Discussion:
The Airbus A380 Fiasco
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Scott M. Kozel
2006-09-24 22:02:00 UTC
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http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/09/the_airbus_fiasco.html

The Airbus Fiasco
By Thomas Lifson
September 23, 2006

As a supreme symbol of Europe's prowess in aerospace, indeed in modern
technology itself, the A 380 superjumbo jet, is melting down. No longer
the embodiment of European cooperation and unity, its third announced
delivery delay reveals internal chaos, bickering, finger-pointing and
recrimination within Airbus and its parent EADS.

The whalejet, as it is known to some, has morphed from queen of the air
into drama queen of the air.

Over a week ago, I pointed to signs of further trouble for Airbus in
meeting its delivery commitments. Yesterday, Airbus roiled the airline
industry with its announcement of an indeterminate delay in delivering
the airplane to its waiting customers. Those rumors have proven out and
more.

You have to feel sorry for Christian Streiff, brought in as the new CEO
of Airbus from French glassmaking giant St. Gobain, following earlier
delays and political scandal. He has inherited an organization at odds
with itself, and unable to identify, much less fix, the source of the
problems preventing it from completing and delivering the massive
airplane. He has a lot of bad news ahead before he gets to annoucne any
positive moves.

Airbus and its parent EADS are the product of mergers done in the name
of European unity, intended to produce a giant that could compete with
the likes of Boeing and Lockheed-Martin in both civil aviation and
defense. State shareholders and "launch aid" funding make it beholden to
political interests, not markets alone, in its decision-making. It is
often cited as a "social enterprise" of the European model, not merely
interested in profits, but in public service and the welfare of its
employees.

Such muddled thinking has produced results that are currently serving
nobody. Except maybe sales executives of rival Boeing, chalking up more
and more orders for the 787 Dreamliner, a smaller, more efficient,
longer range competitor, offering passengers the option of avoiding
crowded hub airports and time consuming changes of plane, and flying
nonstop to their destination.

Customer reaction

The confusing, even contradictory reactions of A 380 customers to the
third announcement of a delay, as reported in the world press, are a
sign of the hardball negotiations underway. Billions of dollars are at
stake, but in aviation, nobody wants to undermine passenger confidence,
so direct expressions of dismay and votes of no confidence are as rare
as French military triumphs in the last two centuries.

The biggest customer for the A 380 is Emirates, the airline based in
Dubai, which accounts for 43 orders and two lease options, for a total
of 45 aircraft, out of announced order book totaling 159 birds. That's
almost 30% of the total sales for one unhappy customer.

The Associated Press ran a story that Emirates' order was "up in the
air."

After announcing its order of 45 Airbus A380 jumbo jets was "up in
the air," Emirates Airline said Thursday that it wanted the European
consortium to clarify the aircraft's delayed delivery schedule.

Emirates' statements were spurred by the manufacturer's announcement
that deliveries of the 555-seat A380 would be delayed. The double-deck
airplane has a list price of $300 million, valuing Emirates' order at
roughly $13.5 billion."Emirates awaits clarification from Airbus as to
when the rescheduled delivery dates are going to be, and has taken no
position with regard to cancellation, compensation, damages," airline
president Tim Clark said in an e-mailed statement.

Clark said the Dubai-based carrier, in the midst of a rapid
expansion, was waiting to learn "exactly when the aircraft will be
delivered."

His statement came after Emirates spokeswoman Valerie Tan said the
manufacturer's delay had left the carrier's order in doubt.

Reuters, however, ran a denial of any jeopardy for the order.

Dubai's Emirates [EMAIR.UL] airlines denied a media report on
Thursday that it was considering cancelling an order for Airbus A-380
aircraft.

Emirates has ordered 43 of the aircraft, which carry a list price of
$300 million--by far the largest order for the plane.

The A-380 project has been delayed and angry customers have called
for compensation, but Emirates spokesman Boutros Boutros said an
Associated Press report that the order was being reconsidered was
incorrect.

"This report is wrong. Nothing has changed. The order still stands,"
said Boutros said in Dubai.

Hardball is being played. No airline is happy when scheduled deliveries
are pushed back. Passengers must be accommodated in hastily-acquired
alternative aircraft, crew training and scheduling plans are thrown into
chaos, vast expenditures in new facilities to accommodate the planned
planes are made less useful, and everyone must scramble to keep things
on an even keel. And all of this costs a lot of money.

Airbus is on the hook to pay compensation to its customers for the
delays, but lost opportunities cost more than money. Aviation is a
business built on dreams and visions, and prestige is not at all
incidental when you are talking about carriers that embody national
aspirations of greatness.

Singapore Airlines was to be the first customer to fly the A 380. It had
proudly announced and advertised the beginning of service this year.
Earlier delays caused that to be rephrased as a "delivery" this year,
allowing for training, testing, and other necessary functions to be
carried out for scheduled service beginning next year. Now, that
"delivery" has been rephrased as a "ceremonial delivery." Whatever that
means.

Singapore, too, is not pleased.

'We're in contact with Airbus concerning the announcement EADS has
made,' said Stephen Forshaw, SIA vice-president for public affairs.

'We're now waiting to hear some firm details from them about the
delays and how they will impact on us.'

Keeping your best customers in the dark about when they will receive
airplanes is the very opposite of what jetliner manufacturers ordinarily
do. It is a signal of big trouble within Airbus.

CEO Streiff obviously (to my eyes at least) realizes that he has got a
huge mess on his hands, and wants to get the bad news out as quickly as
possible, rather than letting it dribble out bit by bit. That's the only
smart way to pull off a turnaround.

But he obviously does not yet know himself what all the problems are,
much less when they can be solved, and awaits the results of a
management audit. In the meantime, hints are being dropped of possible
drastic measures necessary to fix the problems.

How drastic? How about this report from the UK Guardian?

EADS, majority owner of Airbus, is planning a radical costcutting at
the European planemaker to offset the strong euro, replenish its
earnings and restore investor confidence which has been battered by
fresh delays to the A380 superjumbo.

The plans are being drawn up by Christian Streiff, the new Airbus
chief executive, for an EADS board meeting on September 29 and could see
cost cuts of at least €2bn (£1.35bn) a year, including job losses and
eventually moving production to plants outside Europe. [....]

Under Mr Streiff's plans, work that is currently shared between the
main Airbus plants in Toulouse and Hamburg would be given to just one.
It would involve more components, traditionally bought from European
suppliers, sourced overseas to companies operating in the dollar zone.

Ultimately, it is said, output could be switched to new plants such
as the factory Airbus is building in China for its A320 planes or even
the US itself where the company plans to build a plant in Alabama for
the air-to-air refuelling tanker plane it is offering to the Pentagon in
a contract worth up to $100bn (£52bn).

I cannot begin to imagine the reaction in Germany if the Hamburg works
are closed. Germany is supposed to be an equal partner with France in
Airbus. Depressed Hamburg can ill-afford to lose this one bright spot of
high tech employment. Toulouse, meanwhile, is the fastest-growing city
in France, and buoyed by Airbus employment. Consolidating work in
Toulouse would not go down well at all. But Toulouse, the heart of the
operation, cannot be closed and work moved to branch plant Hamburg.

Even worse, the respected aviation journal Aviation Week & Space
Technology reports

...an analysis of Airbus's recent errors could well unveil
weaknesses that are simply too difficult to admit to the outside world:
Cultural differences are still there (or are back), especially when
French and Germans try to speak with a single voice and work closely
together. The disorder affecting the A380 production schedule could stem
from failures in communication and a tactic to conceal, rather that
reveal, information affecting Hamburg and Toulouse. Concealing
information may have prevented the other "side" from intervening.

Such structural secrecy in decision-making and the retention of
information are dangers that constantly threaten any chain-of-command.
However, within Airbus, such difficulties could be exacerbated by
cultural differences as well as national pride. Middle-level managers
were probably caught between a rock and a hard place, doing their best
to resolve problems, long before top executives could identify the
looming disaster.

Emirates may well decide to cut back on the size of its order, shrinking
the Airbus order book. It faces intense new competition since the time
of iots big order, from rival airlines in the UAE, each modeling itself
on Emirates, which to a large extent has modeled itself on Singapore.
Flight Global reports

the basic menu and ingredients from which it was created have been
adopted by two of Dubai's neighbours - Abu Dhabi and Qatar. This has
seen the creation of Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, which are
becoming worthy rivals to their mentor. Both airlines have growing
fleets of new-build widebodies, rapidly expanding route structures -
both are poised to introduce direct services to the USA - and bespoke
major developments of their hub airports funded by their governments.

Boeing, thoughtfully, has planned the 747-800I, a stretch of the long
ago paid-for and proven 747 model that could carry enough passengers to
eat into the A 380 order book. It has already sold a healthy number of
freighters of this stretch version. You can be certain Boeing sales reps
are intensely talking with angry Airbus customers.

Streiff, for his part, may be pulling a similar hardball strategy with
the EU and its member states. The threat to close Hamburg and move
production to China or (gasp!) Alabama may be intended to pry open the
state coffers. Airbus is going to have to spend a lot more money than it
probably can generate, in order to pay off customers needing
compensation, complete the problematic A 380, and fund development of
the revised version of the A 350, the planned new technology competitor
for the 787 Dreamliner.

But increased governmental aid not only burdens taxpayers, it threatens
to provoke a trade war with Washington, DC, which has been vigorously
warning the EU against further handouts to Airbus, even in the form of
forgivable loans for development expenses.

