- More passengers sit farther from the longitudinal axis, and consequently experience larger vertical accelerations from turbulence, as well as normal banking maneuvers.
- More passengers are farther from the windows.
- No great place to put a high bypass turbofan.
I'm hopeful that one eventually gets built though, it'll be interesting how these pan out.
I’m not sure it’s a big problem: I took a flight in business class of A380, and it was a bit of surreal experience: you are so far from the window, and there are so many partitions, that basically there could have been no window at all and experience would be the same. It was a bit spooky, but turned out fine in practice. On regular flights people actively close shades to use entertainment system, so everyone used not to having windows now.
If they replaced a real window with some kind of system that showed different angles (forward, maybe also downward), that might be a net improvement to me.
I certainly would welcome better cameras and better flight info (something that I can connect tho via my own device). Or larger, wider angle windows around bathrooms, bars or other places people go to fight deep vein thrombosis.
That said I've always wondered why business/first in double deckers don't have windscreen. That would be an amazing experience.
That's fine and we are saying the windows on the sides are now useless so you could simply move them to the ceiling. No compromise. I'm not a huge fan of adding computer screens everywhere and many people probably agree with me. I have been on planes with exterior camera feeds that get piped into the IFE and it's not that great except at takeoff/landing. It's also not the same as natural light.
That does exacerbate the window issue, but honestly the last times that I've flown myself and my children seemed to be the only people looking out the windows anyway. Everybody else has a small screen shining in their face for almost the entire flight.
While this is fantasy: imagine if you could put on an AR headset and be able to "look through the plane" in any direction. Like that F-35 AR helmet. Maybe allow people to use their screens to also look out around the plane using the same system.
It may have been more of a Cold War thing, but I seem to remember running into that in a book at some point that there was a tacit agreement to not do that in the interest of not turning civil transport aircraft into mass produced intelligence gathering platforms, therefore in theory rendering them completely neutral in reference to needing to be taken into account in international sales/intelligence gathering.
I may be completely wrong or misinformed on that though; or the info may have been valid, but hasn't aged well taking into account how capabilities have evolved.
On the other hand I had no problems getting some good but very distant pictures of Havana a year and a half ago when our cruise ship sailed past.
That said the last time I flew east to west across the U.S., I was glued to the window as we crossed Utah. Killer views of canyonlands and mountain ranges. I found it was at least as impressive to view them from 35k feet as it was on the ground.
Also I see no added value of doing this on a plane as opposed to doing the same thing at home with the flight path pre-recorded or even being able to pick from multiple pre-recorded ones.
as a person who usually gets a window seat, and often closes it, hopefully my response will help you be less disgusted with people: the window seat gives me a wall to lean up against, which stops me from trying to take the arm rest from the center seat, and gives me something to fall asleep against without bothering others. sometimes it's nice to be able to relax without having to get up for others or inconvenience other people.
Airlines could do away with Windows for all I care and would probably prefer it.
> One of the reasons for the elegant appearance of the aircraft was the fuselage shape, a continuously variable profile with no two bulkheads the same shape. This construction was expensive and was replaced by mostly tube-shaped modern airliners. The tube is more resistant to pressurization changes and cheaper to build.
With blended wing bodies, you would again need a continuously variable profile for the whole fuselage (rather than only the wing, as in modern "tube-and-wing" planes). To build a larger or smaller variant, you would have to redesign the whole fuselage, rather than just adding/removing a few tube segments. So, even with updated tools, there will still be a lot of challenges...
First of all, nobody is CNC machining airplanes from billet. They're sheet metal structures. But that aside...
For handmade structures with little tooling, the difference is less because it takes only a bit more training and about the same amount of time to make a bunch of unique parts as to make a bunch of identical parts. The economies of scale are there, but less so.
But even for CNC parts, extra shapes means extra CNC programming time (expensive but amortizes over the number of pieces made, so n unique parts costs n times as much to setup and amortizes n times less). It means more inspection gauges. More tooling. Significantly more inventory costs.
Design a machine from a single modular piece, and all else equal it will be much cheaper than one made from a bunch of unique parts.
When you machine an amorphous or crystalline material like a metal alloy you aren't always simply removing material, but can be putting a specific finish on the surface for mechanical reasons. Sometimes you want to cast again for performance (or cost) reasons because machining can't get you what you want.
