The Anonymous Widower

Flying A Hydrogen-Powered ZEROe

The ZEROe Turbofan and the ZEROe Turboprop, both have a large liquid hydrogen tank in the rear fuselage.

Will this affect the handling characteristics of the aircraft and make them difficult to fly?

The balance will probably be different as the weight of the tank with a full load of hydrogen could be significant. Think putting two bags of cement in the back of a typical hatchback car.

But all Airbuses should handle the different feel easily.

The three main flight control surfaces, by which pilots control the aircraft; ailerons, elevator and rudder are not actually controlled directly by the pilots, but by computers that are connected between the controls the pilot uses and the control surfaces themselves.

This means that control methods, which are unavailable on an aircraft with traditional controls, can be used to fly the aircraft.

So this means that any problems caused by the heavy weight in the rear of the fuselage can be solved.

 

 

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could An A320 neo Be Rebuilt As A ZEROe Turbofan?

This post is a follow-up to ZEROe – Towards The World’s First Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft.

I spent a lot of time yesterday, looking at YouTube videos of the following.

  • Airbus A320 aircraft
  • Airbus A 320 neo aircraft
  • Airbus’s proposed ZEROe Turbofan aircraft

I also captured these profiles from the Airbus web site, of three members of the new Airbus A 320 neo family and the current Airbus A 320 ceo.

A 319 neo – Length – 33.84 metres – Max Passengers – 160

A 320 neo – Length 37.57 metres – Max Passengers – 194

A 321 neo – Length 44.51 metres – Max Passengers – 244

A 320 ceo – Length 37.57 – Max Passengers – 180

Note.

  1. The links on each variant lead to Airbus’s on-line specification.
  2. All three variants have a wing-span of 35.8 metres and a height of 11.76 metres.
  3. All variants have sharklets or blended winglets to improve awrodynamic efficiency.
  4. There are different door, cargo door and window layouts on all three variants.
  5. The cockpits, tail and wings look similar.

This capture from an Airbus video, shows the profile of the proposed ZEROe Turbofan.

Note, that the ZEROe Turbofan looks more streamlined than the A 320 neo family, with a redesigned nose and more swept-back tailfin and sharklets.

These are my thoughts on the current A 320 neo family and their relationship with the ZEROe Turbofan.

Focus On Commonality

For each variant on the Airbus web site, there is a section with this title. This is the first sentence for the A 320 neo.

Due to its 95 per cent airframe commonality with the A320ceo (current engine option) version, Airbus’ A320neo jetliner fits seamlessly into existing A320 Family fleets worldwide – which is a key factor for the company’s customers and operators.

Will Airbus follow this philosophy with the ZEROe Turbofan?

If it worked between the changeover between the existing A 320 fleets and the A 320 neo fleets, why change the policy?

The Cockpits

The cockpits of the A 320 neo and the A 320 ceo seem to have a similar profile, but the cockpit of the ZEROe Turbofan seems to have been reprofiled.

In ZEROe – Towards The World’s First Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft, I showed these front on views of the cockpits of the ZEROe Turboprop and ZEROe Turbofan.

I questioned if the two cockpits were related.

  • A single cockpit for both aircraft would surely ease manufacture, maintenance and pilot training.
  • I’m no aerodynamicist, but it certainly looks that the new cockpit will reduce drag and fuel consumption.

Although the cockpit, appears to be being used in the ZEROe for the first time, I would expect it is already under development and might feature in any later version of the A 320 neo.

The Fuselages

The fuselage width for both the A 320 neo family and the A 320 ceo are all 3.95 metres, with a maximum cabin width of 3.70 metres.

I would expect that the ZEROe Turboprop and the ZEROe Turbofan will also use this width.

Airbus use a design called Cabin-Flex to get the most out of the interior space in the A 320 neo. This paragraph is from the Wikipedia section, that is entitled Cabin-Flex.

By permanently replacing the second door pair in front of the wing (R2/L2) with a new second pair of overwing exits, the capacity of the A321neo is increased from 220 seats to 240 seats and fuel efficiency per seat is increased by 6%, exceeding 20% together with the new engines and the sharklets. The modifications should weigh 100 kg more.[82] Initial A321neos have the A321ceo exit door configuration with four exit door pairs until the Airbus Cabin-Flex (ACF) layout can be selected.

After reading the whole section, it looks to me, that the A 320 neo fuselage is designed, to be all things to all airlines and doors and seats can be arranged to fit any requirements.

In the ZEROe Turbofan, there is a large liquid hydrogen tank behind the rear pressure bulkhead, which could be brought forward a bit to give more space and hydrogen capacity.

I suspect there will be a lot of commonality between the fuselage of the A 320 neo family and that of a ZEROe Turbofan.

I spent a lot of time, as a child building Airfix models of aircraft and it may be too much of a simplification to think of these carbon-composite airliners, as giant Airfix models.

But I wouldn’t be surprised that just like the previous generation of aluminium airliners, they can be remanufactured into something different, just like British Airways Tristars, ended up as tanker-aircraft for the RAF.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that later A 320 neo fuselages will be able to be remanufactured into fuselages for ZEROe Turbofans.

Comparing The Fuselages Of The A 320 ceo, A 320 neo And ZEROe Turbofan

These are the three fuselage profiles.

A 320 ceo

A 320 neo

ZEROe Turbofan

Aircraft balance on the wings, which if I remember what little I know about aircraft aerodynamics and design, apply their lift forces to the centre of gravity of the aircraft.

I know that the profile of the ZEROe is to a different scale, but three things are apparent.

  • The windows at the rear don’t go as far back, as they do in the two existing designs. But then there is no need for windows around the hydrogen tank.
  • The hydrogen tank could be as long as a quarter of the length of the fuselage.
  • The front section of the aircraft appears longer.

The longer front section would balance the weight of the hydrogen tank.

The passengers would also help to balance the weight of the tank, by being placed further forward.

There must be the possibility of creating a larger capacity and longer range variant of the ZEROe design, by adding a larger hydrogen tank and further stretching the nose.

Airbus have been stretching these designs for years, so I suspect that they have plans for a large number of possible variants of the ZEROe Turbofan.

According to the Wikipedia entry for the A 320 neo family, there are already five civil versions of the A 320 neo; A 319 neo, A 320 neo, A 321 neo, A 321LR and A 321XLR, plus corporate and military versions.

Add in the Cabin-Flex interior and the various A320s and the ZEROe to come, must be one of the most flexible transport systems in history.

The Tailplanes

As they are of the same height and look similar, the tail sections of the A 320 neo and A 320 ceo families could be almost identical, but the tail section of the ZEROe Turbofan appears to be slightly more swept-back and perhaps more aerodynamic.