The A 380 has gone from a dream to a nightmare. It is problem that is
simultaneously financially important, diplomatically sensitive, and
symbolically potent. Outright cancellation of the A 380 seems almost
unthinkable, such would be the blow to Europeans' self regard. Bt the
program is already billions of euros over budget, and the end is nowhere
in sight.

The only thing worse than delivering the whalejet late would be
delivering it without having solved all the problems currently delaying
production and delivery. A stranded plane with 600 passengers is no
treat. God forbid, an outright crash costing that many souls would make
the nightmare into a catastrophe of a scale rivaling the ambitions which
drove the project in the first place.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of The American Thinker.
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matt weber
2006-09-24 23:21:55 UTC
Permalink
Actually I think the A380 now faces two serious problems. The aircraft
will now enter service about 2 years late. Where that really hurts is
the delay causes a dramatic escalation in the NRE costs. If you
assume there has been 10 billion USD Non recurring engineering cost,
the delay in significant deliveries of 2 years add another 1.5 billion
USD or so to the costs. By the same token, a carrier wishing to order
A380's is now looking at a delivery that is probably no better than a
747-8, which is likely to cost a lot less to buy, and a lot less to
operate. The dramatic run up in fuel costs has done really nasty
things to the A380 economics.

The big cost now is fuel, the first order estimate for fuel cost is
operating weight. The A380 with the 520 seats most carrier are going
to use to put it in service works out to about 1200 pounds per pax. 4
years ago with Jet A at 70 cents a gallon, Fuel represented about 10%
of ASM cost. At $2 per gallon, it is now about 25% of ASM cost.

The tripling of Oil prices between the annoucement of the A380 and the
delivery has done really ugly things to the attractiveness of the
A380, and that is one of the reasons the aircraft's sales are stuck in
Neutral.

By contrast, a 777-300 with 320 seats is just over 1000 pounds per
pax, and has the best SFC engines in the sky. 777-300 is likely to
have lower ASM costs than the A380 now.

Even Airbus has now been forced to recognize that the future belongs
to the twins...
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JF Mezei
2006-09-25 00:46:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by matt weber
assume there has been 10 billion USD Non recurring engineering cost,
the delay in significant deliveries of 2 years add another 1.5 billion
There is also another hidden cost. Consider that a number of airlines
have been waiting for the A380 to enter commercial service before
starting to seriously consider it (i.e. wait for real life performance
numbers). The delay in first commercial flight also delays those orders.
And that makes the A380 look worse because of lack of new orders for
such a long time. Lack of market momentum does help Airbus when it is
seeking forgiveness for the wiring problem.
Post by matt weber
A380's is now looking at a delivery that is probably no better than a
747-8, which is likely to cost a lot less to buy,
In its current state, I suspect that Airbus would certaintly discount
the A380 quite a bit.
Post by matt weber
The big cost now is fuel, the first order estimate for fuel cost is
operating weight. The A380 with the 520 seats most carrier are going
to use to put it in service works out to about 1200 pounds per pax.
At 550 seats, your numbers comes down to 1134 lbs per pax.

Now, we don't really know what its real perfornmance capabilities are.
And remember that not all mission require 8000nm range and you may find
the 380 with more passengers in not too distant a future.

Consider that for an airline like Singapore, the first planes go to the
most high profile route. And they want to use that extra space to gain a
competitive advantage.

But not all airlines will be like Singapore and not all airlines will
want to fly it 8000nm, and they'll be able to load it up more.

Air France is likely to have higher density seating than Singapore. So
the economics may work differently.
Post by matt weber
pax, and has the best SFC engines in the sky. 777-300 is likely to
have lower ASM costs than the A380 now.
Lets wait for real life performance on the A380 before passing
judgement. Seems that the 380 is matching performance garentees. And I
wouldn't be surprised to see improvements being made to the beast in the
very short term (such as the loghter/stronger wing spar).

In the grand scheme of things, the wiring problem is a temporary issue.
And Airbus is getting a much needed kick in the butt and will be forced
to fix itself.

I cannot believe that the A380 would be THAT much overweight as to make
it useless.

Also, lets not forget that until BAE shareholders formally approve the
deal to sell BAE's stake in Airbus at a low price, Airbus has NO
incentive to fix things in a radical way. Once the BEA deal is done, you
may find Airbus starting to feel much better.

18 months is way too long a delay. Internal politics may have shielded
higher management from the problem, but the employees would have still
worked to solve it. Yep, wiring is complex. But if you have a bundle
with too many wires that once they branch out, end up being 2cm short,
then you redesign it from scratch and add 2cm from thsoe individual
wires that need to be longer. Or you build a bundle with all wires 10cm
too long, install it and then measure how much you can snip off from
each individual wire. You then have your final solution that you can put
into production.
.
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matt weber
2006-09-25 21:40:00 UTC
Permalink
On 24 Sep 2006 20:46:20 -0400, JF Mezei
Post by JF Mezei
Post by matt weber
assume there has been 10 billion USD Non recurring engineering cost,
the delay in significant deliveries of 2 years add another 1.5 billion
There is also another hidden cost. Consider that a number of airlines
have been waiting for the A380 to enter commercial service before
starting to seriously consider it (i.e. wait for real life performance
numbers). The delay in first commercial flight also delays those orders.
And that makes the A380 look worse because of lack of new orders for
such a long time. Lack of market momentum does help Airbus when it is
seeking forgiveness for the wiring problem.
Post by matt weber
A380's is now looking at a delivery that is probably no better than a
747-8, which is likely to cost a lot less to buy,
In its current state, I suspect that Airbus would certaintly discount
the A380 quite a bit.
Post by matt weber
The big cost now is fuel, the first order estimate for fuel cost is
operating weight. The A380 with the 520 seats most carrier are going
to use to put it in service works out to about 1200 pounds per pax.
At 550 seats, your numbers comes down to 1134 lbs per pax.
However so far, no one has plan to put that many seats in it.
There are no miracles in this business. We know what the engine SFC
is, because RR has now been running the Trent 900 for more than a
year. We have a pretty good handle on the L/D for the aircraft because
very simply, there is very little room for improvement in it. L/D is
not materially different among a 747-400,777, A340 or A380.

From that you can back into the payload available for LAX-SYD mission,
and it is not pretty at all. QANTAS is only putting 510 seats in the
aircraft, and I can assure it that they are not leaving out 40 seats
out of the goodness of their heart, just as SQ A340's only have 182
seats an no F cabin for the LAX-SIN mission.

One of the reasons the A350 Mark II went nowhere was when you worked
the thumbnails, you ended up with numbers that were simply not
credible. Tim Clark at Emirates was being very upfront when he said it
would be a great airplane, if the numbers were true, but he understood
that actually achieving those numbers was unlikely, and EK is more
than a little unhappy with the A340-500/600, so the point they have
stopped accepting deliveries.

I cannot be specific, but I am absolutely certain that the A380 will
be overweight. I know of one major subsystem vendor who decided it was
less expensive to pay the weight penalties to EADS than to try to deal
with the weight problem. They are not the only supplier in that
position. EADS didn't put enough teeth in the penalties, so a lot of
the subsystems in the A380 are overweight, and to be blunt, Airbus is
now well known for overpromising/under delivering.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by matt weber
pax, and has the best SFC engines in the sky. 777-300 is likely to
have lower ASM costs than the A380 now.
Lets wait for real life performance on the A380 before passing
judgement. Seems that the 380 is matching performance garentees. And I
wouldn't be surprised to see improvements being made to the beast in the
very short term (such as the loghter/stronger wing spar).
That is what the Airbus PR machine is saying. Has airbus ever admitted
that the A340-500 is overweight? How do we know it is overweight?
Very simple, every body knowns what the SQ RFQ called for, 200 pax,
against 95% winds for LAX-SIN. The fact that there aren't even 200
seats on the aircraft speaks volumes.
Post by JF Mezei
In the grand scheme of things, the wiring problem is a temporary issue.
And Airbus is getting a much needed kick in the butt and will be forced
to fix itself.
I cannot believe that the A380 would be THAT much overweight as to make
it useless.
I never said it was useless, however the market for such a beast is
quite limited. It is going to be attractive for flying large volumes
of traffic when either one or both airports are slot constrained. .
For example JFK-NRT,JFK-LHR,SYD-LHR LHR-NRT, and the Freighter will be
useful for premium freight carriers. The operating costs for the
A380-800F are poor compared to the 747-400F, or 747-8F (which is why
there are now more 747-8F orders than there are A380-800F orders).
The -8F gives you nearly the same payload, but at a much lower EW, and
the -8F gets the next generation engine as a bonus.

It is likely the DHL, Fedex and UPS will be the only A380-800F
operators. You need to be able to extract a sizeable premium over
ordinary freight (which the package freight guys get) for the A380 to
be attractive as a freighter. The big conventional freight haulers
(Korean,NCA,Cargolux,Atlas/Polar, Singapore and Lufthansa Cargo) won't
touch the A380-800F with a barge pole.
Post by JF Mezei
Also, lets not forget that until BAE shareholders formally approve the
deal to sell BAE's stake in Airbus at a low price, Airbus has NO
incentive to fix things in a radical way. Once the BEA deal is done, you
may find Airbus starting to feel much better.
18 months is way too long a delay. Internal politics may have shielded
higher management from the problem, but the employees would have still
worked to solve it. Yep, wiring is complex. But if you have a bundle
with too many wires that once they branch out, end up being 2cm short,
then you redesign it from scratch and add 2cm from thsoe individual
wires that need to be longer. Or you build a bundle with all wires 10cm
too long, install it and then measure how much you can snip off from
each individual wire. You then have your final solution that you can put
into production.
.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-09-25 22:00:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
Post by matt weber
A380's is now looking at a delivery that is probably no better than a
747-8, which is likely to cost a lot less to buy,
In its current state, I suspect that Airbus would certaintly discount
the A380 quite a bit.
I would certainly hope so, but I'm not sure they can discount it enough to
match up with a 747-8. Boeing has recovered all of the infrastructure
investment for the 747 and just needs to cover the engineering and
certification cost for the derivative, which will be much lower than the
A380. It's also a smaller plane, so material costs will be lower all
around, even if they use the same new materials.
Post by JF Mezei
I cannot believe that the A380 would be THAT much overweight as to make
it useless.
I agree it will never be useless, but it could be overweight enough to kill
the original business case.

