IndiGo selects P&W to power up to 150 A320neosPhoto Credit AirbusJon Ostrower/West Palm Beach
In a major coup for Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan, A320neo launch customer, Indian low cost carrier IndiGo, is to announce it has selected the PW1100G to power up to 150 of the updated Airbus narrowbodies, say those familiar with the deal.
While the official announcement for 300 engines is expected as early as today, the win by the East Hartford-based engine maker comes on the heels of a hard-fought campaign to secure the right to provide 300 engines and associated service contracts to power what Airbus calls the "largest single firm order number for large jets in commercial aviation history".
IndiGo signed an 11 January memorandum of understanding with Airbus for up to 180 A320 aircraft, including 150 of the re-engined A320neo, making it the European airframer's launch customer for the new variant due for entry into service in 2016.
MIssing from the initial MoU was an engine selection, kicking off a fierce behind-the-scenes competition between the CFM International Leap-X and Pratt & Whitney PW1100G as both vied for the massive contract.
The selection represents the second win for Pratt & Whitney on the re-engined jet, having been chosen by International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) to power at least 60 of its 100 A320neo and A321neo aircraft.
The selection as launch customer also establishes the 208cm (81in) fan diameter PW1100G as the lead powerplant to fly first for Airbus's certification campaign.
Airbus says the new engine option for the A320 will reduce fuel burn up to 15%, compared to today's A320, a savings of over 1,510,000l (400,000gal) of Jet A and 3.600t CO2 per year.
The PW1524G, the first model of the P&W's PW1000G engine family, is currently in ground testing at two facilities in Manitoba, Canada and West Palm Beach, Florida as it progresses toward its first assignment to power the 110 to 125-seat Bombardier CSeries CS100 aircraft on its 2012 first flight and subsequent 2013 entry into service.
The PW1000G has also been selected to power the 70 to 90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ70 and MRJ90, as well as the 150-seat Irkut MS-21.
March 2011 Archives
In short, going slow is much cheaper than going fast. In a business where time is money, going fast on the ground and slow in the air pays tangible dividends.
This week's Flight International features a flight test aboard the new stretched Bombardier CRJ1000, the 100-seat latest evolution of the original Canadair Business Jet design, that builds on the CRJ700 and 900. As our pilot Mike Gerzanics set out to demonstrate the fuel burn of the new jet's General Electric CF34-8C5A1 engines, he found the CRJ1000 could keep up with faster traffic, but at a price:
Once level, I established M0.78 cruise point, Bombardier's recommended normal cruise speed. I found the airspeed tape's trend arrow allowed me to expeditiously set and hold the desired speed. A total fuel flow of 1,480kg/h was needed to hold M0.78/262kt with a resultant true airspeed of 454kt.
Next, the power was increased and an M0.80 cruise speed was established. Total fuel flow increased to 1,740kg/h with a resultant true airspeed of 473kt.
The Sonic Cruiser is the extreme example of when the market doesn't want a product that flies higher, faster or farther, it just wants a product that arrives off the production lines faster, of better quality and cheaper to operate.
Yet if all the airframers, engine makers and airlines are looking to spend billions to deliver a 15% improvement in fuel burn that satisfies the need for "faster, better, cheaper" with a new aircraft and engine combination, are we perhaps looking in the wrong place?
EVERETT - RC001 is airborne on its maiden sortie as of 9:59 AM PT. Live continuing coverage of the first flight of the 747-8I from FlightBlogger and flightglobal.com.
SEATTLE - 11:40 AM PT: We've relocated down to Boeing Field while RC001 is out over Eastern Washington at 14,000ft and all looks to be going smoothly. Because this aircraft will start by undergo flutter evaluations, this first 747-8I does not have the outboard aileron modal suppression (OAMS) system installed, which is designed to dampen the wing vibration on the 747-8F. Boeing will wait to see if the vibration, also known as a limit cycle oscillation (LCO), is present on the -8I which has structural differences from the freighter with its elongated upper deck.
UPDATE 11:59 PM PT: Brian Johnson, 747-8 deputy test programme manager says the primary conditions for today's first flight mainly center around initial air worthiness evaluations on a standard B1 profile. Johnson says Captains Mark Feuerstein and Paul Stemer are currently conducting engine shutdowns and re-lights on the four General Electric GEnx-2B67s.
