Aircraft



Airbus A320

Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus

About the aircraft

When a consortium of European aircraft manufacturers formed Airbus Industrie back in 1970, little did anyone imagine this new company with only one aircraft type would be producing several different airliner families 40 years later. The narrow-body A320 was created from a proverbial "clean sheet of paper," and was not a derivative of mid-1960's designs like newer-model Boeing 737s and Douglas DC-9s. It featured the first digital fly-by-wire flight control system ever used on a commercial airliner, and a fully digital glass cockpit with side-stick controllers just like those used in supersonic jet fighters. The A320 family consists of the baseline A320, the 'stretched' A321, and the shorter A319 and A318. These aircraft are powered by a choice of 22,000-to-33,000-lb.-class engines such as the SNECMA CFM-56 series, Aero International Engines V2500, and Pratt & Whitney PW6000. Typical cruise speed is Mach 0.78 (510 mph) at a service ceiling of from 39,000 to 41,000 feet, with maximum gross takeoff weights ranging from 150,000 lbs. for the A318 up to 206,000 lbs. for the A321.

History

The A320 began life in 1984, when Airbus sought to expand its product line and enter the single-aisle narrow-body market. Airbus designers envisioned a 150-to-180-seat aircraft with a 3,200-nautical-mile range. First flown in February 1987 and introduced into service by Air France in March 1988, the A320 became an instant hit with operators and passengers alike. The A320 family expanded in 1994 with the "stretched" 185-220-seat A321 which competed directly with the Boeing 737-900 and 757-200. The A321 achieved success with A320 operators, offering added passenger capacity, but with common maintenance and flight crew training. In 1996, the shorter 124-156-passenger A319 joined the fleet offering long-range capability of up to 6,500 nautical miles with the LR and CJ versions. To service high-density short-range routes, the 107-132-passenger A318 was introduced in 2003.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

The A320 production line was first located in the original Concorde assembly hall at Toulouse, France, and incorporated contemporary manufacturing technology. While Boeing's 727 was the world's first airliner to reach more than 1,000 airframes built, the A320 reached that number only ten years into production. No other twin-engine single-aisle airliner ever reached such significant production numbers in such a short a period of time. Today, more than 9,400 A320s have been ordered in four different models, with over 5,500 delivered and a current backlog of nearly 4,000 aircraft. With its impressive build-rate of 40 airplanes-per-month, the A320 series has earned a prominent place in commercial aviation history.

Passenger Features

The A320 series cabins are the widest of any single-aisle jetliner, and offer significant design innovations for unparalleled operational efficiency and passenger comfort. These include wider seats and a 7-inch wider aisle for easier boarding and inflight passenger service. With optional mood lighting, and either four, five, or six-abreast seating depending on class of service, the A320's passenger cabin remains a favorite with air travelers worldwide.

Future of the aircraft

To remain competitive with a new generation of jetliners, Airbus is developing the A320NEO (New Engine Option). Using latest-technology engines in the 30,000-lb.-thrust class, the NEO promises an estimated 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, with 20 per cent lower maintenance costs, significant numbers in today's highly competitive airline market. Equipped with blended wingtip "sharklets" the A320NEO offers a choice of CFM International Leap-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan engines. Airbus recently announced a total of 1,734 firm orders for the upcoming A320NEO from 36 airline customers. This represents an anticipated market share of more than 60 percent by the time the new airliner enters revenue service in 2016. Launch customer Virgin America plans to introduce this newest Airbus in 2016, keeping the A320 family at the forefront of commercial aviation.

Safety Rating

The A320 family has experienced 18 hull losses with 11 fatal accidents, a number of which were attributed to the airplane's new digital technology and related flight crew interactions in the airplane's early years of service. Accounting for total hours flown, this computes to a hull loss accident rate of 0.29-per-million-departures, and a hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 0.18-per-million departures.

Airbus A330/A340

Picture: Airbus
Picture: Art Brett
Picture: Jackson
Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus

About the aircraft

From the start, development of the 240-360-passenger A330 and A340 twin-aisle jetliners was aimed at long trans-oceanic flights. To dramatically prove this point, Airbus launched an ultra-long-range round-trip of a special A340-200 from the 1993 Paris Air Show with a single stop in Auckland, New Zealand. This high-profile endurance flight was completed in 48 hours and 22 minutes and established several world records including the longest-duration flight ever made by a commercial airliner at that time -10,392 nautical miles. Aside from fleet commonality with cross-crew qualifications for the A320 family, the A330 and A340 share the A300/A310 fuselage cross-section plus vertical stabilizer and rudder. All-new are various composite structures, a digital fly-by-wire flight control system, and advanced-technology wing featuring a 30-degree sweep and active load-alleviation control surfaces. Engine choices are the Rolls-Royce Trent 700, General Electric CF-6-80E1, and Pratt & Whitney PW 4000, all in the 70,000-lb.-thrust-class.

History

When Airbus Industrie launched its next generation of wide-body aircraft in the late-1980s, airlines could choose either two or four engines when ordering these new jetliners. The argument for how many engines on intercontinental jet airliners dates back to the mid-1960s, when McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, and Boeing began developing their first wide-body aircraft. Since twin-engine airliners were not certified to operate over water, these companies opted for three-engine (DC-10 and L-1011) and four-engine designs (747). Quite obviously, the airplane's configuration never changed once it entered production. Having developed their successful A300 and A310 wide-body twinjets, Airbus changed the game dramatically. By stretching the A300 fuselage and incorporating a digital glass cockpit, fly-by-wire flight control system, fuel-in-tail trim capability, and a brand new wing, the company created a potent pair of new long-range aircraft by offering airlines a choice between two-or-four engines on the same fuselage and wing design, depending on route structure and payload requirements. Originally called the A300B9, the new twinjet was designated A330 while the four-engine variant became the A340.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

A330 and A340 production lines in Toulouse, France, feature the extensive use of new materials and the latest manufacturing processes in both metal and composite structure methodology. A total of 1,246 A330s have been ordered with 964 delivered, and 377 A340s have been ordered and delivered. The A330 recently reached its highest-ever production rate of 10 airplanes-per-month.

Passenger Features

The A330 and A340 share identical fuselages and passenger cabins, but a unique interior feature Airbus offers to its airline customers is the choice of different overhead baggage bin configurations depending on the types of stage lengths and passenger loads being flown. Airlines can opt for cabins with standard high-capacity overhead bins, compact centerline overhead bins, bins with articulating doors that allow higher cabin ceilings, and even a roomy interior with no bins at all.

Future of the aircraft

While the A330 and A340 remain in front-line service around the world and periodically receive interior upgrades and performance improvement packages, there are no current plans for any major redesigns of either type. Regardless of that fact, Airbus undeniably created two successful wide-body airliners that played a pivotal role in the creation of the company's ultimate achievement the 555-passenger, double-deck "super jumbo" A380, the largest commercial airliner ever built.

Safety Rating

The A330 experienced two hull losses with two fatal accidents, while the A340 has experienced two hull losses with no fatal accidents. This computes to both a hull loss accident rate and hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 0.40-per-million departures for the A330, and a hull loss accident rate of 0.80-per-million departures for the A340.

Airbus A380: Super Jumbo for the Ages

Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus
Picture: Airbus

About the aircraft

In aviation, size is relative. The DC-3 was a giant airplane compared to the Ford Tri-Motor in 1935. The Constellation towered over the DC-3 in 1948, just as the Boeing 707 did over the Constellation in 1958, and so on. In 1970, the 747 "Jumbo Jet" came along, and there was never an airplane larger until 2005. Making its public debut at the Paris Air Show that June, the double-decker Airbus A380 "Super Jumbo" wowed the crowds unlike any airliner since the supersonic Concorde. Allowing for the inevitable roller-coaster ride of world economics, the A380 was still seen as the best solution for over-crowded skies by carrying more passengers on fewer flights, yet still carrying an equivalent number of passengers-per-day between the world's major city pairs. The A380 offered 50 per cent more available floor space than the 747-400, with 35 per cent more seating capacity, 20 per cent lower operating cost, and 15 per cent longer range. With the A380's spacious interiors, first-class staterooms, and amenities never-before-seen on any commercial airliner, this "cruise ship of the skies" offers a most comfortable and unique experience for its passengers.

History

Beginning in 1991 as an $11 billion dollar gamble, the proposed 555-seat Airbus "A3XX" was met with skepticism from aviation pundits questioning the giant airliner's compatibility with existing airports as well as the potential for crushing crowds at boarding gates and baggage claim. Airbus spent nearly a decade conducting detailed market analysis while working with airport authorities and the world's leading airlines. According to Airbus, the "A380" name was chosen to represent a "quantum leap" from the company's next-largest jetliner, the A340, plus the fact that number 8 holds special significance in certain Asian cultures. The A380 was officially launched in December 2000, and first flew in April 2005. A number of unexpected 'teething problems' delayed deliveries for several years, but Singapore Airlines proudly inaugurated A380 passenger service in October 2007, followed by Qantas, Emirates, Lufthansa, Air France, Korean Air Lines, China Southern, Thai Airways, and Malaysia Airlines.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Manufacturing such a revolutionary airplane required equally revolutionary construction methods. As with other Airbus aircraft, major subassemblies are built in France, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and then transported to Toulouse. With the A380, however, three new modes of transportation were specifically developed to bring major structural components together for final assembly. A fleet of outsize ground transporters, large purpose-built cargo ferries, and giant "Beluga" jet transports carry fuselage sections, wing boxes, control surfaces, and other structural components to Toulouse.

Passenger Features

The concept of passenger comfort is taken to a new level aboard the A380. Duty-free shopping, multiple bars and lounges with five-star cuisine, shower spas, and even fully enclosed private luxury suites are just some of the amenities never-before-seen on any commercial airliner. The economy cabin also features extra roominess with custom anti-jet-lag lighting. A veritable "cruise ship of the skies," the A380 offers its passengers the most comfortable, engaging, and unique experience in the air today

Future of the aircraft

As of January 2013, 262 A380s have been ordered with 97 deliveries, and the airplane has proven itself quite handsomely in service. However, Airbus looks to the future with fervent hope for additional orders from new airline customers. While Emirates is by far the largest A380 user, the need for new orders to meet Airbus's break-even figure is undeniable.

