Friday, December 25, 2015

Cranky Kid Becomes Grouchy Brat: Ten Years On The Case

I still don't know who this kid is or where he came from, by the way.

I'd guess he's 12 or 13 years old now and engaged in the somewhat dubious pre-adolescent male bonding rituals that are universal methinks. Titty pictures are an ever enjoyable source of entertainment for the male of the species. I was a Boy Scout. I know.

We here at the Dougloid Papers mark the beginning of year 10 in the pursuit of Truth, Justice, and the Amurricun Way of Life. It seems like only yesterday that I started this tirade and it has strayed a little bit from commenting on the aviation scene, but a few observations are in order.

The A380 seems to have survived the initial pangs of launch, growth, blown deadlines and general obesity that dog all new aircraft launches as has the A350 and the A400. It was the same at McDonnell Douglas when we launched the MD11 and the C17. I don't know about the T-45, we had it in Long Beach and screwed that pooch so far into oblivion that St. Louis snatched it away from us but I suspect it was overweight and robust, kinda like a slightly overage rugby player.

The jury's still out on whether Airbus will ever make money, but since the taxpayers are footing the bill as they usually do in Europe, it's unlikely that it will ever matter. On the other hand, recent events such as the impoverishment of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece and the mad rush of impoverished refugees from the middle east and Africa  seem to suggest that although deep, the pockets of the German banks and taxpayers are not bottomless.

Why German banks? We've talked about this matter before here and here and here .

It was common knowledge around the McDonnell Douglas facility in Long Beach that about 450 MD11s would need to be built and sold before they started making any money on the project. As it happens, it didn't happen.

In the 20 years since it was first announced, so Forbes tells us, the A380 cost a cool $25 billion to develop, and they've delivered 176 of them since the first one in 2005. At this rate they've got 290 more to build before they're in profit-which amounts to another 16 years assuming all goes according to plan. That's problematic when highly positioned insiders start making noises about shutting down A380 production and throwing in the towel, as recently happened.

Boeing's 747-8 not as spiffy as but cheaper than competitor is not doing very well either.

Nonetheless one of my pals from back in my days had a ride on an A380 to Dubai and back and said it was an other worldly experience, akin to a smallish, very well appointed planet in its own orbit floating above the moiling and grubby world below.

All of this seems to suggest that "Four Engines For Long Haul" as the Airbus folks used to chant like obnoxious Hare Krishnas back in the days of the A340 translates into "Four Engines Is Twice As Much As You Need."

The Big Twins-the 777, the 787, and the A350-seem to be the wave of the future, and composite construction has been vindicated with over 350 787s in the air.

The other major event in the aviation world is that the C-17 is no more, and as I predicted 8 years ago before booted me off the site permanently Long Beach would have no 767 tanker line, no 737 line, and in fact was as dead as last week's salmon.

Enough of that.

We soldier on here as best we can. I'm still not saying I clobbered the Grim Reaper but He has been in my rear view mirror for a couple years shaking his fist and allowing as how he'll get my skinny ass some other day and give me a bus ticket to hell. I'll wait happily on my park bench.

The Dragon Lady will be retired a year from now or so and will finally get to do what she's always wanted to do which is get paid while sitting on her ass watching television. I remember this every month when the mail lady brings the Social Security check and the $58.37 the State of Iowa long may she wave sends my way just for being me, and I highly recommend it to anyone who's read this far.

I'll see you this time next year if the good Lord is willing and the creek don't rise.