Also here's the Google Earth track over the first hour of the flight. Hat tip to @lesmond:
EVERETT -- RC001's debut in the sky is all ready for today at Paine Field. The aircraft has been towed out of it's flight line stall ready for engine start. The first 747-8I will be operating as Boeing 008 Heavy Experimental today, as ZA001 is flying as BOE001 today doing touch and goes into Paine Field. Follow FlightBlogger on twitter for all the latest updates.
And if you haven't already seen it, here's the widebody and narrowbody assessments of Steven Udvar-Hazy. Each post here and on Runway Girl covers the industry icon's complete answers on a myriad of topics.
- Bombardier expects at least 300 CSeries orders by EIS: Scott
- Udvar-Hazy sets high bar for 787 profitability, performance
- Boeing should develop new family to succeed 737: Udvar-Hazy
- Boeing to miss 787 performance spec: Albaugh
- A350-1000 needs more thrust to meet performance: Udvar-Hazy
- Trent XWB engine "certainly sufficient" to power A350-1000: Airbus
- IAE eyes military applications for V2500 plus further upgrade
- Boeing looks at increasing 737 output to 42 per month
- FAA scrutinises in-flight Wi-Fi interference with avionics
- P&W relocates PW1524G FETT for natural icing tests
- Boeing confirms 20 March target for 747-8I first flight
- Airbus sees overlap on A320 and A320neo production
Because Udvar-Hazy shared his thoughts on so many topics, Runway Girl Mary Kirby and I have decided to break the lion's share of the interview on our blogs. Mary's blog covers Udvar-Hazy's comments about narrowbody aircraft, while I'm taking the widebodies.
For the sake of historical context, here's Udvar-Hazy's last interview with this page from February 2008's Singapore Air Show, prior to the launch of the CSeries, 787-3 cancellation and global economic crisis.
The complete interview is continued below the fold.
While Boeing won't confirm the late July guidance, that target remains in line with an "early summer" completion of flight test activities.
Industry officials said previously the carrier had been provided a September guidance by Boeing for its first delivery following the November 2010 fire that prompted an additional six-month delay in first delivery, though the latest schedule reflects a more optimistic target for first delivery.
Boeing's official guidance reflects a third quarter target, allowing the company to deliver the first 787 anywhere from July 1 to September 30.
Several sources familiar with Z23, the latest 787 delivery plan, say Airplane Eight - also known as ZA101 - the second production 787, will be the first 787 to be delivered and will feature a two-class medium to short-haul configuration for the Japanese carrier.
ANA will receive its first long-range configured 787, Airplane 24, in August, which will sport an increased maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 502,500lbs (227,930kg) for recovered payload range performance. All aircraft after line number 20 have the MTOW.
Nineteen aircraft will follow after the July first delivery in 2011 and ANA will be joined by Japan Airlines, Air India and China Southern.
FlightBlogger: A question about the payload range performance of the 787. At what point are you going to be able to deliver a 787 that flies fully 8,000nm, fully fueled and with full payload?UPDATE 7:02 PM MST: Here's my complete story on Albaugh's comments, including what Boeing, GE and Rolls-Royce have planned to regain the aircraft's payload range performance.
Jim Albaugh: Well right now if you look at the airplanes that we're going to deliver we meet the missions that our customers have put in place for us to meet. Now, I'll be the first to admit that we're not going to meet the spec, but I think we'll be able to meet what our guarantees are. And you got to remember, the first airplanes are going to be a little heavy, there are a lot of things that we're going to do to clean the airplane up, a lot of things to do with the engine manufacturers, and I feel pretty comfortable that over time we'll be able to get to the numbers that you just quoted. When that date's going to be, I can't tell you.
See additional photos from Airplane 23's new home in Texas
Almost as soon as its formal ceremonies with local dignitaries and the media concluded, ground power units and access stairs were brought in as crews wasted no time beginning the work left to complete Airplane 23, which is likely the first aircraft to be delivered to General GEnx-1B engine launch customer Japan Airlines.
The activation of the new site is the latest sign that Boeing is nearing the finish line toward its early 787 deliveries, a milestone pushed seven time and more than three years beyond its original target to the third quarter of this year.
"We're not far away," says David Pickering, director of field operations at the Everett site. "This signifies a point in the program where this airplane is getting darn close. A few months worth of work down here and managing the end of flight test, and then we're looking at interiors."