Safety Rating

On the safety front, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is preparing to issue an Airworthiness Directive that will cause airline operators to have to structurally modify the wings of their currently flying A380s. Airplanes now on the production line will also have to incorporate these changes, and a total of 120 A380s are expected to be affected

ATR 42 and ATR 72

ATR 72-600

About the aircraft

ATR 42 The ATR 42 first flew in 1984, and was named for its 42-passenger payload, although that number has increased to 50 passengers on current models. Originally operated as the ATR-300, continuous upgrades and modernization over the years has improved the aircraft. The new ATR 42-600 model features the latest digital cockpit technology, an improved passenger cabin, and upgraded Pratt & Whitney (Canada) PW127 turboprop engines with six-bladed propellers. The aircraft has a 300-mile-per-hour cruise speed with an 840-nautical mile range. Length is 75 ft. with an 81-ft. wingspan. ATR 72 The stretched ATR 72 made its first flight in 1988, and carries between 68 and 74 passengers. As with the shorter ATR 42, continuous upgrades and improvements have been made throughout the service life of the airplane. Advanced Hamilton-Standard six-bladed propellers replaced the original four-blade props used on early models of the ATR 42, giving the aircraft a 320-mile-per-hour cruise speed with a 1,500-nautical mile range. Length is 89 ft. with an 89-ft. wingspan.

History

ATR was formed in 1981 by an alliance of Aeritalia in Italy and Aerospatiale (now Airbus) in France. The acronym translates to "Air Transport Regional". The ATR 42 was designed to be the world's first "large" modern regional turboprop aircraft, intended to replace the venerable, but aging Fokker F.27. Design goals were to afford "wide body" comfort levels to passengers with the airplane's 9-ft. 4-in. cabin width, and achieve reliable and economic performance on the world's short-to-medium-range routes. The longer, higher-capacity ATR 72 was added to the company's line-up in 1988 to augment the ATR 42. Dispatch reliability for the latest models of both aircraft exceeds 99 per cent.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

The ATR 42 pioneered the use of early-generation computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) for the manufacturing of a regional airliner. Both the ATR 42 and ATR 72 and their variants were built in Toulouse, France. A total of 422 ATR 42s have been built since 1984, with 611 ATR 72s having been built since 1988.

Passenger Features

Passenger cabins in both the ATR 42 and 72 have undergone continuous improvement and modernization since the types were first introduced in 1985 and 1989 respectively. Upon entering service, the airplanes won immediate praise from passengers with their bright roomy cabins and the excellent visibility afforded by their high-wing design. Engine noise and vibration levels are surprisingly low, even when sitting directly next to the nacelles or propellers. Enlarged overhead storage bins, enhanced lighting, and improved passenger seats are featured on all the latest ATR 42 and 72 models.

Future of the aircraft

Both the ATR 42 and ATR 72 remain in production and in active service as passenger, cargo, and "combi" or quick-change airfreight/passenger aircraft worldwide. Several military variants are also currently flying, and all of these aircraft will remain in operational service for the foreseeable future.

Safety Rating

Since its introduction in 1984, ATR 42s have incurred 23 hull losses with 8 fatal accidents. The larger ATR 72 was involved in 11 hull losses and 6 fatal accidents since its introduction in 1989.

BAe 146

Picture: BAE Systems
Picture: BAE Systems

About the aircraft

The BAe 146-100 is sized nicely between typical 40-seat turboprop "commuter" airliners and 120-seat regional jets, carrying 80 passengers in an 11-foot-wide cabin with six-abreast seating. The stretched 146-200 carried 100 passengers, while a cargo version, the 146-200QT (Quiet Trader) was designed for small local freight airlines. Flying faster than a turboprop, the 146 cruises at 430 knots at 29,000 feet. Optimum range is 1,750 nautical miles for the -100, and 1,600 nm for the -200. A larger version for the fast-growing U.S. commuter market was introduced in 1987 as the 112-seat 146-300. Novel features of the 146 series include main landing gear mounted in twin fuselage pods and a highly effective speed brake system built into the tailcone. These doors operate like those found on high-performance military jets. When fully extended, they allow steep descents into smaller airfields without having to fly at higher airspeeds. Another innovation is the airplane's wide-span spoilers. When fully deployed on landing, they eliminate the need for thrust reversers, allowing considerable savings in weight, complexity, and maintenance.

History

When smaller regional jet aircraft first appeared in the early 1970s, few industry pundits would have envisioned a four-engine aircraft in this role. That, however, is precisely what British Aerospace had in mind when the Model 146 was conceived as the first new four-engine jetliner since the Boeing 747. Looking like a miniature version of Lockheed's high-wing T-tail C-5 Galaxy military airlifter, the 146 was intended to bring four-engine reliability to the world's feederliner market, and had garnered more than 70 orders by the time it was rolled out in 1981. By 1985, the 146 had gained popularity with its inaugural U.S. carriers, Air California, PSA, and Hawaiian Air, the latter company using their new 146s to replace larger MD-80s. Designed to operate from runways as short as 3,500 feet, the 146 was powered by four Avco Lycoming ALF 502 high-bypass ratio turbofan engines producing 7,000 pounds of thrust each. BAe touted the use of four small, simple, and efficient engines as "the most fuel-efficient way of achieving outstanding short field and hot/high air field performance combined with economical en-route cruise." Maintenance costs alone were estimated to be as much as 40 per cent less than comparable twin-jet airliners, and the airplane's 90db noise footprint was almost half that of a turboprop. When it entered service, the 146 was the quietest airliner in the world.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

While most of the airplane's initial orders came from North America, the 146 eventually flew in 32 different countries around the world. A total of 231 BAe-146s were built by British Aerospace at the former de Havilland plant in Hatfield, England, and 166 upgraded Avro RJ series were produced in Manchester. The BAe 146/RJ Series remained in production from 1981 to 2002, and in terms of numbers built, is considered the U.K's most successful airliner program.

Passenger Features

Passengers who were used to the somewhat cramped cabins of typical commuter jets and turboprops were delighted at the "big airliner" feel of the -146's interior. Featuring comfortable six-abreast seating, the airplane earned high passenger satisfaction ratings, augmented by the fact that, thanks to the airplane's high wing, every window had an unobstructed view when in flight. The airplane's novel "split-tail" speed brakes also made high-speed descents more comfortable for passengers.

Future of the aircraft

Although no longer in production, the original BAe-146 series was upgraded to more modern standards with the Avro RJ-70 (146-100), RJ-85 (146-200), and RJ-90 (146-300). A proposed new version of aircraft called the "RJX"was to be fitted with glass cockpits, supplemental fuel tanks, and Honeywell AS977 turbofans, but only three prototypes were built before the program was cancelled. The Avro RJ-85 will be used well into the future as a fire-fighting aerial tanker, converted from the airliner version.

Safety Rating

Looking at the entire BAe 146 family, including the newer-generation RJ-70, -85, and -90 regional jetliners, there were 12 hull losses with seven fatal accidents, although one involved an inflight attack on the flight crew and was no fault of the airplane. This gives the 146 series a hull loss accident rate of 0.67 per-million-departures, and a hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 1.14 per-million-departures

Boeing 717

Picture: Boeing
Picture: Craig Murray
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Craig Murray

About the aircraft

The Boeing 717 (formerly McDonnell Douglas MD-95) is essentially a 1960s-era DC-9-30 brought into the modern world. Measuring 124 feet long with a 93-foot wingspan, the 717 is five feet longer than the DC-9-30, and seats 106 passengers in a two-class cabin. The aircraft's six-screen digital glass cockpit is derived from the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, and all-new BMW Rolls-Royce BR715 high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines producing 18,500 pounds-of-thrust-each serve as the 717's powerplants. Maximum gross takeoff weight is 114,000 pounds, and the aircraft's maximum range is 1,370 nautical miles. For the 2,500-mile delivery flights of Hawaiian Air Lines' 13 717s from Long Beach to Honolulu in 2001, four special 250-gallon auxiliary fuel tanks were fitted to the passenger cabin floor of each airplane. With its impressive power-to-weight ratio and sprightly handling, pilots love to fly the 717 and refer to it as "the hot rod."

History

The Boeing 717 actually began life as a 1982 McDonnell Douglas study for a new variant of the MD-80 series called the "DC-9 Super 90." Although that proposal and several subsequent designs never left the drawing boards at Long Beach, the last member of the royal MD-80 family rolled out in June 1998. Originally named the MD-95, the 717 is the final iteration of Donald Douglas's last original aircraft design, the DC-9. When the Boeing Company bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997, the MD-95 soon became the "Boeing 717" - a model number previously used for the passenger-cargo version of the U. S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker. The 717-200 first flew from Long Beach on September 2, 1998. Following an extensive flight test program leading to FAA certification, launch customer AirTran took delivery of their first 717 in September 1999, followed by deliveries to Trans World Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Midwest Express, and Bavarian International Aircraft Leasing. A total of 156 717s were built, and most are still flying today.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

All 156 Boeing 717s were manufactured at the former McDonnell Douglas facility in Long Beach, California. Rolling down the same production line as the MD-80 series (not to mention the DC-8, DC-9, and DC-10 before it), the 717 ended the 40-year reign of Douglas Aircraft's jet airliner production. Upon completion of the last 717 airframe in May 2006, that portion of the original Douglas Aircraft plant was closed, and the adjoining engineering and manufacturing buildings were torn down. The site, now named "Douglas Business Park," is home to light industrial and retail commerce.

Passenger Features

The 717's passenger cabin architecture and fittings were based on the original MD-80 interior design, but with upgraded seats, modernized galleys, improved lighting, and larger overhead storage compartments. Passengers seated directly in front of the jetliner's ultra-wide engine nacelles can look out the window and actually see right into the engine's fan section. Takeoff performance and climb angle, especially when lightly loaded, are nothing less than breathtaking, and despite all the additional engine power, noise levels inside (and outside) the 717's cabin are even quieter than previous MD-80 family members.

