20th Feb 2002, 20:56
Boeing Commits To The 747 . .Air & Cosmos 02/15/02 . .author: Yann Cochennec

As Qantas Airways and Air France get ready to take delivery of the first new extended-range versions of the 747, Boeing is working on even more advanced models for the years to come.

. .Photo caption: ?The Boeing 747-400 ER: Qantas Airways will take delivery of its first example next October. The airline has placed firm orders for six of the aircraft.?

. .Boeing has got ?two irons in the fire?. When the U.S. manufacturer unveiled its plans for a ?Sonic Cruiser? transonic plane in April 2001, several observers were very quick to ?bury? Boeing?s initial plans to develop new versions of its 747 super jumbo, the 747X and 747X ?Stretch?, which would carry more passengers over the same distances as the original 747-400. In the excitement of the moment, one little statement passed almost unnoticed. Alan Mulally, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said on the same day that ?Boeing will not rule out the possibility or capacity of producing a larger 747 when our clients express their need for it.? As the 747 product manager Bill Droppelman points out today, ?the question is not whether or not there is a market for an aircraft with more than 500 seats, but how many examples of such a plane the market is capable of absorbing.?

. .Technological monitoring. ?We reckon that this market will be around 500 aircraft, but Airbus anticipates three times more?, he continued. To put it plainly, Boeing is keeping its options open. Bill Droppelman adds that ?We are basing our strategy relative to 2008. Everything will depend on what the Sonic Cruiser manages to do, but also on the A380?s impact on the market and on the future evolution of point-to-point traffic.? There is another sign that these future versions of the 747, far from going into ?hibernation?, are the subject of intense technological monitoring ? Boeing is using the modernisation of the current 747?s assembly lines to prepare the enlarged 747X, whose extended fuselage (nine metres longer than that of the current 747-400 ? see table below) will enable it to transport up to 520 passengers in three classes over distances of more than 14,000 km.

. .Moreover, engineers at Boeing have since refined their calculations, as the extension of the fuselage was initially planned at 10 metres. The U.S. manufacturer has thus digitised no less than 10,000 drawings, and this data will enable fuselage panels to be assembled using new laser-positioned equipment. This new equipment has been ?designed to accommodate the extended version of the 747?, as Boeing stated in a bland release which elsewhere predicts that the lengthened 747X ?should enter commercial service in 2008?. There is another coincidence: the recent agreement signed in January with the Japanese aerospace industry is doubtless related to the Sonic Cruiser, but also includes ?all plans for new aeroplanes?, which may well include the future 747s. Nothing has been left to chance.

. .In parallel with this, Boeing is working on a ?noise pollution reduction kit? which will enable future versions of its aircraft to boast noise levels similar to those of the 777, and meet the standards set by London Heathrow and Amsterdam airports, which are among the world?s most stringent. This can be achieved by improving the bays which shelter the engines, by increasing the area of interior acoustic covering, installing chevrons on primary and secondary distribution systems. At the same time, teams are putting finishing touches to the layout concepts of the cabin?s upper section that have already been proposed for the Longer-Range 777. The aim is to increase the number of passenger seats while fitting out rest areas for the cabin crew and enabling airlines to improve the services they offer. (See below.)

. .One of the formulae under consideration, in this case a kit comprised of eight berths and two seats above door n5 at the rear of the plane, is also available on option for the 747-400ER, the version for which Qantas placed six firm orders at the end of 2000, while Air France has chosen the cargo version (see interview below). At the latter?s request, Boeing has altered the cargo treatment system, and more precisely the wheel-retraction system which enables pallets to be moved inside the aeroplane. At Air France Cargo the opinion is that: ?This system allows us to gain a tonne in one new generation, which brings with it considerable savings on fuel.?

. .Assembly has begun on the 747-400ER

. .Qantas Airways? 747-400ER?s will benefit from novelties introduced by the 777 in terms of the passenger cabin?s layout, notably the streamlined arch in the ceiling and the same sliding baggage compartments, which will provide a 15% rise in storage capacity compared to the 747-400.

. .The air ventilation system has also been revised, and will now include five redistribution zones instead of the original three, while the pressurised water management system is now able to replace itself automatically. It has, moreover, been moved to the rear of the aircraft to make room for the two fuel tanks which will enable the 747-400ER to carry 416 passengers, and will extend its range by 760 km compared to that of the standard 747-400.

. .Roll-out in June Lastly, for the aircraft?s flight deck, Boeing has made use of the advantages of an entirely digitised cockpit, while a noise-reduction device lowers the noise level ?in the pilot?s ear? by 4 dB, according to Joe MacDonald, 747 head pilot. The assembly of the first model for Qantas Airways began on 11th February and its factory roll-out is scheduled for June, at which point assembly will begin on the 747-400ER cargo plane ordered by Air France. The two planes should be delivered to the two airlines in October.

. .From June to September, the planes will follow a test programme composed of 290 hours on the ground, including 200 hours before flight testing, which will last for a total of 210 hours. Art Fanning, the 747s head engineer, explains that: ?We are going to test the performance of the instruments, and especially of the software, as well as the efficiency of the wheels and of the braking system, which will be specially installed to cope with a maximum take-off mass 16 tonnes greater that that of the standard 747-400. We are also going to test the plane?s climb-rate performance as well as the fire-proofing and fuel-gauge systems. We will especially look to see how much fuel is not being used.? This is an important detail for a plane whose flight-range has been increased.

