offshore saidI'm more drawn to Airbus (being a European), but I do like Boeings too! My Hotmail handle has got '747' in it.
Nice fly 787!
I love Airbus too -- they both have excellent products. The A320 was really a huge leap in technology, with the glass cockpit, fly by wire, joystick, and software innovations. Boeing really had to play catch up with that one.
But I think the A350 is a middling response to the more radical approach of the 787 (i.e. bolting carbon fiber panels to a more traditional structure versus rolling the hole fuselage on a barrel shaped mandrel and baking it in a giant plane-sized oven). And even that approach was forced on them by customers who thought the early A350 designs were completely inadequate compared to the 78. I was disappointed in their conservative response to the 78, especially when you consider the scare they gave Boeing with the A320 -- that plane is the reason why they are now the largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, so I was expecting a bit more "umph." But I think the problem was that all the engineers were allocated to the 380 and the A400, both millstones around Airbus' neck.
You have to respect the engineering effort of the A380, altho I still can't believe that the French and German engineers couldn't agree to use the same CAD system and royally fucked the program. Even if that hadn't happened, I think it's going to be one of the biggest product planning mistakes of modern history. It looks like they really badly misjudged the market for that plane. With all the delays and overruns, they are going to lose money on every A380 for the next 20 years. Oy. At least Boeing has the freighter market to have a shot at the 747-8 program turning a profit. The 78 has an order book which will make that program a huge success, even with all the cancellations. The A350 has a respectable book too, but of course, we have no idea what the future holds for that program's costs and delays, so it's hard to say what the breakeven order count will be.
I think the only hope for Airbus, as far as financial health goes over the next couple decades is to beat Boeing to the punch on a redesigned single-aisle. But of course, that hinges primarily on the power plant companies, who aren't there yet. Altho Pratt's geared turbofan for the regional jets (including the new Russian one!) is looking pretty awesome. I'm betting they'll scale that design up in thrust and be the first in the game for a re-engined 73 and A320 as the first step to revamping those two revenue workhorses.
Uh oh. I might have over-geeked there.
* blinks *