Future of the aircraft

As of July 2012, 143 of the 156 717s built were still flying in revenue passenger service. Unfortunately for Boeing, the 717 stood out as a unique airplane with its cockpit layout and engines, meaning that unlike the A318 for Airbus, or 737-600 for Boeing, there was little-to-no commonality in aircraft systems with which to integrate the 717 into any exiting airline fleets - including the MD-80! This proved to be a major stumbling block for marketing the airplane, and production ceased in 2006. Southwest, which merged with AirTran, will begin leasing its 88 former AirTran 717s to Delta Air Lines in order to achieve mutual fleet commonality with Southwest's 737s and Delta's MD-80 and MD-90 families.

Safety Rating

There have been no hull losses or fatal accidents involving the Boeing 717 aircraft.

Boeing 737: Jurassic and Classic Series

737 Jurassic Picture: Boeing

About the aircraft

737-100/200 "Jurassic"- Built for launch customers Lufthansa (-100) and United (-200), the 737 brought jet-age speed, comfort, and convenience to smaller cities and towns previously served only by piston or turboprop airliners. The airplane was powered by the same Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans used on the 707 and 727. The more popular 737-200 model measured 100 feet in length with a 93-ft. wingspan, and was introduced into service in 1968. The airplane's chief competitors were the Douglas DC-9, BAC-111, and Sud Caravelle. 737-300/400/500 "Classic" - The 737-300 was "stretched" with an eight-foot-longer fuselage, increasing seating capacity up to 140 passengers. Power was supplied by 20,000-lb.-thrust CFM56-3 high-bypass-ratio turbofans that were 25 per cent more efficient than the P&W JT8D, and were housed in new larger nacelles with flat bottoms to allow proper ground clearance. The shorter -500 series was similar to the original 110-seat 737-200, while the longer -400 series measured 129 feet in length and carried 160 passengers. The first 737-300 built was also the 1,000 737 to be manufactured, and the type was introduced into service by USAir in 1985.

History

Boeing's legendary 707 spawned an entire family of airplanes that changed commercial air travel forever. Entering service in 1958, the long-range 707 was followed by the medium-range 727 tri-jet in 1963. The "baby" member of this famous family, the 737, began airline service in 1968 as a 110-passenger short-to-medium-range jetliner powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans - the same engine used on the 727. This commonality in powerplants, cabin cross -section, and cockpit layout gave airlines optimum efficiency in both maintenance and crew training. Now entering its 47th year of continuous production, the 737 series is being manufactured in its third generation of design improvements, and still remains a competitive single-aisle airliner comprising 25 per cent of today's world airline fleets. The 737 series went on to become the best-selling jet airliner in the history of commercial aviation.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Beginning in 1966, the first 271 Boeing 737 airframes were built at the company's famed Plant 2 located on Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. Boeing moved production to its Renton, WA facility in 1969, and the latest models of the 737 series are still built there today. Beginning in 1983, 737 fuselages were fabricated in Wichita, Kansas and transported to Renton by rail for final assembly. Having been replaced in the 1980s by the "Next Generation" 737 models, original versions of the 737 are no longer being built. Final production numbers for these airplanes are 1,144 737-100/200s, and 3,132 737-300/400/500s for a total of 4,276 first and second-generation 737s built.

Passenger Features

In addition to offering standard passenger amenities for its class, several novel features on the original 737 included an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) housed in the tail, eliminating the need for ground power equipment to run cabin air conditioning and start engines, a unique main landing gear design featuring faired hubcaps and no main landing gear doors for simplicity in operations and maintenance, and optional provisions to allow soft field/rough-field operations in remote locations or underdeveloped countries.

Future of the aircraft

With the Classic and Jurrasic 737 series having been in operation for nearly 25 and 45 years respectively, these airplanes no longer represent the latest in airliner technology. They will, however, continue to serve reliably in passenger and freight roles on specific-demand routes around the world for many more years to come. Avionics and cabin upgrades will always be an option, as are the addition of hush kits on the engines of 737-200s. Although these devices effectively reduce engine noise levels, they do add weight to the aircraft which ultimately reduces performance and maximum range.

Safety Rating

Accident statistics for first-generation Boeing 737s reflect the wide use by many levels of air carriers worldwide over nearly five decades of service. In that time period, the 737-100/200 series experienced 101 aircraft losses with 51 fatal accidents for a hull loss accident rate of 0.88-per million departures and a hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 1.73-per-million-departures. The newer 737-300/400/500 series had 36 hull losses with 18 fatal accidents for rates of 0.26 and 0.52-per-million departures, respectively.

Boeing 737: Next Generation and MAX

Picture: Boeing
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Craig Murray
Picture: Norwegian
Picture: Boeing

About the aircraft

737-600/-700/-800/-900ER "Next Generation" The third-generation 737 brought this veteran airliner into the modern era with the addition of a digital glass cockpit, aerodynamically improved wing design, and uprated engines. The baseline 737-700 uses the series -300 fuselage while the -600 uses the shorter -500 fuselage. The -800 uses the series -400's 129-ft. fuselage, while the unique 737-900ER model measures 138 feet long. Wingspan on all models is 112 feet, or 115 feet with optional winglets which reduce drag by up to 5 per cent on long-range flights. The 737's vertical stabilizer was enlarged from 38 to 41 feet in height to give proper control authority with the airplane's more powerful 26,300-lb.-thrust CFM56-7 engines. Additionally, Boeing's distinctive cockpit "eyebrow windows" above the windshield were eliminated to save weight and structure. Passenger capacity ranges from 132 in the -600 model to 189 in the -900ER in single-class service. Just as the Classic 737's chief competitors were the Douglas DC-9, BAC-111, and Sud Caravelle, "Next Gen" 737s compete directly with the DC-9 Super 80 and Airbus A320.

History

Boeing's legendary 707 jetliner entered service in 1958 and was followed by the medium-range 727 tri-jet in 1963. The 737's "baby" member of this famous jetliner family, began airline service in 1968 as a 110-passenger short-to-medium-range jetliner powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans - the same engine used on the 727. This commonality in powerplants, cabin cross-section, and cockpit layout gave airlines optimum efficiency in both maintenance and crew training. Counting all models of the 737, the aircraft has flown for hundreds of airlines in nearly 200 different countries worldwide. It is the world's best-selling jet airliner, and will soon exceed a total production run of 10,000 aircraft. Although new versions of the Airbus A320 still remain as its primary competition, 737 models comprise approximately 25 per cent of the world's airline fleet, and are sure to be flying for many more years to come.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Boeing builds the 737 line at its original Renton, WA plant, and by employing advanced, fully automated manufacturing techniques, recently reached a significant milestone by raising the 737 production rate to 38 aircraft-per-month. This represents an increase of 20 per cent over the previous rate of 31.5 aircraft-per-month, and by 2014, Boeing expects to raise the 737's monthly production rate to an even more impressive 42 airplanes-per-month, the highest of any Boeing airplane built since World War II.

Passenger Features

As with many airliners built over a long period of time, continual improvements, upgrades, and modernization programs have kept the 737 competitive with much newer aircraft over the years. Just as more modern technology and passenger cabin appointments from the Boeing 757 and 767 were incorporated into the "Classic" 737s, cabin design features from the 777 were used in the "Next Generation" 737 series. Continuing this technological tradition, passenger cabin architecture and appointments from Boeing's revolutionary 787 will be used to best advantage in the 737MAX series.

Future of the aircraft

Newest member of the 737 clan is taking the jetliner's original concept to the MAX with uprated 30,000-lb.-thrust CFM LEAP-1B geared turbofans, an advanced digital cockpit, fly-by-wire spoilers, lengthened nose landing gear, and the most significant aerodynamic refinements ever seen in the airplane's nearly-50-year history. Using Boeing's latest product numerology, the 737-7, -8, and -9 will correspond in fuselage length and passenger capacity to the 737-700, -800, and -900ER. In May 2013, 737MAX launch customer Southwest Airlines made a major announcement converting orders for 30 Next Generation 737-700s to the newer 737-7, smallest member of the 737MAX family. This brings total orders for the MAX series up to 1,315 aircraft. Southwest launched the MAX program in 2011 by ordering 150 737-8s, the aircraft most comparable to their new 175-seat 737-800s, but this revised order reaffirms the 143-seat 737-700 as the key element of Southwest's future operating plan.Expected to enter service in 2017, the 737MAX will offer airlines the latest in advanced technology judiciously blended with a well-proven airframe.

Safety Rating

Since their introduction, Next-Generation 737 models experienced 11 aircraft losses with 6 fatal accidents for a hull loss accident rate of 0.15 and a hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 0.28-per-million-departures.

Boeing 747

Picture: Boeing
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Craig Murray
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Craig Murray

About the aircraft

The original 747-100 measured 231 feet long, weighed nearly three-quarters of a million pounds at takeoff, and carried 350 passengers. That model evolved into the 747-200 and 747-300 with uprated engines and a stretched upper deck. In 1975, a shorter version called the 747SP for "Special Performance" became the world's longest-range jetliner capable of flying from New York to the Mid-East nonstop. Although the SP set many distance records, its performance was surpassed by the next model in the 747's evolution. Capitalizing on the digital glass cockpit and improved powerplants of its 767 twinjet, Boeing created the 747-400 in 1988. Flown by a two-person crew (its glass cockpit eliminating the need for a flight engineer) the 747-400 was powered by 56,000-lb.-thrust engines, and offered a 24 per cent reduction in fuel burn on ultra-long-range flights of up to 7,260 nm. Passenger capacity grew to 412 in three-class service, and it was Boeing's first aircraft designed with winglets. The -400 is the primary 747 model in service today.

