Common Purposes Blog

Common Purposes

What are the Common Purposes? I've dwelt on that question since first reading my alma mater's founding principle "for the purposes of instructing persons, who may choose to apply themselves, in the application of science to the common purposes of life". The question, more than any answer I may ever offer, has guided me through many personal and professional endeavors. And, if I have learned anything it is that I have derived my greatest joy when I, as part of a team, have made a lasting difference to improve the lives of others. Should the thoughts I share here and the ensuing discussion lead others to ask the same question, to seek their own answers and to experience the same joy as I, then I shall consider this effort of value.

Image: "The New Shoes" by Jane Bucci. This work is based on the touching photo snapped by Gerald Waller in 1946, in Austria. The little boy, who lived in an orphanage, had just been given new shoes by the American Red Cross.

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The (Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 Aerospace) Show Must Go On

Posted November 27, 2006 1:55 PM by MillMatt

Over the past three decades, Airbus and Boeing have been in a very competitive battle for market share and, indeed, for determining the future of aviation. While Boeing has been broadening its prominence in military markets while fine-tuning its commercial products, Airbus launched a series of fly-by-wire aircraft built with many components comprised of light-weight composite materials. Then, in a nutshell, as Airbus' fortunes amassed and Boeing's market share started to tumble, the focus shifted towards next generation aircraft.

While technology, economics and politics supported the emergence of smaller regional jets in certain markets, Airbus opted to pursue the double-deck A380 program to produce the world's largest passenger aircraft. Boeing, which has dominated that sector of the market for nearly 40 years with its wide-body 747, chose to fine tune the 747 in response but also has chosen to pursue the 787 Dreamliner, a new design that leapfrogs Airbus in the use of light-weight composite materials and electronic control systems in a more moderately-sized aircraft. The stakes are enormous not only for the future of these businesses and for the engineers and technicians who work on these monumental programs.

Recent news articles highlight that technical delays in the Airbus program have bumped delivery dates, there have been significant management changes and certain pundits speculate about the practicality and financial viability of the program; a pity for all. Yet, as the business and political communities hoot and holler about the possibilities, work continues on both programs. There are engineers and technicians making difficult decisions and working feverishly to complete the task they agreed to pursue while, at the same time, tending to their own financial needs and overall livelihoods. Somewhere in the future, I am sure that we will read the stories of those who championed these programs.

For now, among other things, we have the video of the recent crosswinds landing tests for the A380. It is a majestic sight to see this enormous aircraft being brought safely to rest with a runway approach that is nothing short of cockeyed. It is a beautiful sight and serves as a testament to the continuing hard work of many who cannot cut corners or sacrifice rigorous performance requirements despite the pundits, new management and market pressures.

Sweat the details and keep up the good work, folks. And, it would be great if other member of CR4 will share stories, pictures and videos of these two major technical programs.

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Power-User

Join Date: Jun 2006
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#1

Re: The (Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 Aerospace) Show Must Go On

11/28/2006 3:22 PM

I was offered a level 3 engineering position on the 787 and one reason I decided against taking the job was terrorism. I think the days of the jetliner are numbered, just like the days of the Titanic or railroads are over, but worse.

If a person is willing to kill themselves, they can take down an airliner rather "easily." A "groundbus" ramming will not likely kill many, if any, but a ramming of an "airbus" will usually end up with all dead after the fall. Just count the ways. After working in radar for a while, I can see that airliners have 10-20 years and nobody will ride on them due to fear of ground missiles, air to air, ramming, taxi way ramming, etc, etc. All it would take is an orchestrated 911 style attach, and down goes Boeing and Airbus as a business model, along with airliners.

Ask NASA what they think the risks are to USA and world transportation with airliners as a main transit mode. They clearly acknowledge that we need "personal air vehicles" or PAVs and it is a matter of national security. They can see the writing on the wall.

Anything that groups people up in "Mass transit" models is a target of terrorist because it gives the suicide killer leverage, whether it is a groundbus, light rail, commuter rail, or airliner. The future of transportation MUST eliminate the killer's leverage, and jetliners are the best leverage to kill, as we all saw on 911.

All transit must evolve to flying cars (with parachutes somewhat like that found on a Cirrus SR20) and the sort where a ramming or such only causes a near one death to one death kill ratio where the suicide killer has little or no result. Afterall, we don't see suicide killers turning their car into head-on traffic to kill. Media will not think it sensational enough, but an A380 with 800 people...you might as well paint a target on it.

Wasting money on new A380, "Dreamliners" or "blended wind body" concept is a financial nightmare that will happen, not if, but when.

As I see it, the A380 is the signal of an era that soon will pass. The question is whether we can all see the obvious and stop supporting ideas like the 787, blended wing body, and A380, and support entrepreneurs with the correct vision for the future of transportation. Boeing will be forced to produce PAVs or go out of business. The EU tax payer will pick up the reckage of Airbus.

The business model of mass transit airliners has never made a profit for stock holders since the Wrigth Brothers, except of course, Southwest airlines. When you figure in the unfunded liabilities (pay the fire insurance against terrorist future attacks and regular operation risks of crashes and suits that follow) even Southwest comes up a looser.

The real question is how to make money in aviation when ALL real costs are factored in and all unfunded liabilities are ammortized. It cannot be done with the current crop of piston engines nor any of the new turbo jet engines, nor with the aerodynamics found on a classical monoplane. NASA clearly does not understand this and wastes money on concepts that will not work.

If you want to solve this problem, write me an e-mail: seaplanguy@msn.com

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Commentator

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Dubai
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The (Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 Aerospace) Show Must Go On

11/28/2006 3:49 PM

straight from homeland security's log book

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Anonymous Poster
#3
In reply to #1

Re: The (Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 Aerospace) Show Must Go On

11/28/2006 10:18 PM

I do agree that the Airbus is a large target, but I dis-agree that it is the death of the industry. Their are many disadvantages to PAV's. For starters they are inefficient in the extreme, complex to fly and could be the equivalent of flying car bombs. The first two can be overcome with time, quantity and engineering, but think how easy it would be to load up your PAV with a Timothy McVeigh type bomb and target a stadium or shopping mall or even an airport terminal.

The speed advantage and efficiency will preclude the disappearance of larger aircraft until such time as PAV's could operate for dollars per flight hour, not hundreds of dollars per hour,(like the new VLJ's). Until the masses can get to grandma's for comparable cost, air travel will continue in the higher threat environment you describe. MANPADS can be jammed, ( Re: El Al's Africa near miss) and the answer might be self defense pods on all commercial aircraft.

Additional automation of cockpits which could be overtaken by ground controllers, in the case of a 911 flight profile, could also mitigate the flying bomb type attack, but would be overwhelmed by "millions" of PAV's.

Just one mans opinion.

Ron

Austin, Texas

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Commentator

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose Ca.
Posts: 60
#5
In reply to #3

Re: The (Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 Aerospace) Show Must Go On

11/14/2007 6:43 PM

At any rate, I wish some one would help me in getting them to pre-spin the wheels on landing. Then it would cost less to ride in one.

dellori3

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Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
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#4
In reply to #1

Re: The (Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 Aerospace) Show Must Go On

09/10/2007 11:33 AM

" I think the days of the jetliner are numbered, just like the days of the Titanic or railroads are over"

These were replaced with something else. until that something else is developed. It will be here for a while yet.

like maybe railroading and oceanliners????

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