As the ZEROe Turbofan, also appears to have had a nose-job, I would suspect that Airbus have a redesigned fuselage in the works to squeeze more fuel-efficiency out of this family of already very frugal aircraft. Could this feature the more aerodynamic tailplane?

Could this advanced fuselage feature in a later version of the A 320 neo?

I also feel, that the functionality of the tailplane on the ZEROe Turbofan will need to be little different to that on the earlier planes.

  • The plane is still powered by two turbofan engines on the wings.
  • Rudder forces, with an engine failure on one side, will still be the same.

The big difference will be that the fuel is at the back of the fuselage rather than in the wings, which will affect the balance.

Will this effect the design of the tailplane? I don’t think it will in a large way, as Airbus seem to have lengthened the nose to compensate.

The Wings

All the wings with sharklets for the A 320 neo family and the A 320 ceo have the same wingspan of 35.8 metres, so I would expect they are all substantially similar.

But there is one big difference in that the wings of the conventionally-powered aircraft are full of fuel.

This would probably mean that much of the wing stresses in the ZEROe Turbofan would be like an A 320 neo flying with little fuel in the wing tanks. As some aircraft in the A320 neo family have fuselage tanks, Airbus can even test the wing forces and handling in a real aircraft.

But it does look that Airbus will have little trouble designing, building and certifying the wing of a ZEROe Turbofan.

There is a minor difference in that the sharklets for the ZEROe Turbofan are more extreme.

But then as I said earlier, is there a new more aerodynamic airframe for the A 320 neo in the works?

Conclusion

I very much feel that there will be a route to convert some or all of the A 320 neo aircraft to hydrogen power.

 

 

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

ZEROe – Towards The World’s First Zero-Emission Commercial Aircraft

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Airbus.

This is the introductory paragraph.

At Airbus, we have the ambition to develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035. Hydrogen propulsion will help us to deliver on this ambition. Our ZEROe concept aircraft enable us to explore a variety of configurations and hydrogen technologies that will shape the development of our future zero-emission aircraft.

Overall, the Press Release discloses a lot and gives details of three different aircraft, which are shown in this Airbus infographic.

Discover the three zero-emission concept aircraft known as ZEROe in this infographic. These turbofan, turboprop, and blended-wing-body configurations are all hydrogen hybrid aircraft.

I have some thoughts that apply to all three concepts.

Hydrogen Hybrid Power

The Press Release says this about the propulsion systems for the three aircraft.

All three ZEROe concepts are hydrogen hybrid aircraft. They are powered by hydrogen combustion through modified gas-turbine engines. Liquid hydrogen is used as fuel for combustion with oxygen.

In addition, hydrogen fuel cells create electrical power that complements the gas turbine, resulting in a highly efficient hybrid-electric propulsion system. All of these technologies are complementary, and the benefits are additive.

There is a Wikipedia entry which is entitled Hydrogen Fuel, where this is said.

Once produced, hydrogen can be used in much the same way as natural gas – it can be delivered to fuel cells to generate electricity and heat, used in a combined cycle gas turbine to produce larger quantities of centrally produced electricity or burned to run a combustion engine; all methods producing no carbon or methane emissions.

It looks like the aircraft will be powered by engines that are not too different to the current engines in today’s aircraft.

This must be a big advantage, in that much of the research done to improve the current gas-turbine powered by aviation fuel will apply.

Liquid Hydrogen

It appears all three aircraft will use liquid hydrogen.

Liquid Hydrogen Storage

I believe the major uses for hydrogen will be aircraft, buses, cars, rail locomotives and multiple units and heavy trucks.

All will need efficient storage of the hydrogen.

Some applications, will use it in liquid form, as it is a more dense form, but it will need to be kept cold.

As aviation will probably be the most demanding application, will it drive the storage technology?

Oxygen

This will be atmospheric oxygen, which is used by any combustion engine.

Fuel Cells

Will the fuel cells be used to provide power for the plane’s systems, rather than to power the aircraft?

Most airlines do this with an auxiliary power unit or APU, which is just a small gas-turbine engine with a generator. The A 320 family use one made by Pratt & Whitney, which is described on this page of their web site. It is the third one on the page and is called a APS3200. This is said about its function.

Pratt & Whitney APS3200 is the Airbus baseline APU of choice for the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. It is designed to meet performance and environmental requirements for modern day, single-aisle aircraft. The APU comprises a single-shaft, fixedspeed, high-pressure ratio core driving a load compressor that provides bleed air for cabin conditioning and main engine starting, concurrent with 90kVA of electrical power.

The APU is usually located in the tail.

In the ZEROe family will there be a fuel-cell powered compressor to provide bleed air for cabin airconditioning and main engine starting?

Slippery Aerodynamics

Airbus seem to be the masters of slippery aerodynamics, which will help make the planes very fuel efficient.

Lightweight Composite Structures

Like the latest Airbus airliners, these planes will be made from lightweight composite structures and I wouldn’t be surprised to see weight saving in other parts of the aircraft.

Carbon Emissions And Pollution

There will be no carbon dioxide produced, as where’s the carbon in the fuel?

But there could be small amounts of the oxides of nitrogen produced, by the combustion, as nitrogen will be present from the air.

Noise

As the aircraft are powered by gas-turbine engines, there will be some noise.

The Mathematics Of Hydrogen-Powered Aviation

The mathematics for these three aircraft must say, that the designs are feasible.

Otherwise Airbus wouldn’t have published a detailed Press Release, only for it to be torn to pieces.

Pressures Driving Aviation In The Next Ten Years

Aviation will change in the text ten years and it will be driven by various competing forces.

Environmental Issues

Pollution, Carbon Emissions and Noise will be the big environmental issues.

Hydrogen will go a long way to reducing the first two issues, but progress with noise will generally be made by better engineering.

COVID-19 And Future Pandemics

These could have a bigger effect, as to make flying safe in these troubled times, passengers will need to be given more space.

But I do wonder, if there is an administrative solution, backed up, by innovative engineering.

Could a very quick test for COVID-19, that would stop infected passengers boarding, coupled with high quality automatic cleaning and air purification, ensure that passengers didn’t get infected?

Entry Into Service

Airbus are quoting 2035 in the Press Release and this YouTube video.

Is that ambitious?

Thoughts On The Three Designs

My thoughts on the three designs, follow in the next three sections.

The ZEROe Turboprop

This is Airbus’s summary of the design for the ZEROe Turboprop.

Two hybrid hydrogen turboprop engines, which drive the six bladed propellers, provide thrust. The liquid hydrogen storage and distribution system is located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.

This screen capture taken from the video, shows the plane.

It certainly is a layout that has been used successfully, by many conventionally-powered aircraft in the past. The De Havilland Canada Dash 8 and ATR 72 are still in production.

The Turboprop Engines

If you look at the Lockheed-Martin C 130J Super Hercules, you will see it is powered by four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines, that drive 6-bladed Dowty R391 composite constant-speed fully-feathering reversible-pitch propellers.

These Rolls-Royce engines are a development of an Allison design, but they also form the heart of Rolls-Royce’s 2.5 MW Generator, that I wrote about in Our Sustainability Journey. The generator was developed for use in Airbus’s electric flight research program.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find the following.

  • , The propulsion system for this aircraft is under test with hydrogen at Derby and Toulouse.
  • Dowty are testing propellers suitable for the aircraft.
  • Serious research is ongoing to store enough liquid hydrogen in a small tank that fits the design.

Why develop something new, when Rolls-Royce, Dowty and Lockheed have done all the basic design and testing?

The Fuselage

This screen capture taken from the video, shows the front view of the plane.

From clues in the picture, I estimate that the fuselage diameter is around four metres. Which is not surprising, as the Airbus A320 has a height of 4.14 metres and a with of 3.95 metres.

So is the ZEROe Turboprop based on a shortened Airbus A 320 fuselage?

As the aircraft has a capacity of less than a hundred passengers and an Airbus A320 has six-abreast seating, could the aircraft have sixteen rows of seats.

With the seat pitch of an Airbus A 320, which is 81 centimetres, this means just under thirteen metres for the passengers.

The Technical Challenge

I don’t feel there are any great technical challenges in building this aircraft.

  • The engines appear to be conventional and could even have been more-or-less fully developed.
  • The fuselage could be a development of an existing design.
  • The wings and tail-plane are not large and given the company’s experience with large composite structures, they shouldn’t be too challenging.
  • The hydrogen storage and distributing system will have to be designed, but as hydrogen is being used in increasing numbers of applications, I doubt the expertise will be difficult to find.
  • The avionics and other important systems could probably be borrowed from other Airbus products.

Given that the much larger and more complicated Airbus A380 was launched in 2000 and first flew in 2005, I think that a prototype of this aircraft could fly around the middle of this decade.

The Market Segment

It may seem small at less than a hundred seats, but it does have a range of greater than a 1000 nautical miles or 1150 miles.

Consider.

  • It compares closely in passenger capacity, speed and range, with the De Havilland Canada Dash 8/400 and the ATR 72/600.
  • The ATR 72 is part produced by Airbus.
  • The aircraft is forty percent slower than an Airbus A 320.
  • It is a genuine zero-carbon aircraft.
  • It looks like it could be designed to have a Short-Takeoff-And Landing (STOL) capability.

On the other hand, a lot of busy routes, like London and Edinburgh and Berlin and Munich are less than or around 400 miles.

These short routes are being challenged aggressively by the rail industry, as over this sort of distance, which typically takes four hours by train, rail has enough advantages, that passengers may choose not to fly.

Examples of cities with a range of between 400 and 1000 miles from London include.

  • Berlin – 571 miles
  • Cork – 354 miles
  • Inverness – 445 miles
  • Lisbon – 991 miles
  • Madrid – 781 miles
  • Palma – 835 miles
  • Rome – 893 miles
  • Stockholm – 892 miles
  • Warsaw – 900 miles

This aircraft would appear to be sized as an aircraft, that can fly further than passengers are happy to travel by train. But because of its cruising speed, the routes, where it will be viable would probably be limited in duration.

But important routes to, from and between secondary locations, like those that used to be flown by FlyBe, would surely be naturals for this aircraft.

It looks to be an aircraft that could have a big future.

The ZEROe Turbofan

This is Airbus’s summary of the design.

Two hybrid hydrogen turbofan engines provide thrust. The liquid hydrogen storage and distribution system is located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.

This screen capture taken from the video, shows the plane.

ZEROeTurbofan

This screen capture taken from the video, shows the front view of the plane.

The aircraft doesn’t look very different different to an Airbus A320 and appears to be fairly conventional. It does appear to have the characteristic tall winglets of the A 320 neo.

The Turbofan Engines

These would be standard turbofan engines modified to run on hydrogen, fuelled from a liquid hydrogen tank behind the rear pressure bulkhead of the fuselage.

If you want to learn more about gas turbine engines and hydrogen, read this article on the General Electric web site, which is entitled The Hydrogen Generation: These Gas Turbines Can Run On The Most Abundant Element In the Universe,

Range And Performance

I will compare range, performance and capacity with the latest Airbus A 320.

ZEROe Turbofan

  • Range – 2300 miles
  • Cruising Speed – Mach 0.78
  • Capacity – < 200 passengers

Airbus A 320

  • Range – 3800 miles
  • Cruising Speed – Mach 0.82
  • Capacity – 190 passengers

There is not too much difference, except that the A 320 has a longer range.

The Cockpits Of The ZEROe Turboprop And The ZEROe Turbofan

This gallery puts the two cockpit images together.

Are they by any chance related?

Could the controls and avionics in both aircraft be the same?

A quick look says that like the Boeing 757 and 767, the two planes have a lot in common, which may enable a pilot trained on one aircraft to fly the other, with only minimal extra instruction.

And would it be a simple process to upgrade a pilot from an A 320 to a ZEROe Turbofan?

The Fuselages Of The ZEROe Turboprop And The ZEROe Turbofan

I estimated earlier that the fuselage of the Turboprop was based on the cross-section of the A320.

Looking at the pair of front views, I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that both aircraft are based on an updated A 320 fuselage design.

Passengers and flightcrew would certainly feel at home in the ZEROe Turbofan, if internally, it was the same size, layout and equipment as a standard A 320 or more likely an A 320 neo.

The Market Segment

These are my thoughts of the marketing objectives of the ZEROe Turbofan.

  • The cruising speed and the number of passengers are surprisingly close, so has this aircraft been designed as an A 320 or Boeing 737 replacement?
  •  I suspect too, that it has been designed to be used at any airport, that could handle an Airbus A 320 or Boeing 737.
  • It would be able to fly point-to-point flights between most pairs of European or North American cities.

It would certainly fit the zero-carbon shorter range airliner market!

In fact it would more than fit the market, it would define it!

The ZEROe Blended-Wing Body

This is Airbus’s summary of the design.

The exceptionally wide interior opens up multiple options for hydrogen storage and distribution. Here, the liquid hydrogen storage tanks are stored underneath the wings. Two hybrid hydrogen turbofan engines provide thrust.

This screen capture taken from the video, shows the plane.

This aircraft is proposed to have the same performance and capacity as the ZEROe Turbofan, which includes a 2000 nautical mile plus range.

The only other aircraft with a similar shape is the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit or Stealth Bomber. This is not a fast aircraft, but it is able to fly at an altitude of 50,000 ft, which compares to the 60,000 ft of Concorde and the 43,000 ft of an Airbus A 380.

I wonder, if the blended-wing body is designed to fly very high at around the 60,000 ft, which was Concorde territory.

It would only be doing 515 mph and would be well below the speed of sound.

So what is the point on going so high?

The air is very thin and there is a lot less drag.

It is also worth reading Wikipedia on the design of flying wings.

It might be possible to fly much further than 2000 nautical miles. After all Airbus did put in a plus sign!

Is this aircraft the long-distance aircraft of the three?

Extending The Range

I do wonder, if the engines in these aircraft could be capable of running on both hydrogen and aviation biofuel.

As the ZEROe Turboprop and the ZEROe Turbofan planes have empty wings, which in a conventional aircraft would hold fuel, could the space be used to hold aviation biofuel to extend the range?

Certification Of The Planes

The ZEROe Turboprop and ZEROe Turbofan are aircraft, where a lot of the design will already have been proven in previous aircraft, so will probably be much less onerous to approve, than the blended-wing body design.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Airbus have designed three aircraft to cover the airline market.

I also feel that as the ZEROe Turboprop and ZEROe Turbofan, appear to have conventional airframes, that they could be delivered before 2035.

If I’m right, that the blended-wing body is a high flyer, it will be a ride to experience, travelling at that height all the way to New York.

September 22, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Distributed Propulsion ‘Maybe The Only Means’ For Small Electric Flight Progress

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Institute of Mechanical Engineers web site.

If you want to fly again, then this article offers pointers to how you might do it.

The E-Fan X Airliner

It gives this latest information on the E-Fa X airliner being tested by Rolls-Royce and Airbus.

Amid the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rolls-Royce and Airbus cancelled flight tests of their E-Fan X airliner, a promising project that could have provided vital data on issues such as thrust management and electric systems at altitude.

Does that mean cancelled or scrapped?

2.5 MW From A Beer Keg-Sized Generator

This paragraph could be important.

“Among the many great achievements from E-Fan X has been the generator – about the same size as a beer keg – but producing a staggering 2.5MW,” said Vittadini’s Rolls-Royce counterpart Paul Stein. “That’s enough power to supply 2,500 homes and fully represents the pioneering spirit on this project.”

This picture shows a Class 66 locomotive.

The locomotive has a 2,460 kW diesel engine and an electric transmission.

I just wonder, if Rolls Royce’s high-powered small generator could replace the large, noisy and smelly diesel engines in these locomotives.

If the technology worked there are 455 of the noisy locomotives.

Snowballing Improvements

The article has a section with this title and it talks about how electric power may lead to other advantages.

Conclusion

Electric aircraft are more promising, than many think!

 

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Airbus On Electric Flight

This page on the Airbus web site is all about electric flight.

This paragraph greets you.

Today, zero-emission flight is closer to reality than ever. Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion is rapidly revolutionising mobility technologies across industries, from automotive to marine. And the aviation industry is no exception. Airbus is committed to developing, building and testing electric and hybrid-electric future technology that will enable the aviation industry to significantly reduce the CO2 emissions of commercial aircraft.

A read of the whole section is recommended.

A lot of technology will need to be improved even to get say a 60-seat airliner, with a 500 mile range.

  • Design-changing efficient aerodynamics.
  • Lightweight, strong structures.
  • Efficient zero-carbon propulsion systems.
  • Batteries with a much higher energy capacity per kilogram of battery weight.

It’s a tough ask, but I believe it is possible!

We might even see some very unusual ideas. And some proven ones.

Catapults

Naval fighters are usually literally thrown into the air from aircraft carriers using aircraft catapults, which traditionally were steam-powered. Gliders are often towed into the air using a rope.

So could something similar be used to accelerate the aircraft to flying speed?

Taxiing And Take-Off Using A Tug

All taxiing would use a battery-electric or hybrid-hydrogen-electric tug to minimise use of energy from the plane’s batteries.

Could the tug be combined with charging and a vehicle to handle the catapult launch?

  • A fully-charged tug would meet incoming aircraft and tow them to the terminal.
  • The aircraft would use the tug for power, if it was low.
  • At the terminal, the tug and aircraft would be charged, during passenger unloading and loading.
  • On the taxi to the runway, all power would be provided by the tug.
  • The catapult system, would attach to the tug on take-off.
  • Once take-off speed was achieved, the aircraft would disconnect and climb away under its own power.

All the power for acceleration to take-off speed would be provided on the ground and the aircraft wouldn’t have to carry it.

Energy Calculations For An Airbus 220-100

The smallest Airbus aircraft is the A220-100, which has the following specification.

  • Passengers – 135
  • Maximum Take-Off Weight – 63.1 tonnes
  • Cruise speed – 871 kph
  • Take-off speed – 220 kph (estimated)
  • Ceiling – 41,000 ft.

Note that the design cruise speed of the nine-seat electric Eviation Alice is 482 kph at 10,000 ft.

Using Omni’s Kinetic Energy Calculator, the following values are obtained.

  • 220 kph – 32.7 kWh
  • 482 kph – 157 kWh
  • 981 kph – 513 kWh

As the kinetic energy is proportional to the square of the speed, I would expect that a small electric airliner would have a cruise speed slower than current airliners.

I would expect that Alice’s cruise at 482 kph and 10,000 ft., could have been chosen to get a decent range for the maximum size of battery.

The aircraft will also have to be given potential energy in the climb.

Using Omni’s Potential Energy Calculator, the following values are obtained.

  • 5,000 ft. – 262 kWh
  • 10,000 ft. – 524 kWh
  • 41,000 ft. – 2148 kWh

I would expect a small electric airliner  would fly a lot lower.

A 135-seat electric airliner, which is the same weight as an Airbus 220-100 and cruising at 482 kph and 10,000 feet would need the following energy to establish itself in the cruise.

  • Kinetic energy – 157 kWh
  • Potential energy – 524 kWh
  • Take-off energy at 220 kph – 32.7 kWh

Which gives a total of 681 kWh.

It should be noted that both the kinetic and potential energies are proportional to the maximum take-off weight. Assuming that take-off weight would be proportional to the number of passengers, rough estimates for the battery size needed.

  • 25 – 126 kWh
  • 50 – 252 kWh
  • 75 – 378 kWh

As Wikipedia says the smaller nine-seater Eviation Alice has a 900 kWh battery, I feel that at least a fifty passenger electric airliner is possible.

Very Efficient Aerodynamics

One of the biggest losses of energy will be due to less-than-perfect aerodynamics, with vortices, eddies and skin friction wasting precious energy.

Look at the pictures on the Internet of the Eviation Alice and you’ll see a strange aircraft.

  • A very pointed nose.
  • Two propellers at the wing-tips.
  • A third propeller at the tail.
  • I suspect, all the propellers are placed to get the most out of the power.

When Alice is cruising, her energy consumption will be minimal, so that the maximum range for a given battery size can be obtained.

Any electric airliner will draw on all the aerodynamic tricks in the book.

Efficient Flight Profiles

The longest flight, that I ever did in my Cessna 340A was from Southend to Naples.

  • Before take-off at Southend, the fuel bowser followed me to the end of the runway to give me a last-second top-up.
  • I travelled across France on a beautifully-clear day and the accommodating Lyon ATC allowed me to fly at 19,500 feet all the way to French Coast at Nice.
  • The French then decided that, as I was happy at that height, they would hand me over to the Italians without a change of level.
  • So I flew down the Italian coast past Genoa and Rome at 180 knots, with spectacular views all the way.
  • The Italians, then used radar to vector me on to final approach at Naples.

I reckon, I had flown nearly a thousand miles in if I remember correctly about six hours.

But it was a very efficient flight profile to get the range.

  • I took the maximum about of fuel, I could carry.
  • I climbed as fast as possible to an efficient cruising level.
  • I cruised at an efficient speed.
  • I used very little fuel on the descent and landing into Naples.

I certainly was pleased, that I had about another hour’s fuel left, when I arrived in Naples.

Electric aircraft will probably always fly efficient profiles, to get the maximum range. But they will all be calculated by the plane’s computer system.

Most Aircraft Are Heaviest At Take-Off

This is because they burn fuel in the engines, as they fly along.

But a full battery weighs the same as an empty one, so the electric aircraft will have the same flying characteristics in all stages of the flight.

This could have design and operational advantages.

Hybrid Propulsion

Some electric aircraft designs are hybrid, with both battery and turboprop power.

It still cuts carbon emissions and may give better performance.

Fuel created from biomass can also be used.

Conclusion

I expect to fly in an Aubus battery-electric short-haul plane between London and Geneva by 2030.

But I’m certain, I’ll fly before that in an electric aircraft.

 

 

 

 

 

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

Get Set For Max Return, Says Boeing

The title of this post is the same as this article in The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Boeing is to fire up its 737 Max production line by May as it seeks to return the aircraft to service by the middle of the year.

Two points from the article.

  • Some suppliers have been asked to start shipping parts from April.
  • Boeing’s share price has risen, by 34.3%

But given the shadow over air travel caused by COVID-19, is restarting production a wise move?

I certainly don’t trust the Boeing 737 MAX!

But then if you live in London, I don’t think, you will need to fly in one, as there are a good selection of short haul trains and airlines that fly the smaller Airbuses.

I probably won’t fly short-haul again, until an airline starts flying electric aircraft.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Opinion: Why Aviation Needs to Go Green, and How

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Aeronautics Online.

Read the article and especially what it says about the Wright Electric Jet.

This is a paragraph from Wikipedia, talking about co-operation between Wright Electric and easyJet.

In September 2017, UK budget carrier EasyJet announced it was developing an electric 180-seater for 2027 with Wright Electric. Wright Electric built a two-seat proof-of-concept with 272kg (600lb) of batteries, and believes that batteries can be scaled up with substantially lighter new battery chemistries: a 291 nautical mile (540km) range would suffice for 20% of Easyjet passengers. Wright Electric plans to develop a 10-seater and eventually an at least 120 passengers single-aisle, short-haul airliner and targets 50% lower noise and 10% lower costs.

I would assume, that the plane also emits a lot less CO2 and other pollutants.

I would assume that the plane will be built by using the best of these technologies.

  • Aerodynamics
  • Lightweight structures
  • Electric Motors
  • Batteries
  • Electronics and avionics.

But I also believe that designing an electric aircraft could be a very different process to a conventional one.

There Is No Fuel

Consider.

  • Fuel is a high proportion of the weight of an airliner on take-off.
  • There are a lot of complicated systems to pump fuel to the engines and also from tank to tank to trim or balance the aircraft
  • When a conventional airliner takes off, it is much heavier than when it lands, as fuel has been burned.
  • Fuel is dangerous in a heavy landing or crash.

On the other hand, I’m fairly certain, that empty batteries and full ones weigh the same.

This would mean, that the plane aerodynamics and structure,  would be designed to be optimal in the various phases of flight.

  • Taxiing out to the runway.
  • Taking off.
  • The climb to the cruising altitude.
  • The cruise
  • The descent to the destination airport.
  • The landing
  • Taxiing in to the terminal or stand.

In the climb, cruise and descent  phases power would be set and the trim adjusted, by the autopilot to attain the right speed and rate of climb or descent.

Aerodynamics

As the weight of the aircraft would be the same in all three phases and would need more or less the same lift, with clever aerodynamics, I think we will see a very simple wing. In fact, probably more like that of a sailplane than an airliner.

Wikipedia says this about the design.

The aircraft is to run on batteries and handle flights of under 300 miles. It will feature high aspect-ratio wings for energy efficient flight, distributed electric propulsion and swappable battery packs with advanced cell chemistry.

Note that sailplanes have high aspect ratio wings.

Compared to say a small jet airliner like an Airbus A318, I suspect that the wings will be longer, but possibly simpler.

The Wright Electric Jet will probably have various aerodynamic aids, like flaps and winglets. In fact the picture on Wikipedia shows the latter, which reduce drag.

A Simple Flight Profile

The fastest way to fly between A and B is probably to take off and climb as fast as possible to the optimum cruising altitude, where an optimum cruise is maintained, until the time comes to descend into the destination airport. Much of the descent would be straight in to the runway.

I have flown in an easyJet Airbus 320 from Schipol to Southend in much this manner and the plane arrived ahead of schedule.

I suspect that easyJet like to fly like this, as it saves fuel, but Air Traffic Control probably doesn’t allow it that often.

But simple efficient profiles like this would be ideal for electric aircraft.

If as I suspect their aerodynamics would allow a better glide ratio than a jet powered airliner. So to get a longer range, an electric aircraft might do a long approach.

A Low Noise Aircraft

As I said earlier, Wright are talking about fifty percent less noise.

This could be a game-changer for a smaller airport like Luton or Southend, where the approach can be over residential areas.

Especially for Southend, where planes from the East could do a long descent over the sea and come straight in on Runway 23.

