Saturday, February 12, 2011

Boeing 747-8: Big Can be "Green"

"Boeing Puts Another Behemoth in the Sky"
Jason Paur, Autopia, Wired (February 11, 2011)

"Boeing pulls the sheet off its biggest airliner ever this weekend, the 747-8 Intercontinental. It is an extreme makeover of the plane that ushered in the jumbo jet era, but despite its impressive tech and imposing size it won't be a big seller. Still, it offers further evidence that Boeing has found a winning strategy in its race against Airbus to make commercial aviation cleaner and greener.

"The latest iteration of the venerable 747, which made its first flight 42 years ago this week, comes as the industry has spent the past few years debating the merits of two all-new aircraft, the gargantuan Airbus A380 and the technologically advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner...."

"Greener" is a comparative term, of course. For some folks, "green" seems to mean eating nothing but organically-grown vegetables off hand-thrown pottery - and being upset at contractors who act as if wood grows on trees.

Then there are folks like engineers at Boeing, who seem to think that being "green" can include developing a King-Kong-size airliner that uses less fuel for its size than earlier models - and makes less noise while doing so.

That sort of "green" is something the Lemming can respect.

Or, as the Wired article put it:

"...Airbus bet on moving a lot of passengers from hub to hub cheaply in giant airplanes. Boeing thought the future lies in moving fewer people point-to-point in super-efficient aircraft. And while the A380, which seats as many as 525 people, allowed Airbus to boast it makes the world's biggest airliner, bragging rights only go so far. It's the bottom line that matters...."

It's the Lemming's opinion that, in the long run, being "green" and being profitable aren't all that incompatible.

Which reminds the Lemming of mechanical flying penguins. Which is another topic.

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