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Would 747-8 Combi have been a seller?

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  • Would 747-8 Combi have been a seller?

    What your opinion? would it have given it a chance over the 773, and why have companies stopped building Combi aircraft?


  • #2
    IIRC the certification and/or ops of combi-aircraft on long haul routes were changed after the crash of a 747-Combi of South African Airways in 1987 and the regulations make the utilization less feasible and require a bunch of modifications. So the number of newly delivered (large) aircraft declined or was no longer offered.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
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    • #3
      As stated, good luck getting it certified.

      ESPECIALLY a 747, which itself already has major certification issues due to its overall design.
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      • #4
        Well - Bombardier offered a Combi of the Q400 at Farnborough this year if I remember correctly, so the idea seems to be still feasible.

        ConcordeBoy - could you elaborate please on the certification issues with the 747? Maybe I'm a bit naive there but either an aircraft design gets certified or it doesn't. To me your post implies that there were exceptions made for the 747 (but I might be reading to much into it).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Peter Kesternich View Post
          Well - Bombardier offered a Combi of the Q400 at Farnborough this year if I remember correctly, so the idea seems to be still feasible.
          I can't speak for other regulators, but the FAA doesn't have a problem with Combis per se.... what it has a problem with are the non-stationary bulkheads that most combi operators employed, which allowed them to vary the percentage of their aircraft that went to pax seating versus cargo storage. It feels that movable bulkheads do not offer sufficient protection against intoxicant inhalation and other factors, and has made it clear that it will not approve any new aircraft with their use.

          That weakens the commercial case for a factory combi considerably, so by many people are of the idea that's a de facto ban.
          BBD may feel that that the economics and smaller size of the Q400 would allow a fixed bulkhead-configured aircraft to make money year round.


          Originally posted by Peter Kesternich View Post
          ConcordeBoy - could you elaborate please on the certification issues with the 747? Maybe I'm a bit naive there but either an aircraft design gets certified or it doesn't. To me your post implies that there were exceptions made for the 747.
          There are.

          The 747 is an unusual design in that the lower deck of the nose only offers pax a single point of exit: behind.

          In every other mainline Western aircraft flying today, all pax have at least two points of exit no matter where they sit: be it in front, or behind, or even to the side (e.g. over-wing).

          If a fire or obstruction occurs in the doors behind the lower nose cabin in a 747, pax are basically just screwed.
          Regulators were willing to overlook that in the '70s, but got real nervous about that after the tragedy of SV163, in 1980.

          By the time the 744 rolled around, many of them were willing to put their foot down, and decline its certification outright, unless there was a redesign of the forward pax compartment in terms of exits. This, along with the 744's numerous other differences with the previous 747s would've likely meant a complete re-certification (read that: testing process) with the FAA.....

          .....which would've decimated Boeing's then already-stretched CapEx, considering the launch of the 744, the impending launch of the 777, and for the first time ever, having competitors' aircraft that could rival the 747classics in both range and capacity (i.e. MD11 and A340). But the FAA didn't really care about their finances, and (at least initially) demanded that they make a way for pax sitting before the front exists to have some other point/method/form of exit, less than 60ft away, in the event that those front exits were obstructed.

          Somehow, Boeing wormed their way out of having to do that (I wonder whose pocket got greased) and they got an extension on the original 747's waiver yet again for the 748i, which I'm shocked by.

          Then again, since no one actually wants that aircraft, it wouldn't have exactly hurt them even if they couldn't have.
          Us, lighting a living horse on fire:
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          • #6
            Originally posted by ConcordeBoy View Post
            The 747 is an unusual design in that the lower deck of the nose only offers pax a single point of exit: behind.

            In every other mainline Western aircraft flying today, all pax have at least two points of exit no matter where they sit: be it in front, or behind, or even to the side (e.g. over-wing).

            If a fire or obstruction occurs in the doors behind the lower nose cabin in a 747, pax are basically just screwed.
            Regulators were willing to overlook that in the '70s, but got real nervous about that after the tragedy of SV163, in 1980.

            By the time the 744 rolled around, many of them were willing to put their foot down, and decline its certification outright, unless there was a redesign of the forward pax compartment in terms of exits. This, along with the 744's numerous other differences with the previous 747s would've likely meant a complete re-certification (read that: testing process) with the FAA.....


            Somehow, Boeing wormed their way out of having to do that (I wonder whose pocket got greased) and they got an extension on the original 747's waiver yet again for the 748i, which I'm shocked by.
            Not that I doubt the veracity of what you say (actually, I do a little), but do you have any reference with the above information? I've never heard of the issue with the 747's exits in any context, and I've been in the industry a while.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ATLcrew View Post
              Not that I doubt the veracity of what you say (actually, I do a little)
              Who cares?

              Doubt all you'd like, but the fact remains that Boeing stuck people in front of a single point of exit and failed the 90second evacuation requirement by 18seconds in 1970; as well as cut the number of total exists (circa mid-'80s) which extended distance between exists to more than 60ft...

              ...and somehow got the FAA to go along with all of it, and continues to do so for the 747 family.

              Wanna learn more on the details of both? Easy way to do it: just click HERE.
              Us, lighting a living horse on fire:
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH2_Q3oJPeU

              Check it out!

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              • #8
                I'm sorry, is that a no?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ConcordeBoy View Post
                  (...)
                  In every other mainline Western aircraft flying today, all pax have at least two points of exit no matter where they sit: be it in front, or behind, or even to the side (e.g. over-wing).

                  (...)
                  I don't doubt what you said about the evacuation times (I believe these are theoretical anyway in that they are tested without a real emergency being present), but there are other aircraft, where the passengers only have one route of escape. On the Fokker 70/100 there are no emergency exits aft of the overwing exits, so all passengers seated aft of the wing only have the way forward. Also, in case of a water landing, the 737 rear doors can not be used and evacuatoin would be possible only using the front doors and overwing exits. There may be others, but those are the ones I know absolutely for sure. Doesn't seem to have been a certification problem there.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ATLcrew View Post
                    I'm sorry, is that a no?
                    Nah, that's a If you can't be bothered to click the URL provided, and open two of the very first results that comes up, which themselves provide a decent overarching summary based on what info's publicly available... then it indeed explains how could "be in the industry a while" and still have no clue as to a rather basic concept involving a particular model."

                    Originally posted by Peter Kesternich View Post
                    but there are other aircraft, where the passengers only have one route of escape.
                    Here's the difference though, from what I understand: in neither of those models/situations does the unavailability a single point of exit create a situation with alternate points of exit being more than 60ft apart/away for an entire area of the cabin. That was the regulatory issue that the 747 potentially ran afoul of and was (somehow) resolved/waived. The only other aircraft I know to have run afoul of that was the L1011, and it did get a waiver based on existing in ops prior to 1987, with no new variants.

                    Also, if you'll recall back to 2011, when the 748i was going through its cert procedure... Leahy/Airbus raised an ENORMOUS stink over the possibility of an (even higher-capacity) 748 not having to perform an independent evac test considering the historical ambiguity over 747 evacuations.

                    BTW, I'm not sure it ever even did.
                    Us, lighting a living horse on fire:
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH2_Q3oJPeU

                    Check it out!

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                    • #11
                      I followed the link, thanks. The first result was a link to a Princeton report on emergency evacuations in general, the second was an FSB report on the 747 family. Neither one supports your statements. I also see nothing in 14 CFR Part 25.807, .809 and .813 with regards to a 60' requirement in between emergency exits.

                      You made a fairly bold assertion that the FAA certified and continues to certify an aircraft that's not up to snuff. The only proof you've offered so far have been snide remarks.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ATLcrew View Post
                        The first result was a link to a Princeton report on emergency evacuations in general
                        ...that itself delved quite a bit into what you're asking.

                        "A June 1985 hearing conducted by the House Committee on Public Works, Subcommittee on investigations and Oversight brought public attention to both the potential impact of allowing large distances between exits and the unscrutinized process in which the deactivation was approved. At the hearing, FAA Administrator Donald Engen announced his disapproval of sealing off the overwing exits. Subsequently, Admiral Engen appointed an Emergency Evacuation Task Force to examine the issue and reassess related emergency evacuation regulations.

                        In October 1987, FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking relating to new standard limits on transport category airplanes for the distance between any passenger seat and the nearest exit and the distance between exits. Under the rule, type certification for the new 747-400 with only eight exits would not be approved, and operation within the United States of foreign-owned 747s having eight exits would not be allowed. In 1989, FAA issued a final rule prohibiting airplane manufacturers and air carriers from increasing the distance between emergency exits beyond 60 feet."

                        There's more. But apparently you'd rather just rush back to whine about me, rather than, I dunno-- READING IT.

                        Originally posted by ATLcrew View Post
                        I also see nothing in 14 CFR Part 25.807, .809 and .813 with regards to a 60' requirement in between emergency exits.
                        14 CFR 121.310 Amendment 121-205, 54 Federal Register 26696.
                        http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/121.310

                        "Except for an airplane used in operations under this part on October 16, 1987, and having an emergency exit configuration installed and authorized for operation prior to October 16, 1987, for an airplane that is required to have more than one passenger emergency exit for each side of the fuselage, no passenger emergency exit shall be more than 60 feet from any adjacent passenger emergency exit on the same side of the same deck of the fuselage, as measured parallel to the airplane's longitudinal axis between the nearest exit edges."

                        Originally posted by ATLcrew View Post
                        the FAA certified and continues to certify an aircraft that's not up to snuff.
                        That's your words, not mine. I've only contended that the FAA certified an aircraft that didn't meet THEIR OWN certification standards for evacuation (time) when first tested; and my surprise in that they don't appear to have made any publicly-noticeable changes to such with additional variant models that have come up, especially since one (and now possibly two) of those variants don't (or at least initially didn't) meet yet another apparent standard (exit distance) that they themselves created. I don't know, nor have I claimed to know, by what measures/standards/exemptions they've determined that to not pose an issue to safe operation; but apparently they have, so I guess that renders the aircraft "up to snuff" as far as they're concerned, now doesn't it.
                        Us, lighting a living horse on fire:
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH2_Q3oJPeU

                        Check it out!

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                        • #13
                          Even past the 'Combi' issue - there is the issue of fuel economics as well as fleet commonality. The 747-8 (especially as a passenger variant) has found few customers, and even stalwarts of the type have been migrating to the 777 line, or the A380, or both.
                          Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ConcordeBoy View Post

                            Also, if you'll recall back to 2011, when the 748i was going through its cert procedure... Leahy/Airbus raised an ENORMOUS stink over the possibility of an (even higher-capacity) 748 not having to perform an independent evac test considering the historical ambiguity over 747 evacuations.

                            Leahy is not exactly an independent observer in this instance...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ATLcrew View Post
                              Leahy is not exactly an independent observer in this instance...
                              ...nor was there any need for him to be one, in order to make a pertinent claim; regardless of whether it was adhered to or not.
                              Us, lighting a living horse on fire:
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH2_Q3oJPeU

                              Check it out!

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