Latest PaperClip Design News
Mar 29, 2021
Advertisement: Lufthansa is set to return to the Falkland Islands with another Mammoth Airbus A350 journey from Hamburg. This will be the second time that the German flag carrier has flown directly from Hamburg to Mount Pleasant, the longest route it has ever operated non-stop. Lufthansa is set to fly to Mount Pleasant a second time tomorrow. Photo: Gardner Fiddes via Lufthansa While the pandemic has generally been terrible for the aviation industry, it has led to a series of one-off flights that would never usually occur under normal circumstances. These started as repatriation flights before morphing into freight flights and even leisure flights to nowhere. Lufthansa has also gotten in on the unusual flight act. A second Falklands trip Around two months ago, a Lufthansa Airbus A350 landed at Munich Airport . This in itself is nothing special. However, what was noteworthy was that the A350 had just returned from the Falkland Islands on the airline’s longest trip yet. Now, Lufthansa is set to repeat that feat. Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests. LH2574 is once again set to depart from Hamburg Airport tomorrow at 21:30. It is then scheduled to touch down in Mount Pleasant at 07:55 the next day, after a planned flight of 15 hours and 25 minutes. For comparison, the last flight planned for the same duration clocked in at 15 hours and 36 minutes . The aircraft should land back in Munich on April 3rd. The flight is scheduled to take 15 hours and 25 minutes. Photo: Lufthansa The flights have been organized to ferry Alfred Wegener Institute crew to and from the Polar Stern vessel as it embarks on Antarctic expeditions. This time the flight will be picking up researchers dropped off two months ago and supplying new crew for the ship. German scientists will also travel on the flight to take measurements. Last month we saw an Icelandair 767 fly to Antarctica on behalf of Norwegian scientists. Advertisement: Commenting on the flight, Thomas Jahn, Fleet Captain, and Falklands Project Manager, said, “With the second flight to the Falkland Islands, we are not only pleased to be able to support the AWI’s polar research expedition, but also to make an important contribution to further research into the Earth’s magnetic field… We have already been supporting climate research projects for more than 25 years now.” No ordinary flight For Lufthansa, flying to the Falkland Islands is not an ordinary flight, and that’s if you exclude all the extra flight planning required. The Falkland Islands hasn’t recorded a case of COVID-19 since mid-February. This is something that it is keen to maintain. All the while, Germany and other parts of Europe are seeing surging case numbers as the third COVID-19 wave takes hold. Advertisement: This is the second time that Lufthansa has flown to the Falkland Islands in support of Antarctic expeditions. Photo: Alfred Wegner Institute via Lufthansa To avoid carrying COVID-19 to the islands, all individuals onboard the flight will have been quarantining before departing Hamburg. The last time the flight operated, it left from an unused part of the terminal to avoid the possibility of somebody contracting COVID-19 in the airport. Due to the challenges of flying to the Falkland Islands, Lufthansa must carry all rubbish generated on the outbound flight back to Germany on the return flight, in addition to taking enough catering for both flights. Additionally, the aircraft will carry its own staff to deal with any maintenance issues that may pop up, in addition to turning the aircraft around at Mount Pleasant. Are you excited to see the return of Lufthansa’s longest flight? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below! Advertisement: Short-haul business class is always a tricky product to get right. With narrowbody planes often performing multiple rotations in a day on many different routes, establishing how many business class seats to install to suit all these different markets can be something of a challenge. Paperclip Design believes it has a great solution; it’s called the Checkerboard. Don’t know how many business class seats to install? With this product, it can change flight-to-flight. Photo: Butterfly Seats The business class problem Airlines love to offer more than one class onboard their flights. While those on a budget always appreciate the no-frills economy class offering, passengers with a little more money to spend are willing to pay the extra for a bit more space and privacy. As such, many full-service airlines will offer both business and economy even on their short-haul trips. The problem here is that offering a decent short-haul business class product means trying to predict the number of people willing to book those seats on any flight. With most aircraft rotating around various routes and services, the preference for premium seating can change day to day, depending on the route and times the aircraft is flying. Over at Paperclip Design , they think they’ve got a great solution. Marketed through Butterfly Seating , the Hong Kong-based design agency has produced a concept it calls the ‘Checkerboard,’ which is designed to give airlines maximum flexibility to adapt their business class offering dependent on demand. Checkerboard allows seats to be converted between business and economy depending on the demand. Photo: Butterfly Seats Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests. Flexible seating