History

Conceived as the first of a new generation of jumbo-sized airliners, the 747 resulted from a U.S. Air Force competition for a new oversize transport in 1964. Boeing's airframe work for that contract, coupled with development of super-high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines, spawned the company's answer to Pan Am's question of building a 350-seat mega airliner. Although the Air Force contract went to Lockheed for the C-5A Galaxy, Boeing now had a leg-up on their competitors. (The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 wide-body tri-jets flew 18 months later) Rolled-out of Boeing's new Everett, Washington facility in 1969, the 747soon became the standard bearer for U.S. and international airlines. It was the world's first aircraft with twin-aisles, and flew routes of 5,500nm. The mammoth airliner was powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT9D turbofans producing 43,000 lbs. of thrust each, and achieved a level of performance that became the new reality for long-distance airline travel. As a result, operating costs were dramatically reduced, and airfares plummeted - especially on high-density routes between the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Building an airplane the size and magnitude of the 747 brought new challenges to Boeing, which were met with construction of a giant new manufacturing plant built on what had been nearly 800 acres of virgin forest northeast of Seattle, WA. Boeing's Everett facility is now the largest aircraft manufacturing site in the world, where the 747, 767, 777, and 787 airliners are currently built. Although assembly of the 747 employed traditional aircraft-building methods, the factory itself became a center for innovation and efficiency in airliner production. More than 1,460 747s have been built to date.

Passenger Features

Resurrecting its iconic spiral staircase first used in the luxurious Stratocruiser in the 1950s, Boeing created a sensational passenger feature with the 747's upper deck. Originally housing only 32 passengers, the upper deck grew to seat 100 passengers. Three classes of service can be found on the main deck, with the latest in in flight entertainment and other amenities available on the world's newest aircraft. More than 500 passengers have been accommodated in a high-density seating configuration.

Future of the aircraft

Boeing's 40-year-old 747 has been brought into the 21st Century with the larger and improved 747-8 Intercontinental. Entering service as a freighter in 2011, this new version of the venerable jumbo jet features a fuselage stretch of 18.3 feet and a lengthened upper deck. Winglets give way to tapered "raked" wingtips on an all-new 224-ft.-span wing, with 66,500-lb.-thrust GE GEnx turbofans (same as on Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner). Range jumps to 8,000nm (15,000km) with a full passenger load of 467 in a three-class cabin, and the airplane weighs nearly one million pounds at takeoff. It is also one of the fastest jet airliners in the world, cruising at Mach .92, or 615 mph. In addition to being the world's longest airliner (beating the Airbus A340-600 by 3 ft.), Boeing's new 747-8 was announced as the heaviest aircraft ever built in the United States, either military or commercial. This aircraft is being considered as a replacement for Air Force One, the U.S. Presidential jet, currently an aging Boeing 747-200B.

Boeing 757

Picture: Boeing
Picture: Geoffrey Thomas
Picture: Geoffrey Thomas

About the aircraft

Touted by Boeing as the first of a new-generation of fuel-efficient jetliners in 1981, the 757 had amassed orders for more than 120 aircraft with options for an additional 56 even before its first flight. With a length of 155 feet and a 125-foot wingspan, the 757 approximated the size of Boeing's legendary first-generation 707-320 Intercontinental, carrying from 186-to-231 passengers in mixed-class service, but with two less engines and one less flight crew member. The 757 was optimized for flying routes of up to 3,200 miles at a cruise speed of 530 mph, but more quietly and more efficiently than its 707 forerunner. Flight crews enjoy cockpit features such as triple-redundant autopilots, autothrottles, autonavigation, and an autobraking system. Powerplant choices are the 38,200-lb.-thrust Pratt & Whitney PW2037, the 40,000-lb.-thrust Rolls-Royce RB211-535, or the 42,000-lb.-thrust PW2040 high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines. The efficiency and reliability of these new engines was also available to airfreight carriers ordering the 757-200PF package freighter which became the backbone of the burgeoning global overnight freight business during the early 1990s.

History

The early 1980s was a dynamic time in commercial aviation. Boeing was at the top of its game and launched a pair of new twin-engine transports; one a single-aisle jetliner called the 757, and the other, a twin-aisle wide-body aircraft, the 767. Both had the first digital "glass cockpits" of any U.S.-built airliner, but there was more to the story. Despite a difference in fuselage length of up to 45 feet, and a difference in max. gross takeoff weight of up to 200,000 pounds, flight crews could be certified to fly various models of both airplanes since they shared the same identical cockpits. Continuing traditional Boeing designation protocol, the baseline 757-200 made its inaugural flight on February 19, 1982. The 179-foot-long 757-300, introduced in 1999, is the longest narrow-body twin-engine airliner ever built, and carries 245 passengers in mixed-class service on routes of up to 4,000 miles. Both 757 models have been certified for ETOPS long-range overwater flights. Ordered by most of the world's leading air carriers, the 757 first entered service in the U. S. with Eastern Airlines (the largest 757 customer), and in Europe with British Airways.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

As with Boeing's earlier jets, air carriers could select the engine manufacturers they preferred for their 757s, not only to optimize aircraft performance and economy, but to standardize operational maintenance and training. Boeing produced the 757 at its Everett, Washington facility from 1981 to November, 2005, building a total of 1,050 air frames for 54 airline customers worldwide. More than 1,000 of these aircraft are still in service today.

Passenger Features

Although its cabin width is identical to the 707/727/737 series aircraft, the 757 introduced new innovations in aircraft interior design. Cabin crews enjoyed well-planned galley layouts far away from lavatories, and new easy-to-manage service carts. Passengers benefitted from the 757's modern interiors with more comfortable seats, modernized overhead service panels, and larger overhead baggage bins. First Class interiors on ETOPS-rated 757s offer roomy seating and amenities similar to those of the best international airlines.

Future of the aircraft

Fitted with numerous interior upgrades, the 757 family continues to faithfully serve airlines throughout the world today, and still proves popular with its passengers and crews. Ironically, Boeing did not propose an all-new design to replace the 757, instead choosing advanced versions of its venerable 737 series, and the upcoming Boeing 737 MAX which is expected to enter service in 2017. Federal Express recently announced plans to acquire up to 30 Boeing 757s from United Airlines, and will modify these aircraft to an all-freighter configuration for a cost of $5 million dollars-per-conversion. Despite an industry-wide slowdown, FedEx chose to buy these aircraft to fill the void left by its older retired 727-200 tri-jet fleet. The 757s can carry 20 per cent more payload while burning 30 per cent less fuel than its three-engine ancestors.

Safety Rating

Now considered a veteran of first generation digital airliners, the 757 has been flying in revenue passenger service for 30 years and has experienced five hull losses with five fatal accidents. This computes to both a hull loss accident rate and hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 0.23 per-million-departures.

Boeing 767

Picture: Boeing
Picture: Geoffrey Thomas
Picture: Craig Murray

About the aircraft

The 767 was one of the first airliners to fly with an advanced "super-critical" wing design, and became the first twin-jet airliner to receive certification for long-range ETOPS trans-oceanic flights. By the early 1990s, it was the most frequently used twin-jet on transatlantic routes between North America and Europe. Entering service with United Airlines in 1982, the 767 became the worlds' first twin-engine jetliner to fly long-range overwater routes, and it revolutionized the industry with its 41,000-foot service ceiling. Original powerplant choices for the 767-200 series were the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7 and General Electric CF6-80 high-bypass-ratio turbofans, the same generation of engines used on late model DC-10s. Newer 60,000-lb.-thrust-class PW4000 and Rolls-Royce RB211-524 engines were introduced in the 1990s. Not counting military variants, there are six members of the 767 family: The 767-200, -200ER, 767-300 stretched version, -300ER, -300 Freighter, and 767-400ER with its 5,600-nautical mile range overwater

History

First known in the industry as the "7X7" project, the Boeing 767 was launched in 1978 as the optimum replacement for aging 250-passenger DC-10 and L-1011 tri-jets. Although both those aircraft were still the mainstay of medium and long-range airline routes, industry deregulation and a world oil crisis dictated the need for a new and more efficient twin-aisle aircraft, but with one less engine and one less flight crew member. Paired with its smaller narrow-body sibling, the 757, Boeing's 767 offered airlines a one-two punch in operating cost savings. The 767 was a wide-body airliner that could also be flown by 757 pilots due to these aircraft sharing identical digital "glass cockpits". Flown from Boeing's Everett, WA facility, the 767 first took to the air on September 26, 1981, with the company boasting the largest number of advanced sales for an airliner in the history of commercial aviation.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

With its production run spanning from 1982 to the present, construction methodology for building the 767 has advanced by several generations. Produced in Boeing's massive Everett, Washington manufacturing center, the 767 series is manufactured with a myriad of techniques ranging from standard large riveted metal structures using robotic manufacturing technology first developed for the 747, to small composite substructures. While the bulk of final assembly takes place at Everett, Boeing expanded on the concept of outsourcing with the 767 by utilizing a global network of subcontractors, with major structural components being manufactured in Italy and Japan.

Passenger Features

The 767 improved "wide-body" airliner design with better lighting, larger overhead bins, and optimum galley and lavatory placement throughout the cabin. Seating was also improved with four or five-abreast in first class, six-abreast in business class, and seven-across in the economy cabin. The 767's standard 2-3-2 economy class floor plan ensures that more than 80 per cent of all seats are either window or aisle, and each passenger is seated no more than one seat from an aisle. On the 767-400ER, passengers enjoy larger windows adapted from the Boeing 777, and a thoroughly modernized "Boeing Signature Interior". This upgrade can also be retrofitted to older 767s still in service.

