Two more years before Boeing fixes 747-8 tail flutter!
It isn’t clear whether the author of this report on the problems that have blemished the last version of the Boeing 747, the -8 passenger and freight models was being droll, but the revelations it contains are very disappointing.
The article tells us, repeating gushy gushy PR speak, that the jet will continue to have flutter related issue that keeps its tail fuel tanks empty until sometime in 2014, assuming the ‘fix’ passes flight testing next year.
Frankly, for a jet to be certified with any flutter condition that has to be suppressed by overrides is a poor show, for both the FAA, which clearly bent to political imperatives, and for Boeing, that screwed up this jet.
What this story tells us is that the jet has yet to meet its brochure promises, which is another way of telling us that all those cute charts showing how it is vastly superior to the A380 for example, are fictional.
Which of course most airlines knew from their own inquiries, resulting in very poor sales for the passenger version which has just gone into service for Lufthansa.
This story underlines a really serious problem that this writer first encountered with the Airbus A340 SuperFan variable wing camber non-stop 17 hours jet in the early 90s, closely followed by the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 that would do DFW-SYD non-stop with a full payload. In both of their glossy brochure dreamings!
Oh, and I forgot, the four stop 16 hour Concorde Sydney-London mission that was either going to go directly over Siberian or Indian cities at mach 2 because those who lived under the boom path didn’t really need all that glass in the windows since they were non-Anglo peasants.
The gap between sales puffery, complete with charts, and the reality, makes fools of aerospace writers, and has caught this writer out many times too.
What this article really tells us is that the 748 has so far been less of a plane than it is presented as being, but if the fix passes muster next year, then by 2014 it will manage to equal the bull dust we were showered with by Boeing in 2006, and at regular intervals since then.