the most part. The second is that it takes an absolutely enormous capital expense up front to build high-speed rail, and U.S. taxpayers are reluctant to front the money. The third is that we do actually kind of have high-speed rail on some of the routes where it'd be more reasonable.

        To get more specific, these are the top four (by passenger volume) domestic air routes in the United States:
        1. Boston - New York City
        2. Los Angeles - San Fr
    • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @08:47AM (#23053590) Journal

      in 2008 we still have to resort to sub-sonic air flights?

      Exactly the same reasons we "have to resort to" sub-200MPH car travel...

      "Getting there faster" should never be a goal in designing a commercial passenger jet. The vast majority of flights are so short that you spend more time on the ground, in the terminal, than you do in the air, so the overall improvement would be minuscule.

      The Boeing 787 significantly reduces fuel consumption, which should reduce ticket prices, and hopefully put airlines in a more tenable position.
      The Airbus A-380 forgoes any fuel savings, and opts, instead, for fitting far more people in a single plane, which should reduce the epic congestion problem causing delays at airports.
      Both are laudable goals, and a supersonic aircraft would not-only fail to address either problem, it would make both issues far worse.

      The fact that passenger aircraft have increased in speed over the years is really almost accidental. Jets became popular NOT because they were faster for the passengers, but because the maintenance costs were so much lower than traditional propeller aircraft. In fact, even slower turboprops look to be making a comeback, due to their lower fuel costs. If fuel prices continue to rise unchecked, it won't be long before we'll all be back to traveling in passenger trains, and trans-oceanic steamers. Maybe they'll rename "coach" seats "steerage".
      • by mpe (36238)
        "Getting there faster" should never be a goal in designing a commercial passenger jet. The vast majority of flights are so short that you spend more time on the ground, in the terminal, than you do in the air, so the overall improvement would be minuscule.

        Maybe instead effort needs to be put into making the time on the ground shorter, rather than longer :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by timeOday (582209)
          That is exactly why Boeing made the 787 smaller than the A380. Boeing believes the future is in more flights between smaller regional airports, so you fly closer to where you actually want to get, with more direct flights, and don't have to get through a huge airport and load/unload with so many other passengers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Detritus (11846)
        "Getting there faster" is a legitimate issue for international flights. I find flying to be stressful, and the thought of being stuck on an airplane for 12+ hours makes me cringe. It takes nearly 24 hours to fly to Australia from the USA.
    • by Animats (122034)

      explain to me what issues are there for which in 2008 we still have to resort to sub-sonic air flights?

      Because when you go supersonic, fuel consumption triples. [pbs.org]

    • by alienw (585907)
      Ever drive by a gas station and notice the prices? That's the main issue right there, dude. Supersonic flight uses something like four times the fuel. Every single airline is competing on prices. Do the math.
  • Cost of Carbon Fiber (Score:3, Informative)

    by bhima (46039) * <Bhima.PandavaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:15AM (#23053248) Journal
    Early last year when we got into this discussion it was stated that Carbon Fiber had doubled in price because Boing and Airbus were buying so much of it. Unfortunately carbon fiber isn't exactly like oil and there aren't hundreds of websites tracking the costs minute by minute.

    Anyone have any idea what the current price for carbon fiber is?
  • naming (Score:4, Funny)

    by neonsignal (890658) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @07:44AM (#23053340)
    And I guess the executives who agreed on the name dreamliner are starting to regret their decision...
    • by GroeFaZ (850443)
      As long as they don't call it the Dukeliner...
    • by ozbird (127571)
      And I guess the executives who agreed on the name dreamliner are starting to regret their decision...

      They probably regret calling the company "Boeing", too. I recall a comedian making fun of it once (but not their name): "Sounds like something just fell off the airplane: 'Boeing!'"
    • by mean pun (717227)

      And I guess the executives who agreed on the name dreamliner are starting to regret their decision...

      At least it's better than binliner.

  • It was expected that the 787 Dreamliner would be delayed even longer. This is welcome news. Just look at the BA chart.
  • Airlines will have to wait 18 more months to get it delivered, which is an extremely serious blow to the credibility of the company and their financial standing
    In their defence, they did call it the Dreamliner.
  • It's not just that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner may be unsafe or vulnerable to hacker attacks. At this point, it seems everyone would be happy for it to arrive in any state.

    Well, if "everyone's" attitude towards the 787 is that they'll be happy for it to arrive unsafe mechanically or in IT security, then I will be even happier to take any other plane.

    I'd like to think that after 4 planes are slammed into American territory, transforming our country and much of the world into a police state, where $BILLIONS are

    • If a terrorist is going to hijack a plane in order to crash it in a building, wouldn't he choose a plane which he can expect to remain in the air until the building is reached?

      And if a plane is hijacked by terrorists, wouldn't it be an advantage if some hacker in the economy class can take control of the plane?

      You see, the unsafety makes the plane more secure from terrorists! :-)

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