. .Three questions for Marc Boudier, general manager of Air France Cargo

. .?Air France has decided to acquire at least four 747-400ER cargo planes.?

. .-Why did Air France order the 747-400ER cargo? -In November 2000, Air France?s management board decided to acquire a minimum of four 747-400 cargos as part of a strategic plan aiming to develop partnerships and our new cargo port G1XL. Our twelve 747-200 cargos are beginning to age, so we need to bring the fleet up to date. Thus, the 747-400ER appeared at just the right moment. Our first example is going to arrive at the end of October or start of November, followed by a second at the end of November/start of December. The third is scheduled for delivery from the beginning of 2003.

. .-What will the 747-400ER bring to Air France Cargo? -These performances in terms of range and payload. This version is able either to fly 1,000 km further or to carry 10 tonnes more cargo than the standard 747-400. There are always judgements to be made according to the routes being served, and so the maximum load option is frequently not taken. The 747-400ER will enable us to fly directly to So Paulo, northern Asia or Hong Kong, all with a full load. On other flights, such as to Singapore or Taipei, a stop is required anyway for technical reasons. Sometimes, a stop over mid-journey is commercially profitable and generates extra takings.

. .Are you heading for an all?747-400 cargo fleet? We are not going to replace or renew our whole cargo fleet with the 747-400ER. First of all, we do not specialise in unusual cargo, so we do not need a fleet entirely composed of front-loading planes. Out of our twelve 747-200s, four are passenger versions that have been converted into cargo planes. And we also need a smaller plane like the MD-11, but this is no longer in production and the Airbus A330 cargo has not yet been built. In the end, we need to run a fleet that is consistent with Air France?s passenger fleet, using synergy in terms of use and maintenance in order to absorb costs. Having said that, Air France has already ordered passenger versions of the A380, but we are not going to decide on that before 2005-2006. Until then, our fleet?s new aeroplane will be the 747-400 ER.

. .How to add seats and improve passenger services

. .The 777?s contribution to improving Boeing?s whole family of aeroplanes is not limited to the ?brainwave? of sliding baggage compartments, which give the new 747-400ER 30% more room for its passengers than the standard version. Boeing fully intends to use engineering works that were launched at the start of the 777-300ER and ?200LR programmes to add seats and crew comfort to the new 747s by using the cabin?s upper section. On the 777, this consists of installing a rest area for pilots in the space behind the cockpit and above door 1, with another for the cabin crew (6 to 10 berths) above doors 3 and 5.

. .On the 747, Boeing wants to take this even further, since the space offered by the ring on the rear bridge?s is large enough to accommodate, one block at a time, around ten berths for first-class passengers, storage space for refreshments trolleys and a rest area for the crew including up to twelve berths. Along with crew comfort, the airline will be able to improve the services it offers so-called ?high-contribution? passengers. 747 product manager Bill Droppelman explained that the extra weight due to these installations ?could be up to 2.5 tonnes?. He added that ?airlines have not shown much interest in the storage space for refreshment trolleys.?

. .The problem engineers in Seattle are trying to solve is how to reduce or get rid of ?the noise made by trolleys rolling over passengers? heads?. Similarly, Boeing is looking to link the passenger seating in the upper forward bridge with the area than contains these passengers? berths. This is no straightforward challenge, since the joining area ?contains structural elements that are essential for the plane? according to Kurt Kraft, in charge of the 747-400ER programme. Moreover, these are strategic alterations: 10 to 20 more passenger seats will be provided on the lower bridge and the 747?s capacity can be increased to 440 passengers if needs be.

By far one of the funniest articles on aviation I have read in a long time. Just shows how ignorant the media is when it comes to aviation.

So how does one quiet a galley cart that is rolling over someones head? :) :) :)

[ 20 February 2002: Message edited by: 747FOCAL ]</p>

21st Feb 2002, 11:44
Bad reporting FOCAL, too many questionmarks!

21st Feb 2002, 12:35
Nothing wrong I think, good readin'

21st Feb 2002, 19:13
Justforkix- Listen Numbnuts the question marks are from the idiot that used an online translator to convert a French article to English. I was just pointing out the bastardization of the terminology by the translator. It was just for a good laugh.

LGW Vulture
21st Feb 2002, 20:57
747FOCAL - The laughs on you mate.

Perhaps you should have pointed that out at the start of your post - Numbnuts!!!

21st Feb 2002, 21:40
Fine with me. I don't mind giving the fellas a laugh at my expense. Thats why I used numbnuts and not [email protected] or something else crass. :) :)

LGW Vulture
21st Feb 2002, 21:43
747FOCAL. . . .Great...Can you give some lessons on taking yourself seriously to Nigel PPL - he's in deep **** !

21st Feb 2002, 21:47
Not sure if I know him. There are plenty of people around PPRUNE that take themselves way to seriously. Plenty of "experts" too. Ask around, I like "stirring up" the pot with them all the time. Good for a laugh once in awhile. <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0"> <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0"> <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

LGW Vulture
21st Feb 2002, 21:49
Take a look at CPL...he's gotten in way over his head!

If this gets any better...we'll have to pay fees!

Who needs the Guvnor!

21st Feb 2002, 21:56
ROFL!!! Here here!!!

22nd Feb 2002, 14:37
Has some posts been deleted? Quite hard to follow this thread...