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Airbus A380 family

fredymac

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This gets back to the original design choice of building a "small" airliner that can make a profit on long range direct city pair routes vs a mega jumbo serving hub and spoke routes. As a cattle class passenger, the answer was always obvious which I would prefer. In fact, if someone could make a 10 seat airliner that could do the same at the same ticket price, I would switch to that. The ultimate luxury is not putting up with other passengers.
 

TomcatViP

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No. Late design choice plagued the project from its inception. At management level, all the chance of this design were scrapped with big smiles and load of auto- congratulation when they put their nose in the chosen configuration. Remember all the talks around magnificent interior etc.. etc.. This was out of our time and reflected a very poor awarness of the market history. Still, to this day, those guys are still lecturing the industry...

The venerable 747 proved that the concept is valid. Had the 380 not been produced, we would have seen the 747 reaching more success. The fact that it was seen as an old design comparatively to the newer Airbus dumbo was the only thing that prevailed to that. In that sense, Airbus achieved some success. I am sure that some are still dancing the gig around that idea.
However, this came at a high price since the fallout on Airbus foreseen abilities to really innovate and put golden eggs in the hands of their investing customer with new efficient products is gone for a long time.
 

Arjen

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TomcatViP said:
Had the 380 not been produced, we would have seen the 747 reaching more success.
Hard to verify, that.
TomcatViP said:
However, this came at a high price since the fallout on Airbus perceived abilities to really innovate and put golden eggs in the hands of their investing customer with new efficient products is gone for a long time.
As slow as A380 sales are now, it hasn't stopped customers from ordering lots of A320s and A350s, with even the old A330 doing nicely. Fallout to Airbus seems limited. Perceived ability trumped by sales.
 

Arjen

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'Perceived ability' doesn't pay the rent. Sales do.
 

Hood

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I don't think we can judge Airbus too harshly. At the time of the A380's inception large super-Jumbos were seen as the future. Even Russian bureaus were studying them and if Boeing really thought it was curtains for the category they wouldn't have sunk money into the 747-8.

Perhaps had there not been a serious downturn in traffic from 2001 onwards and better world-wide economic performance during 2008-today then things might have been different.

I certainly didn't believe the marketing hype of in-flight bars or casinos or any of the other lavish space-wasters Airbus advertised at the start. All that seemed hype when the real motive was to cram in bums-on-seats.
 

TomcatViP

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oops. sry for my frenglish. corrected.

There are a lot of companies in that industry that fall bankrupt with that focus on paying the "rent". Many were giants among the giants.

We have the higher % of capital invested in R&D here... And R&D does not encompass designers pull out of their Fry truck project to draw the defining lines of an helo or pulling their hairs out to generate a maximum amount of "likes" on social network. It's shadowy, risky, does not always met success, something often prone to the own judgement of their corporate leader, but it's the way it does since inception.

@Hood:
I try to explain that the Super Jumbo jet by itself is not a failed concept. Airbus did fail its own attempt. No less, no more.
 

DWG

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Airbus engineering didn't fail, A380 matches exactly the market it was built for, and does it well - as shown by the complete failure of the 747-8I to compete.

The problem is that slot-restricted, long-range, high-capacity market segment went away (for airlines that aren't Emirates). That's a natural result of the dominance of the large, long-range twins - late model 777s, 787s and A350s, which cannibalised the A380 market from below. The issue is common to any jumbo design, not a specific failure of the A380. And it was very obvious that as A380 defeated 747-8I, Boeing switched their marketing tactics to make this point repeatedly. It wasn't even an effort to sell 777s so much as an effort to stop Airbus selling the A380.
 

DWG

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And WRT A380 interior concepts, check out the new Singapore Airlines suites, you too can have your own bedroom in the sky, with full-size bed, recliner, and wardrobe.
 

DWG

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Arjen said:
'Perceived ability' doesn't pay the rent. Sales do.
Sales are the only perception of ability that matters.
 

