Boeing Boeing's 787 flies today!

You'll never find a new solution building the same old airplanes. That is the point. The point of thinking is flawed in industry in terms of innovation. They only make small baby steps.
In an industry where it costs millions of dollars just to design and build a protype and millions of more to test it I don't see why you would expect such extreme jumps in technology. Advancement in this kind of technology usually comes from large corporations like Boeing who can afford such endeavors and can see the ability to profit on it in the long run. From a business perspective, wasting millions of dollars on trying to pursue an entirely new technology which might lead to a finished product isn't the best option, regardless of how much better than end product might be. It is smarter to slowly improve current designs one "baby step" at a time allowing the company to have the most advanced technology out there while investing a much smaller amount of money in R&D that could possibly lead to that massive jump.
 
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Trick is, selecting metric that suits you you can prove whatever you want. Weight of the EOS camera I am using now is almost identical to weight of the mechanical camera I used 30 years ago, yet it has a zoom lens, works at ISO 100-1600 instead of the one of the film that is loaded, takes 400 pictures and not 36 before "cartridge" has to be changed, allows me to check the picture immediately and so on. Judging from the weight alone there was no progress in the meantime :smile:
However, your metric is not a good one. The metric I provided is valid (Note: that does not mean its the *only* metric).
 
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In an industry where it costs millions of dollars just to design and build a protype and millions of more to test it I don't see why you would expect such extreme jumps in technology. Advancement in this kind of technology usually comes from large corporations like Boeing who can afford such endeavors and can see the ability to profit on it in the long run. From a business perspective, wasting millions of dollars on trying to pursue an entirely new technology which might lead to a finished product isn't the best option, regardless of how much better than end product might be. It is smarter to slowly improve current designs one "baby step" at a time allowing the company to have the most advanced technology out there while investing a much smaller amount of money in R&D that could possibly lead to that massive jump.
40 years......let's see something revolutionary. Not excuses.


Where are airplanes that use active flow control technologies? Morphing bodies, or any other 'state of the art' technologies.

Is a carbon fiber fuselage with noise reducing engines something to gawk over? I think not.
 
Where are airplanes that use active flow control technologies? Morphing bodies, or any other 'state of the art' technologies.
I fly a lot and I don't want to step into some crazy state-of-the-art weird shaped plane. I want tried and true reliability.
 
40 years......let's see something revolutionary. Not excuses.


Where are airplanes that use active flow control technologies? Morphing bodies, or any other 'state of the art' technologies.

Is a carbon fiber fuselage with noise reducing engines something to gawk over? I think not.
In time, I'm sure these revolutionary technologies you want to see will come. I just don't think it is reasonable to be expecting them now. I'm not gawking over the 787, I'm just happy to see improvement in the field. These small but significant advances in the technology puts us one step closer to the revolutionary things you long to see.

I think, and correct me if I am wrong, that you are expecting the technology involved in the aerospace field to be advancing at the same rate as the everyday technology around us. The smaller, more everyday, kinds of technology can advance so rapidly because research in these areas is happening all around the world in hundreds of universities and research companies. A lot of these technologies build off each other to allow even further improvement. The technology here is much more specific, expensive, and can not be tested as easily.
 

turbo

Gold Member
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I think, and correct me if I am wrong, that you are expecting the technology involved in the aerospace field to be advancing at the same rate as the everyday technology around us. The smaller, more everyday, kinds of technology can advance so rapidly because research in these areas is happening all around the world in hundreds of universities and research companies. A lot of these technologies build off each other to allow even further improvement. The technology here is much more specific, expensive, and can not be tested as easily.
I might add that if your Blu-Ray burner screws up, you don't lose people by the hundreds in fiery crashes. Some technologies can advance very quickly in part because liabilities in the event of failure are low.

Incremental improvements and well-documented engineering studies can get a plane approved for testing, and help you put it on the path for certification so that it can be mass-produced. When Boeing intends to sink billions into the design, tweaking, and production of a new model, we should applaud their efforts and appreciate the jobs they will create, not Monday-morning quarterback them about a perceived lack of innovation. They have staffs of professionals (engineers, accountants, statisticians, etc) to guide their projects, and they have stock-holders to answer to if they want to keep attracting investment. I wish they'd build a plant in Maine.
 