Future of the aircraft

To date, more than 1,100 orders from 71 different airline, private, and government customers have been placed for the 767 series, with 1,044 airframes delivered as of December 2012. Although the original design is now more than 30 years old, the 767 still plays a vital role in today's airline operations. The airplane offers operational advantages in payload-range and seat-mile cost equations, and serves as a prime example of an airliner that offers a judicious blend of mature systems and modern technology. In today's highly competitive air cargo environment, the 767-300F all-freighter version is still making headlines by turning profits for major freight carriers. The aircraft features a cargo volume of 15,500 cubic feet, a maximum gross takeoff weight of 412,000 lbs., and 30 LD2-cargo-container-capacity making it the prime aircraft for "long-thin" stage lengths in the global air freight market

Boeing 777

Picture: John Dibbs/ATPI
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Boeing

About the aircraft

The Boeing 777 was originally designed in the early 1990s as a 375-passenger twin-aisle, twin-jet airliner with a range of 4,600 miles. The longer 777-300 weighs up to 632,500 pounds at takeoff, and can fly routes of nearly 6,000 miles depending on payload. Measuring 242 ft. in length with a 200-foot wingspan, the -300 carries 451 passengers in mixed-class seating. The ultra-long-range 777-200LR can fly routes of up to 9,300 miles, for the first time connecting any two cities in the world by air. Engine choices are 75,000-to-85,000-lb.-thrust Pratt & Whitney PW4000, General Electric GE90, or Rolls-Royce Trent 800 high-bypass-ratio turbofans. These reliable, whisper-quiet, and ecologically efficient engines give the 777 a cruise speed of Mach .84 (560 mph) at altitudes as high as 43,100 ft. Flown by a two-pilot crew, the 777's roomy cockpit features large flat-panel liquid crystal displays, touch-pad cursor controls, electronic checklists, and a data station with full-size printer allowing maintenance personnel to interact directly with the aircraft's systems, reducing ground time.

History

From the legendary DC-3 to the innovative French Caravelle, twin-engine airliners have played pivotal roles in commercial aviation. DC-9s, BAC 111s, and 737 twin-jets flew in the 1960s, but it wasn't until Airbus Industrie introduced the wide-body A300 in 1972 that twin-aisle long-range jet airliners flew with only two engines. Today, it is rare to see anything but large twin-engine jetliners lined-up for takeoff at airports around the world. Boeing's 757 and 767 represented a quantum leap with "glass cockpits", semi-digital flight control systems, and next-generation powerplants, but the jewel in Boeing's twin-jet crown was the 777. Making its inaugural flight from Everett, Washington in 1994, the airplane entered service with United Airlines the following year. It is hard to believe the 777 is almost 20 years old, but with 1,442 ordered and nearly 1,100 delivered to date, this stalwart twin-engine transport is the backbone of many international airline and cargo fleets, and will be flying the world's long-distance routes for many years to come.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

The Boeing 777 was the world's first airliner totally designed and manufactured using computer-aided technology. (The first new aircraft created with this system was the Northrop B-2 Stealth Bomber.) Instead of using manual blueprints, CADD (Computer-Aided Design and Drafting) allows engineers to design an aircraft using a three-dimensional digital data base, within which, each part is created. This same data is then used to robotically fabricate the part, create manuals, and eventually build subassemblies that are built-up into the finished aircraft. Advantages are design tolerances accurate to within 1/1,000th of an inch, and a current production rate of 100 airplanes-per-year.

Passenger Features

Passengers benefit from the 777's comfort with the widest cabin in its class. Available with nine or ten-across economy-class seating and spacious six-abreast first class seating, the 777 cabin features high sculpted ceilings, gracefully contoured interior surfaces, and soft lighting to create a relaxing passenger environment. Boeing claims 777 Business Class passengers are afforded the same comfort levels as the 747. Additionally, the 777's digital fly-by-wire flight control system with active gust-alleviation gives passengers a smooth, solid, and stable flight experience that feels like the airplane is riding on rails.

Future of the aircraft

In an effort to compete more effectively with latest-technology airliners, Boeing recently announced development of a next-generation 777 to be called the 777X. Offered in two models, the 777-8X (777-200 fuselage) and 777-9X (777-300ER), this new airplane will feature the 'best of both worlds" by combining the existing metal fuselage of the 777 with an all-new carbon-fiber wing and uprated and more efficient powerplants, current-generation cockpit, and improved onboard systems and passenger amenities. The new twin-engine Boeing 777-8X will offer performance comparable to today's 777-200LR, but with a maximum operational range of 9,500 nautical miles enabling non-stop flights from cities in the Mid-East to destinations in South America - the longest of any commercial airliner.

Safety Rating

After nearly 20 years in airline service, the Boeing 777 has experienced only three hull losses with one fatal accident, which has killed two passengers. Airlineratings.com is currently recalculating the 777's hull loss accident rate and hull loss with fatalities. The 777 is currently operating at a dispatch reliability rate of 99.3 per cent - the highest of any twin-aisle jetliner flying today.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Picture: Geoffrey Thomas
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Boeing
Picture: Geoffrey Thomas
Picture: Boeing

About the aircraft

Before the Boeing 787 entered service, airline passengers had to depart from major city hubs to fly long-range international routes. Now, with a range of up to 8,200 nautical miles, the 787 allows non-stop flights between such diverse city pairs as Boston-Tokyo, or Denver-London for the first time. This 210-to-250-seat airliner neatly fills the void between Boeing's 757 and 767 twinjets in both size and capacity, and with a 186-ft. fuselage length and 197-ft. wingspan, the twin-engine, twin-aisle 787 is the optimum size for this unique long-range requirement. Another bonus of the 787 is a 20 per cent savings in fuel and operating costs over existing airliners in its class, achieved with an advanced digital fly-by-wire control system and 72,300-lb.-thrust General Electric GEnx-1B geared-turbofan engines. Demonstrating the impressive reliability of modern turbine powerplants, inspection intervals on these engines are 30,000 hours. (Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 turbofans are available also.) Flight crews enjoy the 787's glass cockpit with large twin heads-up displays and five large-format LCD screens offering 40 per cent more display area than the Boeing 777 cockpit. These two aircraft also share a common pilot type rating, offering economic advantages to air carriers using both types.

History

Since the beginning of aviation, airplanes have been built using only three types of materials: wood-and-fabric, metal alloys, and composites. In 2008, the world's first airliner to use carbon fiber for its primary external structure rolled out of the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington, designated as the 787 Dreamliner - the eighth member of that company's regal family of commercial jetliners. At the time of its rollout, Boeing had acquired orders for 850 airplanes from more than 50 airline customers worldwide, and the Dreamliner seemed poised for great success. The aircraft first flew in December 2009, but due to so many major technical innovations being involved in the 787's development, unexpected long-term delays occurred during the process of bringing this pioneering new airliner into service. Launch customer All-Nippon Airways (ANA) inaugurated Dreamliner flights in Japan in October 2011, but as of this writing, the aircraft is still subject to a worldwide grounding that began in January 2013 while problems with its onboard Lithium-ion battery systems are resolved. A total of 50 787s have been delivered to airline customers.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Traditional airliner construction methods used to involve thousands of assembly workers riveting aircraft together for months in large factories. Small parts and subassemblies were built-up into fuselage sections, wings, and tail group before being joined with engines and internal systems that created the finished airplane. Using a revolutionary new production process, the 787 is manufactured from individual components designed and built by more than 50 suppliers in 132 sites around the world. These are then shipped to Boeing's Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina facilities where dedicated teams of workers assemble the finished aircraft in a matter of days.

Passenger Features

The 787's sophisticated cabin design is a genuine advantage to passengers, with high vaulted ceilings, large electronically self-tinting windows, and ample overhead storage compartments. Since the jetliner's composite fuselage is not prone to corrosion from moisture, cabin humidity has been raised from 5 per cent to a more comfortable 30 per cent and ambient cabin altitude is 6,000 ft. rather than 8,000 ft. The engines' large geared turbofans afford dramatically lower noise levels inside the cabin, while outside, the 787 has a 60 per cent smaller noise footprint than other contemporary aircraft.

Future of the aircraft

As with most modern airliners, a higher-capacity version of the original 787-8 design is being offered to airline customers. The longer 787-9 will carry 250-to-290 passengers on routes of up to 8,500 nm, and is expected to enter revenue airline service in 2014.

Safety Rating

With the airplane only being in service for little more than a year, there have been no hull losses or fatal accidents. Inflight and ground incidents have occurred, although none resulted in injury to passengers or crew. The FAA has approved Boeing's proposed fix to the 787's Lithium-ion battery problem, after several proving flights were made to demonstrate that the solution is acceptable for continued flight operations. Passenger service is expected to resume by June 2013 after the grounding of the airplane which has been in effect since January.

Bombardier CRJ Regional Jets

Picture: Bombardier
Picture: Bombardier
Picture: Bombardier
Picture: Bombardier

About the aircraft

CRJ700 Smallest member of the CRJ family is the CRJ700 jetliner, which carries 78 passengers in single-class service. Fuselage length measures 107 feet, with a 76-foot wingspan. Maximum gross takeoff weight is 72,750 pounds for the standard CRJ700 up to 77,000 lbs. for the long-range version. The aircraft is powered by two General Electric GE CF34-8C turbofans producing 13,800 pounds of thrust each, and maximum range with full payload is 1,650 nautical miles for the standard version, 1,990 nm for the ER extended-range airplane, and 2,300 nm for the long-range CRJ700LR. CRJ900 A slightly stretched version of the CRJ700, the 900 featured a modified wing design with leading-edge slats, and carries 90 passengers in a single-class cabin. The cockpit was also upgraded with digital features, and the fuselage length is 119 feet with an 82-foot wingspan. The CRJ900's maximum gross takeoff weight is 80,500 pounds for the standard aircraft up to 84,500 lbs. for the long-range version. The CRJ900 is also powered by General Electric GE CF34-8C turbofans producing 13,800 pounds of thrust each. Maximum range with full payload is 1,550 nautical miles for the standard version, 1,830 nm for the ER extended-range, and 2,100 nm for the LR long-range aircraft. CRJ1000 Largest CRJ-series jetliner is the 1000 which carries 104 passengers in a single-class cabin. Fuselage length measures 128 feet with an 86-foot wingspan. Maximum gross takeoff weight increases to 86,000 pounds for the standard CRJ1000, and up to 91,800 lbs. for the long-range version. The CRJ1000 is powered by two General Electric GE CF34-8C5A1 turbofans producing 14,500 pounds of thrust each. Maximum range with full payload is 1,050 nautical miles for the standard CRJ1000, 1,550 nm for the ER extended-range version, and 1,760 nm for the long-range CRJ1000LR.

History

The original Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) was an outgrowth of Canadair's famed Challenger 600 series of wide-body executive jets. Bombardier purchased Canadair in 1986. An outgrowth of the original CRJ200, the 700 model first flew in May 1999 and appeared much like a smaller version of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80. The CRJ 700 was Bombardier's entry into the "light jet" airliner market occupied by the Embraer 170/190, Fokker F70/100, and BAe 146. The stretched CRJ900 and CRJ1000 aircraft offered customer airlines larger passenger capacity coupled with maintenance and training commonality with the CRJ700. Both the CRJ700 and 1000 aircraft have a cruising speed of Mach .78 or 450 knots, while the mid-size CRJ900 cruises at a speed of Mach .80, or 470 knots.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Bombardier's CRJ-series jetliners are built on dedicated production lines at the company's main manufacturing facility located adjacent to the Montreal-Mirabel International Airport in Mirabel, Quebec, Montreal, Canada. A total of 728 CRJ-series aircraft have been ordered by nearly two-dozen airlines worldwide, and 626 have been delivered to date.

Passenger Features

With a cabin width of eight-and-a-half-feet, and a six-foot two-inch cabin height, CRJ aircraft have slightly less interior space than the Embraer E-Series jetliners. However, placement of windows and interior panels make the overall flight experience fairly comfortable for passengers flying on normal stage-lengths. Cabin noise levels are generally quite low, especially forward of the wing, but engine and aircraft system noise does increase for passengers seated toward the tail of the airplane. Cabin seating is arranged in a four-abreast configuration, with seat pitch varying by airline.

Future of the aircraft

Bombardier is about to fly its all-new C-Series twin-jet transport that is expected to compete directly with the Embraer E-170 and E-190 "light jet" airliners. Bombardier has continually improved its CRJ series with the latest iteration being known as the "CRJ1000 Next Gen." Featuring the latest in digital cockpit avionics, advanced engine technology, and enhanced aerodynamic refinements, the CRJ1000 Next Gen will remain competitive with the latest aircraft from other airliner manufacturers. Watch this website for further developments as this new family of jet transports from Canada takes to the skies.

Safety Rating

Since their introduction in 2001, Bombardier CRJ700, 900, and 1000 aircraft have never experienced a hull loss or fatal accident.

Bombardier Q Series ( Dash 8)

Q 400 Picture: Bombardier

About the aircraft

Q200 (DASH 8-200) Developed from the original DHC-8-100 which first flew in 1984, the Q200 carries 37 passengers in single-class service and sports a fuselage length of 73 feet with an 85-foot wingspan. The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney (Canada) PW123A turboprops producing 2,150 shaft horsepower each, and maximum range with full payload is 1,065 nautical miles. Maximum gross takeoff weight is 36,300 pounds, and cruising speed is 290 knots. Q300 (DASH 8-300) This slightly stretched version of the Q200 carries 50 passengers in a single-class cabin. First flown in 1989, this aircraft has a fuselage length of 84 feet with a 90-foot wingspan. The Q300 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney (Canada) PW123B turboprops producing 2,500 shaft horsepower each, and maximum range with full payload is 965 nautical miles. Maximum gross takeoff weight for the Q300 is 45,000 pounds, and the aircraft's cruising speed is 285 knots. Q400 (DASH 8-400) Largest of the Q-series is the Q400 which carries 78 passengers in single-class service. This was the first version to feature a digital glass cockpit and modernized passenger cabin. Fuselage length measures 108 feet and wingspan is 93 feet. Maximum gross takeoff weight increased from the Q300's 43,000 lbs. to 64,500 lbs., and maximum range with full payload is 1,567 nautical miles. Powerplants are 5,000-shaft-horsepower Pratt & Whitney (Canada) PW150A turboprops giving the airplane an impressive 360-knot cruising speed.

History

The Bombardier Q-Series transports are visually similar to the ATR 42 and 72 turboprops, but the Q's heritage dates back to 1958 with the high-wing, T-tail, twin-engine DHC (de Havilland Canada) -4 Caribou military transport. In 1975, the four-engine DHC-7 "Dash-7" STOL (Short Takeoff & Landing) turboprop came into widespread use, but with modern powerplant technology, its four engines were replaced with two more powerful and efficient units to create the DHC-8, or "Dash-8" in 1984. Developed from the Dash-8-100, the 37-78-passenger Q Series began flying in 1995 featuring six-blade "Q" (as in "quiet") propellers for optimum noise attenuation.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Bombardier's Q-series turboprop transports are built at the company's former de Havilland of Canada manufacturing facility located in Toronto, Canada, and the Bombardier plant in Dorval, Montreal, Canada. A total of 1,138 Dash-8/Q-series aircraft have been ordered by more than 175 commercial airlines and military operators worldwide, with 1,104 having been delivered to date. The Q200 and Q300 ended production in 2009, leaving the Q400 as the only version being built today.

Passenger Features

As is typical of high-wing airliners, visibility is excellent from nearly every passenger window seat. Contributing to enhanced quietness and comfort throughout the cabin since 1997 is Bombardier's novel Active Noise & Vibration Suppression (ANVS) system that uses sound dampening technology to mitigate the harsh noise frequencies so typical of regional turboprop aircraft. A special high-altitude Q400 comes equipped with drop-down emergency oxygen masks for passengers - a unique feature on a turboprop airliner. This safety feature allows for a 27,000-foot service ceiling to help avoid turbulent weather and ensure a smoother ride for passengers.

Future of the aircraft

Paralleling the evolution of their jet-powered CRJ-series jets, Bombardier is developing an improved Q-series aircraft called the "Q400NextGen." This new addition to the family will feature an updated passenger cabin, improved lighting and window positioning, larger overhead bins, stronger landing gear, and reduced fuel and maintenance costs.

Safety Rating

Since their introduction in 1984, the Bombardier Dash-8/Q-series experienced seven hull losses with five fatal accidents. In 2007, a spate of landing gear problems resulted in a total of eight emergency landings with partial gear retraction, but those problems were traced to questionable maintenance procedures, and have since been resolved.

Embraer Jet E170/E175 & E190/E195

Picture: Embraer
Picture: Embraer
Picture: Geoffrey Thomas

About the aircraft

EMBRAER E-170 (ERJ 170-100) Smallest of Embraer's E-Series family of jetliners, the E-170 carries 80 passengers in single-class service. Fuselage length measures 98 feet, with an 85-foot wingspan. Maximum gross takeoff weight is 79,300 pounds for the standard E-170 and 82,000 lbs. for the long-range version. The aircraft is powered by two General Electric GE CF34-8E turbofans producing 13,800 pounds of thrust each, and maximum range with full payload is 1,800 nautical miles for the standard and 2,100 nm for the long-range version. EMBRAER E-175 (ERJ 170-200) A slightly stretched version of the E-170, the E-175 carries 88 passengers in a single-class cabin. Fuselage length is 104 feet, with an 85-foot wingspan. The E-175's maximum gross takeoff weight is 83,000 pounds for the standard aircraft and 85,500 lbs. for the long-range version. The E-175 is also powered by General Electric GE CF34-8E turbofans producing 13,800 pounds of thrust each. Maximum range with full payload is 1,800 nautical miles for the standard and 2,100 nm for the long-range version. EMBRAER E-190 (ERJ 190-100) The E-190 is stretched to 118 feet in length and carries 114 passengers in single-class service. Wingspan remains 85 feet. Maximum gross takeoff weight is 105,400 pounds for the standard E-190 and 111,000 lbs. for the long-range version. Engines for the E190 are uprated General Electric GE CF34-10E turbofans producing 18,500 pounds of thrust each, and maximum range with full payload is 1,800 nautical miles for the standard and 2,300 nm for the long-range version. EMBRAER E-195 (ERJ 190-200) Largest Embraer E-Series jetliner is the E-195 which carries 122 passengers in a single-class cabin. Fuselage length measures 127 feet, but still with an 85-foot wingspan. Maximum gross takeoff weight jumps to 107,600 pounds for the standard E-195 and 112,000 lbs. for the long-range version. Like the E-190, the aircraft is powered by two General Electric GE CF34-8E turbofans producing 18,500 pounds of thrust each. Maximum range with full payload is 1,400 nautical miles for the standard and 1,800 nm for the long-range E195.

History

First flown in February 2002 and looking like a smaller Airbus A320, the ERJ (Embraer Regional Jet) 170 put Embraer on the map as the world's third largest manufacturer of full-size commercial airliners. The stretched ERJ 190 offered airlines slightly larger passenger capacity plus 90 per cent maintenance and training commonality with the smaller ERJ-170 for highly cost-efficient operations. All E-Series aircraft have a cruising speed of Mach .80, or 470 knots - halfway between turboprop and pure jet airliners. Shortly after production began in 2002, Embraer simplified the designations of the ERJ series by changing their nomenclature. The ERJ 170-100 and 170-200 became the E-170 and E-175, while the ERJ 190-100 and 190-200 became the E-190 and E-195.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

E-Series jetliners are built by Embraer (Empressa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A.) at their primary manufacturing facility in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brasil. A total of 1,136 E-Series aircraft have been ordered with options for 624 additional jets, and 935 of the E-Series jetliners have already been delivered

Passenger Features

With their nine-foot cabin width, nearly seven-foot cabin height, and roomy four-abreast seating, the Embraer E-Series jetliners offer passengers a flight experience quite a bit more comfortable than the "intimate cabin experience" of the typical smaller regional jet. Although spacing of the aircraft's passengers windows appear much like the Douglas DC-8 with one window at each seat row, they are spaced for optimum viewing regardless of interior seat pitch. Noise levels inside the cabin are extremely low as well.

Future of the aircraft

Like many other modern aircraft manufacturers, Embraer continually improves its E-jet series with new versions featuring the latest in cockpit avionics, engine technology, aerodynamic refinements, and structural upgrades employing composites. Referred to as "Second Generation" this newer aircraft would be designated as the E-198, with higher-bypass-ratio Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines and taller landing gear.

Safety Rating

The Embraer E-170/175 has experienced one hull loss with no fatal accidents since its introduction in 2004, while the E-190/195 has had two aircraft losses with one fatal accident. This gives the E-Series an aircraft hull loss accident rate of 0.19-per-million-departures and a hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 0.58-per-million-departures.

