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Old 03-19-2007, 09:44 AM   #1
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Taking an Airbus A380 jumbo more efficient than driving an Insight?

Just read this here and the scepticism alarm bell started ringing:

Quote:
The 239-foot-long A380 can seat as many as 550 passengers, burn a gallon of gas per passenger every 80 miles and fly some 8,000 nautical miles.
The article is uncritical in stating the point, so we don't know if that's MPG/passenger at cruise, total trip average... or even what gallon they're using.

Can any plane fans here comment?
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:08 AM   #2
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I know that some A380's come with Rolls Royce Trent engines, but I cannot comment on their fuel efficiency, as they aren't my program here at work (I run the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 program).

I'm not sure if all A380's use the Trent or not (probably not though).

*EDIT*

Just did some wiki reading - The A380 uses either a Trent 900 (52% of fleet) or a GP7200 (48% of fleet, but primarily Emirates Airlines) engine. Wikipedia does have articles on both engines, but doesn't say anything about their fuel efficiency.

The GP7200 uses a GE90 core and the low pressure compressor is loosely based on the PW4000. GE prides itself in building a highly fuel efficient turbofan engine, but I don't know enough to comment on this.
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Just read this here and the scepticism alarm bell started ringing:



The article is uncritical in stating the point, so we don't know if that's MPG/passenger at cruise, total trip average... or even what gallon they're using.

Can any plane fans here comment?
I pretty sure that total consumption. Two points to remember it's dividing the burn among 550 passengers and the plane is a long haul aircraft so it would be the same as driving on the highway for 10-14 hours. Other aircraft manufactors are saying the numbers are fuzzy but that to be expected. The biggest problem will be ground operations because of it's size.
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:46 AM   #4
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I really recommend digging through all of this, and iirc I think I have? Anyhoo... Check out page 30. It mentions that a 747 with a full load has the equivalent of ~1.136kwh/passenger*mile. An Insight at 80mpg uses ~.42kwh/passenger*mile. I have no clue about the difference between the 747 and the A380, but assuming efficiency increased as well as seating capacity, 80mpg/passenger equivalent isn't impossible imo. Going from 416 to 550 passengers alone drops the consumption from 1.136kwh/passenger*mile to .859kwh/passenger*mile, kerosene also has ~8% more energy per gallon than gasoline, and who knows how much they've increased efficiency? That being said, there's no way they are at 100% capacity all the time, and a 2 seat Insight and 4-6(?) seat VW diesel blow it out of the water when they are at maximum capacity. Otoh, they're very slow in comparison, so it comes down to use. Realistically, I'd guess the jet will probably get the equivalent of a single passenger car getting ~50-60mpg over it's lifetime.
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:46 AM   #5
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Max cap for the A380 if config'ed for all eco. class is over 800. At 500 plus thats with very spaceous 1st class travelers. My brother in law was sought after by airbus several years ago to work on the a380 project I think it was. He stayed with Boing/Nato on A-WAC.

I just read Dreamliner is selling like hot cakes compared to the A380. Will have to see who wins out in the sales / profit wars...
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:00 PM   #6
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A380

I think the aim for the A380 is long-haul, trans-continental flights. I respect the 'bus for its stringent weight reduction and advanced technology, but I don't see it being very practical. Where it may lead the charge is in the cargo segment (FedEx and UPS may still have several orders for them); also is the consideration of cargo calculated in the equation with passengers?

* Since it's essentially a "Luxury Liner", the maximum capacity of 550 probably won't be found. It'll be set up with lounges and open spaces until the novelty wears-off, so that doesn't help. Filling whatever maximum for which they are configured will dwindle over time.

* I have to throw-in that it's hard to compare something that saves hours of time (or days by boat), to a Volkswagen.

* More people are traveling by air. Newer aircraft are more fuel efficient than older ones (and older ones are having additions such as "winglets" to improve efficiency, and more efficient engine transplants when the required maintenance schedule requires a teardown). With America working more hours than the rest of the world, to maximize "vacation time on site", you have to fly instead of drive to get those days -- and that's what people are doing.

* I think the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" will suit the U.S. market better with the current "Hub-and-Spoke" terminal architecture we use here (if they can ever get it to market). Rumor has it that fuel efficiency is a major design-goal. Point-to-Point airlines like Southwest will continue to use the mid-size 737 configuration and have the customers wait for the planes instead of vice-versa. I really respect their business model, but I can't stand being a passenger.

* The advent of Regional Jets gets a smaller number of passengers point-to-point, or from less-popular destinations to hubs. These are replacing the turboprop-planes of past. These are also a bit more efficient per passenger (because we're all crammed in there like sardines).

* I'll admit that I've used my share of jet fuel over the years, with an average of 2 plane rides/week for 6 years. (My record was 14 aircraft in one week). My job requires that I be on site within a certain time frame. I can't drive 14-hours, perform the visit, and drive back with any work efficiency.

* In summation, airlines want good FE too -- and when they can afford new aircraft, this is heavily considered. The A380 is a novelty, and will take quite the support to bump the 747-400 off of the list of jumbo-jet travel. Boeing doesn't have any plans to "revamp" the 747, but perhaps freshen it up, or improve aerodynamic efficiency. The 777 and A330 are good, larger aircraft for long flights and higher capacities. I'll be patiently waiting for the 787 to see what it has to offer.

RH77
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:19 PM   #7
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* In summation, airlines want good FE too -- and when they can afford new aircraft, this is heavily considered. The A380 is a novelty, and will take quite the support to bump the 747-400 off of the list of jumbo-jet travel. Boeing doesn't have any plans to "revamp" the 747, but perhaps freshen it up, or improve aerodynamic efficiency. The 777 and A330 are good, larger aircraft for long flights and higher capacities. I'll be patiently waiting for the 787 to see what it has to offer.

RH77
For every $1 increase in fuel, the airlines face an additional cost of $425 million. So that 4.25 million per one penny increase in gas. Airbus is partially owned by the French goverment. Go Boeing
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rh77 View Post
Boeing doesn't have any plans to "revamp" the 747, but perhaps freshen it up, or improve aerodynamic efficiency. RH77
There is a revamp currently in-work, it will be called the 747-8. It might appear to be similar to outgoing aircraft, but there is allot of "new".
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:20 PM   #9
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I heard that it was very efficient and the fact that is only takes two flight crew members to fly it lowers the overhead cost per passenger. I have a friend with a Moony that gets 25mpg with gas at over 200mph so with two people it can work out. They would not have built it that big if it didn't cost less to operate unlike the auto industry!
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:45 PM   #10
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airbus.com says
"Range (w/max. passengers): 15,000 km.
Maximum fuel capacity: 310,000 Litres
Typical passenger seating: 555"

wikipedia says
"max passenger seating: 840"


310000L/15000Km

2066.666l/100km

2066.666/840 passengers

2.460/100 km/ per passenger

that's 95.615 MPG per passenger maximum
however typical layout will be 555 passengers which will bring the figure down unless the weight somehow compensates.

previous calculations assume this giant will come gliding down silently on final approach with all for engines starved of fuel and only the faint sound of screaming passengers in the wind. I don't know the safety margin or if it's included in the maximum range or not.

however if my car crammed with 5 people was to get a TERRIBLE 8L/100km (29.40MPG)

that would be 1.6L/100 km/ passenger
or 147MPG/passenger...

of course it's a fairly pointless comparison. to many differences... it's like comparing how much water you can drink to how much beer.

reliable figures on CO² emissions/passenger would be far more valuable these days.
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