A larger airplane costs more to buy and maintain, more to operate, and is
subject to more problems because it's more complex. The only reasons to go
for a bigger plane are that, all other things being equal, it costs less to
operate per seat and it gets more people in to a hub in a single flight.

Being overweight hurts the per-seat cost and, depending how the wake
turbulence things works out, the spacing behind an A380 may erase the
capacity benefit. I'm sure it will be a viable aircraft, but it has to be
better enough to justify the very significant capital outlay, infrastructure
improvements, and inevitable costs of introducing a new fleet. The 747-8
isn't really fighting any of these problems and may turn out to be Airbus's
worst nightmare...good enough at much lower cost.
Post by JF Mezei
Yep, wiring is complex. But if you have a bundle
with too many wires that once they branch out, end up being 2cm short,
then you redesign it from scratch and add 2cm from thsoe individual
wires that need to be longer. Or you build a bundle with all wires 10cm
too long, install it and then measure how much you can snip off from
each individual wire. You then have your final solution that you can put
into production.
Wiring is *far* more complex than that. Any changes to a wiring harness
cascade backwards through connector design, circuit breaker capacities,
overall power requirements, wire separation on critical systems, etc., etc.

Tom.
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Daniel
2006-09-26 10:33:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
Wiring is *far* more complex than that.
It is complex indeed but shouldn't result into a chaos management
exercise on each plane. It's been mentioned that an A380 is home to
300,000 connections on average, or over 500 connections per seat. If
this is true, you'd hope they have a modular system to handle that,
with conventions and rules that are easy to communicate internally
throughout manufacturing and outside to airlines.

But considering the delays, projected schedules, man-hours involved to
fix, I suspect there isn't such a legacy 'wiring system', or if there
is, it would be flawed, not meeting performance levels. Explanation
that missing common software led to wrong harnesses being delivered
seem short, you don't produce anything without specs, or you'd have
assume accurate specs were not followed, that the organization can't
communicate on such a basic level.

This all portrays processes where last-minute changes arranged by sales
are met with improvisation at manufacturing. A wiring system would
allow for the first perhaps if it is flexible and scaleable enough,
certainly wouldn't allow for the improvisation.

Reading the investigation into the Swissair MD-11 disaster, where a
lousily retrofitted entertainment system arced and ignited the AC
insulation taking down critical systems, you tend to believe again that
improvisation is a practice in aircraft wiring. Can't be accepted.

In practical terms, you'd expect there would be some level of
pre-cabling and room for growth inside bays for options to be installed
when airlines decide, or when aircraft changes owner. That pre-cabling
and modularity would have to accommodate the varying lifespan of
systems they'd support. An LCD TFT and entertainment systems aren't -
and shouldn't - be designed to last 25 years, but supporting networks
should.

There would be many ways to keep a wiring system minimal enough so it
doesn't hurt the economics. Some other industries have addressed such
issues some time ago.
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JF Mezei
2006-09-26 17:49:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel
It is complex indeed but shouldn't result into a chaos management
exercise on each plane.
My guess is that the software they used to design/size the wiring has
incorrect parametrisation, resulting in too many wires being a tad too short.

In a "First flight" special I saw on TV, they showed how a german worker
in charge of the tail systems gets the honour to install the tail
mounted camera on the first flight aircraft. He finds out the wire is
about 2cm too short to reach the camera.

When building each test aircraft, aircraft systems wiring problems were
found out and designs updated quite some time ago.

But it is only once Airbus started to outfit cabins that cabin wiring
issues would surface. Perhaps this is where the management issues
failed. If the folks in Toulouse fixed the aircraft wiring based on
experience of assembling first test aircraft and didn't warn Hamburg
that wiring design software needed to be tweaked, the folks in Hamburg
wouldn't have benefitted from that advance warning and updated their own
designs in time to start production with "fixed" harnesses.

What I don't quite understand is what has to be so complicated with
cabin wiring. Wouldn't there be "buses" on the floor , one for power,
one for data, one for TV/video, and then each block of seats plugs into
those buses ?

Similarly, for overhead, there would be a power bus, and a data bus. And
each overhead light would plug in to both and turn itself on or off
based on commands on the data bus ? (same for the flight attendant call
button etc).


I'd be very interesting in understanding what would be so complex about
cabin wiring.
Post by Daniel
But considering the delays, projected schedules, man-hours involved to
fix, I suspect there isn't such a legacy 'wiring system', or if there
is, it would be flawed, not meeting performance levels.
My guess is that weight restrictions prevented wiring designed from
adding some slack to the bundles to ensure wires were long enough in the
real world.
Post by Daniel
Reading the investigation into the Swissair MD-11 disaster, where a
lousily retrofitted entertainment system arced and ignited the AC
insulation taking down critical systems,
There is a big difference here. the MD-11 wasn't designed to have
"modern" entertainment systems. The big problem is that the IFE took too
much power to be plugged into the "entertainment" circuits, and the only
breaker that was big enough to handle the load was the one handling
critical aircraft control systems, and that was the one circuit the
pilots wouldn't pull in the fire/smoke checklist.

Airbus isn't retrofitting an old aircraft with stuff that had nevere
been conceived of back when the DC10/MD11 were designed. Airbus is
building an aircraft with full knowledge that there is to be in seat
entertainment systems, computers, plugs for laptops, wireless ethernet,
GSM pico cells etc etc.

Perhaps the problem comes from airlines not filling the aircraft with
passengers. If airline X creates a lounge in the middle of the aircraft
where there are no overhead bins, then wiring plans that assume a
continuous overhead bin for most of the length of the deck can't be used
and you need to design a different wiring bundle with extra lenbth to
allow for the budnle to travel up into the ceiling , traverse the lounge
and then go back down into overhead bins onc they resume aft of the lounge.


This is all speculation. And speculation is bad. It would be most
interesting to learn what the REAL issues are with the wiring on the
A380.


I could understand Airbus not wanting Boeing to hear them because Boeing
would learn from Airbus's mistakes. But in the end, I doubt that Boeing
will NOT hear about the specifics, so you might as well air the dirty
laundry in public so that enthousiasts can better understand.
Post by Daniel
when airlines decide, or when aircraft changes owner. That pre-cabling
and modularity would have to accommodate the varying lifespan of
systems they'd support.
Or simply consider the cabin wiring to be a "disposable" item that the
airline changes whenever it rebuilds/redesigns the cabin.


Consider an airline that puts lounges, bars, gyms, bowling alley, IMAX
3D theatre and olympic size swimming pool on the main deck. Couple of
years later, demand picks up and the airline decides to dump the
swimming pool and replace that area with seats. That area will need new
cabling to support the seats.

And I think that the different interior amenities planned for each
customer are what are driving wiring hanesses to be so customized. If
there are to be no overhead bins in a lounge area, and each airline
wants the lounge to be located in a different location, than any wiring
that travels inside the overhead bins will have to be different from
airline to airline.


To that effect, I think the 787 (and 350) will be much simpler because
Boeing knows that airlines will outfi those airplanes in a standard way:
seats everywhere.é
.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-09-27 14:41:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
My guess is that the software they used to design/size the wiring has
incorrect parametrisation, resulting in too many wires being a tad too short.
That wouldn't do it. Adding a splice to a wire to lengthen it is no big
deal. Certainly not worth 18 months of delay.
Post by JF Mezei
In a "First flight" special I saw on TV, they showed how a german worker
in charge of the tail systems gets the honour to install the tail
mounted camera on the first flight aircraft. He finds out the wire is
about 2cm too short to reach the camera.
That's a great bit. He very nearly both swears and breaks down in tears at
the same time.
Post by JF Mezei
What I don't quite understand is what has to be so complicated with
cabin wiring. Wouldn't there be "buses" on the floor , one for power,
one for data, one for TV/video, and then each block of seats plugs into
those buses ?
No. The other post is spot on with this. IFE bandwidth is too high, for
modern systems, to run it all over a single bus and the power breakdown
doesn't work out where you can run it all on a single circuit.
Post by JF Mezei
Similarly, for overhead, there would be a power bus, and a data bus. And
each overhead light would plug in to both and turn itself on or off
based on commands on the data bus ? (same for the flight attendant call
button etc).
The power density doesn't work out right...the breakers would be too large
to serve their intended function. As for the data bus, you're talking about
a lot of cost to add a networked microcomputer to every PSU when a COTS
switch would work just as well.
Post by JF Mezei
I'd be very interesting in understanding what would be so complex about
cabin wiring.
1) Way more nodes. There's nothing in the aircraft systems that comes even
close to having 550 nodes.
2) Way more variability...every customer needs a different interior.
3) Frequent changing. Systems wiring will last for decades. IFE
technology, and interior design, never lasts that long.
Post by JF Mezei
My guess is that weight restrictions prevented wiring designed from
adding some slack to the bundles to ensure wires were long enough in the
real world.
As I mentioned above, it can't just be wire length. That would be a really
easy fix.
Post by JF Mezei
There is a big difference here. the MD-11 wasn't designed to have
"modern" entertainment systems. The big problem is that the IFE took too
much power to be plugged into the "entertainment" circuits, and the only
breaker that was big enough to handle the load was the one handling
critical aircraft control systems, and that was the one circuit the
pilots wouldn't pull in the fire/smoke checklist.
That's not accurate. By the time the flight crew identified smoke, the fire
was self-sustaining and the airplane was doomed. The TSB investigation
found that even if they had proceeded directly to a diversion airport at the
first sign of smoke, it was doubtful they would have made it.