The activation of the facility marks also the first time Boeing has brought a commercial aircraft to a defense facility for a commercial purpose, using a workforce already accustomed to working with large military aircraft.
While the aircraft met a fully flyable experimental configuration to make the March 7 3h and 21min flight down to San Antonio from Everett, the aircraft is about to undergo significant changes from nose to tail to bring it in line with the latest design modifications that match FAA and customer requirements.
Right now, Boeing says six aircraft will come to San Antonio to start. Test aircraft ZA004, the only Rolls-Royce powered 787 currently slated to come to Texas, will be joined by the GEnx-powered ZA005 and ZA006. The remaining two aircraft, also GEnx-powered aircraft, were not identified by Boeing.
"The six is the current plan, its based upon phasing of where airplanes are in their build status, when they need to be delivered and the flow to get the airplanes down here and reworked and that plan could change, just as its changed in the last year. It's a dynamic situation," says Scott Fancher, 787 vice president and general manager.
With eight days to go before it internal first flight target, Boeing is spending Saturday conducting the flight line gauntlet on the first 747-8I, RC001. The flight line gauntlet will see the aircraft running through a closed-loop simulation of its first flight. This latest set of gauntlet tests differs from the previous factory gauntlet as the aircraft will be running fully under its own power generated by its four General Electric GEnx-2B engines. While Boeing has not confirmed a first flight date for the new jumbo, the aircraft continues to track to a March 20 maiden sortie.
UPDATE 12:42 PST: The flight light gauntlet is continuing today in Everett as pilots and flight test crews evaluate the aircraft's response to the external closed-loop simulation. As a point of comparison, ZA001's intermediate gauntlet lasted eight days, though the extended checkout consolidated the intermediate and parts of the final gauntlet tests on the new aircraft.
Boeing has not provided an official confirmation that RC001's flight line gauntlet is underway.
This is the last in a three part series on the development of Boeing's all-new jetliner. Part three places the business model Boeing may employ under the microscope as it learns from its past mistakes on the 787. Last Monday's Part One looked at market evaluations and the configuration and materials selection process and last Tuesday's Part Two looked at how Boeing will make the 20% leap in fuel efficiency in its new jet and what new advanced technologies are under consideration.
Though central to the development of an all-new aircraft is how Boeing chooses to industrialize the project and how it bridges the transition with its current 737 product line, which it expects to continue for decades to come.
With 843 sales, his goal is to replicate the 787's market success, while avoiding its pitfalls. Designing a plane that meets market requirements is part of Boeing's pedigree, though configuring a new jet is just as important as crafting and executing the right business model to avoid the mistakes of its predecessor.
Bair was one of the chief architects - and the original program manager - of the original 787 business plan that horizontally integrated supply partners, shifting both design and manufacturing responsibility away from Boeing, a model that has served up an excruciating lesson for the airframer with years of delays and billions of dollars of overuns on the program.
"I have a lot of scars, so I know what not to do this time around," says Bair who was replaced as program chief in October 2007 by now-vice president of airplane programs, Pat Shanahan.
Boeing has embraced its mea culpa attitude about its 787 woes, reflecting on its mistakes and generating headlines that reflect its contrition about the events of the past three years. While acknowledging its past mistakes is absolutely essential, not repeating them remains uncompromisingly more vital.
Specifically, Bair points to making the overall program schedule less aggressive and "adjusting the partner model" to meet a 2019 or 2020 entry into service for the new jet while avoiding the mistakes of the past.
"We went too far on the 87, and it cost us," he says of the partner model that initially saw all major structural components, save for the aircraft's vertical tail, built by supply partners.
Bair says Boeing is "not undoing [the partner model]," and adds "There's a lot of instances where it worked just the way we wanted it to, but there were too many where it didn't. So being more thoughtful and given the experience we've had on the '87', making sure we use that as we put together whatever the partner model is going to be on this airplane."
Company and industry sources confirm the discussions, which are geared toward providing a replacement to the 72 MD-10s currently in the logistics company's fleet.
Boeing declined to offer specific confirmation, saying "We are always in discussions with our customers about their future requirements. We don't share specifics of those discussions publicly."
FedEx declined to comment, saying "we do not discuss the nature or content of any private discussions we have with vendors or customers."
The size of a potential launch order is not clear, though on a one-to-one basis, the 58 MD-10-10F and 16 MD-10-30F aircraft in the company's fleet would provide fertile ground to launch such a program.
