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How Much Will You Pay To Fly?

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Bloviating Zeppelin: How Much Will You Pay To Fly?

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

How Much Will You Pay To Fly?


Four stories on the aviation front:
No damage to Discovery?
The AP reports our astronauts have yet found no damage to the shuttle Discovery. Discovery's delicate heat shield and everything else appear at first glance to be in near perfect shape, NASA officials said, although it's still very early in the analysis.
To me, this sounds a bit like NASA hedging its bet. I would want a much more thorough analysis. Engineers are nowhere near finished poring over 70 minutes of video that astronauts shot using an extended boom armed with a laser and cameras to inspect Discovery's delicate reinforced carbon wing and nosecone.
Boeing set to beat Airbus for the first time in five years:
Airbus has definitive orders for 145 to 150 aircraft so far this year. In May it had 105 orders. Boeing has three times as many with 445 (358 in May).
The Airbus monster A380, at $170 million each, has no orders; Boeing's comparable model, the 747-8, at $150 million each, has nineteen orders.

I wrote about the A380 last year; having been a regular flyer since January of this year, I am incredibly aware of boarding and deplaning times for a standard Southwest 737-300. Not only will the A380 demand entirely new terminal accommodations due to its size, but will require massive amounts of time and tolerance for those 555 persons deigning to enter and exit such a behemoth.
The price of fuel hits $75 a barrel today:
And everything will be affected: trucking, aviation, commercial and private vehicles, railroads, shipping, textiles, manufacturing. Crude oil futures soared to all-time record highs in New York as markets were roiled by news of missile launches by North Korea and tensions over Iran, dealers said.
Over the weekend gas prices at my local ARCO ran from $2.95 to $2.99. That same station today ran at $3.03. Prices are rising immediately.
As goes Britain, so goes a like "green" aviation tax in America?
You'll be paying higher ticket prices soon, because air carriers will pass their higher fuel costs on to the customer. But will you also be seeing an aviation "green tax" in your future?
The UK Timesonline reports that because of this tax, airfares are likely to double in Europe.
AIR passengers will be charged up to £40 extra for a return ticket within Europe to pay for the environmental impact of their journeys, under plans approved by the European Parliament yesterday.

MEPs voted in favour of the “immediate introduction” of a tax on jet fuel for flights within the 25 member states of the EU. The charge would double the cost of millions of budget airline flights.

They also accepted a recommendation for a special emissions trading scheme for the aviation industry, which would see airlines buying permits to cover their output of carbon dioxide.
Now that this idea is in the public domain, can anyone guess how long it will be before an American Democrat authors a like bill?
BZ

10 Comments:

Blogger ABFreedom said...

I don't really like Airbus that much, have always liked boeing... up here, the national airline is switching back to boeing. The reasons were under powered, compared to boeing, and higher maintenance costs.

Wed Jul 05, 06:44:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

The Boeing 747 a tried and tested design since 1970. Expanded, refitted, upgraded, renewed, refurbished and, basically, done over more times than a BUFF. And still a beauty to behold... both of them! And both gained from commercial competition...

Meanwhile the STS has been around since the late 1970's and has seen... well... some computer upgrades! Removed the ejection seats! And got the CANADARM! Oh, and two disasterous failures due to the limitations of its original design based on a bureaucratic committee. A wonderful *government* design specification to get this thing.

Want cheaper oil? Invest in Canadian oil/tar sand exploitation. Say, do you get clean sand at the end of it? I bet you do! Perfect for rebuilding coastline... a two-fer!

As for 'Greenhouse Gasses'... hmmmm... prove that the end of the Little Ice Age is not THE dominant cause of it. Geological records ONLY for this and must prove this fact over 4.2 Billion years, not some mere piddling 100 years or so. Good Luck!

Thu Jul 06, 04:45:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

ABF: Aha! Canada comes around! Thanks for your orders!

AJ: Funny thing is, the B-52G is still flying with its ugly, wrinkled fuselage -- and with its basic design having been laid in 1948!

And YES! Invest in the Canadian oil/tar sands! I am still not convinced of much of ANYTHING with regard to "global warming." As you so rightly point out the earth is quite old and our current age of recorded history doesn't even count for a brief blip on the planet's screen. This could be nothing more than the planet taking a momentary breath -- merely another cycle of what has been occurring "naturally" for millions of years.

Thu Jul 06, 06:04:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - The BUFF has proudly gained its name, and still a good solid airframe and design, much like the DC-3 and the 747, although that last has been permutated quite some bit. The basic engineering is sound.

STS started out to test the idea of a 'quick turnaround re-usable launch vehicle' concept. Unfortunately it morphed into the contraption that got built and only proved that good engineering can only go so far with original design specifications. Design specs by committee to get political backing and then handed to the engineers and told: do it.

Even if it is a bad set of specs.

And then the bureaucracy killed the X Program once the DC-X proved a unibody design could meet all the same goals. At a lower price. And with less to go wrong. It was an engineering test creation and its landing leg failure does *not* invalidate the overall design, and properly handled it *still* could have been landed with only some moderate damage instead of catastrophic. As a proof of concept it is sound. The STS is the last of what the 1930's gave us, and the engineers hated to give up on SSTO.

Of course the rumor is that the old Dynasoar has been continually worked on by the black side at 51, and a large, near SST aircraft has been and continues to be sighted. Something like the XB-70 but with greater dynamic range and perhaps extra-atmospheric capability and carrying a tandem Dynasoar. So a dual design, but more capable than the STS, although with limited crew capability and based on two little used but understood frames and concepts. It is just black-side speculation from the Area 51 watchers, but it was last supposedly sighted in 2002, if memory serves.

Supposedly Boeing completed two partially made prototypes on its own dime and then started to use them for test and demo out of Groom Lake. Much conjecture and only a couple of photos taken of *something* like it at high altitude by watchers. If any of that *is* true and this has been used as an emergency 'get to orbit and return' concept by the USAF, then the blinkers need to come off soon. In the long run unibody is still the way to go, but if you need dual frames, then something that *works* is preferable to experimental design tests.

Much conjecture by the aviation community, little evidence. Good in theory and the folks who know how to engineer such a thing were the Boeing folks of the '50s-'70s.

Thu Jul 06, 08:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: years ago prior to its being enshrined into the USAF museum at WPAFB in Fairborn, Ohio, I got to sit in the cockpit of the remaining XB-70 -- my Dad was a Col. at AFLC and had friends in SAC -- so I also sat in an active BUFF as well.

Don't know if it's true, but what used to be the Skunk Works is allegedly working with Boeing on the successor to the Habu, the Aurora project.

BZ

Thu Jul 06, 02:17:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Aurora in silhouette looks a lot like an XB-70 and the later SR-71. Got to see the XB-70 at the Aircraft Factory in Dayton, and it is pure beauty...

The reports of a dual ascent, single descent combo points to something happening out at Groom Lake. Trying to remember if it was Pournelle giving speculation on updated XB-70's carrying a new Dynasoar... sighted in the early 70's, then sporadically in the '80's and 90's... Lockheed's Skunk works would be the place to take XB-70's and give them a total refurb and re-equip to then look at the next better platform. But Boeing would be a hard contractor to get them from without some of their input. Could be a cross-project between the two as Boeing is a bit better for that sort of combo work than LMC. The folks at the Works like to do it mostly on their lonesome, and would not want some sort of a lawsuit for using Boeing designs without Boeing's ok. Hard to tell in the Black Budget world.

Still, my bet is to push the Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, Dick Rutan triad via prizes. They all want cheap access to space and should be encouraged for same.

Thu Jul 06, 04:50:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: I concur. Rutan also has an eye for an aircraft's unusual beauty -- not to mention, did you notice how many manufacturers went to wingtip canards after Rutan?

BZ

Thu Jul 06, 07:47:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - The wingtip canards are simply a drag reduction capability that Mr. Rutan used to great advantage for long distance aviatiion. But when the price of jet fuel skyrockets, every gallon counts and so we now see them sported upon many a winged vehicle that requires long range and fuel economy.

Mr. Rutan has an eye to simplicity of design that is both beautiful and extremely good engineering without foregoing safety and acknowledges each and every safety defect that he and his design team can think of. They know the risks and take their chances as they know no life is a guarantee but that some risks are far worth taking for their reward.

I just want to make that reward a bit heftier so that more folks see the risk as worth taking.

Fri Jul 07, 05:07:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: Ah, the free market -- it's a beautiful thing -- absent "Kenny Boy."

BZ

Sat Jul 08, 07:40:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - Commercializing space is our salvation as a Nation, a people and a planet. Mother Earth does not like having older species laying about and has killed 99% of them over time. She is *very* good at that, with the help of cosmic wanderers. We get reminders of that every so often... 'only passed within the orbit of the moon' that is not a near miss... it is a *near hit*. And Yellowstone shifts uneasily now for 150,000 years... the Earth's own extinction maker.

Time to take heed of Mother and leave the nest.

She does not kid around about 'or else'.

Mon Jul 10, 03:07:00 PM PDT  

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