for adaptive layouts The idea of Checkerboard is that airlines can convert cabins between high-density economy class seating and spacious short-haul business class seating to suit the demand of that route on the day. Alternate seats in a checkerboard pattern can be folded in such a way that it not only gives space and privacy to passengers traveling premium, but also some eight inches of extra legroom. Advertisement: As an economy cabin product, Checkerboard ticks all the boxes required for the bulk of the plane. Seats have tray tables, high literature pockets for maximum legroom and a high pivot recline that allows passengers comfort without intruding into the space of the person behind. The seat ticks all the boxes of a normal economy product. Photo: Butterfly Seats But it’s when it transforms into business class that this product really comes into its own. The cushion of the unused seat folds up and forward, creating a padded armrest for passengers. Folding away the unused armrests increases seat width from 17 inches to 19 inches for window and aisle passengers, and up to 21 inches for those enjoying the middle ‘throne’ seat. Advertisement: More than just short-haul business We’ve all experienced the short-haul ‘business’ class of some airlines, particularly those in Europe, where the middle seat of three is simply blocked and nothing else changes. While on the surface, the Checkerboard appears similar, there’s one key differentiator here that sets it apart. As the unused seat cushions are folded up and forward, the seat back also swings forward. This has the effect of creating additional living space for the person behind and, crucially, more legroom. Each business class passenger will get an extra eight inches of legroom, creating a much larger differentiation between economy and business, giving those passengers more bang for their buck. The mechanism provides eight inches of additional legroom for passengers. Photo: Butterfly Seats It’s an interesting concept that could well be attractive to airlines in the future. The designers say that the conversion can be done in minutes, on the day of the flight. Given the uncertainty facing the industry right now, particularly regarding if and when business travel will recover , it could add an interesting layer of flexibility to their offerings. For now, Checkerboard is just a concept and has not been picked up by any airlines. It did, however, secure a finalist position at the Crystal Cabin Awards. Perhaps it’s a concept that could see renewed interest in today’s uncertain environment. Advertisement: The Boeing 737 took to the skies in 1967 and has remained flying, and in production, ever since. It has been a great success for Boeing, and one of the most sold aircraft to date. This article takes a look at how the 737 has been so successful, and for so long. It started with a great, competition-beating design, and has just kept offering the right option for airlines since then. .From the original 737 to the modern 737 MAX, the narrowbody has been one of the world’s most successful aircraft. Photo: Boeing A best-selling aircraft The 737 is a familiar sight at airports around the world, and by far the most common. Boeing has delivered 10,506 aircraft up to March 2021, making it one of the most produced aircraft in the world. However, one aircraft still holds that crown – the Douglas DC-3. Across its lifespan, and all variants, 16,079 models were delivered. But the ‘tail draggers’ are long out of production now, and Boeing’s 737 is catching up. With a total order book of 16,753, it is set to overtake the DC-3 as the most produced aircraft in history. Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests. Starting from a good base The 737 was Boeing’s third jet aircraft to be launched. This history, both as a starting point for 737 development and as a customer base to build on, was very important. The 707 was Boeing’s first jet aircraft, launched in 1958 with Pan American World Airways. Photo: airandspace.si.edu via Wikimedia Boeing had already seen great success with the 707 and the 727. The four-engined 707 has a firm place as the first commercial aircraft to really become successful (and profitable for airlines) at the start of the jet age. Advertisement: Boeing improved on this with the three-engined 727, selling even more of these than the 707. As market attention shifted to a more economical twin-engine jet, Boeing used much of the 707 and 727 design and parts in its development of the 737. Boeing’s only trijet, the 727 soon surpassed the 707 in sales, with over 1,800 aircraft delivered. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Originally designed to beat the competition Boeing, of course, was not alone in developing a new twin-engine option. Boeing’s main competition was with Douglas, which developed the DC-9, but the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) also launched the One Eleven, and French manufacturer Sud Aviation had the Caravelle. Advertisement: Boeing opted for some critical differences over the competition, however, which ultimately gave the 737 the lead. Most importantly, it placed the engines under the wing. This had been done before with the four engines of the 707 widebody, but the 727, and the other manufacturers competing narrowbodies, all opted to positon their two (or three) engines at the rear of the fuselage. Moving the engines under the wing reduced the landing gear length, and left the engine closer to the ground (enabling easier inspection and maintenance). It also made the cabin quieter for passengers. But most importantly, it enabled the fuselage to be widened. Boeing could offer six across seating, compared to five across on competing aircraft. Another design advantage that also made use of the wider cabin was the ability to convert it easily for cargo use. The 737 could fit standard width cargo containers, giving airlines more flexibility in their fleets. Advertisement: The main competitor, the DC-9, had rear-mounted engines with a narrower cabin. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Improving with later variants These design advantages eventually made the 737 a success, but initial uptake was still slow. The 737-100 and 737-200 were slow to sell, and it wasn’t until after the 1970s oil crisis that sales of the 737-300 model, with new engines, significantly picked up. By the early 1990s, the Airbus A320 had started to offer serious competition. The Next Generation series (737-600, 737-700/-700ER, 737-800, and 737-900) was the response to this, with more efficient operation, higher capacity and longer range. These new models continued to reflect demand seen from customers. The 737-800 became the highest selling 737 family member, and its success is typical of that of the whole family. Its success lies in its flexibility and compromise. It doesn’t have the longest range or the highest passenger capacity on the market, but its compromise between the two has made it an excellent all-round choice for airlines. Advertisement: The 737-800 has been the most popular 737 family member – a great example of compromise being a recipe for success. Photo: Getty Images This flexibility, and the strong record of reliability, has appealed to many new airlines and low costs carriers as well. As these have grown in numbers, the 737 has boomed. Southwest Airlines is a good example of this. It took its first 737 delivery in 1998 and has built a fleet of entirely 737 aircraft. Offering versatility and other series options Another success factor has been the versatility of the 737, and Boeing’s repeated efforts to offer flexible options to expand operations. This started with the early models with the enlarged cabin to suit freight conversion and has kept going. The 737-200, for example, could be equipped for landing on gravel runways with modification made available through an ‘unpaved strip kit.’ This was popular with several airlines in Alaska and Canada and is still in limited use. Boeing’s Unpaved Strip Kit was made available for the 737-100/200 aircraft. Photo: Biggerben via Wikimedia An ‘Enhanced Short Runway Package’ is available for the 737-600, -700 and -800 models, offering modifications that increase payloads on shorter runways. And running alongside later 737 models are equivalent corporate and private aircraft under the Boeing Business Jet brand, offering the same aircraft (and type rating) to a new market. Watch out for the A320 The Boeing 737 has, of course, faced stiff competition from the Airbus A320 family, introduced in 1988. Despite being launched around 20 years later, A320 deliveries are rapidly catching the 737. Airbus is also offering new competition with the A321XLR, an area Boeing is still to compete in. The Airbus order book is already ahead of Boeing’s, and deliveries are catching up. In October 2020, Airbus delivered its 10,000th A320 to Middle East Airlines (MEA). Boeing delivered its 10,00th 737 in March 2018, to Southwest Airlines. MSN 10,000 of the A320 family went to MEA and is an Airbus A321neo. Photo: Airbus Of course, the issues with the 737 MAX does not help the future of the 737 family. One of the strengths since its launch in the 1960s has been its reliability and safety. The two 737 MAX crashes changed that, and the subsequent grounding of the fleet has blotted its copybook. Nevertheless, the return to service of the MAX continues to roll out at pace, with airlines still happy to take deliveries and even place new orders. What do you think the future holds for the 737, and what other reasons are there for its strong position? Let us know in the comments. Advertisement: A GE90-powered Boeing 777-300ER on its way to Los Angeles from Tokyo Haneda had to divert to Vancouver on Sunday. The March 28th flight experienced a loss of oil pressure on the number 1 (left hand) engine, prompting the crew to shut it down and divert for an emergency landing. The affected aircraft was registered as JA788A is pictured here. The twinjet is nearly 11 years old. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Wikimedia Commons Flight details Reported via multiple sources, including RadarBox.com and The Aviation Herald, the incident involved Japanese carrier ANA (All Nippon Airways) and its flight NH106. The aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER, was flying from Tokyo Haneda (HND) to Los Angeles International (LAX). The 777 took off from Haneda at 23:04 on March 28th, covering most of the journey without incident. However, while cruising at FL350, about 620NM west of Vancouver (1,270 NM northwest of Los Angeles), a loss of oil pressure was experienced with one of the jet’s engines. The crew shut down the left-hand engine and descended from their cruising altitude down to FL240. The aircraft then set course for an emergency landing at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). A safe landing was reported on Vancouver’s runway 26R, which The Aviation Herald notes was about 115 minutes after leaving FL350. After landing, the aircraft was inspected by emergency services. It then taxied to the apron. ANA’s flight #NH106 between Tokyo (HND) to Los Angeles (LAX) was diverted to Vancouver (YVR). According to The Aviation Herald, the crew needed to shut off the left engine (GE90) due to the loss of oil pressure. NH106 flight data on the RadarBox: https://t.co/faboWu4p7r pic.twitter.com/OQ9dRH4dAp and 116 economy seats. The aircraft has flown exclusively for ANA since its delivery to the Japanese airline in 2010. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons A heightened awareness of engine failures Ever since the alarming window-view footage of the failed engine on United’s flight UA328, there has been a heightened awareness of engine failures- particularly with regards to Boeing 777 aircraft. It wasn’t just the various videos of the engine in the sky and parts scattered on the ground, however. In the days following the UA328 incident, United Airlines, as well as airlines in Japan and Korea, grounded their similar Pratt & Whitney PW4000-powered 777 aircraft. This case involving an ANA 777-300ER is different in that it involves an aircraft powered by GE90 engines. These engines aren’t immune to issues either. In the days after the United Airlines 777 incident, a Boeing 777-300ER operated by Russian airline Rossiya experienced engine issues on landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on February 26th. The 15-year-old 777 had trouble with its FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control, often also referred to as EEC engine electronic control) channels. Sadly, engine failures and issues happen from time to time. Of course, with ETOPS certifications , there is an extremely high certainty that an engine-failure on a two-engined-aircraft will end safely, with a diversion to the nearest suitable airport using the remaining engine. Have you ever been on a flight that needed to perform an emergency diversion and landing? Please share your experience with us in the comments. Advertisement: It almost seems like a well-established necessity these days – Gulf carriers sponsoring sporting events. From football clubs to golf tournaments to Formula 1 races, airline logos can be found everywhere. Gulf Air’s sponsorship of the Bahrain Grand Prix continues the trend- and as is customary with such sponsorships – the airline conducted a flyover at the season opener event, which took place on March 28th. A Gulf Air Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is seen flying over the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir. This particular photo is of the November 2020 event. Photo: Getty Images “[The Boeing 787-9s] boast superior fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, consuming 20% less fuel and producing around 20% fewer emissions than the aircraft they replaced in Gulf Air’s previous fleet. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ provides an immediate solution for reducing the carbon emissions of flying. In neat form and over the life cycle, its use results in up to 80%*lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel.” -Gulf Air A “lower emission flypast” Gulf Air announced via a March 28th statement that it would be conducting a “lower emission flypast” at the 2021 Formula 1 season opener at the Bahrain International Circuit. The reason for labeling it a “lower emission” is that this flypast was conducted with the more efficient twinjet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fueled by Neste-brand Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). While it would certainly consume more fuel than one of the carrier’s new narrowbodies, this label of being ‘low emission’ looks to be a point the airline wants to make in its marketing messaging. We’ll certainly grant them the fact that using a 787-9 to conduct a flyover would produce far fewer emissions than Etihad’s Airbus A380 flyovers made at Abu Dhabi Formula 1 races over the past few years. Performing 787 flyovers as early as 2018 Gulf Air notes that it unveiled its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. It has essentially flown the Dreamliner at every Bahrain F1 Grand Prix event since then – with a flyover in April 2019, November 2020, and now March 2021. 2021 is different from years past in one special way, however. This year’s use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel makes a statement regarding the airline’s commitment to lowering its emissions and working towards a more sustainable future, as noted by the airline’s Acting CEO: “Each year, Gulf Air takes great pride in being the title sponsor of the Formula 1 race at the Bahrain International Circuit. This year, we will mark the beginning of the race with a truly special low emission flypast highlighting our future strategy to explore the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in our aircraft and standing by our commitment to lower our carbon emissions.” -Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air Its initiatives like these that will hopefully set the standard for commercial aviation in terms of choosing fuel. A low-altitude flypast is an amazing sight to see – made better with the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Advertisement: Have you been to an event where a commercial airline conducted a flyover? Please share your experience with us by leaving a comment.