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The demolition of Woodford has begun

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The demolition of Woodford has begun

Old 10th Feb 2015, 17:08
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What is FSTA?
Future Strategic Transport Aircraft, ie the role that the Voyagers have been acquired for.
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Old 10th Feb 2015, 18:44
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" This goes some way to explaining a Smiths EFIS system (Designers do like to invent and re-invent, rather than use Honeywells options), the number of relays in the aircraft and wiring looms made on “peg boards” which when installed to the aircraft were generally an inch or two too short due to the variability of the fuselage manufacture at Chadderton

Might as well mention the Smiths A/P as well, the repair costs were as you would expect.

The tacky loom that ran down the length of the fuselage on the left hand side, now that did look as it had been constructed by somebody "with no previous experience ".

The FSTA...ah, yes. Lots of sharp suits, a "countdown clock", and all the associated consultants you could wish for.

Unfortunately, there was nobody there with 767 maintenance experience, for some considerable time...only 727. The arrival of an American gentleman, complete with cowboy hat and boots, was not as incongruous as it may have appeared.

I can't speak for TURIN, but, the 1-11 was also a heap of junk.

The UK may well design good airframes and avionics, but maintenance was never even thought about, as such. If it looked ok on a drawing board, then that was all that was required.

The captive nut was a quantum leap for UK designers. The RR Spey was on the same level, designed to be worked on at a bench in Derby, not on the Line or in a hangar.

A perfect match therefore.
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Old 10th Feb 2015, 20:48
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Ex Bae boy

Such a shame to see the place being levelled, I served my apprenticeship there 90 - 94 on the ATP & RJ, unfortunately the 40 odd of us were released after our 4 yr term as the main workforce were at the start of the first redundancies, the writing was on the wall then......


I remember we used to help set the place up for the airshows, I was there when the Spitfire RM689 went down in 92, awful, I remember driving into work on the Monday morning and the remains of the aircraft were sheeted on a low loader on the way to Farnborough.
During one set up a Dutch F16 was taxiing in to park up on the static line, us being young hard as nails/can't touch me Northerners were waving at the pilot (some were waving, some were doing other things !) so when he turned the aircraft ready to chock up we were now behind him, a blip on the throttle from him soon had us running in all directions, quality! It was ace that you had to drive over the active runway to access the flight sheds on the south side! Good times indeed.


R.I.P Woodford
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Old 10th Feb 2015, 21:26
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Yes, I remember visiting the flight sheds in the late '70s, waiting at the runway traffic lights for a circuit-bashing Vulcan to roll past!
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 13:19
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Philbky: BAE made it clear they didn't want to build aircraft whilst they were partners in the AIR joint venture at Toulouse. ATR board members arrived with a proposal to build a low wing twin jet seat seating between 80 and 120 depending upon variant (what we might now term as an E190 family aircraft). The BAE board members voted against the idea (BAE didnt want to tip cash into this project as it had many other more valuable projects to fund; military of course). Within 6 months the JV was dissolved.
I'll also remind you of Charles Masefields attempt to form a JV with TAC (Taiwan Aerospace Consortium). Both of these occured in the mid 1990's with the TAC JV attempt coming before AIR.

As I said the RJX was as stop gap. If MOC convinced the workforce of a long term viable plan for making 18 aircraft a year...well he did a good job on that at least.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 14:31
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Plane Speaker, I presume your figure of 18 a year is based on your assessment of the annual 146/RJ production from 1978 to 2001. The actual figure is less, being 16.8.

Apart from the well known attempts at joint ventures, which were at best rather tenuous, the BAe management looks to have made some massive errors of judgement if it genuinely went ahead with the RJX only hoping to match the 146 output.

Again, I cannot believe any sane management would have launched a production line for only a five year life, given the investment involved, and a very limited run was not the perceived attitude at the time of the launch, based on employee briefings and the marketing push..

If they were only window dressing to cover their determination to leave the aircraft manufacturing arena, as quickly and as quietly as possible with the least amount of ire being heaped upon them, then continuing with a four engine design, planning for just five years production and then exit based, presumably, on "heavy losses" might be a scenario but, even for BAe that is rather Machiavellian.