Avimimus

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fredymac said:
This gets back to the original design choice of building a "small" airliner that can make a profit on long range direct city pair routes vs a mega jumbo serving hub and spoke routes. As a cattle class passenger, the answer was always obvious which I would prefer. In fact, if someone could make a 10 seat airliner that could do the same at the same ticket price, I would switch to that. The ultimate luxury is not putting up with other passengers.
I agree with your sentiments.

Larger aircraft are inherently more efficient (lower surface area for the amount of volume), at least until structural considerations require an increase in structural weight. However this could be compensated for by flying lower and slower.

I think the big issue is actually maintenance and aircrew costs. Simply put a two engine two pilot medium sized aircraft doesn't require that much less labour than a four engined two pilot aircraft five times its size. So you'd need gains in replacing (at least part) of the aircrew with computers, and also simplifying the propulsion system (e.g. a diesel electric system might be cheaper to maintain).
 

circle-5

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DWG said:
Arjen said:
'Perceived ability' doesn't pay the rent. Sales do.
Sales are the only perception of ability that matters.
That's exactly right.

But it's easy to forget that Airbus SE is really a thinly-disguised consortium of wealthy Euro governments, competing against a single, heavily-taxed US corporation. That's how programs like the A380, the A400 or the pre-Airbus Concorde (14 airplanes sold, the last two for a symbolic £1) never really seem to affect their stock market valuation. As the biggest and the fastest airliners ever built, the latter were vanity programs, designed to boost the prestige of their builders and countries of origin, with questionably rosy market forecasts to help them along. Both are lovely airplanes, but when taxpayers are there to provide a safety net, profits become less of a concern.

Boeing's R&D capital expenditure for the 747 was amortized over 1,000 airframes ago, and investment into the 747-8 "mistake" was but a tiny fraction of what was spent on the A380. Both programs are now essentially dead. But as a whole, unlike the A380, the Boeing 747 remains an immensely profitable program for all the right reasons, namely because Boeing, unlike Airbus, cannot afford to be wrong. Not even once.
 

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"Planemaker Airbus's superjumbo problem"
by Dominic O'Connell Today business presenter

15 November 2017

Source:
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41994765

Airbus's celebration of Indigo's massive order for the A320 NEO - which at $49.5bn is its biggest ever single deal - will be muted.

The Dubai show has shown up the sharply contrasting fortunes at each end of the European plane maker's product range.

Its smallest plane, the A320, is selling like hot cakes. It can't make them fast enough.

The largest plane, the superjumbo A380, can't find a buyer. Airbus can't make them slowly enough.

As always with aerospace, where it takes decades to know the final verdict on big decisions, the roots of the current dilemma go back years.

Airbus launched the A320 in 1984, a big bet on toppling Boeing's 737, then the workhorse of airline fleets. It has been an astonishing success, matching the 737 for sales and dividing the short-haul market roughly in half.

Airbus has made more than 7,000 A320s, with about another 6,000 on order.

With the A320 established, Airbus knew it had to tackle the other end of the market, which Boeing had to itself with the 747 - the ubiquitous jumbo jet.

The A380 was the answer.

'Mortal blow'

Boeing, unsurprisingly, claimed there was no market for such a large aircraft, arguing that the aviation market was shifting away from big planes taking passengers between big hub airports, to smaller, more economical aircraft flying point-to-point.

Boeing looks - as things stand - to have been right.

Emirates is now nearly the only customer for the A380, using it to feed its megahub in Dubai.

It would buy more, but it wants Airbus to provide a guarantee that it will keep making the plane even if other buyers don't materialise.

Emirates doesn't want to be left with an orphan fleet. Analysts expect Airbus eventually to come to the party, as it has little choice.

It faces a big battle to make the A380 anything like the success of the A320 - but it can at least console itself with having dealt a mortal blow to the 747, which is slowly being withdrawn from passenger service.
 

DWG

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circle-5 said:
But it's easy to forget that Airbus SE is really a thinly-disguised consortium of wealthy Euro governments, competing against a single, heavily-taxed US corporation.
Well, that's the story Boeing's lawyers want us to believe. The reality is rather different. Airbus receives launch support in the form of loans it must pay back, while Boeing receives huge tax breaks as a Boeing imposed condition for keeping its work in particular states, plus huge subsidies for aeronautical research that it is the sole beneficiary of, plus ExIm bank financing to support foreign sales. At least Airbus is open about the support it receives.
 

TomcatViP

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Avimimus said:
fredymac said:
This gets back to the original design choice of building a "small" airliner that can make a profit on long range direct city pair routes vs a mega jumbo serving hub and spoke routes. As a cattle class passenger, the answer was always obvious which I would prefer. In fact, if someone could make a 10 seat airliner that could do the same at the same ticket price, I would switch to that. The ultimate luxury is not putting up with other passengers.
I agree with your sentiments.

Larger aircraft are inherently more efficient (lower surface area for the amount of volume), at least until structural considerations require an increase in structural weight. However this could be compensated for by flying lower and slower.

I think the big issue is actually maintenance and aircrew costs. Simply put a two engine two pilot medium sized aircraft doesn't require that much less labour than a four engined two pilot aircraft five times its size. So you'd need gains in replacing (at least part) of the aircrew with computers, and also simplifying the propulsion system (e.g. a diesel electric system might be cheaper to maintain).
The main problem with the 380 is that it's an aerodynamic monster. Big wing, shorter full decked fuselage were the ill-chosen decision from their management (the ones that are lecturing the industry). It led to an aircraft that has no real cruise speed, except slamming the gas forward to lower the time fuel is burned*.
There is more to say, but this should suffice today.

The main point is that this is not the case with the 747.


*It is then not surprising that companies in the ME where gas is inherently a cheap commodity are the big buyers.
 

LowObservable

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But it's easy to forget that Airbus SE is really a thinly-disguised consortium of wealthy Euro governments, competing against a single, heavily-taxed US corporation. That's how programs like the A380, the A400 or the pre-Airbus Concorde (14 airplanes sold, the last two for a symbolic £1) never really seem to affect their stock market valuation... Boeing, unlike Airbus, cannot afford to be wrong. Not even once.

It's interesting to observe the power of propaganda and disinformation. Boeing and its shills have been telling this story for 40 years. When they started, they dominated the business (with MDC and Lockheed dragging one another down) and Bernard Lathiere was quite right to say "I think the big bad wolf is screaming because Little Red Riding 'ood 'as bitten him in ze ass". Yes, Airbus gets launch aid today, but Boeing sucks down its own billions through subsidies from states and to its partners - and in fact neither is as important as it used to be given the size of the market.

"Boeing cannot afford to be wrong". 787? Tanker? Actually, in the early 2000s, both Airbus and Boeing called the long-haul market wrong, but in different directions. The A380 was based on the idea that airlines would consolidate traffic into big, economical, congestion-relieving airplanes. The 787, with its expensive new technology, was intended to provide low seat-mile costs and comfort in a small package, bypassing hubs with direct services - Detroit-Birmingham, Charlotte-Lisbon - with nice wide 8x seating and even with a special lower-range 787-3 version. After vastly over-promising on the airplane and incurring gazillions on deferred production charges (aka if they cost more to make than you're selling them for, you can't make it up in quantity), Boeing has stretched it twice and the operators have stuffed an extra seat in each row and it continues to connect hubs, cannibalizing the 777 market and pushing 777 up into the 777X.

Boeing also got the narrowbody market wrong - the MAX7 is deader than a doornail and they're scrambling to do the MAX10 because the A321Neo was smacking the MAX9 around like a KMart pinata. And as for the Bombardier fiasco...
 

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I'm shocked and dismayed that Airbus would do that ... ::)
 

LowObservable

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"Governments who funded RLI for the A320 have recouped their investment many times over", the story says.