Additionally, development and production of a 767-400ERF is believed to be intended as a production bridge between the 49 outstanding 767 orders and the start of initial KC-46A tanker production, allowing the existing production system to continue uninterrupted.
Of the 49 outstanding 767 orders, there are 24 767-300ERs and 25 767-300Fs.
Boeing plans the first flight of a KC-46A in 2015, followed by achievement of initial operational capability with the US Air Force with 18 aircraft by 2017. The KC-X tanker contract, awarded to Boeing last week, worth as much as $35 billion will replace the USAF fleet of 179 KC-135 tanker aircraft.
The aircraft, equipped with winglets and a 787-derived flight deck will be assembled on the company's newly relocated lean 767 final assembly line inside the rear of its Everett, Washington factory.
Boeing Defense Systems CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he expected the KC-X award would spur commercial interest in the 767.
The passenger version of the 767-400ER, introduced in 2000, was a slow seller and was supplanted directly in the company's product line with the launch of the 787-8 and -9.
The airframer delivered 37 aircraft intended for commercial use, including 16 to then-Continental Airlines and 21 to Delta Air Lines from 2000 and 2002, with one additional VIP configured aircraft in January 2009.
The performance of a 767-400ERF is currently unclear, though FedEx was previously working closely with Boeing to develop a freighter conversion program for low-cycle 777-200 and -200ERs, also intended for MD-10 replacement.
A launch decision for the 777-200BCF/200ERBCF was expected in the first half of 2011, and a further delay could follow as FedEx evaluates the 767-400ERF.
FedEx announced earlier this week that it may eventually order up to 55 new build 777-200LRF aircraft and already has 12 in its fleet.
Original Photo Credit Moonm
This is the second in a three part series on the development of Boeing's all-new jetliner. Part two examines how Boeing will make the 20% leap in fuel efficiency in its new jet and what new advanced technologies are under consideration. Monday's Part One looked at market evaluations and the configuration and materials selection process and Wednesday's Part Three will look at the future production system and business model of the new jet.Once the question of 'what the market wants' is answered and materials have been selected, Boeing must get under the skin and on to the wing of its new aircraft to define what technologies can meet the performance the market demands. Among those items on the table are an advanced bleed architecture pneumatic system, fly-by-light flight control system, adaptive wings and the latest developments from three major engine makers, only two of which will likely be offered on the new jet.
The question when developing a new jetliner comes down to what levers does Boeing pull to deliver 10% improved cash operating costs and a 20% improvement in fuel burn over the 737 Next Generation. As a point of comparison, of the 20% improvement in fuel burn promised by the 787, ±8% comes from the engines, ±3% from the systems, ±3% from the structures and ±3% from aerodynamic efficiency.
From a pure cash perspective on short-to-medium haul missions, the cost of fuel tends to be only 25% of the cost verses 50% on a long-range mission, requiring Boeing to find other ways to reduce the overall non-fuel operating cost of the aircraft. However, that share is likely to climb as the price of oil steadily increases.
Mike Bair, vice president of Advanced 737 Product Development, says Boeing is working closely with CFM, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney to identify the airframer's engine options for a new jet.
"All three of them have given us what they think they can do for an engine that comes into service in [2019 or 2020], and it's better than what they could do for a [2015 or 2016 entry into service]," he says, an allusion to improved performance compare to the Bombardier CS300 and Airbus A320neo.
Bair also says it's Boeing preference to move away from the exclusivity agreements currently arranged with CFM International on the 737 Next Generation, providing a choice of two engines on the new aircraft.
"Our sort of fundamental assumption is that we would provide a choice," though Bair adds "If there's reasons you have an opportunity where a sole source makes sense, then you evaluate it."
Citing the experience early on in the development of the 737 Next Generation, "we were interested in having the [International Aero Engines] V2500 on the airplane. They were unwilling to do something about their fan," he says.
One industry official believes that one spot is likely reserved for the CFM Leap-X, the incumbent engine supplier on today's 737, with the second slot in competition between the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan and Rolls-Royce Advance2 and Advance3 engines.
Aside from fuel burn improvements, Bair says "we have opportunities on all fronts" to improve the maintenance cost of the aircraft by driving up reliability and asset utilization. In a general sense, the material choices that Boeing makes, as well as the aircraft configuration and cross section will guide maintainability and daily utilization.