Fokker 50 and Fokker 100

Fokker 100 Picture:Fokker

About the aircraft

FOKKER 50 Current evolution of the ground-breaking Fokker F-27 Friendship turboprop transport is the 60-passenger Fokker 50. The F.27's 1,700-shaft-horsepower Rolls-Royce Dart engines have been replaced by 2,500-shp Pratt & Whitney PW125 turboprops driving six-bladed propellers. Fitted with a digital cockpit and modernized 4-abreast passenger cabin, the Fokker 50 has a cruising speed of 330 mph and a range of 1,200 nautical miles - ideal for the same intra-European routes first flown by the F.27 in 1957. The F60 model features a five-foot fuselage stretch and the addition of a large cargo door, making the aircraft ideal for carrying small-package airfreight over short-to-medium-range routes. FOKKER F100/F70 Using many advanced technology features, the F100 carries from 97-to-122 passengers in mixed-class five-abreast seating, and flies routes of up to 1,600 miles at a cruise speed of 508 mph. Powered by two highly efficient Rolls-Royce RB183 Tay turbofans, the F100 first flew in Europe with Swissair in 1988, and in the U. S. with American Airlines and USAir. Length is 116 ft. with a wingspan of 92 ft. The F70, a shortened version of the F100, made its first flight in 1993, and carries from 72-to-85 passengers on the same stage lengths as the F100. Length of the F70 is 101 ft. with the same 92-ft. wingspan.

History

FOKKER 50 At the beginning of the Jet Age, turboprop airliners were envisioned as replacing piston-powered transports on short to medium-range routes. The world's first twin-engine turboprop airliner was the Fokker F.27 Friendship, a sleek high-wing transport powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart engines, and carrying 40 passengers over routes of up to 900 miles. Today's evolution of that design is the 60-passenger Fokker 50 which first flew in December 1985. FOKKER F100 First conceived in1982 as a joint-venture with McDonnell Douglas called the MDF-100, Fokker's F100 emerged as the ultimate evolution of the original F.28 Fellowship twinjet airliner which first flew in 1975. The F100 story is one of optimum timing, as the "light passenger jet" market had not yet been developed in the 1980s, and Fokker pretty much had that market all to itself. However, as new, improved, and more efficient airliners emerged in this class from upstart manufacturers like Embraer from Brazil and Bombardier from Canada, the F100 and F70 eventually fell behind in sales

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

All of the Fokker 50 and F100 aircraft and their variants were built at Fokker's Schipol manufacturing facilities near Amsterdam in the Netherlands. A total of 213 Fokker 50s were built from 1987 through 1997, and the type made its first flight in December 1985. The Fokker 50 prototype was actually derived from an existing F27 airframe. The twin-jet F100 first flew in 1986 and 283 of them were built by Fokker from 1986 through 1997. Of the 283 F100s produced, 156 are still flying for 30 different airlines today.

Passenger Features

Just as the Fokker 50 and F100 offered major operational and performance improvements over their F.27 and F.28 predecessors, their passenger cabin amenities and features were improved and modernized as well. Most noticeable external difference on the Fokker 50 is the line of smaller, but much more closely-spaced rectangular passenger windows replacing the F.27's large oval windows at each seat-row. The smaller windows allow for easy changes in seat pitch by individual airline operators. Modern overhead passenger service panels and stowage compartments completed the interior upgrades on both aircraft types.

Future of the aircraft

In 1996, Fokker underwent bankruptcy proceedings and a major corporate reorganization. The company exists today as Fokker Aerospace building small components and landing gear for new aircraft, and offering technical support for its existing designs. However, the company no longer builds its own original aircraft, surrendering the light-jet market to newer designs from Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier.

Safety Rating

The Fokker 50 turboprop has experienced five aircraft losses with four fatal accidents since its introduction in 1987. The Fokker 60 has not incurred any hull losses or fatal accidents. Fokker F100 and F70 jetliners experienced 10 aircraft losses with three fatal accidents for a hull loss accident rate of 0.30-per-million-departures and a hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 0.99-per-million-departures.

McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) MD-80

Picture: Boeing
Picture: Boeing

About the aircraft

The largest MD-80 operator was American Airlines with 275 MD-82s and MD-83s which became the mainstay of American's narrow-body fleet, and were perfectly suited to the airline's route structure. Long-time Douglas customers Swissair, SAS, Alitalia, Iberia, and Finnair flew MD-80s on short to medium-length routes throughout Europe for more than three decades. Originally designed to carry 165 passengers in mixed-class service, the MD-80 was the first DC-9 to feature separate rear service doors aft of the wing. Measuring 148 feet in length with a 108-foot wingspan, the MD-80 was the longest single-aisle twin engine transport ever built until the Boeing 757-300 took that distinction in 1999. Auto throttles and pilots' heads-up displays made MD-80 cockpits state-of-the-art until digital glass cockpits were introduced. The aircraft is powered by 18,500-lb.-thrust Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217 turbofan engines, and additional variants were the shorter 145-seat MD-87, and longer 172-seat MD-90 which first flew in 1993 powered by International Aero Engine V2500 powerplants.

History

Regarded today as a trusted old soldier of world airline fleets, the now-Boeing MD-80 was at one time considered the "jet airliner of the future," and was the world's first commercial airliner specifically designed to offer significant reductions in noise, fuel consumption, and emissions as part of its marketing appeal to the world's airlines. Designated as the "DC-9 Super 80" and built by McDonnell Douglas at their Long Beach, California facility, the aircraft was billed by then-company President John C. Brizendine as a "Super airplane for the 80s!" The first Super 80 was the 909th DC-9 airframe built, rolling out of final assembly in June 1979. After an extensive flight test program, the Federal Aviation Administration granted certification in August 1980, and airline service was inaugurated with launch customers PSA, Swissair, and Austrian Airlines that October. Other aircraft in the series included the 1,500-mile-range MD-81; 2,000-mile-range MD-82; and the heavier, higher-performance MD-83 with a range of 2,700 miles. The shorter-fuselage MD-87 variant flew in 1986 while the MD-88 was produced exclusively for Delta Airlines in 1987.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Production of the MD-80 series began in 1980 with 1,191 being built, but all sales efforts ceased after the Boeing Company acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997. The last airplane in the series, an MD-83 for TWA, was delivered in December 1999, and 35 MD-80s were assembled and are operating in the People's Republic of China. The original DC-9 Super 80 designation was officially changed to "MD-80" in 1983, when parent company McDonnell chose to eliminate the previous "DC" (for Douglas Commercial) name that graced every Douglas airliner since the DC-1 in 1933.

Passenger Features

The MD-80's passenger cabin has to be judged by industry standards in existence when the airplane was first introduced. The forward cabin was so ghostly quiet that many passengers thought the airplane was being towed to the runway, rather than taxiing! New large forward and rear galleys, each with their own service doors were a valuable asset to cabin crews compared to earlier DC-9s, and the MD-80 was the first Douglas Aircraft to feature lighter and more comfortable Fairchild-Burns "AirRest 2000" passenger seats.

Future of the aircraft

Now being phased-out of service, MD-80s are being replaced by the Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A320 family

Safety Rating

MD-80 and MD-90 series aircraft experienced 24 hull losses with 13 fatal accidents, giving the airplanes a hull loss accident rate of 0.67, and a hull loss with fatalities accident rate of 1.14 per-million-departures.

Russian Carriers: Antonov, Tupolev and Yak

TU 154

About the aircraft

ANTONOV An-148/An-158 Looking like a twin-engine version of the British Aerospace BAe-146, this 75-passenger regional jet features a glass cockpit and digital fly-by-wire flight control system. The An-148 is a product of the Ukranian Antonov Design Bureau, and made its first flight in November 2004 powered by two Russian-built 15,000-lb.-thrust "Progress" D-436 turbofan engines. This modern high-wing transport has an operating range of up to 2,700 miles, and can be fitted with center auxiliary fuel tanks for extended-range Siberian operations. The stretched-fuselage An-158 variant carries 99 passengers in a one-class cabin layout, and measures 113 feet in length compared to the 96-ft.-long An-148. TUPOLEV Tu-204/Tu-214 Designed to replace the stalwart Tu-154 tri-jet, the Tu-204 not only bears a strong resemblance to the Boeing 757, but uses similar model designations as well, being offered in such versions as the Tu-204-100, -200, -300, VIP executive transport, and freighter. Developed in the 1990s, this medium-range aircraft was the first Russian airliner to be powered by western-built engines, namely Rolls-Royce RB-211-535 turbofans. It carries from 142-to-210 passengers with a range, depending on model, of from 2,700-to-3,600 miles. An upgraded version called the Tu-204SM features a digital cockpit with a two-person crew while the Tu-214 is a heavier, long-range variant. YAKOVLEV Yak-42 The Yak-42 tri-jet was Russia's first airliner to use high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines, and the first to be considered competitive with western airliner designs. Entering service with Aeroflot in 1980, the 120-seat Yak-42 began flew intermediate-range routes. Like its smaller Yak-40 predecessor, the world first actual "regional jet" back in 1968, the Yak-42 played a vital role in bringing jet service to smaller outlying destinations in Russia, and featured two self-contained airstairs for ease of boarding. Powered by three 14,330-lb.-thrust Lotarev D-36 turbofans, the Yak-42 has a range of 2,160 nautical miles (2,460 nm w for the long-range Yak-42D). Length is 119 feet with a 115-ft. wingspan.