I think anyone who forecast 13,000 A320 sales when the project got started would have been quietly removed from the scene and tested for substances.
 

marauder2048

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LowObservable said:
would have been quietly removed from the scene and tested for substances.
Alas that that didn't happen to the sales team that guaranteed A340 residual values...
 

DWG

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I imagine they would have done much the same with a loan from a commercial bank, while Boeing receives its under-the-counter launch aid in the form of pure gifts, with no repayments necessary.
 

marauder2048

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DWG said:
I imagine they would have done much the same with a loan from a commercial bank
Commercial lenders typically require additional security/collateral and
are unmoved by threats to relocate wing work if the
borrower's repayment terms aren't satisfied.

, while Boeing receives its under-the-counter launch aid in the form of pure gifts, with no repayments necessary.
In the early 90's, NASA adjusted the data rights/disclosure conditions for R&D in response to
industry, ITC and congressional concern that Airbus was exploiting NASA sponsored R&D without
paying royalties/securing licenses.

Aviation Partners' experience with Airbus on the blended winglets collaboration
suggests those concerns were somewhat justified.
 

Archibald

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TomcatViP said:
Avimimus said:
fredymac said:
This gets back to the original design choice of building a "small" airliner that can make a profit on long range direct city pair routes vs a mega jumbo serving hub and spoke routes. As a cattle class passenger, the answer was always obvious which I would prefer. In fact, if someone could make a 10 seat airliner that could do the same at the same ticket price, I would switch to that. The ultimate luxury is not putting up with other passengers.
I agree with your sentiments.

Larger aircraft are inherently more efficient (lower surface area for the amount of volume), at least until structural considerations require an increase in structural weight. However this could be compensated for by flying lower and slower.

I think the big issue is actually maintenance and aircrew costs. Simply put a two engine two pilot medium sized aircraft doesn't require that much less labour than a four engined two pilot aircraft five times its size. So you'd need gains in replacing (at least part) of the aircrew with computers, and also simplifying the propulsion system (e.g. a diesel electric system might be cheaper to maintain).
The main problem with the 380 is that it's an aerodynamic monster. Big wing, shorter full decked fuselage were the ill-chosen decision from their management (the ones that are lecturing the industry). It led to an aircraft that has no real cruise speed, except slamming the gas forward to lower the time fuel is burned*.
There is more to say, but this should suffice today.

The main point is that this is not the case with the 747.


*It is then not surprising that companies in the ME where gas is inherently a cheap commodity are the big buyers.
What a load of bollocks. As if the 747 hump was not an aerodynamic heresy, stemming from Pan Am original order.

TomcatVIP, trolling for Boeing anytime, anyday?
 

Archibald

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DWG said:
circle-5 said:
But it's easy to forget that Airbus SE is really a thinly-disguised consortium of wealthy Euro governments, competing against a single, heavily-taxed US corporation.
Well, that's the story Boeing's lawyers want us to believe. The reality is rather different. Airbus receives launch support in the form of loans it must pay back, while Boeing receives huge tax breaks as a Boeing imposed condition for keeping its work in particular states, plus huge subsidies for aeronautical research that it is the sole beneficiary of, plus ExIm bank financing to support foreign sales. At least Airbus is open about the support it receives.
Fully agree with you. 707 benefited from KC-135. 747 was helped by C-5 Galaxy. 767 tanker. KC-10 Extender. P.8 Poseidon. P-3 Orion (Lockheed Electra).

More generally - from DC-4 and Constellations, to 767 tanker, how many Boeing / Douglas airliners found their way into the military, with large contracts ?
Or maybe I'm wrong, the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army are not funded by the U.S government ?

Now just compare with the numbers of Airbus AIRLINERS in military service. In Europe. Since 1972. How many of them ? far less than 100.
How many airbus in Armée de l'Air Service ? A couple of old A310s, the A340 presidential bird... and basta.
 

Archibald

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circle-5 said:
DWG said:
Arjen said:
'Perceived ability' doesn't pay the rent. Sales do.
Sales are the only perception of ability that matters.
That's exactly right.

But it's easy to forget that Airbus SE is really a thinly-disguised consortium of wealthy Euro governments, competing against a single, heavily-taxed US corporation. That's how programs like the A380, the A400 or the pre-Airbus Concorde (14 airplanes sold, the last two for a symbolic £1) never really seem to affect their stock market valuation.

As the biggest and the fastest airliners ever built, the latter were vanity programs, designed to boost the prestige of their builders and countries of origin, with questionably rosy market forecasts to help them along. Both are lovely airplanes, but when taxpayers are there to provide a safety net, profits become less of a concern.

Boeing's R&D capital expenditure for the 747 was amortized over 1,000 airframes ago, and investment into the 747-8 "mistake" was but a tiny fraction of what was spent on the A380. Both programs are now essentially dead. But as a whole, unlike the A380, the Boeing 747 remains an immensely profitable program for all the right reasons, namely because Boeing, unlike Airbus, cannot afford to be wrong. Not even once.
Total bullshit. Are you trolling ? Thanks for the good laugh.

Concorde had nothing to do with Airbus, except it fits nicely into your Boeing-biased fantasy.
 

Archibald

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LowObservable said:
But it's easy to forget that Airbus SE is really a thinly-disguised consortium of wealthy Euro governments, competing against a single, heavily-taxed US corporation. That's how programs like the A380, the A400 or the pre-Airbus Concorde (14 airplanes sold, the last two for a symbolic £1) never really seem to affect their stock market valuation... Boeing, unlike Airbus, cannot afford to be wrong. Not even once.

It's interesting to observe the power of propaganda and disinformation. Boeing and its shills have been telling this story for 40 years. When they started, they dominated the business (with MDC and Lockheed dragging one another down)
Excellent point. From my personal experience: 1987 - 30 years ago. Aged 5, red my first aviation magazine. Well, Boeing was whinning just as you describe. Same arguments. Unbelievable.

I still remember the name of the Boeing guy that complained: E.H "Tex" Boullioun (such a French sounding name for a Boeing man)

As noted above: 13 000 A320s sold in exactly 30 years. That first aviation magazine I mentionned was published in 1987, at the time of the A320 first flight.
The said Boullioun was heard screaming "no market for this aircraft".
 

sferrin

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Archibald said:
767 tanker. KC-10 Extender. P.8 Poseidon.
Excuse me? How did any of these contribute to the development of their parent aircraft? In all cases the commercial aircraft was in service long before the military.
 

circle-5

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Archibald said:
Total bullshit. Are you trolling ? Thanks for the good laugh.

Concorde had nothing to do with Airbus, except it fits nicely into your Boeing-biased fantasy.
... and that's why I wrote pre-Airbus Concorde, if you had bothered to read. The Concorde was a government-paid airplane, a few of which were only purchased by two, government-subsidized airlines. This led directly to the same mentality that has subsidized Airbus ever since. But you are free to think whatever you want. Cocorico!
 

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This led directly to the same mentality that has subsidized Airbus ever since.

You have the story reversed. The commercial catastrophe of Concorde - and the smaller-scale disasters of the VFW 614 and Mercure - meant that Airbus was planned to be completely different.

One company with multiple products, versus one-product consortia. A central engineering, program management and marketing entity, versus everything-by-committee. One flight test center and one final assembly line (Felix Kracht's "light assembly" concept, since copied by Boeing, was critical because it offloaded jobs from F/A to subassembly sites). An international "Airbusien" culture versus incessant squabbling. Buy the best (GE, FlightSafety) versus Eurojobs at all costs.

From the early days, it was clear that subsidies would be necessary to make up for lost ground, but that they would diminish in significance once a critical mass of market share had been gained - which is exactly what has happened.
 

Archibald

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cocorico, my arse. I'm just irritated to see that discussion forum, once excellent, marred by such silinesses.

Still nobody answered so far my other critics.
 

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Jemiba said:
What can be read about the A380 basically is, that the problems Airbus is facing, aren't technical,
but just economical.
do you still feel that's the case after 2 engine explosions? 2 different engines from different manufacturers catastrophically failing in flight could imply a basic design flaw?
the first one, Quantas flight 32, was touch and go, could easily have been the second highest loss of life in a single aircraft incident.

Not saying the aircraft is inherently unsafe, but exploding engines make nervous passengers like me a lot more nervous ;)
 

DWG

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Two different engines from two different manufacturers rules out a common design flaw - there's no common parts for it to occur in.
 

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I would say that as both aircraft survived the incidents, it would suggest that the aircraft is pretty good, IMO. Engines failures are nothing to do with the design of the aircraft though. That's the engine manufacturers problems ---
 

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From what I ‘ve read the two engines , GP7200 and Trent 900 , are specifically designed for the A380. Both having very large diameter fans.
As for A380 being a failure… There are still like a 100 to be build on the 317 ordered. It’s not the 13000 A320s, but hey, it can’t be compared to Concorde or mercure. Or Airbus itself being a failure, well, ask Boeing.
 

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I don't recall, in all the history of aircraft types being offered with a choice of engines, an airframe or aircraft systems being a common factor in the failure of different engine types.

Incidentally, the 747 has been delivered with five completely different engines: JT9D, CF6, RB.211, PW4000 and GEnX. Not counting the A330/340 as a single type, what airplane family matches this record?
 

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galgot said:
From what I ‘ve read the two engines , GP7200 and Trent 900 , are specifically designed for the A380. Both having very large diameter fans.
As for A380 being a failure… There are still like a 100 to be build on the 317 ordered. It’s not the 13000 A320s, but hey, it can’t be compared to Concorde or mercure. Or Airbus itself being a failure, well, ask Boeing.
From what I've read the Trent 900 was a development of previous Trents for the A380, not specifically designed for the A380
 

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thanks to everyone who pointed out that air-frames don't make engines explode :D
galgot said:
From what I ‘ve read the two engines ,GP7200 and Trent 900 , are specifically designed for the A380. Both having very large diameter fans.
this is what I was referring to, have they pushed the reciprocating mass, chamber pressures, power to weight ratio's , etc. past the point of accurately predictable failure modes?
Probably not, with a little more reading last night it seems that exploding Turbine engines is nothing new. Air-bus with 3 recent incidents is just luck of the draw and not an Air-Bus issue per-se.

As someone else pointed out, the fact that both 380 flights landed safely , even if the Quantas was just barely, says a lot about the overall design robustness. Interesting that neither the Engine Alliance or the Roll's was able to contain the fragments within the casing, considering they deliberately grenaded one on a test stand specifically to insure it would.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=736O4Hz4Nk4
 

galgot

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kitnut617 said:
galgot said:
From what I ‘ve read the two engines , GP7200 and Trent 900 , are specifically designed for the A380. Both having very large diameter fans.
As for A380 being a failure… There are still like a 100 to be build on the 317 ordered. It’s not the 13000 A320s, but hey, it can’t be compared to Concorde or mercure. Or Airbus itself being a failure, well, ask Boeing.
From what I've read the Trent 900 was a development of previous Trents for the A380, not specifically designed for the A380
Yes, that’s what i’ve read too. Should have written developed from a previous trent specifically for the A380.
The 900 is specific to the A380.
 

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A lot of good engines have been matted to wrong airframe in the history of aviation. From being too heavy, draggy, prone to vibrations, cells have risked ruined the reputation of fairly good engines. Some had to be ran with power slammed forward, some at the wrong alt and in some case dev Time were inadequate.

None of you learned about the P51A, the P36, the hispano engines etc...

What's the most concerning here is the sudden absence of fact in the replies of some when it comes about Airbus.
 
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