When you build a shape from a composite material such as fibreglass in epoxy you want the longitudinal fibres to run long distances to distribute the stresses. Machining it would defeat the purpose. They are cast.
I like these blended wing designs; I'm just pointing out that your argument is not applicable to this application.
Airliner structures are very conservative. They still use a lot of fasteners, lowering manufacturing and structural efficiency.
There is a lot of room to improve. There is a huge space for innovation in composites. It just takes a lot of time and money to ensure the more modern methods are also durable and safe.
Imagine how efficient car maintenance would be of only we'd use one standardized car. You can have the larger model, but all components are the same, every garage has them...
Have you seen how Boeing was building (well, how Mitsubishi was building, in point if fact) carbon fiber wings? They were doing it with carbon fiber ribbons as a single piece.
I don’t know if that scales up to the size of a blended body, though.
Lower cost - they'll fly. Over and over and over, lower cost? They'll fly.
Here's Forbes on it back in 2015; https://www.forbes.com/sites/airchive/2015/01/14/actually-ai... , and here's someone else on it in 2016; https://www.businessinsider.com.au/scandinavian-airline-sas-... , and someone else in 2017 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-us-airline-pass...
Price. Price. Price. That's what passengers show they care about through their actions. They like to pretend, we all like to pretend, but the evidence is clear.
If the consumer convinces everyone else not to fly on those cheap flights, the cheap flights discontinue and the consumer is left paying more. How's that to the consumer's advantage?
Turboprops cost less to buy and burn less fuel(on shorter routes) and take roughly the same amount of time for hourlong trips. But yet, at least in the US, turboprops have been almost completely replaced by regional jets.
This is because passengers prefer the small jet experience to the small turboprop experience, even though the turboprop is cheaper.
Put another way, the jets are cheaper, even though they individually cost more and burn more fuel. That the turboprops have been phased out of larger airlines that both run long distance flights and would benefit most from the economics of just jets in their fleet, while turboprops are still in use at smaller airlines who would not benefit as much from a single airframe fleet and serve a higher proportion of short distance routes, does seem suggestive.
In a slightly similar way, FedEx operates only jets but for small cargo routes seems to operate only propeller planes (along with its large FedEx feeder partner feelts). This could be for a variety of reasons, but it seems most logical (to me) to assume that props are more economical and of course cargo doesn't care about comfort.
Long term, you make friends, come up with portable hobbies, and just dig in to the job for a while.
- Passengers won't have "normal" seats far from the plane's central axis. The distal axis seats will contain steward seating, bathrooms, additional storage, and maybe even a small lounge.
- Windows on planes are dirty and small. You're also dealing with more noise and vibration being closer to the frame and engines.
- I don't know enough about turbofans, where can I learn more about the bypass limitations?
- Airliner passenger windows have been getting bigger. https://i.imgur.com/ISWgvZF.jpg
Window size is also not the main factor that matters. For instance I would take an A350 over an 787 any day (also because of the terrible tint windows) due to cabin layout and size.
Here's Forbes on it back in 2015; https://www.forbes.com/sites/airchive/2015/01/14/actually-ai... , and here's someone else on it in 2016; https://www.businessinsider.com.au/scandinavian-airline-sas-... , and someone else in 2017 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-us-airline-pass...
Price. Price. Price. That's what passengers care about. Same story, over and over.
Fares like that make flying possible for so many more people now. If we had to pay $200 or even $300/ticket (instead of $100) it would have made the trip unaffordable.
I'd actually pay a little more for seating that didn't recline (or rather, for the seat in front of me not to recline, but more than happy for that to be the case on all the seats). Genuinely would. Not a lot, but a little.
If you wouldn't cross it, how many people are there poorer than you who almost, almost fly? There are a LOT of them. A LOT.
... One unresolved question is whether such a plane would have windows or use video screens to give passengers a sense of their surroundings.
Another issue that has dogged such experiments in the past is how to handle sensations of movement.
Because passengers would be sitting further out from the center of the aircraft, compared to the classic ‘tube and wings’ model, they would move further when the aircraft turns. Rival Boeing has put more weight on a potential cargo role.
And otherwise you could have a cool hang out / lounge with nice pa Aramaic windows and everyone could have turns sightseeing.
I don't think so. Looking down isn't what people look out the windows at, it's the horizon. Looking straight down would be generally frightening, sickening, to many people... whereas the horizon is steady and calming.
But either way, once you're above the clouds, windows are OK but kinda useless. View doesn't change much up there, or at night!
Depends on if they put cargo down below or not. Makes sense they would so they can easily on/off-load it.
Why is that a con? Seems to me most people don't like window seats & want aisle seats.
This especially. USSR Tu-154 with a 3rd engine in this spot was very affected by aerodynamic shadow from a airplane body at certain angles.
Would it be possible to have at least roof windows for natural light or then it's not worth the bother?
Aren't these maneuvers done such that the local acceleration for all the passengers remains pointing straight toward the bottom of the plane, so that if they close their eyes they don't feel like they are tipping at all? Why can't this continue to work for BWB?
I also don't really understand the turbulence issue. Do planes typically roll during turbulence? My experience has been mostly vertical vibrations.
If we're gonna slash subsidies and introduce carbon tax on flights, it needs to hit corporate and expensive tickets as hard as possible whilst sheltering cheaper tickets as much as possible.
There's so many things HN proposes should be taxed / excised extra: cars, flights, gas, soda, alcohol, meat, rare metals in devices, batteries, electricity consumption etc etc.
They aren't bad ideas (hell, I agree fully with the sentiment of most of said ideas) but it's so easy to be blind to the fact that you'd basically be turning daily life into a two caste system where only the rich are allowed vices.
If you don't like inequality then there are other ways to deal with that - rather than using it as an excuse to keep flying.
I do however agree that a frequent flyer tax would be a good start, though be aware that a lot of airline routes are effectively funded by business class seats, so you might find flight frequencies dropping - but that's the point right?
Is it not already primarily upper-class people vacationing far abroad?
I don’t think of someone who makes $400k+ a year working as a software developer as necessarily upper class. In my view, upper class means someone who is financially independent and can afford to not work for money for a year or longer without a change of lifestyle.
A salary of 2x expenses will put you in the upper class within 22 years (with average market returns), and passive income will fully replace the salary within another 8 years, but until then, that's still middle class.
Basically, if you can afford to invest 1/6 or more of your income, you can make it to upper class within your lifetime, and still have time left to enjoy it.
Sorry but I think we need to be real. We are not the middle class. We are poor working class people. Most of the 10% is squarely the middle class. I'd imagine a big chunk of the 1% is middle class because one medical crisis could likely bankrupt them. Look at the wealth distribution graph.
People from the Bay Area really need to get out more. Source: I come from the actual poor working class.
Here's a bit from the Washington Post in 2017 talking about the difficulty of defining what is "middle class" in the modern era. They arrive at an umbrella of $35k-$122k. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/10/25/is-10...
Saying that you're part of "poor working class people" when you earn in a year what a significant number of your compatriots wouldn't earn in a decade is a ridiculous thing to say.
I commend you for being outraged at the insane inequalities in our civilization and I largely share your concerns but you really need to work on framing that better IMO.
Remember when the big tech co's were conspiring together against their own employees?
"Apple and Google's wage-fixing cartel involved dozens more companies, over one million employees"
You're just buying into "The Man"'s propaganda to keep the working class divided, yo.
(It reminds me of a joke from Futurama. Leela gets a bunch of valuable stock and says, "Wow! I suddenly have an opinion about the capital gains tax!")
Anyway, I am "really middle class".
Heck, I was homeless for about four or five years.
When poor serfs complain about less-poor serfs I like to point out that it's the lords they should be grumbling about, if anyone.
Someone making $400k/year should easily accrue the savings to do that.
If they're not after a year, they need to re-evaluate spending habits.
If it's primarily $400k+ software developers who currently vacation abroad, then that wouldn't be that strong of an argument against removing the tax incentives.
I am not opposed to a more progressive income tax. In fact, I firmly support higher income taxes on everyone. I could never run for political office in the US because how will I ever walk up to a constituent and say "I want to drastically increase your taxes?" and at the same time walk up to public sector employees and say, "I want to take away your benefits".
Yes, we need to address climate change. However, I think we also need to encourage travel so we can facilitate movement of people and ideas across the world. Not everyone who travels will change the world but I'm sure it can't hurt.
I think you got my statement backward. I was advocating for the removal of taxes, since AFAIK subsidies generally utilize tax money. Maybe as you suggest, "hit corporate and expensive tickets hard" to subsidize the flying for the poor (economy) classes (which I'm assuming already happens).
I'm sorry, why? I don't see being able to travel across the world at high environmental cost to be some god given right. It's not sustainable, especially as use of long-distance travel continues to grow with no end in sight. Make it expensive for everybody, instead of subsidizing it for whatever group you have a bias for.
Whether "it" is international travel, point-to-point personal transportation, or whatever, make it sustainable for everybody, instead of criticizing it for whatever group you have a bias against.
Currently 70% of the flights are made by 15% of the population (1). If you start adding increasing taxes on each additional flight you take, it would rapidly curtail a lot of the travel I'd expect.
I am sure a lot of us in Europe (and perhaps USA? Not sure if it is as prevalent) in the past have been guilty of taking a "weekend break" somewhere that is a 1 or 2 hr flight away where the tickets usually cost something like £30-40 return on Easyjet or Ryanair (and often cheaper than a taxi to get to the airport!)
E.g. after 2 flights a year, start adding £50 per flight (so 3rd is +£50, 4th +£100, 5th +£150 etc etc). Suddenly your £30 return flight from London to Lisbon/Rome/Dublin/Barcelona/Berlin etc is no longer so absurdly cheap. Put all the proceeds from the tax into decarbonisation and fast intercity rail.
That would soon make people (myself included) think twice about taking "frivolous" city-breaks every month or so where you fly out after work on a Friday and come home again Sunday night ready to be back at your desk on Monday morning.
1 - https://fullfact.org/economy/do-15-people-take-70-flights/
Tax flying in the EU, and people will likely take more trains. Try it in the US, and you're just pushing people back into their cars.
One can adjust the flight profile for maximum fuel efficiency, but this tends to be uncomfortable for the passengers and crew, and it takes longer to reach the destination. Most US passenger airlines don't do that, but military and cargo carriers will.
That aside, some portion of the fuel is spent continuously keeping the weight of the aircraft aloft, and with ground vehicles, the equivalent expenditure is the rolling resistance of the tires. Furthermore, an airliner plane tends to carry all the fuel it needs for the entire flight on takeoff, which translates to additional weight, whereas the ground vehicle can refuel enroute at a truck stop or gas station. Some aircraft can refuel in flight, but another plane has to carry it up there and maneuver it into place. A train on electrified rails need not carry any fuel at all.
So to some extent, it depends on the ground vehicle and the aircraft. In a contest between an ultralight or powered paraglider and a heavy pickup truck towing an RV trailer up in the Rocky Mountains, the flyer might have a lower footprint. But for a trip over flat ground, such as Chicago to Indianapolis or Cincinnati to Cleveland, in a medium-sized hybrid ICE+battery sedan, driving at or below the posted speed limits on US Interstate or Autobahn-like restricted access divided highways, I think the car will win against anything other than a solar-powered lighter-than-air craft.
I haven't done the bar napkin math, so I could be wrong.
AFAIU currently kerosene is very lightly taxed, if at all. If there is taxation of fuel or fuel-based payments for airlines, it will be reflected on ticket prices more than currently.
So the airlines can claw some of that back by introducing more efficient planes. But they will be expensive to develop and build, which is again reflected in ticket prices.
More subtly though, yes you are right; we need to dedicate some money to carbon offsets and not pass all of the savings to passengers.
So it is looking like jet fuel is around $2 a gallon for airlines right now. A 737 Max takes a total of 6,820 gallons. Since the flight from New York to Paris would be almost the max range we can assume all of it would be burned to transport the 172 passengers.
So ($2 * 6820 Gallons) / 172 People = $79 per person in fuel.
The price was less than 1 euro.
Telling me that there better ways to lower co2 emissions than not flying. (Or creating new airplanes.)
But you are right. The price going to purchase the CO2 offset is probably less than what I would be paying.
a) Flying is basically the only practical option for long-distance travel (edit: by which I mean humans travelling to be at a destination, not cargo/goods).
b) Travel is a hugely important good for society (debatable, but consider: experience of diverse cultures, being able to visit friends / have relationships, generation of economic value by skill sharing / conferences / etc).
I would argue that anything that increases the amount people are flying / lowers barriers to travel is a good thing.
Obviously if we can lower carbon emissions from airlines then we should, but I'd much rather curtail ANY other industry that produces huge amounts of emissions before trying to cut down on human travel.