The IFE was *not* tied to a critical aircraft control system breaker. It
has it's own breaker. The problem was that it was not tied to the cabin
power buses (there were 8). The first step in the unknown smoke/fumes
checklist was to open the CABIN BUS switch, which disconnects all eight
cabin power buses. This wouldn't depower the IFE because it wasn't on that
bus but, as the investigation found, even depowering the IFE at that time
likely wouldn't have stopped the fire.

The full report is available online:
http://www.bst.gc.ca/en/reports/air/1998/a98h0003/01report/

The key was inadequite fire protection for critical flight systems which
allowed a fire from a non-essential system to render the airplane
uncontrollable.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Daniel
when airlines decide, or when aircraft changes owner. That pre-cabling
and modularity would have to accommodate the varying lifespan of
systems they'd support.
Or simply consider the cabin wiring to be a "disposable" item that the
airline changes whenever it rebuilds/redesigns the cabin.
That's pretty much the state of things now. If you change the interior you
get all new cabin wiring.
Post by JF Mezei
To that effect, I think the 787 (and 350) will be much simpler because
Beyond that, the 787 (and the A350, I assume) will have far more flexible
architechtures. IFE will be wireless, so no cabling in the cabin except
internal to the seats. Seat power is provided through the seat tracks.
Those two things together mean you can move the seats anywhere you want and
everything will keep working, without changing wiring.

Tom.
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JF Mezei
2006-09-27 21:19:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
No. The other post is spot on with this. IFE bandwidth is too high, for
modern systems, to run it all over a single bus and the power breakdown
doesn't work out where you can run it all on a single circuit.
If Boeing plans to use wireless for IFE, then surely one could a coax to
transmit signals.

Say you can stuff 100 TV channels in a coax. This means that a single
coax segment could service individual selections of 75 passengers as
well as provide a standard 25 channels. You do like the original
ethernet and have vampire taps on the coax that bring the signal to each
block of 3/4 seats.
Post by Tom Sanderson
The power density doesn't work out right...the breakers would be too large
to serve their intended function. As for the data bus, you're talking about
a lot of cost to add a networked microcomputer to every PSU when a COTS
switch would work just as well.
In a current aircraft, when I press the "overhead light" button, what
happens ? I take it it sends an X10 like signal down the power line and
somewhere, something reads it and turns on the light over my seat.

Is that glorified relay located at the light, or is it located centrally
with lots of individual wires going from each individual over head light
to that central location ?

(same question for the call-attendant button).

or is it some sort of hybrid where there are controllers that control
say every 20 seats, with individual wires going from that controller to
the nearest 20 seats ?
Post by Tom Sanderson
As I mentioned above, it can't just be wire length. That would be a really
easy fix.
At one point I think I heard/read that placement of wires lead to some
interference., but there wasn't enough slack to distance the wire
bundles from each other.
Post by Tom Sanderson
The IFE was *not* tied to a critical aircraft control system breaker. It
has it's own breaker. The problem was that it was not tied to the cabin
power buses (there were 8).
Thaks for correction. But my point still stands. When the folsk
installed that IFE on the doomed MD11, they coudln't install it on the
circuits that had been meant for cabin systems and plugs into the
circuits that fed critical systems because the former didn't have the
amps needed to drive the IFE. The plane had not originally been
designed to have such a power hog in the cabin systems.

The fact that the IFE was not powered off (because it wasn't on the
circuits the pilots thought it was on) made matters worse.
Post by Tom Sanderson
That's pretty much the state of things now. If you change the interior you
get all new cabin wiring.
So, what is so special about the Airbus wiring problems if changing
cabin wiring is a common occurance ?

Main deck is 3-4-3 just like 747s. Upper deck is 2-4-2 like A3330/340.
.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-09-28 15:39:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
If Boeing plans to use wireless for IFE, then surely one could a coax to
transmit signals.
Coax is tough for the reasons already posted. Routing is nasty with IFE
even on a good day, which gives WiFi a huge advantage.
Post by JF Mezei
Say you can stuff 100 TV channels in a coax. This means that a single
coax segment could service individual selections of 75 passengers as
well as provide a standard 25 channels. You do like the original
ethernet and have vampire taps on the coax that bring the signal to each
block of 3/4 seats.
Your system needs to accomodate individual selections for every passenger
(for modern IFE) plus standard channels so, for a normal A380, you're
talking about minimum 550 separate signals. So, you're talking about
multiple coax runs all over the aircraft. The original ethernet setup was a
pain to install and the whole network would shut down if one connection
anywhere one it was faulty...not a good design for a system with as much
use, abuse, and maintenance as IFE.

It could work, but I can't see any way it would be better than a WiFi type
system or even Gigabit ethernet.
Post by JF Mezei
In a current aircraft, when I press the "overhead light" button, what
happens ? I take it it sends an X10 like signal down the power line and
somewhere, something reads it and turns on the light over my seat.
Is that glorified relay located at the light, or is it located centrally
with lots of individual wires going from each individual over head light
to that central location ?
It's a multi-bus system (at least on Boeing aircraft). For a typical 737,
each 3-5 passenger service units (3 lights per unit) are fed by one circuit.
The PSU's are just fed power and they do the switching internally.
Post by JF Mezei
or is it some sort of hybrid where there are controllers that control
say every 20 seats, with individual wires going from that controller to
the nearest 20 seats ?
Each block of about 9-15 seats has a power feeder. That feeder delivers
power to the passenger service unit over each seat block. The PSU controls
switching of individual lights.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Tom Sanderson
That's pretty much the state of things now. If you change the interior you
get all new cabin wiring.
So, what is so special about the Airbus wiring problems if changing
cabin wiring is a common occurance ?
Size, I suspect, is a major contributor. They're trying to build cabin
harnesses 50% larger than anything that's ever been done before while
coupling in all new IFE. Beyond that, I think there must be something more
fundamental since, as you correctly note, this doesn't seem like an 18-month
delay problem by itself.

Tom.
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JF Mezei
2006-09-28 21:31:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
Coax is tough for the reasons already posted. Routing is nasty with IFE
even on a good day, which gives WiFi a huge advantage.
Does Wi-fi really have the bandwidth to handle so many channels ? I can
see wi-fi supporting passenger laptops/handhelds to access "the
internet" (perhaps just a local network on the aircraft). But to
distribute movies to each seat ?
Post by Tom Sanderson
talking about minimum 550 separate signals. So, you're talking about
multiple coax runs all over the aircraft.
Well, if one coax can handle say 100 channels, you'd need 6 cables to
have the capacity to serve all of the aircraft.
Post by Tom Sanderson
The original ethernet setup was a
pain to install and the whole network would shut down if one connection
anywhere one it was faulty...
Actually, that was not the original. You are talking about thinwire
ethernet. I was refering to the original one with thickwire coax. This
was generally laid in straight lines under computer room floors (big fat
orange cable). But that was only 10mbps.

In terms of curves/corners, if you run a cable below the seats, it will
be more or less straight as an arrow.

What about going with fibre optics ? Would that save a considerable
amount of weight compared to copper ? And no EMI problems when wires are
too close.
Post by Tom Sanderson
It's a multi-bus system (at least on Boeing aircraft). For a typical 737,
each 3-5 passenger service units (3 lights per unit) are fed by one circuit.
The PSU's are just fed power and they do the switching internally.
But how does the command to turn light on/off go from the armrest button
to the overhead light ?
Post by Tom Sanderson
Size, I suspect, is a major contributor. They're trying to build cabin
harnesses 50% larger than anything that's ever been done before while
coupling in all new IFE.
Considering that 747 cabins have been outfitted with IFE systems, and
that they too are 3-4-3, is there really such a big difference ? From te
point of view of the wiring, the harnesses supplying the main deck seats
wouldn't even kno about harnesses on the top deck, would they ?

