The world economy has been hard hit by the pandemic and its consequences. A lot of industries are feeling the burn of recession and struggling to find innovative ways to cut costs while maintaining quality. Armando Poeta observes a need to especially reduce the cost of building, operating, and training both pilots and ground crews on commercial aircraft in the aviation industry.
Modern aviation today is composed of planes that are best fit for the specific market target. Let’s think about the difference you can see in the 737, 747, 787, etc.
Armando Poeta notes how all these aircrafts are completely different from each other. The shape of the fuselage, wings, tails, and systems, are all different with minimal interchangeability. These differences lead to increased costs of development, testing, operation training, maintenance, and more. And yet, A common type of plane that can carry from 50 to 350 passengers and can be adapted to most of the jobs performed today.
A Better Way
A first solution is already in use by some of the manufacturers, like Bombardier says Armando Poeta. The CRJ series comes in different sizes with the only difference in the length of the fuselage. The rest of the airplane is essentially still the same design. This partially solves the problem of building one plane for different kinds of payloads. The advantage of this method is that one pilot that is trained on the CRJ 200 can fly the CRJ 900 without any extra training. The same goes for the ERJ 175/195 made by Embraer or the A-319/320/321 made by Airbus. However, this also results in some models with tails and cockpits that are too big or too small.
So the need is to reduce building costs and increase the efficiency of planes which provides advantages for both the manufacturers and the customers. The solution Armando Poeta suggests is simple and involves two components: the proper size of the components and the interchangeability of the components.
The first solution is to properly size all the components of the plane and to keep the proportions, to build a plane of the proper size for the target payload. The experience of the 737 MAX has thought us that taking a small plane and making it bigger and bigger may not work. Taking the 737 and stretching it to the current MAX version caused stability problems. But Armando Poeta believes that reversing the procedure can be a better solution — taking a bigger plane and reducing its size. For example, if the current 787 is safe to fly at its current dimensions, it will be also safe to fly if it is shrunk down by keeping the proportion of all the parts.
Armando Poeta explains, the regular 787 can be used for heavy loads. By reducing the cross-section of the fuselage and the dimensions of the wings and tail, and keeping the original proportions between components, we can build a smaller version for a payload equivalent to the current 757 and 767. Reduce it again and we have an airplane that can carry the payload of the current 737. Eventually, reducing it further can lead to an aircraft equivalent to a current regional jet. This small version can also be adapted to corporate jets.