Author Topic: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...  (Read 1973 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« on: July 16, 2020, 10:42:17 pm »

https://twitter.com/HeadForPoints/status/1283869904089882630

Looks like covid has killed BA's 747 fleet. Not a massive surprise, it's killed KLM's too.

End of an era.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2020, 06:37:30 am »
Actually I am quite surprised, the newer variants are still pretty cost effective as I understand it, and depending on load factors even more so than that A380.

As long as I don't have to use the 787 as a result I dont really care though.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2020, 09:38:07 am »
And the sudden glut of slightly-used-only-one-owner planes on the market is whacking the builders in the backs of the knees. That TSR-2 moment times a thousand.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2020, 09:40:11 am »
Isn't it the fastest airliner (post-Concorde)?  Only just subsonic.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2020, 09:55:03 am »
I was expecting something about, say Amelia Earhart. Which led me to discover a name...
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2020, 10:39:05 am »
Not that surprised.  All of the major passenger carriers had plans to retire them within the next 2 or 3 years and it makes sense to drop the older, more fuel hungry and expensive to maintain stuff from the fleet when cash is tight and there's no demand.  A number of the modern 2 engine models can carry almost as many bodies as a 747, see below, at lower cost. As for the A380?  I'm still not convinced that was ever a good idea.   AIUI the freight variants of the 747 are likely to be in service for a while yet so it's not quite the end.

Mind you the idea of flying in one of Boeing's newer models does not fill me with confidence.


Extracted from https://askthepilot.com/airbus-to-end-a380-production/

"..., but there are, and will continue to be, plenty of very large planes out there. The most common of them, for now, is the Boeing 777-300. This is the aircraft, not the A380, that most of the world’s carriers brought in to replace their 747s. It does the job with two engines instead of four, and with significantly lower operating costs. But it’s by no means a small aircraft. It’s almost the size of a 747, typically carrying around 350 passengers — with even more underfloor cargo space than a 747. Essentially, every 777-300 you see today — and there are nearly a thousand of them around the world — would, a generation ago, have been a 747."

And a bit of history / opinion here...

https://askthepilot.com/747-in-winter/
Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2020, 10:53:18 am »
Isn't it the fastest airliner (post-Concorde)?  Only just subsonic.
Yes

747 is still viable as a freighter, and is still in production as such in the 747-8.  I remember BA phasing out their 747-200s which is getting on for 20 years ago.

A380 was developed primarily for a projected growth in traffic in Pacific rim countries.  I don't think that happened.  Boeing withdrew from the super jumbo because they decided there was not room for 2 manufacturers in that market.  I worked for Boeing and allied companies at that time - late 90s.

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2020, 11:06:47 am »
The Vickers VC10 was faster in normal conditions though, 580mph max and 550 cruise. It held the record for the transatlantic crossing for 40 years. Fastest airliner bar Concord.
The 747 broke it when it was assisted by a 200mph tailwind during Storm Ciara.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2020, 11:24:29 am »

747 is still viable as a freighter, and is still in production as such in the 747-8.  I remember BA phasing out their 747-200s which is getting on for 20 years ago.

A380 was developed primarily for a projected growth in traffic in Pacific rim countries.  I don't think that happened.  Boeing withdrew from the super jumbo because they decided there was not room for 2 manufacturers in that market.  I worked for Boeing and allied companies at that time - late 90s.

IMHO ETOPS killed the A380, and it's basically made the 747 unviable now.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2020, 11:52:01 am »
IMHO ETOPS killed the A380, and it's basically made the 747 unviable now.
Probably.  ETOPS was "invented for the 777 (first flight 1994), stands for Engines Turn off Passengers Swim.  I remember flying on BA 777 London to Paris when they got their first ones.  When people ask about engine failure in 777 the standard joke was to point out that there was a tiny propeller to keep it flying.  This is the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) which in reality is to maintain minimum electrical and hydraulic function.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2020, 12:34:37 pm »
IMHO ETOPS killed the A380, and it's basically made the 747 unviable now.
Probably.  ETOPS was "invented for the 777 (first flight 1994), stands for Engines Turn off Passengers Swim.  I remember flying on BA 777 London to Paris when they got their first ones.  When people ask about engine failure in 777 the standard joke was to point out that there was a tiny propeller to keep it flying.  This is the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) which in reality is to maintain minimum electrical and hydraulic function.

Yep. EASA will try to claim that ETOPS is "ExTended OPerationS", but really it's Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim...

The thing that ETOPS has changed, and why it's killed the 747 and the A380 is that both worked best with a hub and spoke setup. Use the 737 to fly from your regional airport to the big hub, then fly across the big scary water bit on the 4 engine plane, then change onto another 737 to the regional airport of your destination. But now with ETOPS, the 737 and the A321 can just do the Regional airport to regional airport thing.

I wonder how the XLR planes like the 787 and the A350 are going to change things. Emirates have 100 A380's and Dubai is a massive hub, that's needed for a lot of Asia<->Europe stuff cos of distance. But with Quantas doing the London Perth direct, and talk of the Sydney to West coast of North America. Does make you wonder how much passengers are willing to endure sat on a plane for a really long time, vs the hassle of changing/connecting...

Gonna be weird not seeing 747's coming in to land when I'm out on my training rides...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2020, 01:58:17 pm »
Actually I am quite surprised, the newer variants are still pretty cost effective as I understand it, and depending on load factors even more so than that A380.

As long as I don't have to use the 787 as a result I dont really care though.

Indeed.  I spent most of a London-Calgary flight peering up - a LONG way up - at the wing tips and wondering whether the wings were about to fall off and pitch us into the permafrost at twice the speed of sound.  Bain't be natural, that amount of dihedral.

On the way back I was too tired to care.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2020, 02:01:33 pm »
Isn't it the fastest airliner (post-Concorde)?  Only just subsonic.

No. It cruises at M0.84-.85, same as most modern long-haul aircraft, but slower than the B707/Convair 990/Vickers VC10 generation which would cruise at .88 or faster. I have seen .89 in a 747-200, but that was an overspeed and needed the engineers to give it a check over after landing!

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2020, 02:10:04 pm »
Actually I am quite surprised, the newer variants are still pretty cost effective as I understand it, and depending on load factors even more so than that A380.

As long as I don't have to use the 787 as a result I dont really care though.

The 747-400 burns around 10 tonnes of fuel per hour. Its cost-effectiveness is directly dependent on how many people you put in it and how much they pay. BA's aircraft have various fits depending on the market they serve - 275 on the high-yield New York market, 345 on most others (Virgin's leisure-only-market 744s, also now retired, had 465 seats). At those densities, the yield had to be bloody good to make money. Bear in mind that a BA 787-10, with 258 seats, burns half the amount of fuel - and can go considerably further. Getting rid of them was a no-brainer.

The A380 is equally problematic, but addresses the need to maximise the use of capacity per slot in some airports. With 469 seats in BA's fit, it makes much more sense than a 747 - though it burns a little more fuel and is more costly to maintain, a lot more costly on airport charges and can only go to a relatively few airports around the world.

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2020, 02:20:24 pm »
IMHO ETOPS killed the A380, and it's basically made the 747 unviable now.
Probably.  ETOPS was "invented for the 777 (first flight 1994), stands for Engines Turn off Passengers Swim.  I remember flying on BA 777 London to Paris when they got their first ones.  When people ask about engine failure in 777 the standard joke was to point out that there was a tiny propeller to keep it flying.  This is the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) which in reality is to maintain minimum electrical and hydraulic function.

Yep. EASA will try to claim that ETOPS is "ExTended OPerationS", but really it's Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim...

The thing that ETOPS has changed, and why it's killed the 747 and the A380 is that both worked best with a hub and spoke setup. Use the 737 to fly from your regional airport to the big hub, then fly across the big scary water bit on the 4 engine plane, then change onto another 737 to the regional airport of your destination. But now with ETOPS, the 737 and the A321 can just do the Regional airport to regional airport thing.

I wonder how the XLR planes like the 787 and the A350 are going to change things. Emirates have 100 A380's and Dubai is a massive hub, that's needed for a lot of Asia<->Europe stuff cos of distance. But with Quantas doing the London Perth direct, and talk of the Sydney to West coast of North America. Does make you wonder how much passengers are willing to endure sat on a plane for a really long time, vs the hassle of changing/connecting...

Gonna be weird not seeing 747's coming in to land when I'm out on my training rides...

J

ETOPS is Extended range Twin-engined OPerationS, and is predicated on the maximum single-engined range that the regulatory authorities are prepared to risk for longhaul twin-engined overwater (or over Siberia/China/Canada) flights. It started at 90 minutes around the turn of the century, and is now up to 300 minutes for the 787/A350 - with proposals to go longer.

Most 737 and A320 variants are not certified for ETOPS operations, though there are specific 737-800s and A318/320/321s that are. ETOPS requires very demanding avionic and engineering equipment and in-flight procedures, and it isn't cheap. The latest ER versions of the A321 and proposed versions of the 737 will happily fly UK-US East Coast, but not a lot further. The limitation is absolute range, not ETOPS compatibility.

Sydney-LA has been a thing on two engines for a very long time. It's only 7500 miles, which is well short of the capability of the A350/B787/777.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2020, 04:11:31 pm »
I had a Toronto-London flight on a 777 a number of years ago, around 8 hour duration IIRC, routed up over Goose Bay/Gander.  Which is as far as we got, the first time.  Twin nav computers should be constantly synching, except they weren't so apologetic pilot announced "sorry we have to turn back, can't go any further. Ground support have been working on it all the way, but it's borked"

I'm guessing that was ETOPS ROOLZ

They didn't even re-load food for the return journey, plenty of boozeahol though
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Giraffe

  • I brake for Giraffes
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2020, 04:20:45 pm »
I was on Malta just after the first 747 had landed there. The runway wasn't fenced, so the kids used to play there (this was a bit pre-9/11 - OK, a lot pre-).
Apparently it landed OK but there wasn't room for it to take off. Most airlines had refused; this was one from a little-known island off the west coast of GB. nuff said.
2x4: thick plank; 4x4: 2 of 'em.

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2020, 05:03:27 pm »
I was on Malta just after the first 747 had landed there. The runway wasn't fenced, so the kids used to play there (this was a bit pre-9/11 - OK, a lot pre-).
Apparently it landed OK but there wasn't room for it to take off. Most airlines had refused; this was one from a little-known island off the west coast of GB. nuff said.

Is it still there then since it couldn't take off or did they dismantle it and send it back by sea?
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2020, 05:46:26 pm »

ETOPS is Extended range Twin-engined OPerationS, and is predicated on the maximum single-engined range that the regulatory authorities are prepared to risk for longhaul twin-engined overwater (or over Siberia/China/Canada) flights. It started at 90 minutes around the turn of the century, and is now up to 300 minutes for the 787/A350 - with proposals to go longer.

The A350 is claiming upto 330mins, which is kinda impressive.

Quote

Most 737 and A320 variants are not certified for ETOPS operations, though there are specific 737-800s and A318/320/321s that are. ETOPS requires very demanding avionic and engineering equipment and in-flight procedures, and it isn't cheap. The latest ER versions of the A321 and proposed versions of the 737 will happily fly UK-US East Coast, but not a lot further. The limitation is absolute range, not ETOPS compatibility.

Of course, just cos some of them are ETOPS rated above the standard 60 mins, doesn't mean they all are. It would be silly for Ryanair to pay extra for 180 mins of ETOPS on a plane that only flies within Europe... You'd really have to try some to get more than 60 minutes from an airport within Europe.

Quote
Sydney-LA has been a thing on two engines for a very long time. It's only 7500 miles, which is well short of the capability of the A350/B787/777.

I meant East coast. I really shouldn't post on here before breakfast. Apologies.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2020, 09:23:23 am »
747 is still viable as a freighter, and is still in production as such in the 747-8. 

I live within 15 miles of the Everett, Washington, USA plant that was initially constructed as the place to assemble 747s.  Word locally is that Boeing has written the last orders for 747 components and will be closing down production within the next year or so.

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2020, 12:16:56 pm »
I was on Malta just after the first 747 had landed there. The runway wasn't fenced, so the kids used to play there (this was a bit pre-9/11 - OK, a lot pre-).
Apparently it landed OK but there wasn't room for it to take off. Most airlines had refused; this was one from a little-known island off the west coast of GB. nuff said.

Is it still there then since it couldn't take off or did they dismantle it and send it back by sea?
(Hoping that TimC isn't going to correct me on this...)
Reducing the weight by taking off with little fuel, no passengers, and if you really need, no seats and overhead lockers etc. and waiting for a favourable wind speed and direction would all be good options, and far cheaper than taking it completely to bits.
Quote from: Kim
Paging Diver300.  Diver300 to the GSM Trimphone, please...

Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2020, 12:27:11 pm »
I have heard tell that Yeovilton Naval Air Base has a runway long enough to land a Jumbo, but that you do have to just about empty it of everything to take off again.
No evidence, just hearsay.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2020, 01:06:44 pm »
I have heard tell that Yeovilton Naval Air Base has a runway long enough to land a Jumbo, but that you do have to just about empty it of everything to take off again.
No evidence, just hearsay.

Yeovilton's main runway is 7580ft long. That's relatively long for a UK military airfield, but fairly tight for a 747. However, a lightly-loaded 747 would have no problem getting airborne off it.

I was on Malta just after the first 747 had landed there. The runway wasn't fenced, so the kids used to play there (this was a bit pre-9/11 - OK, a lot pre-).
Apparently it landed OK but there wasn't room for it to take off. Most airlines had refused; this was one from a little-known island off the west coast of GB. nuff said.

Is it still there then since it couldn't take off or did they dismantle it and send it back by sea?
(Hoping that TimC isn't going to correct me on this...)
Reducing the weight by taking off with little fuel, no passengers, and if you really need, no seats and overhead lockers etc. and waiting for a favourable wind speed and direction would all be good options, and far cheaper than taking it completely to bits.

You are giving away your age! The main runway at Luqa, built in 1977, is 11,500ft long. That's plenty for any aircraft at pretty much any weight and temperature. Even the old RAF main runway (still in use) is 7800ft long, which should present no problems under most circumstances for a 747 - though the early ones were rather underpowered! I used to fly the 747-100/200, and the -100 with JT9D-7As was interesting in places like Orlando when the temperature got up to the high 30s. It wasn't so much the performance on 4 engines, but the prospect of how you were going to get and keep the thing in the air if you lost one at the point of rotation.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2020, 02:59:34 pm »
Yous made me have a nosey, the only reference to a 747 at Malta I could find was a hijacking that saw the Maltese PM at the time trying to convince the hijackers that they wouldn't be able to take off.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Queen of the Skies... Abdicates...
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2020, 04:54:06 pm »
I have heard tell that Yeovilton Naval Air Base has a runway long enough to land a Jumbo, but that you do have to just about empty it of everything to take off again.
No evidence, just hearsay.

Yeovilton's main runway is 7580ft long. That's relatively long for a UK military airfield, but fairly tight for a 747. However, a lightly-loaded 747 would have no problem getting airborne off it.

I was on Malta just after the first 747 had landed there. The runway wasn't fenced, so the kids used to play there (this was a bit pre-9/11 - OK, a lot pre-).
Apparently it landed OK but there wasn't room for it to take off. Most airlines had refused; this was one from a little-known island off the west coast of GB. nuff said.

Is it still there then since it couldn't take off or did they dismantle it and send it back by sea?
(Hoping that TimC isn't going to correct me on this...)
Reducing the weight by taking off with little fuel, no passengers, and if you really need, no seats and overhead lockers etc. and waiting for a favourable wind speed and direction would all be good options, and far cheaper than taking it completely to bits.

You are giving away your age! The main runway at Luqa, built in 1977, is 11,500ft long. That's plenty for any aircraft at pretty much any weight and temperature. Even the old RAF main runway (still in use) is 7800ft long, which should present no problems under most circumstances for a 747 - though the early ones were rather underpowered! I used to fly the 747-100/200, and the -100 with JT9D-7As was interesting in places like Orlando when the temperature got up to the high 30s. It wasn't so much the performance on 4 engines, but the prospect of how you were going to get and keep the thing in the air if you lost one at the point of rotation.

Not sure how long Stansted is, but they regularly have 747 cargo versions in, not passenger as their crash capabilities are not up to the requirements (did several audits there).  Teh one thing I'm told needed ALL the runway was the Antonov 124, with plenty of time at the end on the brakes running the engines up
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens