Posts Tagged ‘jumbo’

A380 Superjumbo Update: Where’s Your Messiah Now, SFO? Things Just Aren’t Working Out with the Big Airbus

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Even back six years ago, even back in aught-eight, this kind of press release from SFO seemed more optimistic than average.

Anyway, we spent a lot of money getting ready for the Airbus A380 double-decker and we do get a handful of flights* every week, but things just haven’t worked out.

Oh look, it’s a Lufthansa A380 filled with German tourists going home after their summer vacations in the bay area, high above Daly City: 

7J7C6438 copy

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I’ll tell you, the reason why we still use a lot of four-engined Boeing 747-400 jumbos at SFO is because we already have them. They’re there, hundreds of them. But they guzzle a lot of fuel, so, not too long ago, the A380 was considered to be The Future. But it’s a guzzler too. So The Future now belongs to large twin-engine aircraft like the Boeing 777 models (present and future) and the slightly smaller twin-engined Airbus A350 line.

So all that hype coming out of SFGov about the A380 being “green,” well that was a lot of hogwash. The A380 was/is just another jetliner and SFO took steps to accommodate its massive size and that’s fine, but it wasn’t/isn’t/will never be a game changer the way the people at SFO were hoping for (or lying about – I still can’t tell why they were so excited as late as 2008, when the promise of the A380 was already being questioned).

Anyway, here’s the update:

A380 Continues To Pose Challenges For Heathrow – The A380 was tapped to help capacity-strapped airports, but could it end up hurting them?

Arguably, the A380 was specifically designed for Heathrow, which has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbour problem. So great, here’s a giant plane that’s really quiet – isn’t that great? Well, read the link above to see how things are working out when the rubber meets the tarmac.

SFO also has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbor problem, but our airport is a lot smaller and, as stated, those A380′s aren’t really working out and nobody’s really buying them anymore, so we’re not going to have to deal with Heathrow’s problems. No no, we’ll just muddle through.

But the skeptics have already been proven correct, after just six years.

One wonders what SFO’s next overhyped fad will be…

*More so in the summer, when the French and the Germans really pine to come here, so they can stay “Near Union Square” in a fleabag hotel only to get bitten by bedbugs, only to be told that said fleabag hotel doesn’t have bedbugs so GTH. On behalf of San Francisco, I wish to say, “Sorry, French and German people.”

What It’s Like to Fly an Airbus A380 Super Jumbo Jet into SFO – Excellent Video – Multiple Angles

Friday, December 27th, 2013

See?

Check Out How Big the Overly Large Wingsails of Larry Ellison’s Failed America’s Cup are – Like in Relation to a Jetliner

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

This is pretty much to scale, believe it* or not.

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And actually, the real wing of this KC-10 jet, which would be considered the size of a medium-big jetliner these days, is smaller than what you’ll find on Craaaaaazy Larry Ellison’s AC72 America’s Cup yachts.

And actually, Craaaaaazy Larry Ellison’s AC72 America’s Cup yachts have wings bigger those found on monstrous Boeing 747′s, your prototypical jumbo jets.

Hey Larry! Why don’t we use smaller wings on days when the wind is blowing a lot? Oh, you said no, Larry? OK fine.

But hey Larry! Why don’t we allow control devices like, IDK, spoilers, you know, the way other similar-sized wings have? Oh, you said no, Larry? OK fine.

But hey Larry! Why don’t we have a spoiler system for use in emergency situations, like NASCAR has, you know, since your people felt the need to promote this under-regulated “sport” as “NASCAR ON THE WATER?”

Oh, you said no, Larry? OK fine.

But you WILL take eight figures from the taxpayers of San Francisco in order to fund your ego-gratification race?

Well then, On With The Show.

*Your DC-10, MD-10, KC10 type aircraft were famous for having big, big tailplanes, back in the day, the likes of which you can see in this photo, the horizontal stabilizer you can see at the back. Which was fine, but it wasn’t efficient because  tailplanes don’t really lift anything. So, McDonnell-Douglas engineers made the updated model, the MD-11, with a smaller tailplane. And they also strengthened the landing gear to deal with the lengthened body. All these things led to a more efficient but harder-to-handle aircraft. So in tough landing situations things head south in a hurry and, instead of the landing gear collapsing, you’ll break a wing off and roll over. (See below.) These days, this is mostly a problem for FedEx pilots and it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Godspeed, FedEx pilots. 

Oh, and this wasn’t the only safety issue with this unsuccessful and relatively rare a/c.

  • On July 31, 1997 FedEx Flight 14, MD-11 N611FE, crashed during a landing at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey. The aircraft flipped onto its back and subsequently burned, following a landing attempt from an unstabilized flare.
  • On August 22, 1999 China Airlines Flight 642, an MD-11 operated by subsidiary Mandarin Airlines, crashed while landing at Hong Kong airport during a typhoon that exceeded the plane’s crosswind specifications, also flipping onto its back and burning. Three passengers were killed.
  • On March 23, 2009 FedEx Express Flight 80, N526FE, crashed at Narita International Airport, Japan while landing in windy conditions. Airport surveillance video showed the aircraft becoming airborne again after the first touch-down, then impacting nose-first the second time and turning onto its left side, erupting into flames; the impact flipped the aircraft upside down. The aircraft finally came to rest some distance left of the runway. The two flight crew members were killed.

December 3rd, 2011 was San Francisco’s DAY WITHOUT CLOUDS – A Jumbo Sky Filled with (Quiet) Jumbo Jets

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Yesterday, owing to the unusual winds what blew away* the fog, I saw jumbo jets above S.F. in places where I normally don’t, but I couldn’t really hear  them. (I guess jets have gotten a lot quieter these days.)

Like  this low-flying United Air 747-400 near the Ferry Building – you could hardly hear it:

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*I suppose – cf. yesterday’s Blue Sky Red Bridge from Burrito Justice

How Jumbo is Too Jumbo? Airbus A380, SFO’s New Loadstar Aircraft, Bumps into Stuff Once Again

Monday, June 20th, 2011

I’ll tell you, I have no objection in particular about Airbus A380 superjumbo jets flying into and out of SFO, but over the past few years the arrival of this a/c got oversold, way oversold, by SFO, the old mayor’s office and the new mayor’s office.

They went on and on about how farsighted SFO was to become “A380-ready,” but after these kinds of taxiway incidents worldwide, I gotta ask:

Where’s your Messiah now, SFO?

Oh, here it is, at the Paris Air Show, bumping into buildings ‘n stuff. Sacre Bleu – Une Autre Allision!

Click to expand – via Niek van der Zande

(Don’t call it a wing fence (or winglet or sharklet) the way some journalists do, oh no, call it a wingtip fence. Thusly: “The Superjumbo jet just lost another wingtip fence.)

The deets from Paris:

“While the crew had been informed that the taxiway was clear for the A380, said Airbus, and the aircraft was on the centreline, it hit a building belonging to Aeroports de Paris.”

Oh well.

Hey SFO, why don’t you actually do something by getting your runways farther apart so you’ll be future-ready instead of just A380-ready?

Just asking, SFO Bro.

“Giant A380 Jetliner Proves SFO Planners Were Right?” Uh, Not Really, SFGate

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Well, here’s the latest from Business Report – The Chronicle with Bloomberg:

Giant A380 jetliner proves SFO planners were right

Uh, so I’m not saying that the powers that be shouldn’t have gotten ready for the long-delayed Airbus A380 jumbo jet, but this wasn’t all that much of a gutsy call, right? It’s like, should we prepare to accommodate the jets that are being planned for five-ten years from now?

O.K., so why not prepare? Sure. But I don’t know how much credit should go to the people of SFO for doing what they’re paid to do.

See? Some have three jetway thingees, some have two:

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In other news, the new A380 uses more fuel than any other airliner you could think of. So this is incorrect:

It’s a much less fuel-consuming aircraft. It’s a much more efficient aircraft; it costs 30 percent less to operate than other wide bodies.”

And considering all the hype, the hype like this:

The A380′s modernity, comfort and stylishness should help drive business between the Bay Area and overseas markets, said R. Sean Randolph, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Randolph said he thinks this is especially true of the burgeoning business relationship with India, which generates high transpacific traffic.”

…the A380 appears to be kind of a big nothingburger. You want to fly from India, you can do it on a Boeing 777 or an old 747 or, soon enough, the long-delayed new 747-8i. And in fact, if anything, the trend of rising fuel prices is making some airlines rethink the desirability of non-stop hops from faraway lands. And “stylishness?” You know, I’d just love to make business with you there, Reddy, but that triple-seven they want me to fly over on, well, it just doesn’t do it for me, it’s not stylish at all, you know? I’ll wait until Airbus makes a fat piggy plane with wings that are too big (because they were designed for future stretched versions like the A380-900, or, Gaia help us, the mythical A380-1000. But, seeing as how the freighter version of the miraculous, wonderful, oh-my-God-this-changes-everything A380 got cancelled, it might be a good long time before the world sees a stretched A380…)

And speaking of the new 747, Lufthansa is also buying those as well, so maybe you’ll be on a Boeing the next time you fly to Frankfurt. IRL, Lufthansa calculates about a 3% delta in fuel economy per passenger betwixt the newish A380 and the impending Boeing 747-8i.

Anyway, the giant A380 jetliner does not necessarily prove SFO planners right, just saying.

Now, about those substandard runways…

SFO’s New Terminal Two is Just an Another Airport Terminal, SFO’s New Air France A380 Jet is Just Another Jet

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Is new Terminal 2 at SFO really set to “dazzle?

Sadly no. It’s just another airport terminal right? Let’s keep things in sperpective.

The other dazzling piece of news coming up from Millbrae is Air France saying it will fly in an A380 superjumbo daily from gay Paris during Tourist Season 2011.

The best guess is that the A380 burns about 3% per passenger less than the slightly smaller competition from Boeing. Is that something to get excited about? Not really.

Oh, here we go, here’s an Air France Airbus A380 making friends in New Yawk just yesterday. What a bully! (The YouTube view count  just went from 303 views five minutes ago up to 17,000, so let’s call that going viral.)

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Them A380′s are big, non?

Let’s hope that SFO can manage these big rigs better than JFK!

Anyway, to review, SFO’s New Terminal Two is Just an Another Airport Terminal, SFO’s New Air France A380 Jet is Just Another Jet.

No alarms, no surprises…

“Air France Flight 7 F-HPJD bound for Paris, was taxiing on a runway when its left wingtip struck the tail of Comair Flight 6293, which had just landed from Boston and was taxiing to its gate at Kennedy, one of the nation’s busiest airports…”

Boeing Celebrates the First Flight of the New 747-8 Intercontinental Jumbo Jet – Does It Get Better MPG Than the Airbus A380?

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Here it is, the latest VLA (Very Large Aircraft) to hit the skies. Get all the deets right here and be sure to check out the Flight Tracker – they flew over Port Angeles (and not too far from Forks, WA and La Push Beach (for you Twilight fans)).

The other VLA up there there is the Airbus A380 Superjumbo, which burns more fuel but has more seats. The test will be when you fill up both with maximum passengers and then fly a certain distance and then figure the fuel burn per passenger.

The A380 is a new plane but it’s kind of stubby and its engines are older than those on the freshened 747. Probably the A380 will win the mpg battle, but only by a few percentage points. And both manufacturers (but especially Airbus) might end up losing money on these programs. Oh well.

First flight:

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Anyway, that’s current battle above your heads….