Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fallout in the US from the A380 Slowdown

The Hartford Courant has an interesting article on the subject of the GP7200 engine project for the A380. You will recall that the big Pratt/GE cooperative project was to develop and produce an option for operators who are not partial to the big Rolls Trent for various reasons.

At this juncture, all is not well with the program because of the lack of peristalsis over at Airbus. So far, 10 engines have been produced for test purposes. Plans are to deliver 12 engines in 2007 and 40 in 2008. Because Fedex had planned to use the big GP on its A380s, the cancellation of that order and the questionable status of others has produced a ripple effect all over the aerospace component sector and in particular the engine building world.

At this point there is a firm commitment for about 300 engines including spare units. However, as Phil Condit of Boeing said during the last aerospace implosion " When the customer comes to you and says 'I can't pay because I don't have any money', suddenly 'firm orders' don't mean very much."

However, money spent on engineering and product development is never wasted, and if the A380 program falls by the wayside, there's a lot of new technology that Pratt and GE can build on.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Where the Muscle to Move the Market Is

It's reported today that Boeing's share price on the New York Stock Exchange took a tumble on reports by an analyst for Wachovia Securities that the Boeing 787 program is running into delays and cost issues. Joe San Pietro downgraded the stock, and I haven't seen his report yet.

But move the market did. Boeing's stock, and thus its net worth dropped 3.4 per cent on the news, losing $3.03 per share. That means if you owned a share of Boeing stock yesterday morning you lost three bucks by dinner time on the strength of an unsupported rumor.

Of course, by lunchtime today the market had shrugged off the San Pietro report and had regained $2.37, or 2.77 per cent of value. But you still lost seventy cents more or less.

In absolute terms what's it mean? Well, there are 790,739,000 shares of Boeing stock outstanding give or take. That means that around $2.4 billion of shareholder value was scuttled with the stroke of a pen, or the drop of a nuanced word. Things aren't so bad today, as we're only down by half a billion, more or less.

Does anyone besides me think that this was awfully beneficial to short sellers? It would be interesting to see what the moves were on behalf of Wachovia's clients who own Boeing yesterday.

It's also mighty cavalier with other people's money is how it looks like from here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Airbus Questions Certification Basis for B747, Red Herring?

There's an article in Flight International today, in which da Festung is sniping at Boeing, particularly the plan to certify the 747-8 as a derivative of the 747-400. John Leahy, always ready with a whinge when it's needed says that the B747-8 is that the structural design and the door layout is "wrong" and that "we should all be certificating to the latest standards".

However, EASA has said they consider it a derivative of the B747 and they will require a full scale evacuation they should. One could probably determine pretty easily if the original stress substantiations hold up or not. The structural engineering isn't going to change.

Douglas tried to sell computer simulations, and so did Airbus. Nobody in the regulatory community bought that line of crap from Douglas on the MD11 and nobody bought it on the A380. So yes, there will be a full on evacuation test.

But Leahy's argument is another in a series of red herring attacks from Toulouse that we've come to expect....last year it was composites and ramp vehicle rash. What next?

It sounds like sour grapes because Airbus lost a pretty hefty order to Lufthansa, methinks.

Stay tuned.

Friday, January 19, 2007

What Can Brown Do For the A380F? Maybe Not Much...

It is reported in the International Herald Tribune this morning that United Parcel Service is seriously considering cancelling is order for the A380F. As reported by Les Echos, the more than ordinarily well informed French business daily, UPS is going to pull the pin next week.

Of course, UPS is denying the story but not vehemently, and the Emerald City trotted out the ceremonial talking head to say the whole business is rubbish. What's notable is that the talking head du jour was Barbara Kracht, who's been out of the limelight recently, perhaps recovering from surgery to reattach her head after being thrust into the guillotine too many times recently.

Stay tuned....this looks like a more interesting rumor than the China Eastern cancellation rumor last year....this may have legs.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Power8: What It's Really All About

While we've been taking the day off the rest of the world has been busy. It's reported that the first phase of the Airbus "Power8" restructuring plan will be announced soon and it has all the wide body stuff coming from Hamburg and the 'next generation' A320 production being located in Hamburg and China.

This raises some minor questions, such as "What in the hell are you going to do with all the out of work people in Toulouse and Hamburg that this plan is going to create?"

Inquiring minds need to know.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Birds of a Feather

This says it all.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Aviation Legal Update

To all my readers.

Recently I got myself appointed as an FAA FAAST team representative. The federales were pretty impressed that I was the only person in the room with a maintenance background and I just happened to be a lawyer as well and I was willing to devote some spare time to it. Of course, my motives were to make myself known and maybe try and hustle up some paying work somewhere along the line.

I started working up some material that may become a short presentation for some maintenance people at an IA seminar next month. It was most interesting.

So it occurred to me that I should be blogging aviation legal matters as well. A survey of the field reveals that it is pretty sparsely populated and focuses on matters of commerce and the airline business. My focus has always been on the worker bees.

I haven't yet figured out whether it will be a new blog or whether I shall continue building on the body of work that is the Dougloid Papers. Either way, stay tuned.

Monday, January 08, 2007

We're Watching You, and Now You Know It: UPDATE

Sunday's Times reveals that Israel has contingency plans to take out the 'peaceful' Iranian nuclear fuel refinement facilities at Natanz, Isfahan, and Arak.