Perhaps the problems isn't the wiring to the seats, but where all those
wires from both decks meet to plug into the entertainment system ?
Perhaps those bundles are so big that the holes required to pass them
result in structural weakness ??? Those would be extremely huge bundles
if Airbus truly has one wire going to each seat.
.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-01 21:27:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Tom Sanderson
Coax is tough for the reasons already posted. Routing is nasty with IFE
even on a good day, which gives WiFi a huge advantage.
Does Wi-fi really have the bandwidth to handle so many channels ?
Current WiFi can keep up with 54 MB/s, at least, which should be able to
carry a few hundred channels using normal compression. You need to do is as
compressed digial, not broadcast analog like older coax.
Post by JF Mezei
But to distribute movies to each seat ?
I'm not sure they're getting rid of the seat-boxes...in most current
systems, if you have movies on demand, there's a small server in each seat
cluster. They may do the 787 IFE with a series of small servers for chunks
of the cabin that are talking wirelessly to the seatback screens...I haven't
seen the detailed architechture.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Tom Sanderson
talking about minimum 550 separate signals. So, you're talking about
multiple coax runs all over the aircraft.
Well, if one coax can handle say 100 channels, you'd need 6 cables to
have the capacity to serve all of the aircraft.
You'd need 6 *buses*. You'd need as many cables as you have seats. That
would be a nightmare of a harness, *far* more complex than any of the
primary aircraft systems. It would be a lot easier to have seat-cluster
servers than feed coax from a central location to each seat.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Tom Sanderson
The original ethernet setup was a
pain to install and the whole network would shut down if one connection
anywhere one it was faulty...
Actually, that was not the original. You are talking about thinwire
ethernet. I was refering to the original one with thickwire coax. This
was generally laid in straight lines under computer room floors (big fat
orange cable). But that was only 10mbps.
Good point, I forgot there was a predecessor to the older coax. I suspect
the thickwire stuff is heavy enough to cause the weight control teams a
small heart attack though.
Post by JF Mezei
In terms of curves/corners, if you run a cable below the seats, it will
be more or less straight as an arrow.
Under the seats is a tricky location...that's a very busy area for flight
control cables and you don't want to put more structural penetrations in the
floor beams than you have to. Also, you'd need to punch a lot of holes in
the floor panels themselves, which would make moving seats or changing
cabling that much harder.
Post by JF Mezei
What about going with fibre optics ? Would that save a considerable
amount of weight compared to copper ? And no EMI problems when wires are
too close.
That's a darn good question. It sounds like fiber would be awefully
convenient...it would interesting to see the weight trade between fiber and
wireless. I think fiber is harder to splice than any of the electrical
equivalents though.
Post by JF Mezei
But how does the command to turn light on/off go from the armrest button
to the overhead light ?
My guess would be a wire bundle running under the carpets under the seats,
then up the sidewall, but I'm not positive about it. It would just a be a
low-current sensor wire telling the overhead module to switch the power.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Tom Sanderson
Size, I suspect, is a major contributor. They're trying to build cabin
harnesses 50% larger than anything that's ever been done before while
coupling in all new IFE.
Considering that 747 cabins have been outfitted with IFE systems, and
that they too are 3-4-3, is there really such a big difference ?
There's 50% more seats. That's a big difference. Also, I doubt that any
747-400 has such advanced IFE in economy class as the Airbus has been
touting for the A380.
Post by JF Mezei
From te
point of view of the wiring, the harnesses supplying the main deck seats
wouldn't even kno about harnesses on the top deck, would they ?
I have no idea. It would depend on the IFE architecture. It would be nice
from a safety point of view to have the two decks be as independant as
possible, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the redundancy. Since IFE
isn't safety critical, I'm not sure if you'd bother.

Tom.
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matt weber
2006-10-02 23:31:33 UTC
Permalink
On 28 Sep 2006 17:31:48 -0400, JF Mezei
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Tom Sanderson
Coax is tough for the reasons already posted. Routing is nasty with IFE
even on a good day, which gives WiFi a huge advantage.
Does Wi-fi really have the bandwidth to handle so many channels ? I can
see wi-fi supporting passenger laptops/handhelds to access "the
internet" (perhaps just a local network on the aircraft). But to
distribute movies to each seat ?
Maybe. Depend on how big the screen is. If you 802.11g, you can get to
108mbps. A 7 inch screen does fine with about 200kilobits per second,
the 14 inch screens in the F cabin need more on the order of
800kilobits per second for good picture.
20 figure about 400 screens at 200kb, 80mb/sec, 90 screens at say
400kb (Business class), 36mb, 30 screens at 800kb, 24mb
That totals to 140mb/sec, which is more than 108, but what are the
odds that every screen (and no A380 is currently going to have more
than 530 seats), is active with video. Audio is no more than
128kilobits, and some passengers won't use the system at all.
So 108mb/sec may well be adequate 99+% of the time. You might also
use more than one 802.11g channel. One channel in Economy, one in
Business, and one in F. Total bandwidth avaliable would then exceed
what is required. The more challenging problem is finding an IFE
system that can delivery that much indepent video on demand.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Tom Sanderson
talking about minimum 550 separate signals. So, you're talking about
multiple coax runs all over the aircraft.
Well, if one coax can handle say 100 channels, you'd need 6 cables to
have the capacity to serve all of the aircraft.
Post by Tom Sanderson
The original ethernet setup was a
pain to install and the whole network would shut down if one connection
anywhere one it was faulty...
Actually, that was not the original. You are talking about thinwire
ethernet. I was refering to the original one with thickwire coax. This
was generally laid in straight lines under computer room floors (big fat
orange cable). But that was only 10mbps.
In terms of curves/corners, if you run a cable below the seats, it will
be more or less straight as an arrow.
What about going with fibre optics ? Would that save a considerable
amount of weight compared to copper ? And no EMI problems when wires are
too close.
Post by Tom Sanderson
It's a multi-bus system (at least on Boeing aircraft). For a typical 737,
each 3-5 passenger service units (3 lights per unit) are fed by one circuit.
The PSU's are just fed power and they do the switching internally.
But how does the command to turn light on/off go from the armrest button
to the overhead light ?
Post by Tom Sanderson
Size, I suspect, is a major contributor. They're trying to build cabin
harnesses 50% larger than anything that's ever been done before while
coupling in all new IFE.
Considering that 747 cabins have been outfitted with IFE systems, and
that they too are 3-4-3, is there really such a big difference ? From te
point of view of the wiring, the harnesses supplying the main deck seats
wouldn't even kno about harnesses on the top deck, would they ?
Perhaps the problems isn't the wiring to the seats, but where all those
wires from both decks meet to plug into the entertainment system ?
Perhaps those bundles are so big that the holes required to pass them
result in structural weakness ??? Those would be extremely huge bundles
if Airbus truly has one wire going to each seat.
.
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Daniel
2006-10-03 11:07:43 UTC
Permalink
It's screen resolution rather than size that matters with bandwidth,
although they are most of the time related (not always). You can have
3.5" screens either in QGVA (320x240pix) or in VGA (640x480pix), that
makes a factor 4 on number of pixels to drive. It's not always
justified to go for higher resolution, there are many other issues with
perceived quality, most important being the frames per second (fps),
also impacting on bandwidth utilization. 30 fps is good and to achieve
that while limiting throughput, you have nifty formats like MPEG4 where
information is sent to drive only those pixels needing be changed (more
or less).

On the ratio side, you'd have 4:3, typical computer VGA arrangement, or
'Wide' 16:9 for movies, what you'd have on LCD TVs or some MM
computers, WXGA more or less. Other exotic ratios on handhelds.

QVGA/QCIF are nice for pop-ups, for instance, if you'd want use video
messaging or public address on top of playing movie. In practice, that
will use 200Kb/s for color and enough fps so you don't feel you're
facing a seasick picture frame. 70kb/s for the audio channel may be
enough for coms. Serving quality video on VGA wirelessly would require
substantially more, and then you need testing since that's according to
conditions. For instance in real world, Bluetooth at 700kb/s never was
able to do decent video even at short distance on QVGA, couldn't use
the whole bandwidth (shared), quick signal fading because of low-power,
interference, that's why they came up with EDR at 2mb/s to support A/V
profiles, but that's still not for networking.

It's doubtful you'll ever support that many seperate channels
wirelessly inside a cabin, even doing meshing and/or MIMO
compartmentalization, with exotic aerials working on phased array
principles and with local service hauls and a backhauls. It will be
interesting to see how quick they'll go through that 30' T-Shirt
container to troubleshoot. Easier to have VOD served locally from a
seat's static memory and spare precious BW.

But the real differentiator will be on screen technology more than
anything else. TFTs have many issues: viewing angle, glare,
light-flooding effect, high-power, weight, exposure of optical
surfaces... Problem is the image-forming backlight you really need get
rid of now. OLEDs are extra-light, thin and give a crispy image, but
they don't last and consume alot. Wouldn't be worth investing into
anything that's not a game changer, that is, something bistable and
100% reflective. Where power is only used to change pixel status, and
where the image is formed just through reflection of ambient light on
the screen surface. Wouldn't disturb your neighbors, sleek design.

You have to cross fingers that Qualcomm manages to troubleshoot their
screen technology on those pilot plants in Taiwan, and opens a new
chapter in display.
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Daniel
2006-09-28 23:52:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
Your system needs to accomodate individual selections for every passenger
(for modern IFE) plus standard channels so, for a normal A380, you're
talking about minimum 550 separate signals.
Those individual selections could be made from the seat's playlist. Now
that you're sitting on a computer you'd have all the mass memory
options, including SDRAM, mini HDs and removable SD cards. Moore's law
still works well with memory so in a few years, you're going to have an
awful lot of h.264 content to chose from on a nifty mini SD card.
Airlines, or a service provider, could also reload the static memory
every week from the wireless backhaul when plane sits idle. Wouldn't
take long and you'd reload all playlists simultaneously. Airlines could
easily charge selections, they'd have the seat numbers and you would
have paid your fair with your credit card...

Takes care of VOD without clogging the wireless bandwidth. Opens
workable models for media majors like Disney, added revenue for
airlines.

Wireless bandwidth would be devoted to real-time services you can think
of, extra and intra-cabin... Gaming, news channels, instant messaging,
communications hosting... And why not enrich that ugly ages-old
FlightSimulator-like map with a feed from a gyrostablized camera that
would zoom onto POIs as you'd fly by them, using GPS coordinates? That
would be a neat sightseeing channel worth broadcasting.

Then the seat should have a mike for communications. 2 mikes for
beam-forming and noise cancellation even better. Perhaps should also
have a video cam like there is on any dumb smartphone these days. That
could do interesting things for in-cabin instant messaging. No more
families split across aisles. Dating opportunities perhaps. Would keep
pax busy and happy :)

Incidentally, networked mikes make nifty sensors, but that's another
story...

This wouldn't add anything to the wiring, and not much to the BOM cost
of the seat. Say what, 80 bucks grand total?
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n***@yahoo.ca
2006-09-30 13:33:47 UTC
Permalink
Bloomberg has an interesting article stating that incompatible software
is one of the reasons for all the wiring problems.

===============================================================
Quote:
"Engineers in Germany and Spain stuck with an earlier version of
Paris-based Dassault Systemes SA's Catia design software, even though
the French and British offices had upgraded to Catia 5.

That meant the German teams couldn't add their design changes for the
electrical wiring back into the common three- dimensional digital
mockup being produced in Toulouse, Champion says. Efforts to fiddle
with the software to make it compatible failed, meaning that changes to
the designs in the two offices couldn't be managed and integrated in
real time, he says.

The situation worsened when construction and tests of the first A380s
generated demands for structural changes that would affect the wiring.
The changes in configuration had to be made manually because the
software tools couldn't talk to each other.

``What happened, apparently, is that there were several different
design versions in use simultaneously,'' says Tecop's Weber, who says
he was informed of the difficulties by contacts within Airbus's German
design bureau. ``That was disastrous.''

http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aSGkIYVa9IZk
================================================================

I am new to Google groups. Can anyone tell me how I can read the
text_part comments used by Tom Sanderson? All I get is "Not Found" when
I attempt to access the document. Thanks...and very interesting
comments by all.
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Daniel
2006-09-30 14:52:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by n***@yahoo.ca
I am new to Google groups. Can anyone tell me how I can read the
text_part comments used by Tom Sanderson? All I get is "Not Found" when
I attempt to access the document. Thanks...and very interesting
comments by all.
I hit the 'reply' or 'display options' link to read his comments.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-01 21:29:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by n***@yahoo.ca
I am new to Google groups. Can anyone tell me how I can read the
text_part comments used by Tom Sanderson?
Sorry about that...due to software constraints from my IT department, I'm
stuck with the world's worst newsreader (Outlook Express). I forced it in
to Plain Text mode...that might help.

If anyone has any ideas on how to make it display better, please let me
know.

Tom.
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Daniel
2006-10-02 09:12:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
If anyone has any ideas on how to make it display better, please let me
know.
Try force-specify 7-bit encoding and a Charset from your outlook Mail
options, see if that's carried over to News settings with some luck.
Those parameters are missing from the MIME headers of your posts,
typically leading an application to show content as an attachment.

Oh, then your Mail profile shows up in your News postings as well... So
seemingly that private information is carried over by outlook...
T-Shirt to win reporting that glitch to your neighbor next door :))
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-02 13:58:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel
Try force-specify 7-bit encoding and a Charset from your outlook Mail
options, see if that's carried over to News settings with some luck.
Hmm...it was set to Uuencode before...I booted it over to MIME. Hopefully,
it's showing as normal text now, although I think you'll probably pick up
all the Outlook headers too.

Sigh...who said IT departments were here to help?

Tom.
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Daniel
2006-10-02 16:34:01 UTC
Permalink
UUencode/Base64 only good for rich formats. 'The Microsoft Outlook
Fiasco' has been unfolding for 10 years now, have some worn out
T-Shirts :)
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Richard Steiner
2006-10-03 02:03:03 UTC
Permalink
Here in misc.transport.air-industry,
Post by Tom Sanderson
Sigh...who said IT departments were here to help?
Many of them honestly try, but given the poor problem reporting talents
of the typical end user and/or the lack of desire to learn that seems
so prevalent these days, it's often not an easy task for a willing IT
person so solve even the most rudimentary problems. :-(

I've spent 18 years in the IT biz, most of it on airline-related stuff,
and some of the things I've seen users pull would make you shake your
head in disbelief.
--
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Mainframe/Unix bit twiddler by day, OS/2+Linux+DOS hobbyist by night.
WARNING: I've seen FIELDATA FORTRAN V and I know how to use it!
The Theorem Theorem: If If, Then Then.
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JF Mezei
2006-10-01 07:01:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by n***@yahoo.ca
"Engineers in Germany and Spain stuck with an earlier version of
Paris-based Dassault Systemes SA's Catia design software, even though
the French and British offices had upgraded to Catia 5.
That meant the German teams couldn't add their design changes for the
electrical wiring back into the common three- dimensional digital
mockup being produced in Toulouse, Champion says.
An 8 billion dollar project (originally) and they can't afford to
upgrade all sites to have the same version of compatible software ?

If they went through the effort of building "real time" database of all
the components to keep a real time virtual design of all parts of the
aircraft, it is VERY hard to understand why they would allow a major
site to retain an incompatible version of the software.


My **guess** is that everyone started at version 4 which worked nicely
and integrated everyone nicely. But then Toulouse hist a snag and
realises it need version 5 for certain features.

I can see Germany saying it won't spend more money for software upgrades
and that somone promised the two versions would remain compatible. But
if designs were integrated in real time (or frequently), it is VERY HARD
to understand why the incompatibility wouldn't have been caught as soon
as Toulouse upgraded to version 5, at which point, Champion or even
higher up would have ordered the german site to upgrade with no excuses permitted.

When so much is at stake, you can't let some piece of software stop you
like that.


On the other hand, this story is hard enough to believe that I also
wonder if it isn't just a made up excuse to hide the real reasons behind
those delays. If that excuse is really true, the incompetance is almost
criminal.
.
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jbaloun
2006-10-02 05:26:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by n***@yahoo.ca
I am new to Google groups. Can anyone tell me how I can read the
text_part comments used by Tom Sanderson? All I get is "Not Found" when
I attempt to access the document. Thanks...and very interesting
comments by all.
To see Tom's posts In Google groups select 'show options' and then
'show original'.
This will show the full text of the usenet post.

Definately worth the extra effort.

James
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woodp@woodp.com
2006-10-02 16:31:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by n***@yahoo.ca
I am new to Google groups. Can anyone tell me how I can read the
text_part comments used by Tom Sanderson? All I get is "Not Found" when
I attempt to access the document. Thanks...and very interesting
comments by all.
Similar problem here, although I have posts mailed to my gmail account.
And there, Tom's posts are just blank with no option to read, reply or
quote.

What is so special about Tom's methodology?
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John L
2006-10-02 16:53:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by ***@woodp.com
What is so special about Tom's methodology?
It appears to be a bug in Outlook Express. I think I can patch around it
in the modbot.

R's,
John
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-01 21:28:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel
This wouldn't add anything to the wiring, and not much to the BOM cost
of the seat. Say what, 80 bucks grand total?
Probably more like 800 grand. As soon as you put anything on an airplane,
even if it's commercial-off-the-shelf, the certification process blows the
cost through the roof. Even things like nuts and bolts are about 10x more
expensive than the same part outside the aviation world.

Tom.
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Daniel
2006-10-02 09:13:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
Probably more like 800 grand. As soon as you put anything on an airplane,
even if it's commercial-off-the-shelf, the certification process blows the
cost through the roof. Even things like nuts and bolts are about 10x more
expensive than the same part outside the aviation world.
Would FAA certification be included to NRE costs? Are there specific QC
procedures to accept off-shelf semiconductor production parts that make
them prohibitively expensive? Are there liabilities (insurance) that
make standard parts expensive like with medical applications?

PDAs used with navigation/telecom apps in vehicles are most definitely
not TuV certified Yet they're on the road and much more
appealing/cheaper than integrated solutions developped by that
industry. What would the boundaries triggering the whole gamut of
requirements be in aerospace? Under which guidelines are people allowed
to use their personal gizmo in AC today?

The BOM would still be fairly low. An Ipod video-like device without
its screen is dirt cheap. Adding wireless 802.11 baseband/phy, then
replacing RTOS with commercial embedded OS to speed up development
would be way under $100. Wouldn't be mission-critical, should be
allowed to crash. But even WinCE hardly ever crashes today, and
amazingly, can reboot/re-establish network connections in under a
minute.

Then moving production out of China to a fully certified Collins
shouldn't be that expensive. Would be an easy to make black-box, not a
well hand-finished, labor-intensive handheld. At 100Kpcs, there would
be enough volume to secure good pricing, amortization.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-02 14:13:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel
Would FAA certification be included to NRE costs?
Part of it, certainly. The intial certification testing is usually part of
the NRE cost. There's still a lot of sustaining engineering work that you
pick up to maintain certification that causes your whole
production/distribution chain to get more expensive.
Post by Daniel
Are there specific QC procedures to accept off-shelf semiconductor
production
parts that make them prohibitively expensive?
I think it would depend on the part. I'm not an electronics designer, but I
suspect most off-the-shelf electronics that weren't explicitely designed for
aerospace require extra qualification to make sure they're good to an
expanded pressure/temperature/vibration/fire envelope in order to use them
in aviation.
Post by Daniel
Are there liabilities (insurance) that
make standard parts expensive like with medical applications?
So far as I know, it would be unusual for a parts manufacturer to get sued
for an end-use accident. The Type Certificate holder (Boeing, Airbus, etc.)
bear the legal responsibility for safety of the design, not the individual
parts makers. The plane is supposed to stay safe with any single-component
failure anyway, so if a single part failure brings the plane down there's
something very wrong with the design.
Post by Daniel
PDAs used with navigation/telecom apps in vehicles are most definitely
not TuV certified. Yet they're on the road and much more
appealing/cheaper than integrated solutions developped by that
industry. What would the boundaries triggering the whole gamut of
requirements be in aerospace? Under which guidelines are people allowed
to use their personal gizmo in AC today?
The boundary is, basically, whatever's actually part of operating the
aircraft as designed.

Passengers on board can use whatever personal gizmos they like (subject to
the broadcast restrictions) because they don't have anything to do with
actually flying the airplane and, from a practical standpoint, you can't
control it anyway. Anything that's part of the airplane itself has to be
certified. To my knowledge, there's nothing analogous to aircraft
certification in the automotive industry. Every nut, bolt, and screw on an
airplane is certified by the designer's type certificate, producer's
production certificate, and the aircraft's airworthiness certificate. I
don't think there's anything that prevents a pilot from using a hand-held
GPS, but an off-the-shelf unit is almost certainly not certified for
aviation use so he'd better have a certified GPS on board, or not be
performing navigation that requires GPS.
Post by Daniel
The BOM would still be fairly low. An Ipod video-like device without
its screen is dirt cheap. Adding wireless 802.11 baseband/phy, then
replacing RTOS with commercial embedded OS to speed up development
would be way under $100.
True, but your install base is small (relative to the consumer market) and
your certification costs could be large. When you amortize that over a
small number of units and lay on the recurring costs of maintaining
certification, you've picked up a lot more.
Post by Daniel
Wouldn't be mission-critical, should be allowed to crash.
Mission-critical software lives under a very strict certification burden.
However, even something as simple as an IFE screen has a whole bunch of
requirements that land on it just by being part of the airplane, even if it
has nothing to do with safe flight during normal operation. The part has to
take crash loads (up to 16g in some directions) without coming loose, take a
fire without causing any hazardous emissions, be proven not to interfere
with any other aircraft systems, operate in a very wide
pressure/temperature/vibation range, etc.
Post by Daniel
Then moving production out of China to a fully certified Collins
shouldn't be that expensive. Would be an easy to make black-box, not a
well hand-finished, labor-intensive handheld. At 100Kpcs, there would
be enough volume to secure good pricing, amortization.
100K pieces would be a *very* large airplane order for something like IFE.
Three to four years production, at least. It's certainly do-able, and I
agree with you that you could secure good volume pricing. My main point was
that it's risky to extrapolate from off-the-shelf pricing to pricing for
aviation because the overhead jumps enourmously when you start using a part
in commercial aviation.

Tom.
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Daniel
2006-10-02 16:37:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
I think it would depend on the part.
New A320s are still on 80086 (CFC). Sometime after being declared
obsolete like in the Jurassic, Airbus had to stock some from Intel.
Read somewhere they were getting concerned about running short of that
precious supply. So yes, that certification must be *very* expensive...
Post by Tom Sanderson
To my knowledge, there's nothing analogous to aircraft
certification in the automotive industry.

That's true, and interesting to outline. Wireless BT ports are
successfully being introduced inside vehicles to solve integration
problems not unlike those of IFE. It's been established that using a BT
phone even handsfree will result in accidents, and millions now being
on the road, not to mention MP3 player stereo integration and GPS
navigation craze, you'll have more casualties from those
implementations than air accidents will generate altogether yearly.
Post by Tom Sanderson
Mission-critical software lives under a very strict certification burden.
There's a series of jaw-dropping 787 releases on Flightglobal.com where
you learn there are two RTOSes on that plane supplied by GHS and
WindRiver. It's suggested that's so because of the project's first-tier
supplier decisions. Does Boeing's new organization delegate that much
on such decisions?
Post by Tom Sanderson
100K pieces would be a *very* large airplane order for something like IFE.
Three to four years production, at least. It's certainly do-able, and I
agree with you that you could secure good volume pricing. My main point was
that it's risky to extrapolate from off-the-shelf pricing to pricing for
aviation because the overhead jumps enourmously when you start using a part
in commercial aviation.
With CE, the first 100Kpcs is the hardest step. Sourcing gains only
marginal after. Most initial RFPs are on 100Kpcs, whether you'll end up
with 10Kpcs or millions, it's implied when negotiating. 100,000 seats
is about the added capacity of a robust airplane manufacturer each
year. Let's reverse the perspective, would $1,000 per seat make for a
competitive solution, taking care of all that side of IFE, and all the
while supporting NRE/recurring expenses? Getting rid of specific cabin
wiring, providing modular functions to each seat. Of course then, cost
structures are secrets, so wouldn't expect answer here... just a single
ASCII-character tip-off perhaps...
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-02 19:18:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel
Post by Tom Sanderson
Mission-critical software lives under a very strict certification burden.
There's a series of jaw-dropping 787 releases on Flightglobal.com where
you learn there are two RTOSes on that plane supplied by GHS and
WindRiver. It's suggested that's so because of the project's first-tier
supplier decisions. Does Boeing's new organization delegate that much
on such decisions?
Good link there...I hadn't seen the flightglobal.com spread on the 787
before. The new organization does delegate that much decision-making to the
Tier 1 suppliers. Basically, Boeing says "your black box has to do x, y,
and z" and the Tier 1 supplier can pick however they want to actually
accomplish that. Smiths chose Wind River for the CCS (everything but flight
controls, basically) and Honeywell chose Green Hills for the flight
controls. As long as they talk to each other according the specifications
Boeing laid down, Boeing doesn't really care what OS is running "under the
hood."
Post by Daniel
With CE, the first 100Kpcs is the hardest step.
I suspect the only thing in aviation ever procured in that quantity (outside
wartime) is fasteners.
Post by Daniel
Most initial RFPs are on 100Kpcs, whether you'll end up
with 10Kpcs or millions, it's implied when negotiating.
Interesting. In aviation, most of the modern designs have break-evens
somewhere between 200 and 600, I think. Even if you ordered all the way out
through break-even (which I don't think is usually done), you'd be talking
something like 30,000 IFE units even for a really large plane.
Post by Daniel
100,000 seats is about the added capacity of a robust airplane
manufacturer each
year.
True, but that's split over multiple fleets which, due to age between design
cycles, tend to not be all on the same technology at the same time. Also, a
lot of those seats are in the low-cost carrier single-aisles, which don't do
much with passenger electronics.
Post by Daniel
Let's reverse the perspective, would $1,000 per seat make for a
competitive solution, taking care of all that side of IFE, and all the
while supporting NRE/recurring expenses? Getting rid of specific cabin
wiring, providing modular functions to each seat. Of course then, cost
structures are secrets, so wouldn't expect answer here... just a single
ASCII-character tip-off perhaps...
I'm really not in a position to know, so I can't even give any subtle tip
offs...but, based on what I do know, I'd guess that $1000/seat would be a
very competitive solution for a full featured IFE.

Tom.
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JF Mezei
2006-10-03 11:07:19 UTC
Permalink
Some news are expected to come out today on Airbus.

Rumour:
Airbus is to concentrate A380 in Toulouse, and give Germany the 320. So
each plane would be assembled at one site, reducing transportation costs.

Rumour:
Airbus is to deliver only 2-3 A380s in 2007, down from 9 announced in
June down from 20-25 originally planned.


One analyst interviewed by BBC mentioned that Hamburg was using old
boards to setup the wiring harnesses while Toulouse was all CAD
equipped. This is a different interpretation fron the other specualtion
that Hamburg had different/incompatible version of CAD software. This
removes some credibility that the wiring is the REAL problem.

Perhaps what is really happening is that Airbus is fine tuning the
structure and making many changes to lighten the beast, and each change
in structural items changes the cabin wiring and the lack of integration
is making it very hard for the folks in hamburg to follow.

However, the lack of real detailed reporting on how Hamburg works and
why there are delays leads me to believe that there are other reasons
behind this.

Also, the idea of concentrating A380 assembly at Toulouse wouldn't
really save on transportation costs. Between toulouse and Hanmburg, the
A380s fly on their own. They aren't trucked/barged. It is between the
others sites and toulouse where there are serious transportation costs
(boats, barges, trucks, road closures etc).


The A380 project was launched AFTER Airbus was corporatised and made a
subsidiary of EADS. As a result, I don't think that there are any
excuses for the geman site (built expressily for the A380) would have
been eequipped differently than the Toulouse site.

Had this been done under the previous "joint venture" structure, then
daimler's plant would have been equipped with Daimler's equipment and I
could understand that it might have been different from Aérospatiale's
equipment.




Also note that Daimler has hinted that after having reduced its shares
in EADS from 30% down to 22%, it might consider lowering it down to 15%.
This has caused a rumour that the german government might buy a stake in
EADS to ensure germany retains its equal share versus the French. The
minute the equality of France-Germany is broken in EADS, it leaves the
door open for Russia to come in and ask for its seat on the board of
directors.
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Daniel
2006-10-03 14:08:31 UTC
Permalink
Just retrieved a few freshly issued Boeing patents describing very
clever things with wireless IFE and those nifty power seat tracks...