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In time, I'm sure these revolutionary technologies you want to see will come. I just don't think it is reasonable to be expecting them now. I'm not gawking over the 787, I'm just happy to see improvement in the field. These small but significant advances in the technology puts us one step closer to the revolutionary things you long to see.
Is 40 years not "in time"?

I think, and correct me if I am wrong, that you are expecting the technology involved in the aerospace field to be advancing at the same rate as the everyday technology around us. The smaller, more everyday, kinds of technology can advance so rapidly because research in these areas is happening all around the world in hundreds of universities and research companies. A lot of these technologies build off each other to allow even further improvement. The technology here is much more specific, expensive, and can not be tested as easily.
I never said any such thing, and your statement makes no sense because many universities around the world do research on aerospace engineering.Where is the revolutionary change as a result of this research? (This is also talked about in the book).
 
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Incremental improvements and well-documented engineering studies can get a plane approved for testing, and help you put it on the path for certification so that it can be mass-produced. When Boeing intends to sink billions into the design, tweaking, and production of a new model, we should applaud their efforts and appreciate the jobs they will create, not Monday-morning quarterback them about a perceived lack of innovation.
Really, I should...Why? .....is their responsibility to make good airplanes, or jobs? I'm not "monday-morning quaterbacking" them, I'm conveying some facts based from a leading aerodynamicist.

It is quite clear that these incremental changes have lead to stagnation in the industry. Prove me wrong.
 
I might add that if your Blu-Ray burner screws up, you don't lose people by the hundreds in fiery crashes. Some technologies can advance very quickly in part because liabilities in the event of failure are low.
Very good point that I forgot to mention.
 

Borek

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The smaller, more everyday, kinds of technology can advance so rapidly because research in these areas is happening all around the world in hundreds of universities and research companies. A lot of these technologies build off each other to allow even further improvement. The technology here is much more specific, expensive, and can not be tested as easily.
I think there is more to it. Each technology has it limits. We have not yet found these limits for semiconductor & electronics, so there is plenty of room for advancement. That's not necesarilly the case with planes.

Think about history - we started with wooden frames, canvas and piston engines. If I recall correctly they hit the wall around 200 kts, they were not able to fly faster (even if they were able, it doesn't make my point invalid, read on).

We replaced wood and canvas with metal, and we made planes that were capable of getting around 600 kts. Again, that was technological limit, no amount of tweaking would change the situation (much).

We replaced piston engines and propeller with jet engines - and we get supersonic. Again, this technology has its limits - no idea where they lie, but I would bet Blackbird must be relatively close.

That's why I am not expecting much to change when it comes to planes. Sure, there can be some kind of technological revolution (I would be happy to vitness it) - but there are thousands of people, both professionals and amateurs, trying hard to reinvent the plane. So far most of their inventions were not substantially better than what we already have. Could be that's because we are again close to the technological limits.

Edit:
Where is the revolutionary change as a result of this research? (This is also talked about in the book).
Perhaps there is no place for it?
 

FredGarvin

Science Advisor
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I'm not "monday-morning quaterbacking" them, I'm conveying some facts based from a leading aerodynamicist.

It is quite clear that these incremental changes have lead to stagnation in the industry. Prove me wrong.
It sure sounds like you are. Who is this "expert" you keep quoting and why should anyone give a flying fig what his opinions are? He is one person who, apparently lives in a vacuum of a wind tunnel environment. Keep quoting him all you want but it is not reality and it is not keeping the public safety in mind.

BTW...40 years is NOT a long period of time. Perhaps to the Intel/Playstation generation it is but 40 years is a drop in the bucket.
 
I never said any such thing, and your statement makes no sense because many universities around the world do research on aerospace engineering.Where is the revolutionary change as a result of this research? (This is also talked about in the book).
That was just my interpretation of your posts, I guess I was wrong, thank you for correcting me. Many universities do research in the aerospace engineering field and may have decent designs on paper but they don't have the ability to build the prototypes that they would have to build in order to get it certified.
 
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It sure sounds like you are. Who is this "expert" you keep quoting and why should anyone give a flying fig what his opinions are? He is one person who, apparently lives in a vacuum of a wind tunnel environment. Keep quoting him all you want but it is not reality and it is not keeping the public safety in mind.

BTW...40 years is NOT a long period of time. Perhaps to the Intel/Playstation generation it is but 40 years is a drop in the bucket.
Considering the author is not from the "Intel/Playstation generation", invalid point. How do you know he 'lives in a vaccum,' when he frequently visits the pentagon to talk with sr. military staff on aircraft performance specifications. Really, your baseless accusations are uncalled for.

Look at the rate of progress of aircraft 40 years after the right brothers. Contrast that to the rate of progress 40 years after the B-707.
 
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That was just my interpretation of your posts, I guess I was wrong, thank you for correcting me. Many universities do research in the aerospace engineering field and may have decent designs on paper but they don't have the ability to build the prototypes that they would have to build in order to get it certified.
I'm not sure where you are getting your information from, but Universities don't design aircraft.
 
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I think there is more to it. Each technology has it limits. We have not yet found these limits for semiconductor & electronics, so there is plenty of room for advancement. That's not necesarilly the case with planes.

Think about history - we started with wooden frames, canvas and piston engines. If I recall correctly they hit the wall around 200 kts, they were not able to fly faster (even if they were able, it doesn't make my point invalid, read on).

We replaced wood and canvas with metal, and we made planes that were capable of getting around 600 kts. Again, that was technological limit, no amount of tweaking would change the situation (much).

We replaced piston engines and propeller with jet engines - and we get supersonic. Again, this technology has its limits - no idea where they lie, but I would bet Blackbird must be relatively close.

That's why I am not expecting much to change when it comes to planes. Sure, there can be some kind of technological revolution (I would be happy to vitness it) - but there are thousands of people, both professionals and amateurs, trying hard to reinvent the plane. So far most of their inventions were not substantially better than what we already have. Could be that's because we are again close to the technological limits.

Edit:


Perhaps there is no place for it?
Finally, someone is hot on the trail. Each quantum leap in technology is due to a key enabling technology. For the helicopter, it was the turbine engine. For aircraft today, there needs to be a key technology that will allow for a big leap in performance. This is where the money should be spent - finding "that" technology. I say it in quotes.
 

Borek

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Each quantum leap in technology is due to a key enabling technology.
Speaking of quantum leaps... Each next energy level is closer to the previus one, so the differences become smaller and smaller, and finally once you try to jump too high you will find you are no longer part of the atom :wink:
 

Borek

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I'm not sure where you are getting your information from, but Universities don't design aircraft.
Few years ago students from Warsaw Technical University have built a model aircraft that won some international competition - highest payload for the model weighting under xx kg or something like that, I don't remember exact details. You think they have skipped the design stage?

Now, designing and building a model is not the same as designing and building full scale aircraft, but that's a good way of testing new ideas. So it is not entirely impossible and it is done all the time.
 
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Few years ago students from Warsaw Technical University have built a model aircraft that won some international competition - highest payload for the model weighting under xx kg or something like that, I don't remember exact details. You think they have skipped the design stage?

Now, designing and building a model is not the same as designing and building full scale aircraft, but that's a good way of testing new ideas. So it is not entirely impossible and it is done all the time.
I'm not talking about model airplanes: I was hoping that would have been clear by the topic of the thread. I am aware of how aircraft are designed, as I have done wind tunnel testing on scale models. However, my point still stands.

When your company sells "Legacy" aircraft, that's the problem.
 

turbo

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I'm not talking about model airplanes: I was hoping that would have been clear by the topic of the thread.
Your wind-tunnel expert has to deal with models - that's the nature of the work. Boeing has to deal with real airplanes. Given a shift from aluminum skin to carbon composites with all the changes that must entail regarding attachment of the skin to the airframe, and the improvements in fuel-efficiency and noise reduction that they claim with the new design, it seems a bit presumptuous for a newly-minted engineer to disparage their work.

As a process chemist and troubleshooter in a new state-of-the-art pulp mill 3 decades ago, I had to help several new engineers learn the difference between theory and practice AND relate that to the realities of business. A couple of percentage points of efficiency in an energy-intensive business could make your bosses into heroes and ensure your job forever. As the lead operator and troubleshooter on the world's most advanced paper machine a few years later, I was fighting that same battle with a whole new batch of engineers, some of which had cut their teeth on equipment that was "cutting edge" about 50 years prior. Not easy.

This example may seem 'way OT, but it is not. You cannot hope to extrapolate your educational experience and your limited professional experience to an entire field of endeavor, nor critique a very large successful corporation with a track record like Boeing's without some really solid professional references to back you up. You don't like the new Boeing offering? Fine, but you might want to be prepared to offer some actual reasons, because right now, you are sniping and whining.

I hope they get the craft tested and certified for production (even if it is a bit late) and capture their targeted share of the market. We can certainly use the jobs, and every foreign-based carrier that orders units helps run down our trade deficit.
 
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Your wind-tunnel expert has to deal with models - that's the nature of the work. Boeing has to deal with real airplanes. Given a shift from aluminum skin to carbon composites with all the changes that must entail regarding attachment of the skin to the airframe, and the improvements in fuel-efficiency and noise reduction that they claim with the new design, it seems a bit presumptuous for a newly-minted engineer to disparage their work.
Who said I have a 'wind-tunnel expert'? I never said any such thing. In addition, did I not give you a source with a graph of the evolution of performance over the last 40 years of aircraft. If you have trouble interpreting it, let me know. If you have data that shows otherwise, please provide it as I would be interested in seeing it.

As a process chemist and troubleshooter in a new state-of-the-art pulp mill 3 decades ago, I had to help several new engineers learn the difference between theory and practice AND relate that to the realities of business. A couple of percentage points of efficiency in an energy-intensive business could make your bosses into heroes and ensure your job forever. As the lead operator and troubleshooter on the world's most advanced paper machine a few years later, I was fighting that same battle with a whole new batch of engineers, some of which had cut their teeth on equipment that was "cutting edge" about 50 years prior. Not easy.
And thats exactly the wrong mindset if you want to come up with revolutionary, and not evolutionary aircraft designs. Thank you for making my point.

This example may seem 'way OT, but it is not. You cannot hope to extrapolate your educational experience and your limited professional experience to an entire field of endeavor, nor critique a very large successful corporation with a track record like Boeing's without some really solid professional references to back you up. You don't like the new Boeing offering? Fine, but you might want to be prepared to offer some actual reasons, because right now, you are sniping and whining.
It was based on my readings of a leading aerodynamicist. It's not my "snipping and whining." Did you miss that in my post? I was pretty clear about it. Go back and reread it if necessary, as I generally dont like being misquoted.

I hope they get the craft tested and certified for production (even if it is a bit late) and capture their targeted share of the market. We can certainly use the jobs, and every foreign-based carrier that orders units helps run down our trade deficit.
That has nothing to do with the technical aspects, which is what I'm talking about.
 

FredGarvin

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Considering the author is not from the "Intel/Playstation generation", invalid point. How do you know he 'lives in a vaccum,' when he frequently visits the pentagon to talk with sr. military staff on aircraft performance specifications. Really, your baseless accusations are uncalled for.
Who is he? If he is doing nothing but bashing progress, then he is definitely in the minority, especially in the industry. Tell me who "he" is and I would be more than happy to look at what he considers to be worthy. Also tell me what advancements he is responsible for himself. Or are we just talking another academic that does nothing but write papers?

Look at the rate of progress of aircraft 40 years after the right brothers. Contrast that to the rate of progress 40 years after the B-707.
Most of those advancements after Kitty Hawk were due to engine development. Since the 707 we have had many advances although mostly military. So what exactly is a development that is up to your standards.
 
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Who is he? If he is doing nothing but bashing progress, then he is definitely in the minority, especially in the industry. Tell me who "he" is and I would be more than happy to look at what he considers to be worthy. Also tell me what advancements he is responsible for himself. Or are we just talking another academic that does nothing but write papers?

Most of those advancements after Kitty Hawk were due to engine development. Since the 707 we have had many advances although mostly military. So what exactly is a development that is up to your standards.
I am referencing this book:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0966955315/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Note: this was written before the 787, so I am basing what I said mostly on what is contained within it but still applies in here. The spirit still holds true.
 
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turbo

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Yeah, because its not like a leading aerodynamicist wrote the book I scanned for you. Or that I gave you something I was told by an aerodynamicist at boeing. Perhaps we should do more reading on this subject?
OK, without further attribution (since it was not provided by Cyrus), here is the "authority" on which he bases his claims. Pretty lame.
 

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