Otherwise, this story does nothing to shed light on why Israel might be concerned about the development of 'peaceful' Iranian nuclear technology. So I thought I'd do a little research.

The Times published about the same story back in 2005....surprise! The same authors!

And on September 3, 2005....surprise! The same authors.

And Mr. Uzi Mahnaimi in 2004.

And in 2000, only this time it was testing nuclear cruise missiles.

And in 1998, Mr. Mahnaimi was alleging that Israel was working on a biological weapon that would kill Arabs but not Jews.

It looks like he's on about a two to three year cycle of shocking revelations.

A Google search using the terms "Mahnaimi+Baxter+Iran+Israel" reveals that the usual suspects have picked up on this particular article of trade being retailed by the Times.

What's remarkable about the entire affair is the appalling lack of facts in both articles. They're larded with suppositions, unfounded assumptions, secret plans and unnamed sources.

If this is what passes for hard hitting journalism at the Times, I've clearly missed my calling. I could have knocked that out in an hour or two and then retired to my estate in the south of France to watch the checks roll in. I mean, it isn't as if Mr. Mahnaimi is doing anything but retailing the same wares he'd been trading in for a number of years.

In reality, one would have to be a complete moron to think that Israel hadn't done a bit of contingency planning with the Iranians in mind.

After all, Mr. Ahmadinejad, Imperial Wizard in charge of the Islamic Republic of Iran HAS said he'd like to see Israel "wiped off the map" as reported by Al Jazeera. the Bangkok Post, Worldnet Daily the Sydney Morning Herald and on, and on, and on.

All of which could be chalked up to schoolyard chest thumping, except that there IS the small matter of the Iranian 'peaceful' nuclear program AND the acquisition of North Korean Scud-based technology capable of delivering nukes to a wide area of the middle east.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly told anyone who'll listen what his intentions toward Israel generally and the Jews in particular are. Hobnobbing with the likes of David Duke, the aspiring Klan gauleiter from Louisiana leaves no doubt as to Ahmadinejad's intentions. He couldn't be clearer.

Just like his predecessor, the late Corporal Hitler, was equally clear on what he intended for the same people.

So...yes, there probably IS a plan to deal with Iran.

But the one person who determines whether that plan is put into action is not in Israel.

He's in Teheran.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cargo Haulers in the Great White North

The Globe and Mail has an interesting article this morning that describes in some detail Canada's selection process for new fixed wing, search and rescue aircraft to replace its aging DHC Buffalo and Lockheed C130E aircraft. Canada appears to have settled on the Alenia C27J to the exclusion of any other aircraft, including the EADS/CASA C295.

Of course, EADS is not happy about being bested in the single source selection process. They're not happy about much these days, including Canada's selection of the C17 and the C130J for its military airlifters to the exclusion of the A400M-which is not expected to fly until next year or the year after.

The trend up north seems to be to select off the shelf aircraft that are in production and meet the requirements that the Canadian military has set out.

Parenthetically, the C295 and C27J are the competitors for the US Army JCA program, along with the CN235 and the C130J Hercules II. As the JCA program looks like a 'right size, right capacity, right cost' program to take the load off the Air Force's C130s and the Army's Sherpas, the CN235 and the C130J are probably not in the ballpark.

It's interesting to speculate whether the C27J selection is any index of what the JCA program here will eventually end up with.

Let's go to the tape:

Engines: 2 x P&W PW127G, 2645 shp each
Cabin dimensions: length 41' 8", width 8'10" height 6'3"
MTOW 51,146 pounds
MLW 51,146 pounds
Payload 20,393 pounds
Fuel capacity 12,814 pounds
Floor capacity 670 lbs/ft
Range 2,810 nm
takeoff run, MTOW 2,769 ft
max operating speed 260 kt

Engines: 2 x RR/Allison AE2100D2, 4,637 shp each
Cabin dimensions length 37' 6" incl ramp. width 10' 14" height 8' 6"
MTOW 70,107 pounds
MLW 67,241 pounds
Payload 25,353 pounds
fuel capacity 20,506 pounds
floor capacity 3,286 lbs/ft
Range 3,200 nm
takeoff run, MTOW 1,902 feet
max operating speed 325 kt

From this remove, the C27J offers a considerably faster platform with higher payload capacity and a more robust floor loading capability. I'll be keeping an eye on this subject and revising these preliminary numbers as they become available.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

One Year On the Air....

It was a year ago that we started The Dougloid Papers, and it has been an interesting and productive journey.

My writing's gotten a lot better and I've made the acquaintance of a number of interesting people from the work that goes on around here, not the least of which was starting two other blogs, Law Down On The Farm and the Iowa Law Enforcement Reporter .

Law Down On The Farm gave me a vehicle to get ag-related information out subito. I hope the people who it is directed at understand that the pain they feel is me grinding my grubby thumb in their eye.....somehow, knowing them as I do, it will not make much difference. My life's far too interesting these days to spend much time worrying over such matters.

A trip thru the archives will tell the tale if you have an interest in such things.

The Iowa Law Enforcement Reporter was an idea I had to publish matters of interest and recent decisions that affect the law enforcement community here in Iowa. That's worked out pretty well, too.

On the aviation front this year should be interesting for those of us who are incurable kibitzers on the Airbus v. Boeing thread. I'm going to try and return to my roots a bit and I hope to enlist a few correspondents akin to those in the law enforcement community who send me items from time to time.