Traveling is nice. I'd argue that most flying done nowadays does not increase cultural understanding. Hitchhiking or slow and uncomfortable means of transportation do increase cultural understanding, because they force people to share something. Modern traveling technologies offer a chance to travel half the globe while staying in a safe bubble. By the way here's an interesting phenomenon that you can notice when people talk about their travels. Stories always revolve around technical issues. Flight was cancelled, they had to take a cramped bus through the mountain, something was broken in the hotel, they got delayed when crossing a border. Traveling is often a game of moving around in unusual and adverse circumstances, and somehow making it work in the end.
Climate change is currently hurting economies, and the trend is worsening. Something that contributes to climate change is bad for the economy.
Having friends far from home is a bad choice. I've done it myself and it does have something attractive. But it makes life more difficult and these friends won't be there when you need them, simply because it's not practical. Of course it might sound great to say that someone flew thousands of kilometers to visit you. It sounds great because it's a huge waste, like showering a loved one with flowers.
Moving on.... you're playing with words, they are talking about specific flights.
At to a global level it might be a 15% reduction or maybe 18% for these specific flight routes. But they make no claim to know that figure. It's hard to know. They just are presenting facts.
And for the 2% or 5% or whatever difference to the 20%, that's people making flights that couldn't before. That's people exploring the world. That has amazing value as well. It's not just 'less than 20%'
What's the argument that that's garbage - or is my description not a good one?
No, it's the usage of the resource made efficient will be more than before, not the product.
The reason people believe it, other than annoying blogs saying it's true, is we can see as efficiencies increase price goes down and we will use the product more, so it mind hacks people about the resource
But it's really hard to ever intuitively see if the resource gets used more.
I think the original idea seems legit, it's just never been reproduced that I've ever seen. I've never seen a legit example of Jevon's Paradox outside of the original idea.
The mass/energy ratio of hydrogen makes it an extremely attractive aviation fuel. Its lower volumetric density has made it impractical with current designs, for most potential uses. Lifting bodies enable an elegant resolution to that problem. After some time it may be considered uneconomical to fly the old submarines-with-wings airframes.
We know how to use aviation fuels safely now. Although hydrogen is interesting as a potential fuel, I don't anticipate its use in the near future.
Existing infrastructure is much less important for long-haul aircraft. Facilities at just a half-dozen key airports -- say LA, NY, Hong Kong, Paris, Mumbai, Tokyo -- would suffice to bootstrap it. (Compare to, e.g., trucking, needing hundreds of stations.)
Aerogel-insulated tankage would make carrying liquid H2 easy and safe.
The value proposition is that a huge fraction of the expense of operating a long-haul carrier is hoisting the heavy fuel up to 40,000 ft. and keeping it up there. Enough H2 to get the same range weighs a third as much; the difference can be used for payload.
H2 can be produced direct from wind or solar when it's windy or sunny (respectively), and stores up power for peak demand, as well as for aviation fuel, so there are huge synergies in developing H2 production for multiple uses.
There is quite enough experience handling LH2 for rocketry. Probably carrying some LOX or H2O2, too, would enable flying at 60-80000 ft, for even more efficiency.
Not venting CO2 will matter when that is taxed, as it should be already.
If you are just considering a companies bottom line, obviously they are just going to do what would make them the most money.
As for vertical motion, perhaps the same applies: first class will be in the middle; economy passengers farther out, and fuel, baggage and crew areas will be farthest from the centre.
Over a hundreds times better than air....
The problem the airlines face is they are effectively massively subsidize with tax cuts on fuels and duty free status at airports etc plus their free environmental dumping of huge amounts of C02.
Air travel and freight is, by and large, is a luxury. Yet people are willing to let the world burn rather than give it up. I'm sure someone will tell me there is some scientific name for such illogical behavior.
Global aviation produces something like 2% of global co2 emissions
As for shipping, it uses 4.5% of global co2 emissions. Source https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/feb/13/climatec...
What's more, here is what @BurnGpuBurn  pointed out before:
"Shipping also very often uses the dirtiest of fuels and is therefore much more polluting than airliners which burn quite high quality refined fuels. That's why, to get around recent laws limiting sulfur emissions, large container boats now first "scrub" their exhaust gasses with sea water, so all sulfur will now nicely pollute and acidify our oceans.  No emissions though, because emissions bad."
> Sending air mail is a luxury now?
Yes - either wait a bit longer if you need to send a physical thing - or if it's just a message then do it electronically.
Yes - perhaps an email isn't as 'nice' as a real letter, but isn't that the definition of luxury?
Did you read my 2nd point? The emissions are not similar. Please also follow up on the source I've provided.
Because boats are not perfect doesn't change the original point:
A 20% saving on emissions for aircraft and talk of 'having more space for cargo' is missing the big picture - air travel is a massively subsidized luxury where the speed of travel comes at a massive energy cost.
The reality is, people aren't going to give up air travel. The best bet to make air travel more sustainable is to develop hydrogen powered planes. The Soviets demonstrated this concept .
> The reality is, people aren't going to give up air travel.
I hear Fentanyl is pretty addictive as well - so might as well subsidized it and make it available to everyone cheaply, the downstream societal and health care costs are not the immediate problem - the problem is people want this stuff.....
Flowers and f* ups get air freighted by plane, I've heard
You are correct about cruise ships, although it's more like 2-3x.
Or put it another way - if all that cargo going by sea went by air C02 emissions would be 100x more.
Obviously saying sea travel is massively more efficient doesn't obviate the need to reduce that as well.
> It has been estimated that just one of these container ships, the length of around six football pitches, can produce the same amount of pollution as 50 million cars
"Pollution" here is defined to exclude CO2.
> And if the shipping industry were a country, it would be ranked between Germany and Japan as the sixth-largest contributor to global CO2 emissions.
And now a reference to CO2 to muddy the waters.
Shipping is highly CO2-efficient per kilo relative to air travel (and cars and so on) but because we do a _lot_ of shipping, it's still a big CO2 emitter. Separately, due to extremely shoddy international regulation, many large ships put out large amounts of non-CO2 pollutants. This (the non-CO2 bit, not the CO2 bit) could be fixed, at relatively small cost to the industry, via changes to fuel and improved filtering, but until someone forces them to fix it it'll stay the same.
Comparing it to cars is very unfair. Gasoline in the 80s had tons of sulfur, FAR more than oceanic shipping emits today. It was totally eliminated by regulation and so that the sulfur can be sold at a profit. The relative difference is not relevant, because there's virtually no sulfur in car exhaust. Comparing the two tells you nothing about the absolute emissions or the recent and upcoming changes.
> And now a reference to CO2 to muddy the waters.
That's an understatement if anything- Japan and Germany are 3.5% and 2% of global CO2 respectively. It's preying on ignorance to make "6th most polluting country" sound high.
> This (the non-CO2 bit, not the CO2 bit) could be fixed, at relatively small cost to the industry, via changes to fuel and improved filtering, but until someone forces them to fix it it'll stay the same.
They are being forced- by the international maritime organization. The sulfur content has fallen from ~7.5% to an oceanic limit of at most 3.5% in 2012 (actual emissions are lower), falling to .5% this year. In the EU it's has been limited to .1% since 2015. Not least this is happening because China is taking such a hard line on smog. This is an incredible regulatory success, up there with leaded gasoline, iodized salt, and CFC bans.
It's very dangerous and detrimental to talk about oceanic shipping as a CO2 problem. It's essential to third world economies (both buying and selling), for one thing, but more importantly we know what the CO2 problems are: cars and coal. Fix those, then you can worry about natural gas and semi trucks. After that you've solved 80%-90% of the problem.
Seriously, say oceanic shipping globally is 2.5% of CO2 emissions. Light duty road vehicles are 59% of US transportation CO2, which is 29% of US CO2 emissions, which are 14% of of global CO2. Those multiply out to 2.4%. Forget trying to coordinate literally the entire world, you can get the same reductions by going after a single category of emissions from 4% of the world's population.
Fuel effciency is big incentivising factor in the airline industry. If we can have an AI control the extra complexity involved to bring safety to a par I can see prototypes being made for further experiments. It is visually interesting though.
Airbus is doing fine with fly-by-wire. They do so because they start with it at the design stage and don't haphazardly change major aerodynamic characteristics without going back to the drawing board and thinking through all the ramifications.
There is much more to say what went wrong and it's fairly well documented in public sources and little of it was because computers (though there is something to be said about the code quality culture at Boeing, but that's a different topic).
It perhaps could be connected to your car and phone, turning them off once you take a carbon positive flight.
And the Shell Oil concept plane model at Manchester's science museum: https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co84138...
My guess would be the present design has many more significant iterations left.
I think it's exactly the BAe 146 :) One of my favourite planes also - I used to love flying early morning flights with DanAir from the North of England down to London back in the 80s... of course these days I'd just get the train.
I was reading up on the 146 a few months back, idly wondering how much one would cost - I think the reason they're using one here is that they're comparatively cheap on the used market as the number of engines makes them fairly expensive to service, but said number of engines obviously provides redundancy.
Plus, there may be some juddering/felt turbulation by the passengers, depending on how severe your induced yaw is. The passenger would also feel the plane pushing them to the side, rather than back and down into the seat as in a conventional turn.
Changing direction more conventionally is way more efficient, loads control surfaces less, is more consistent for passengers, and is pretty much better in every way.
From what I understand, the problem with this particular kind of design is not so much about the direction of the forces but about the variation in forces though. If you're sitting in the end of a wing, as the aircraft goes into or out of a tilt you will experience quite some variation in the magnitude of the downward force, which is uncomfortable.
Whoever does manufacture one of these, I will bet you any amount of money that window seats will be at a large price premium, possibly even only for first class passengers.
The other problem is how do you get the toilets and the galley serviced from outside? And load the cargo bay?
- Jet engines
- Yaw damper
Among other minor inventions
You should not feel unease, but for sure try to imagine a world where ICE is phased out. This is going to happen. And when things get electric, they're going to get automatic ..
I wonder if 737 Max is making them rethink this already. I love how it looks though.
The way these things are made reliable is by redundancy and formal testing. The Boeing 737 Max MCAS had neither: it relied on a single angle of attack sensor and the software wasn't certified up to the appropriate level. The big mistake was that they gave the system more authority than what it was originally designed for, without an appropriate requalification.
IMHO it is entirely fixable technically but of course the scrutiny of the FAA on this and the resulting steady flow of management fuckups, more potential issues being unveiled, and the apparent failure of the certification process is pretty much guaranteeing this to take quite long. Last year I was still optimistic it would fly again soon but given the recent trickle of more issues, I think this is going to be a pro-longed grounding.
Airbus had it's fair share of incidents involving fly by wire in the eighties and nineties. However, more recent incidents seem to be not related to that anymore (terrorist attacks, bird strikes, bad weather/decision making, etc.). So, fly by wire is entirely safe if done properly these days and also not optional for flying most modern military planes. Airbus basically laid the foundation for their current success in the market right then.
IMHO pilots are increasingly becoming safety pilots (i.e. emergencies and unusual situations are the only times they fly manually) and we're not that long away from fully autonomous planes. Right now, aside from takeoff and landing, most passenger planes are controlled via the auto pilot only. The pilot doesn't touch the yoke and instead fiddles with buttons to direct the auto pilot. Cat III landings can be fully automated technically and certified pilots are required to fly a certain amount of fully automated touchdowns regularly. The military routinely flies remotely controlled drones and fully autonomous drones already.
So, a design like this could make sense. 20% reduction in drag is quite a lot of gain and fly by wire has been used for decades to make all sorts of otherwise unstable configurations flyable.
With a new design "from scratch" like this which would need new certification anyway, this wouldn't be an issue.
Airbus in particular has been using fly-by-wire for years. The issue with the 737 Max is that it felt different to control under different flight conditions from the classic 737 and Boeing tried to patch that difference in software. There would be no such issue in a new from-the-CAD-file-up airframe.
Being asleep in the cockpit is a good way to quickly end your flying career.
Some pilots stop paying attention on long, boring stretches where the autopilot is fully capable of following a vector and an altitude. However, if there's an alarm due to control issue or other emergency, the human is alerted and would take over amyway. That's why it's called an alarm. I don't mean to imply that I support this behavior, but it is an understandable human factor that's a lower priority to correct than other safety factors.
It’s a nice idea, but I can’t see it ever being anything other than a loud argument. Maybe that’s the point - airbus trying to lure Boeing into a battle they think they can win (legal) when it turns out it’s actually an ambush in the PR war.
I would bet that Airbus and Boeing have to cross-license their patents to one another anyway. Their interest is in keeping other entrants out of the market.
One issue could be airport infrastructure, the wing span would take up a lot of terminal / gate space. But if these planes are economically enough, who knows?