As it turns out they were handed the thinnest of excuses on a plate and in the storm surrounding 9/11 escaped the market rapidly and under minimal scrutiny.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 15:14
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Philbky, the RJX development was funded by Honeywell to gain the C of A for the AS977 engine. BAE cleverly didn't put their hand in their pocket....until the project was cancelled when they had an out of court settlement with HON.
18 a year was the target out put for RJ and RJX at Woodford. There were never plans to increase from that. As to BAE management mind set well, given that Bhutan Airways ordered 2 and Flybe ordered 8 (I think) with both trading in their existing fleet of 146/RJ aircraft I think they got it right to stop the programme?
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 16:36
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I have no time for socialism, but you have to wonder if BAe may have turned out better, in terms of jobs and UK balance of trade if it had not been privatised?
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 16:59
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Some of us who were there at the time would have said 'twould have been better had it not been nationalised.
Our side of the industry (Hawker Siddeley) was a multi-discipline industrial group but the nationalisation concentrated the aerospace part into BAe without any of the alternative industry we had had. Privatisation did nothing to undo that, of course.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 18:02
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Plane Speaker, please show the evidence that Honeywell funded the RJX. Honeywell as I have always understood it, was a partner in the development and production of the aircraft, being responsible for the engines and avionics, not the whole project. Engine manufacturers in the civil market do not fund new project airframes to get an engine certified.

The legal action was regarding the cancellation of the project by BAe which was the lead partner, without agreement.

Given the speed of sales of the 146, the sales projection for the RJX may well have been only 18 per annum but 20/20 hindsight has shown that, all things being equal, it should have done better in what became an expanding market.

As for the five year stop gap, unless BAe had something else already under development, which clearly they did not, there would have certainly been a court case five years down the road had production stopped at that point as all involved would have lost money.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 18:52
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Some of us who were there at the time would have said 'twould have been better had it not been nationalised.
I don't doubt that the government(s) were capable of buggering the industry up twice in quick succession. How did we go from being world leaders to picking up the crumbs from the airbus table?
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 19:39
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No industry should ever be nationalised. Governments are not good at business.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 19:54
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Whatever the politics, France and Italy have managed to hang on to a good bit of their manufacturing and it's bloody annoying that we didn't, given that we were (are) better engineers than they could ever hope to be!
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 20:20
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....and Italy have managed to hang on to a good bit of their manufacturing and it's bloody annoying that we didn't, given that we were (are) better engineers than they could ever hope to be!
Um. Italian tilting Pendolinos providing a fast and reliable service up and down the West Coast Main Line many tens of times a day every day for more than a decade and counting.

British Rail's tilting APT (Advanced Passenger Train) ditched before it saw service.

You need:

1) The vision to accurately assess the market at that time.

2) Excellent design rooted in prototype research.

3) Quality build in manufacturing.

4) The commitment to make it happen.

5) Effective marketing, worldwide.

6) Superb product support.

I don't think APT had many, if any, of those.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 20:47
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Shaggy, your beef seems to be with management. Yes, British management are/were substandard. Our engineers are/were the the best.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 21:16
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ZeBedie, those attributes don't just come from management. They come from management, engineers, workers, marketeers, and government (the latter mainly not to interfere with business).

Engineers, when left to their own devices, tend to over-specify and prodcuce something technically excellent that the market may not need nor can afford. Like the wonderful VC10.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 21:57
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Engineers, when left to their own devices, tend to over-specify and prodcuce something technically excellent that the market may not need nor can afford.
For that to occur is a failure of management.
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Old 12th Feb 2015, 09:16
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Indeed, which is why I said "Engineers, when left to their own devices". Hence for success you need a complete team who are up to speed - as I stated a couple of posts ago. Being 'good engineers' isn't enough to cut it.
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Old 12th Feb 2015, 14:49
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I seem to remember a last ditch attempt at marketing the ATP by calling it the Jetstream 61. I wonder if any so called Jetstream 61's were ever sold?
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Old 12th Feb 2015, 17:50
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In a nutshell; NO! (And it was subsequently broken up at Woodford). A complete waste of money. I mean, why did anyone seriously think that anyone would buy the 80p just because some pillock in marketing had spent a fortune calling it a Jetsream?
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