Could Southend become London’s short-haul airport for electric aircraft?

  • easyJet and Ryanair are already there.
  • There’s plenty of wind power in the area
  • It has a good rail connection to London and could be served by Crossrail.

Essex is a county that likes to be different.

Airbus

The original article also mentions Airbus.

Airbus has the skills to design the required light and strong airframe, the aerodynamic knowledge.and a large support network.

They also have a lot to lose, if someone else takes away, the smaller part of their masrket.

Ignore Airbus at your peril.

Conclusion

The more I think about it, the more that I think a 120 passenger electric airliner with a range of 540 km, could be a very handy plane.

 

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Problem For The Boeing 737 MAX 8?

This article on the BBC is entitled Russia Bird Strike: Plane Crash-Lands After Hitting Gulls.

The aircraft involved in the accident was an Airbus A321-211, which was flying Ural Airlines Flight 178.

This model of Airbus 311 has CFM56 engines.

So what has that got to do with the Boeing 737 MAX 8?

|Especially as the Boeing aircraft is powered by the successor to the CFM56, the LEAP engine.

This engine is also offered on the latest baby Airbus; the A320neo.

As the Ural Airlines crash was the second bird strike that brought down a baby Airbus after US Airways Flight 1549, I wouldn’t be surprised to see see  certification authorities, making sure that this type of aircraft can land safely a double engine failure., providing the plane has enough height.

Airbus seems to have proven, that good airmanship can handle an Airbus A320, when it is flying as a glider.

Given the questioned  nature of the design of the computerised controls in a Boeing 737 MAX, the authorities might take a lot of convincing, that these aircraft can be handled safely in similar circumstances.

I think it should also be born in mind, that although the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549i; Chesley Sullenberger was very experienced, the two Russian pilots were much less so, but were still able to carry out a successful emergency landing without any fire and only comparatively minor injuries to those on board.

If you think I’m being alarmist about bird strikes, read the Wikipedia entry for bird strike.

This is a paragraph.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reported 65,139 bird strikes for 2011–14, and the Federal Aviation Authority counted 177,269 wildlife strike reports on civil aircraft between 1990 and 2015, growing 38% in 7 years from 2009 to 2015. Birds accounted for 97%.

We must not get complacent!

I hope that ICAO, the FAA and other authorities are collecting the data on bird strikes in a comprehensive manner and thoroughly analysing it, so that airports with serious problems are identified, so that they can improve their countermeasures.

 

 

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change ‘May Curb Growth In UK Flying’

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is an extract.

The advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently said the UK’s planned increase in aviation would need to be curbed to restrict CO2.

Now a senior civil servant has told a green group that means ministers may have to review aviation strategy.

The green group now feels that Parliament should reconsider Heathrow expansion.

It seems a compulsive argument.

My belief, is that if we restrict flying, that other countries like Chjina, India, Russia and the United States won’t so we’ll be the loser in terms of tourism and jobs making products for export, as we’ll be increasingly isolated.

But we must make the carbon footprint of flying as small as possible.

Things we should do include.

Make Airside At All Airports Carbon Free

Some airports are going this way by using electric vehicles on the air-side.

It is most certainly possible and even battery electric tugs, that can more the largest aircraft are becoming available.

I also believe that doing this will be in an advantage to an airport, as where travellers have a choice, they may be more likely to use a low-carbon airport.

Calculate And Publish Carbon Footprints For All Airports

Included would be the carbon-dioxide and other emissions, generated by the following.

  • Air-side vehicles
  • Travellers going to and from the airport
  • Workers going to and from the airport
  • Airport and aircraft supplies going to the airport
  • Waste coming from the airport.

I have not considered the aircraft deliberately.

Provide All Airports With A Rail Link

It is a scandal that some airports do not have a rail link to their nearest towns and cities, so travellers often have to drive.

The technology now exists to build a train, tram or tram-train link to most of those airports that lack a decent low-carbon link.

Complete High Speed Two

High Speed Two must be completed to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds

Links to lines like the East and West Coast Main Lines must also be added, so that journey times are reduced and capacity is increased from London and Southern England to Northern England and Scotland.

Extend Crossrail To Ebbsfleet For Trains To And From Europe

Crossrail’s big design fault is that it doesn’t serve trains to and from Europe.

Extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet will make it easier for those travelling between the Greater South-East of England and the Near Continent to use a direct train.

More Cross-Channel Train Services

I have taken Eurostar to Amsterdam three times and the four-hour journey is a much more pleasant and less stressful experience, than the flight of a  shorter duration.

Currently, Eurostar are looking at services between London and Bordeaux, Geneva, Colgne and Frankfurt.

These are probably the only current services that would be viable, but if they are successful, I can see others added to the list.

Should Extra Platforms Be Built At Ebbsfleet?

St. Pancras International station has six International platforms and a departure hall that gets very crowded at times.

I believe that as more services are added between St. Pancras and the Continent, that there will come a time in the next ten years, where serious expansion will be needed.

Would it be easier to add extra capacity at Ebbsfleet?

Travellers would use an extended Crossrail for connecting journeys.

Build A Rail Bridge To Northern Ireland And Link It To The West Coast Main Line

After High Speed Two opens to Crewe, this would enable a rail journey between London and Belfast in four hours, with Dublin in five.

Turn-Up-And-Go Services On All High Speed Lines

At the present time, most rail journeys have to be planned in advance.

But we now live in an I-Want-It-Now society!

Say a client phones up from Burnley with a problem with your product that needs a visit, they would often expect you to get there as soon as possible.

At the present time you would drive.

But once High Speed Two is running to Preston from Euston, it would surely be quicker to use the train.

If trains were four trains per hour (tph) to Preston and ticketing was as simple as London’s current contactless system, you might drop everything and go immediately.

If this type of service were to be made available on High Speed Two, I can’t see any reason, why it should not be available on the UK’s other high speed routes.

  • London to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line.
  • London to Leeds on the East Coast Main Line.
  • London to Bristol and Cardiff on the Great Western Main Line.
  • London to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance on the Great Western Main Line.
  • London to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield on the Midland Main Line
  • London to Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel.
  • Liverpool to Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle on Northern Powerhouse Rail.
  • Liverpool to Manchester, Sheffield, Doncaster and Hull on Northern Powerhouse Rail.

I am using the definition that a high speed line is one capable of running st a speed of at least 125 mph for much of the time.

I also think that some other lines will be upgraded to 100 mph-plus lines and given four tph and higher operation speeds.