7,083,437 and 7,103,324 are every bit worth the reading from
http://www.uspto.gov

Last one issued September 5, so probably we'll have some information
shortly on 787 IFE in the media :)
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matt weber
2006-09-27 23:53:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Sanderson
Post by JF Mezei
There is a big difference here. the MD-11 wasn't designed to have
"modern" entertainment systems. The big problem is that the IFE took too
much power to be plugged into the "entertainment" circuits, and the only
breaker that was big enough to handle the load was the one handling
critical aircraft control systems, and that was the one circuit the
pilots wouldn't pull in the fire/smoke checklist.
That's not accurate. By the time the flight crew identified smoke, the fire
was self-sustaining and the airplane was doomed. The TSB investigation
found that even if they had proceeded directly to a diversion airport at the
first sign of smoke, it was doubtful they would have made it.
I beg to differ. If they had gone directly to Halifax, it would have
been a very exciting approach, and getting rid of the energy would
have been exciting, but they probably could have been on the ground at
Halifax within 5 minutes, significantly overweight, but on the ground
never the less. At 0119 they were at ~22,000 feet, 30 miles from the
runway. Getting to the runway from there would have been exciting, but
they certainly would have been on the ground in less than 12 minutes.
The aircraft goes into the water at 0131.
Post by Tom Sanderson
The IFE was *not* tied to a critical aircraft control system breaker. It
has it's own breaker. The problem was that it was not tied to the cabin
power buses (there were 8). The first step in the unknown smoke/fumes
checklist was to open the CABIN BUS switch, which disconnects all eight
cabin power buses. This wouldn't depower the IFE because it wasn't on that
bus but, as the investigation found, even depowering the IFE at that time
likely wouldn't have stopped the fire.
http://www.bst.gc.ca/en/reports/air/1998/a98h0003/01report/
The key was inadequite fire protection for critical flight systems which
allowed a fire from a non-essential system to render the airplane
uncontrollable.
Post by JF Mezei
Post by Daniel
when airlines decide, or when aircraft changes owner. That pre-cabling
and modularity would have to accommodate the varying lifespan of
systems they'd support.
Or simply consider the cabin wiring to be a "disposable" item that the
airline changes whenever it rebuilds/redesigns the cabin.
That's pretty much the state of things now. If you change the interior you
get all new cabin wiring.
Post by JF Mezei
To that effect, I think the 787 (and 350) will be much simpler because
Beyond that, the 787 (and the A350, I assume) will have far more flexible
architechtures. IFE will be wireless, so no cabling in the cabin except
internal to the seats. Seat power is provided through the seat tracks.
Those two things together mean you can move the seats anywhere you want and
everything will keep working, without changing wiring.
Tom.
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JF Mezei
2006-09-28 21:00:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by matt weber
I beg to differ. If they had gone directly to Halifax, it would have
been a very exciting approach, and getting rid of the energy would
have been exciting, but they probably could have been on the ground at
Halifax within 5 minutes, significantly overweight, but on the ground
never the less.
The report didn't state this categorically as I recall. But it did
state that the co-pilot had asked the captain for immediate "agressive"
descent to make it direct to Halifax, and the captain, busy with his
checklist, shrugged the request and told him he needed time to perform
the checklist (a cockpit resource management issue) so the co-pilot did
not engage the "agressive" descent.

As I recall, it would have been possible from that point to make the
direct landing from a flying point of view. But it was not obvious
whether the aircraft would have made it in time before losing control.

Nobody tried to fight the fire.


The big danger with the quest for lightness is that manufacturers use
wiring gauge that is exactly what is needed and not a gram bigger, and
if something doesn't quite work right, the danger of a wire overheating
is greater.
.
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Tom Sanderson
2006-10-01 21:16:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
The big danger with the quest for lightness is that manufacturers use
wiring gauge that is exactly what is needed and not a gram bigger, and
if something doesn't quite work right, the danger of a wire overheating
is greater.
That shouldn't be possible. The critical design load for the circuit
breaker is the wire gauge and length. The CB's are always supposed to be
sized so that they pop before the wiring overheats. They're there to
protect the wiring, not the equipment attached to the wiring. Done right,
the danger is that you get nuisance CB trips because you used too light
wiring, not that you get fires.

In the Swissair event, I'm not sure if it was a wiring fault setting fire to
the insulation or a mis-sized CB.

Tom.
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jbaloun
2006-09-26 19:23:59 UTC
Permalink
After Airbus gets the wiring straightened out will we be left with all
of 10 or 12 A380s in service by the start of the Olympics in 8-8-2008?

The 747-8F does not need IFE and lounges so Boeing will have an easier
time delivering and get paid for large airframes after EIS in about
three years. It remains to be seen how difficult it will be for Boeing
to outfit the 747-8i for modern IFE systems but at least they will have
-8F income to help with the costs.

James
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Tom Sanderson
2006-09-27 14:43:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by jbaloun
It remains to be seen how difficult it will be for Boeing
to outfit the 747-8i for modern IFE systems but at least they will have
-8F income to help with the costs.
One would hope they use the 787-style IFE, which doesn't use much wiring in
the first place.

Tom.
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Jim Carrick
2006-09-30 13:33:56 UTC
Permalink
Troubled Airbus faces plant closures, says bank

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (Filed: 29/09/2006)



Airbus is facing a grave crisis in almost every part of its business
and will need to fork out more than ?4bn to claw its way back to health,
Goldman Sachs has warned.

In a note to clients, the bank said Airbus had fallen far behind
Boeing in labour productivity and may have to sell off seven of its 16
plants across Europe as part of the radical shake-up being prepared by the
new chief executive, Christian Streiff.
The sites include Nantes and Meaute in France, Stade and Buxtehude in
Germany, and Illescas in Spain. Such drastic measures would meet fierce
resistance given the iconic status of Airbus as Europe's industrial
champion, employing 57,000 people.

Sash Tusa, the bank's aerospace analyst, said the troubles went beyond
the wiring debacle in the A380 superjumbo, infecting all key jet programmes.
"We estimate that extra programme-related costs could total ?4.3bn
(£2.8bn)," he said, in the grimmest assessment yet by a bank.

The Airbus mother company EADS issued a ?2bn profits warning in June,
admitting that deliveries of the A380 would be delayed as far as 2010,
triggering costly penalty clauses. EADS shares crashed 26pc in one day, and
heads rolled. However, Mr Tusa said Airbus had still not faced up to the
full costs of fixing the A380, predicting that a further $10m per jet will
be needed - a stiff sum for an aircraft with a wafer-thin margin.

"We believe that Airbus underestimated the sheer complexity of A380
assembly," he said. In fairness, Boeing ran into similar problems with the
747 jumbo in the late 1960s - when it share price briefly plunged. In a rare
piece of good news yesterday, an aviation steering committee agreed that the
wake turbulence of the A380 is no worse than the 747, easing the likely
restrictions near airports.

Goldman Sachs said that although Airbus is still holding its own, this
could change fast as it loses the crutch of currency hedges taken out five
years ago. Airbus jets are sold in dollars, but just a third of its costs
are dollar-based. It warned that a euro exchange rate of $1.40 - widely
predicted by analysts - would "all but eliminate" Airbus profits. The
average hedge rate, as low as $0.98 in 2004, will jump to nearer $1.30 by
2010. The bank said Airbus would face a currency "headwind" of up to ?1bn a
year by 2010.

Clearly, the Franco-German group was caught napping over the past two
years as Boeing sprang back to life with the super-light 787 Dreamliner, a
carbon composite design that will slash fuel consumption.

The Dreamliner has forced Airbus to ditch its plans for the mid-sized
A350, switching belatedly to a new version - the A350 XWB - at an extra cost
of $4bn, and two years' delay.

Not only will there be penalty payments to the original A350 launch
customers, but Airbus may not be able to roll over contracts.

Ominously, the top-selling A320 -- the workhorse that makes up some
80pc of Airbus deliveries and most of its profits - could be displaced by a
revamped Boeing 737, while the Airbus A400 military jet faces cost over-runs
of 15pc, amounting to ?800m over three years.

The new team in charge of Airbus has made no secret of its troubles,
promising to grab the bull by the horns after review by Mr Streiff - due
next month.

If Goldman Sachs is right, BAE Systems may have sold its 20pc share of
Airbus in the nick of time. The agreed price of ?2.75bn is looking better by
the day.



This article appeared in the business section of the UK's Daily Telegraph
29th September.

JC
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jbaloun
2006-09-30 14:56:18 UTC
Permalink
Jim Carrick wrote:

Maybe Airbus could file for non-profit status? ;-)
Post by Jim Carrick
If Goldman Sachs is right, BAE Systems may have sold its 20pc share of
Airbus in the nick of time. The agreed price of ?2.75bn is looking better by
the day.
What would bankrupcy do to the BAE sale funds transfer? Probably make
the Airbus situation even more complicated and only further distract
upper mangement. Hopefully BAE can escape the sinking ship.

This is getting serious for Airbus. Looks like they bit off more than
they could chew with the A380. As always aerospace companies spar with
each other by strategic choices in their products meant to have maximum
effect in thier niche of the market against the competitor. But the
single punch from the 787 has turned out to be on the mark. Airbus is
staggering. The second punch from the 737 replacement may knock Airbus
down hard.

All of these changes and delays cost money and delay income for Airbus.
A billon dollar loan put on hold for another year costs in interest
payments. Yet since the big drop in AIrbus stock after the first
(second? I lost count) delay announcement, the Airbus stock price just
sits there.

For Boeing, even with 400 787s on order, if there is the slightest hint
of trouble at Boeing or in the market, the Boeing stock moves around.
Then come the reports of the extent of Airbus stock held by governments
and the speculation that Airbus will have to call on the shareholders
to make a contribution per share if I understand this correctly? Sounds
like a government subsidy via the share holders as opposed to low
interest loans.

James
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