Monday, February 20, 2006

Advice to Tom Anders: Count the Chickens AFTER They Hatch.

Well, we're in the runup to the Asian Aerospace fandango and gran baile, and the first flakes of what promises to be a snowstorm of misinformation are in the offing.

It is reported today that Tom Enders, CEO of EADS has stated that his firm plans to topple Boeing from its domination of the military aircraft business in Asia. How are they likely to do this? Why, according to Enders, they've got the CASA 212 and the CN235, and the A400M is sure to be a big hit. He also says that sales of the Airbus A380 will jump once Singapore Airlines puts the aircraft into service, allegedly at the end of this year.

Well. The CASA 212 is a nice airplane-I've worked on a few of them-but they are not a C-130 and neither is the CN235. And anyway, the C130 is made by Lockheed. And the C17 by Boeing out of Douglas as the horsy types would say is slated for its doom here in two years, despite what you may have heard to the contrary among wishful thinkers and star struck dreamers.

So. What in the hell is Mr. Anders talking about?

The A400M is a long way from first flight let alone certification, and the A380 order book has been stalled at 159 since last year, if you believe the Airbus website. The A400M will be a new aircraft with a totally new engine design, and that spells teething problems and plenty of them.

You gotta wonder why the House of Airbus chose to go with an unproven turboprop instead of a nice off the shelf commercial turbofan, unless it was to get around ITAR regulations against transfer of American technology to thug nations. I mean, they coulda used the CFM56 if the airplane was aimed strictly at NATO countries, right?

The A380 that we're now talking about is likely to configure at right around 500 passengers instead of the 555 we talked about before, if what I'm hearing in the news from the Houses of Qantas and Singapore Airlines is correct. And why might that be? Could it be that no airline will be able to load up 555 seats with happy passengers and their baggage and meet the weight and range guarantees, because there's a weight problem that Airbus hasn't fixed? Or could it be that if you take the Airbus figures and calculate 555 passengers and baggage and throw in as much fuel as you can, you've got no cargo capacity to speak of?

And, there's the small matter of the wing failure at 3 per cent less than the ultimate load on the test fixture-a mere bagatelle?

Well.....should be an interesting season, for all of you with functioning B.S. detectors.

The article's from Deutsche Presse-Agentur by way of:


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