  • London to Exeter via Newbury.
  • London to Exeter via Basingstoke
  • London to Portsmouth on the Portsmouth Direct Line.
  • London to Southampton and Bournemiuth
  • London to Chester and Holyhead on the West Coast Main Line and the North Wales Main Line.
  • London to Banbury, Warwick and Birmingham on the Chiltern Main Line.
  • London to Kings Lynn on the East Coast Main Line.
  • London to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich on the Great Eastern Main Line
  • Ashford to Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth on the East and West Coastways.
  • Peterborough to Lincoln and Doncaster on the Great Northern Great Eastern Joint Line

The drive to faster services will be enabled by the following.

  • The availability of affordable 125 mph bi-mode trains from manufacturers like Bombardier, Hitachi, Stadler,and others.
  • Trains capable of fast stops at stations.
  • Relaying of tracks for higher speeds.
  • Removal of historic bottlenecks.
  • Digital signalling throughout the country.

As an example, Greater Anglia expect their new Class 745 trains to go between London and Norwich in ninety minutes. I feel these trains could be capable of higher speed and I would expect ten minutes to be shaved off this route by running faster North of Colchester.

Step-Free Access At All Stations

This must encourage more travellers.

Intelligent Car Parking For Electric Cars

At a station car park, you would leave your electric car plugged in to the parking space.

  • You will have told the car by means of an app or a voice recognition system, when you will be returning and how much charge you want in the car at that time.
  • Whilst you are away, your car’s battery will become part of the UK’s energy storage, just as it does at home during the night.
  • If the wind and sun are behaving, your car’s battery like millions of others will be used to store excess power.
  • In times of need, the grid will borrow your power, but still ensuring you have enough power for your next journey.

Get the system right and I believe that lending of your energy storage will reduce the cost of parking.

Integrated Rail, Road And Air Ticketing

Let’s say for an example you want to go from Chelmsford in England to Orleans in France. Currently, you have to look up rail and air journeys on separate web sites. But suppose a site said it would be xx pounds and yy hours by rail,road or air or a combination of any two and the journey would create cc kilos of carbon dioxide, it would surely be easiest to book what is best for you, your wallet and your ecological conscience.

Always Travel Like James Cameron

James Cameron, the illustrious BBC journalist, said that you should make two piles of the clothes you are taking on a trip, with half your trousers, shirts, jumpers etc in each pile. Then pack them in separate cases and leave one behind. He also said you should work out how much money you will need and double it.

These days, I travel very light and haven’t put anything in the hold of an aircraft for nearly ten years. My late wife; C was the same and on a week’s trip to say Italy we only needed one small case between us, that was below the Ryanair cabin baggage limit at the time.

I see people flying with cases, that are big enough for a small person to live in.

If I was in charge of the world, I would impose an excessive baggage tax.

Duty-Free Should Be Banned From Flights

I never buy anything from duty-free, except perhaps a very small present for my granddaughter, that fits in a jacket pocket.

If all passengers on a two hundred seat aircraft bought a litre bottle of gin on their return flight from Spain, that adds a fifth of a tonne to the payload.

  • How much extra carbon dioxide and other pollutants are produced by the pointless benefit of duty-free?
  • There are also other reasons that duty-free should be banned. For a start, if passengers have to be evacuated from an aircraft, they tend to create havoc by recovering their duty-free.
  • If there were no duty-free, the space saved could be used for more worthwhile purposes.

So let’s ban this silly practice!

It would be better to buy it on entry to a country!

An Interim Conclusion

We could do lots more things like this to reduce the carbon footprints of airports and travel to and from the airport. I will add more in the future.

My choice of actions are designed to do the following.

  • Persuade travellers to use rail instead of flying for shorter journeys.
  • Get to and from the airport in a low-carbon manner.
  • Reduce the cost of shorter distance travel and getting to and from the airport.
  • Nudge travellers to prepare themselves for flying, such that the planes use less fuel.

I obviously haven’t said anything about the actual flying.

Low-Carbon Flying

These are a few thoughts.

Electric Aircraft

To get any aircraft into the air needs a lot of power. People, who say that electric aircraft are possible, are probably living in a fantasy world, as the batteries will add more weight to the aircraft, that would mean more energy would be needed to get the plane into the air.

Airliners Must Be Well-Designed Lightweight Structures

All sailplanes are built out of lightweight plastic or carbon fibre, as flying without an engine is even more difficult.

This section called Design, is from the Wikipedia entry for the Airbus A320 aircraft.

The Airbus A320 family are narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear and are powered by two wing pylon-mounted turbofan engines. After the oil price rises of the 1970s, Airbus needed to minimise the trip fuel costs of the A320. To that end, it adopted composite primary structures, centre-of-gravity control using fuel, glass cockpit (EFIS) and a two-crew flight deck.

Airbus claimed the 737-300 burns 35% more fuel and has a 16% higher operating cost per seat than the V2500-powered A320.[87] A 150-seat A320 burns 11,608 kg (25,591 lb) of jet fuel over 2,151 nmi (3,984 km) (between Los Angeles and New York City), or 2.43 L/100 km (97 mpg‑US) per seat with a 0.8 kg/L fuel.[88] Its wing is long and thin, offering better aerodynamic efficiency because of the higher aspect ratio than the competing 737 and MD-80.

Note how much more fuel-efficient the early A320 was compared to the best 737 at the time.

Quite frankly, the fifty-year-old design of the Boeing 737 is not fit for the modern world and all of these aircraft should be retired.

Boeing’s troubles with the 737 MAX 8 are a symptom of trying to stretch an obsolete design to match the lightweight engineering of Airbus.

In fact Boeing’s management must be totally stupid, as they have the success of the lightweight Boeing 787 staring them in the face.

Lighter Aircraft Mean Less Power And Less Fuel

There is a virtuous circle with aircraft.

  • Make an aircraft lighter and more aerodynamics and it needs less power to get it into the air and keep flying.
  • A less powerful aircraft will need less fuel to fly a given distance.
  • If a plane needs less fuel, it can carry more passengers or freight.

Airbus with their A320 and Boeing with their 787 seem to be going round this circle, and they will get better with each improvement.

Boeing need to get a modern design of smaller aircraft in this virtuous circle, so they can compete.

Old Inefficient Aircraft Must Be Phased Out

Airlines are flying a lot of aircraft like 737s and 747s, that probably make a lot of money, but in terms of carbon dioxide and other pollutants emitted for each passenger-mile are way above average.

All these inefficient aircraft should be retired and replaced as soon as possible.

New Engine Technology

When I was at University in the 1960s, one of the big stories was Rolls-Royce and their development of the RB-211 engine with its carbon-fibre fan blades.. The carbon-fibre fan blades are now history, but the design of the RB-211 lives on in the successful Trent engine.

Note that the Trent can power all versions of the Boeing 787.