History

France's Caravelle is regarded as the world's first twin-jet airliner to carry passengers, but that proud distinction actually belongs to the Russian Tupolev Tu-104. A conversion of the military Tu-16 medium-bomber flown by the Soviet Air Force, the Tu-104 joined the Aeroflot fleet in September 1956. Many famous and successful Russian airliners have flown since then, including the massive Tupolev Tu-114 turboprop, the classic Tu-134, Tu-154 and Il-62 jetliners, and wide-body Il-86 and Il-96 transports. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, new airlines began operating in the former Soviet Republics, flying a wide variety of aircraft including the latest airliners from western manufacturers Boeing and Airbus. It should be noted that while certain Russian airliners were distinctive original designs, others appeared strikingly similar to existing western airliners, such as the Il-62 (VC-10), or Tu-144 SST (Concorde). With the latest batch of Russian airliners, the similarity to existing western aircraft is unmistakable.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

Antonov An-148s and An-158s are built by VASO (Voronezh Aircraft Production Association) in Voronezh, one of the largest aircraft manufacturing facilities in Russia. Ninety-nine of these aircraft were ordered, and 24 have been delivered. The Tupolev Tu-204 and Tu-214 are built in two factories independent of the Tupolev Design Bureau. Tu-204s are built by Aviastar-SP in Ulyanousk, while the Tu-214 is built by Kazan Aircraft Production Assoc. in Kazan. A total of 74 have been produced. The Yak-42 was produced in the Saratov Aviation Plant from 1980 through 2003. A total of 178 aircraft were built, of which 90 are still in passenger service today.

Passenger Features

This latest crop of Russian jet transports have kept pace with modern airliner design, and offer the same amenities and advanced passenger cabin features as any of the newest airliners from the world's leading manufacturers.

Future of the aircraft

This latest Russian airliner is a joint development of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Boeing Commercial Aircraft. The 75-to-95-seat Superjet 100 closely resembles the Airbus A319, and entered service in 2011. It is designed to compete with the Embraer 170/190 regional jets and is powered by two 15,000-lb.-thrust French-Russian PowerJet SaM-146 turbofans. The jetliner has a range of up to 2,800 miles, and offers advanced technology features including a digital glass cockpit with side-stick controllers. The Superjet 100 experienced early development problems, but now represents the future of the Russian airliner industry.

Safety Rating

The Antonov An-148 has had one hull loss resulting in a fatal accident during a test flight, while the Tupolev Tu-204 experienced three hull losses with one fatal accident on a non-revenue staging flight. The older Yak-42 has had nine hull losses resulting in nine fatal accidents since its introduction in 1980.

SAAB 340 & SAAB 2000

SAAB 340 Picture:Bidgee

About the aircraft

SAAB 340 Developed as a new twin-turboprop commuter aircraft, the SAAB 340 made its first flight in January 1983. The 340 carries 36 passengers and has 290-mile-per-hour cruise speed with a 950-nautical mile range. Length of the aircraft is 65 ft. with a 70-ft. wingspan. When first entering service, the 340 offered airlines optimum combinations of payload, range, and operating economics for short-range "feeder-line" flights to large cities throughout the world. SAAB 2000 The more advanced SAAB 2000 made its first flight in March 1992, and measures 90 feet long with an enlarged 81-foot wingspan. The cockpit was upgraded to a six-screen digital configuration, and engines were changed from the 340's 1,700-shaft-horsepower General Electric CT7 turboprops to the more powerful Allison (originally Rolls-Royce) AE2100 powerplants, giving the aircraft an impressive almost jet-like 425-mph cruising speed.

History

SAAB 340 Conceived in1978 as a joint-venture between SAAB and the Fairchild Swearingen Corporation in the United States, the aircraft was originally known as the SF-340. Fairchild was tasked with building the wings, tail group, and engine nacelles, but when that company ceased operations, manufacturing of the entire 340 airframe fell to the SAAB organization in Sweden. SAAB 2000 The SAAB 2000 was a natural evolution of the original 340 design, and involved a 25-foot fuselage stretch that increased passenger capacity from 36 to 58 seats. Engine nacelles were placed farther out on the wing than on the 340 to reduce engine noise and propeller vibration. Advanced Dowty-Rotol six-blade composite propellers replaced the original four-blade props used on the 340.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

All of the SAAB 340 and 2000 aircraft and their variants were built at the SAAB manufacturing facilities in Linkoping, Sweden. A total of 459 SAAB 340s were built from 1983 through 1999. Although the larger SAAB 2000 was derived from the 340 airframe, only 63 of those variants were produced from 1994 through 1999. Of all 522 aircraft built, more than 400 are still flying in passenger and military service around the world today.

Passenger Features

While passenger cabin amenities for the SAAB 340 are comfortable, they are fairly basic in nature. Engine noise, as in most smaller turboprop "commuter" aircraft, is abundant but not overly uncomfortable. Large passenger windows offer good visibility, however, with the cabin's two-and-one-abreast seating configuration.

Future of the aircraft

Both the SAAB 340 and 2000 remain in passenger service with more than 60 airlines in 30 different countries worldwide. Several military variants are also currently flying, and all of these aircraft will remain in operational service for the foreseeable future.

Safety Rating

Since its introduction in 1984, the SAAB 340 has suffered 10 hull losses with four fatal accidents. The larger SAAB 2000 was involved in only two hull losses, but no fatal accidents.

Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ 100)

First Sukhoi Superjet delivered to Armavia Picture: Armavia
Jet prototype Picture: Sukhoi

About the aircraft

This latest Russian airliner is a joint development of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Boeing Commercial Aircraft Companies, designed as a modern replacement for such classic Russian airliners as the Yak-42 and Tupolev Yu-134. Closely resembling the Airbus A319, the Superjet 100 is designed to compete with Embraer and Bombardier regional jets. Powered by two French-Russian PowerJet turbofan engines, the aircraft has a range of up to 2,840 miles and features such advanced technology as a digital glass cockpit with side-stick controllers, and fly-by-wire flight control system. Although the Superjet 100 experienced early developmental problems, the aircraft is now flying in commercial service and represents the future of Russian airliner manufacturing. The four variants of this jetliner are the SSJ-100-75, SSJ 100-75-LR, SSJ 100-95, and SSJ-95LR. Specifications range from an 87-ft. length for the -75 models to a 98-ft. length for the -95 series. Wingspan is 97 feet for all variants. Maximum gross takeoff weights range from 85,600 lbs. for the -75 to a robust 109,000 lbs. for the -95LR. Engine thrust for the four versions of PowerJet SaM-146 engines range from 13,500 to 17,500 pounds of static thrust while producing extremely low levels of noise and emissions. Cruise speed for the Superjet 100 is Mach .81, or 510 mph at 36,000 feet. The first production Sukhoi Superjet 100 was delivered to Armavia Airlines on April 19, 2011. To commemorate this special occasion, the inaugural airliner was named "Yuri Gagarin" in honor of Russia's beloved cosmonaut who became the first man into space, and the first human to orbit the Earth on April 12, 1961 - almost 50 years to the day before the delivery ceremony. This aircraft then completed the first commercial passenger flight of the Superjet 100 series on April 21st, carrying 90 passengers on a flight from Yerevan to Moscow.

History

With Boeing personnel having advised Sukhoi Civil Aircraft on the fine points of airliner design, manufacturing, certification, marketing, and customer support, it seemed only natural that these two Aerospace giants would one day collaborate on a new advanced-technology regional airliner program. The Superjet 100 was then launched in December 2002 with the signing of a formal agreement between the two companies. The need for an efficient, reliable, and economical 75 to 95 seat airliner to serve regional routes throughout Russia in the 21st Century was undeniable. With initial development studies beginning in 2000, the program progressed rapidly, culminating in a successful first flight in May 2008. Featuring all of the advanced technology available for commercial airliners today, the Superjet 100 began commercial service in 2011. More than two dozen SSJ 100s are currently in service world wide.

Manufacturing and construction of the aircraft

As of this writing, 248 Sukhoi Superjet 100s have been ordered by 26 international airlines with options for an additional 107 aircraft. Approximately 25 Superjets have been delivered to date. Although Sukhoi is the primary designer, the SSJ 100 is built with components and subassemblies from a total of 30 partnership companies in Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and the United States. Hence, this jetliner represents the essence of the term "Global Aerospace Industry." Even the aircraft's SaM-146 turbofan powerplants are a joint venture between French Snecma, Russia's NPO Saturn, and Italy's Alenia Aermacchi. All four versions of the Superjet 100 are built on a common assembly line in Eastern Russia by KnAAPO (Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association). Major components are supplied by such notable Aerospace Companies as Thales (avionics), Hamilton Sundstrand (electrical), Messier-Dowty (landing gear), and BE Aerospace (interior fabrication). International marketing is conducted by a Russian-Italian joint venture company named SuperJet International, with Boeing acting in a consultant role.

Passenger Features

While the Superjet 100's passenger cabin may appear a bit Spartan compared to other contemporary airliners, its accommodations are actually very well-suited to the route structures it will fly. With a fuselage diameter of 11 feet and a 20-inch aisle width, the cabin offers ample room for passengers. Overhead bins appear a bit dated, perhaps similar in design to airliners in the 1990s, but they provide ample storage capacity. Seat pitch is 36 inches in a first or business class cabin, and 32 inches in the main cabin. Inflight entertainment is provided on two wall-mounted and 18 drop-down display screens located throughout the cabin, consisting of broadcast programming, musical choices, and moving map displays, bringing the best of modern entertainment to passengers flying aboard this newest Russian airliner.

Future of the aircraft

Considered the most important and successful commercial airliner program of Russia's aerospace industry, the Superjet 100 is marketed as a modern regional airliner with a lower purchase price, lower operating cost, and lower fuel consumption than its closest competitors. Originally known as the RRJ-60, -75, and -95 (for respective passenger capacity), the Sukhoi Superjet 100 variants were re-designated as SSJ (Sukhoi Superjet) 100-60, 100-75, and 100-95. While development of the short-range -60 model has been postponed, emphasis is being placed on development of the high-capacity SSJ-100-95 variant. Additionally, both a VIP executive version and an extended-range version of this newest Russian airliner are being planned.

Safety Rating

Although the Superjet 100 only recently entered airline service, its first hull loss occurred in May 2012 during a demonstration flight in Jakarta, Indonesia when the airliner crashed into a ridge obscured by bad weather. A second incident occurred in July 2013 at Keflavik, Iceland when a prototype Superjet 100 landed gear-up. Despite these accidents, the aircraft is expected to have a safe and reliable airline service career.

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