Boeing's top marketeer has used his web log forum to dump some myths and rumours about forthcoming aircraft projects including a 797 blended wing body to rival the A380. Randy Baseler, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes
has scotched rumours before on his blog and has taken the time to do so again this month in answer to employees' enquiries
For example, he replies to a query on the feasibility of using 787 composite technologies to reverse engineer lightweight versions of existing models. Randy replies: "The cost of re-doing an aluminium fuselage design that is already complete, using another material set makes it pretty much prohibitive.
However, the hottest topic he addresses is the apparent existence of a secretly-developed prototype of a 1,000-seat 797 blended wing body (BWB) aircraft. Spoofers had posted a picture of the aircraft (pictured below), together with supposed press materials and technical specifications, on various technology websites
. "The mammoth plane [sic] will have a wing span of 265ft [80.3m] compared to the 747's 211ft [64m], and is designed to fit within the newly created terminals used for the 555-seat Airbus A380," ran the hoax press release.
But Baseler scotched the rumour for good. "Too good to be true. Someone was having a bit of fun with PhotoShop perhaps. Boeing is not planning to build a 1,000 passenger commercial airplane dubbed the '797,' based on the BWB concept or any other futuristic concept," he says.
Pushed on the same subject by another correspondent, Baseler says that BWB research being carried out by Boeing Phantom Works
, together with NASA and the US Air Force, will determine the "fundamental edge-of-the-envelope flight dynamics" and structural characteristics. As part of the research, Phantom Works has built a scale model for wind-tunnel testing of the concept's low-speed flying characteristics. There also are plans to flight-test the scale model next year, he adds.
Read Kieran Daly's view on how hopes for blended wing body aircraft could be killed off by studies showing air sickness more likely without windows