Rolls-Royce have succeeded because they have been able to continuously develop their unique three-spool design, which offers a shorter and more efficient engine.

The Wikipedia entry of the Rolls-Royce Trent engine shows the company has developed engines to fit each new aircraft in turn.

There is also a section on Future Development, where this is said.

On 26 February 2014, Rolls-Royce detailed its Trent future developments. The Advance is the first design could be ready from the end of the 2010s and aim to offer at least 20% better fuel burn than the first generation of Trents. Next is the UltraFan, which could be ready for service from 2025, a geared turbofan with a variable pitch fan system, promising at least 25% improvement in fuel burn.

I doubt the rival companies to Rolls-Royce are sitting queitly, twiddling their thumbs. Although being American, they may be following Boeing’s lead on air-frames and hoping that the old technology is good enough.

In my view, if they don’t come up with new more efficient engines, they’ll go the way of the dinosaurs.

Carbon-Emissions Per Passenger-Mile Will Drop

As new and better aircraft are developed, the amount of carbon-emissions and other pollutants will drop per passenger-mile.

But all older polluting airlines will have to be properly retired and not passed on to those third rate carriers; Air Neck End and Air Suicide.

 

Aviation Fuel Should Be Taxed

Aircraft use a lot of jet fuel and it is not taxed on a world-wide basis.

Do Eurostar and LNER pay tax on the electricity they use?

  • So does this give airlines a cost advantage, when offering services on a route like London to Edinburgh, where trains and planes compete.
  • Looking at flying easyJet to Edinburgh tomorrow morning, the flight is about half the rail fare.
  • What would the difference be if easyJet and LNER had the same fuel tax regime?

The airline industry maintains that tax on fuel would make flying too expensive for a lot of travellers.

But they would say that wouldn’t they!

Government Help

In the UK, these routes are some shorter routes, where train and plane can compete.

  • London and Edinburgh
  • London and Glasgow
  • London and Newcastle
  • London and Cornwall

Government can help to create a level playing field.

  • It can create a fair and equal tax regime.
  • It can fund rail improvements, so there are sufficient paths for extra trains.
  • It can fund better links to airports from city centres.
  • It can allow airport expansion if needed.
  • It could make it compulsory for airlines to offer carbon offsetting, when buying a ticket.
  • Could we see Governments banning flights of under four hundred miles?

I suspect that the aviation industry might not like some decisions.

The Eurostar Effect On Shorter Flights

Eurostar have been very successful in attracting passengers on their original routes away from airlines.

Wikipedia says this about their market share in 2007.

n 2007, it achieved record market shares of 71% for London–Paris and 65% for London–Brussels routes.

But I can see a time, when many passengers on flights of about 400 miles or less, will use high speed rail.

In Trains Ordered For 2021 Launch Of ‘High-Quality, Low Fare’ London – Edinburgh Service, I talked about FirstGroup’s new London-Edinburgh service.

  • London to Edinburgh is 400 miles.
  • The service will be run by new trains.
  • The new service will also serve Morpeth, Newcastle and Stevenage.
  • The time between city centres are probably comparable.
  • FirstGroup have said they are targetting low cost airlines.

It will be interesting to see how the low-cost airlines react and perform!

London-Edinburgh And Berlin-Munich Compared

I am comparing these two routes because they are both within a smidgen of four hundred miles.

  • The fastest trains on both routes take around four hours.
  • The UK route has a directnine-car  train every half-hour and this frequency will get higher.
  • The German route has a directsix-car  train every few hours.

In From Berlin To Munich In Four Hours By Train, I describe a trip on the German route.

In the next few years, many countries will follow the lead set by China, France, Italy, Japan and Spain and develop high speed lines between cities a few hundred miles apart.

Even the USA is getting in on the act, although Trump doesn’t give any support. I wonder, if he’s ever been on a train!

What Passengers Will Do!

I say will do, but some are already doing these things.

Take The Train On Shorter Journeys

I have noted that some of my friends, who used to always fly from London to Brussels, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paris are increasingly taking the train.

As more and more city-pairs have a direct and convenient rail service, passengers will look seriously at it, as an alternative.

But it has to be convenient! I have gone three times to Amsterdam on Eurostar, but I’ve always come back by another route, as customs are not convenient, when returning from the Netherlands.

Fly Direct From Your Local Airport

Several respected web sites say that if you fly direct, rather than change, this is a more environmentally-friendly way to fly.

Passengers Will Choose Their Aircraft Carefully

\safety will be the main reason and I doubt, I would ever fly in a Boeing 737 MAX.

But if say I was flying between London and Boston, I would choose a Boeing 787 over a Boeing 747, as I suspect the older aircraft has a bigger carbon footprint.

Use An Airport With Good Public Transport Connections

Why spend a fortune to park your car at the airport, when you could get there in the same time using a train from a local station?

Carbon Offseting Your Journey

All ways of booking airline tickets must be mandated to offer carbon offsetting for any flights booked.

I would also make it illegal to give frequent flyer points to travellers, who didn’t add carbon offsetting!

I’ve met so many travellers, who consider their frequent flyer points are more important than anything else when they fly.

Conclusion

The aviation industry won’t like it, but with some clever worldwide legislation, flying can be made a lot more environmentally friendly.

 

 

 

 

May 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

737 MAX, Airbus And Aventra

I think that there are parallels between these plains and trains.

The 737 MAX is a conventional fifty-year-old design of aircraft, that has been updated with modern technology through the years.

When Airbus designed their fly-by-wire systems about thirty years ago, they were duplicated with two independent systems, programmed by separate teams. I think that the plane could fly on one system, if the other failed. Ittook time to develop, but no-one questions its reliability today.

The design and some of the things it gets up to, like moving fuel around to balance the aircraft help to increase the efficiency of the aircraft.

Efficiency and low pilot workloads help to sell aircraft.

Boeing is now trying desperately to catch up, but doing this in an ageing design appears to be difficult.

One thing I wonder is that is misloading of cargo a problem in the two 737 MAX crashes.

Supposing there was an imbalance of cargo on an Airbus! Would the plane’s computer realise this and move fuel to conpensate? Boeing must rely on a conventional approach using the flying controls.

Boeing are obviously worried as they have installed a special anti-stall conputer system called MCAS.

So what has this got to do with Bombardier’s Aventra train, that is suffering from software problems causing delays.

The Aventra is a radical design, that rewrites the rules, just like Airbus did. It relies heavily on a sophisticated computer system to control everything and bring a higher level of efficiency.

It will take time to get right, but just as Airbus did all those years ago, I believe they will.

The Aventra will change train design by as much as Airbus have changed airliner design.

March 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment