Friday, December 30, 2011

Epic Commercial failures in aviation

Wikipedia used to have a list of aircraft flops, but it got deleted.

Tales from the Wikipedia Trash Can 5 - Commercial Flops

Commercial failures in aviation
These are aircraft which failed in the marketplace, but may have been technically sound. For aircraft which failed to work at all, see List of famous failures in science and engineering.

Airbus A318 and A340-200
Sales were lower than Airbus expected.

Avro Canada
Avro Arrow cancelled in production when the Canadian government bought Bomarcmissiles instead.
Avro Jetliner lack of commerical interest then lack of production capacity prevented prototype from proceeding further.

Boeing flops

The Boeing 717, 737-600, 747SP, and 757-300 failed to receive the orders that Boeing originally expected. The 737-600 is still for sale, however, and as the development cost was shared with other 737 models, it might not be considered a flop in the traditional sense. The Boeing 767-400ER, while receiving only a few orders, wasn't a flop because it was intended to be a niche aircraft for Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines to replace their Lockheed L-1011 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 fleets.

Bristol Brabazon
A giant airliner that was too expensive, too large for the time, and carried too few passengers in great luxury rather than many passengers in less space.

Convair CV-880 and CV-990
Both were commercial disasters as they only offered five-abreast seating, and were easily out-competed on price by the Boeing 720 which was based on an existing aircraft type.

Dassault Aviation Mercure
This aircraft had an extremely limited range and as a result only ten were put in service, by the French domestic airline Air Inter.

Douglas Super DC-3
An attempt to improve the famous Douglas DC-3, only three were sold as large numbers of war surplus C-47s were available for about $8,000 each. The Super DC-3 cost $200,000.

The VFW 614 is often described as being ahead of its time. It was a brave but in the end unsuccessful attempt to build and market a small capacity regional jet, a market sector that has developed only recently with the strong sales of aircraft such as theCanadair CRJs and Embraer ERJs. Another small, short-range jet, notable for its unique over-wing engine installation. Only 16 were built.

Lockheed XF-90, XF-88, XF-93 Penetration fighters

Lockheed rushed out the successful P-80 as the first jet for the US Army Air Force too late for WWII. By Korea it was obsoleted by the MiG-15 which could fly rings around any straight wing airplane. The XF-90 considered dozens of designs exotic designs but ended up looking like a swept wing needle nosed F-80. Built of too-rugged metal, it was so  heavy it needed booster rockets just to take off, and would be Lockheed's only flop fighter. North American's XF-93 also went nowhere until the F-100. The XF-88 Voodoo won, but Air Force didn't build any of them, but the next F-101 Voodoo recycled much of the XF-88 design for supersonic flight.

Lockheed L-1011
The aircraft was a technically sound design (indeed, more advanced than the competing McDonnell Douglas DC-10). However, the cost of the development of the Rolls-Royce RB211 engine caused Rolls-Royce to go bankrupt, and delayed the programme. In the end, with only 250 frames sold, and 500 needed for the project to break even, the L-1011 resulted in a loss to Lockheed of $2.5 billion, or $10 million per aircraft. Lockheed left the civil airliner market after the failure of the L-1011.

McDonnell Douglas MD-87 and MD-90
Both failed to receive orders as compared with the Boeing 737 family and Airbus A320 family, both of which had high-bypass turbofan engines which burned less fuel than the low-bypass engines of the MD-87.
Northrop F-20 Tigershark
This fighter aircraft was designed as a private venture for export, but failed utterly as air forces wanted the more prestigious F-16 Fighting Falcon used by the United States Air Force, despite the F-20's lower cost.
Saunders-Roe Princess
A post-WWII attempt by the famed English aircraft firm at reviving the luxury flying boat at a time when speed was becoming critical.

V/STOL - Jet and prop powered vertical takeoff or landing aircraft. Out of dozens of designs tried in the 1950s and 1960s, including tilting wings, barrel-shaped duct-wings, fan-in-wing, tail sitters, etc, only the simple tilt-exhaust-on-oversized engine Kestrel/Harrier was large-scale success. A circular chart of designs was called a "wheel of misfortune". Only the extremely expensive V-22 and F-35 are on track to becoming successful

These are aircraft which were technically sound, but failed in the marketplace. For aircraft which failed to work at all see '#Flops in science and engineering'.
  • The Bristol Brabazon - this giant airliner was simply too expensive, too large for the time, and carried too few passengers in great luxury rather than many passengers in less space.
  • The Convair CV-880 and CV-990 - these aircraft were commercial disasters as they only offered five-abreast seating, and were easily outcompeted on price by the Boeing 720 which was based on an existing aircraft type.
  • Supersonic transports: Boeing 2707, Tupolev Tu-144, arguably Concorde
  • The Dassault Aviation Mercure - this aircraft had extremely limited range and as a result only ten were built for the French domestic airline Air Inter
  • The Northrop F-20 Tigershark - this fighter aircraft was designed as a private venture for export, but failed utterly as foreign air forces wanted the more prestigious F-16 Fighting Falcon used by the USAF, despite the F-20 having superior performance and lower cost.
Failed engine project 

Westinghouse J40

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
National originUnited States
ManufacturerWestinghouse Aviation Gas Turbine Division
Major applicationsMcDonnell F3H Demon
Program cost$281 million[1]
The Westinghouse J40 was to be a high performance afterburning turbojet engine. It was intended by the Bureau of Aeronautics in early 1946 to power several fighter aircraft, with a rating of 7,500 lbf (33 kN) of thrust at sea level static conditions, but a more powerful 11,000 lbf (49 kN) thrust version for McDonnell F3H Demon proved to be a failure. After a troublesome and delayed development program, failures in service led to the loss of aircraft and pilots and grounding of all J40 powered Demons.
After the program was called a "fiasco" and an "engine flop", the J40 program was terminated in 1955, by which time all the aircraft it was to power were either grounded, canceled or redesigned to use alternative engines. The J40's failure was among those that affected the most military programs and produced the most unflyable aircraft, and would lead to the downfall of the engine division of Westinghouse.[2] In 1953 Westinghouse worked with Rolls-Royce to offer engines based on the Avon, but Westinghouse was out of the aircraft engine business when this engine also failed to find a United States market.[3]

The J57 would also replace, for the U.S. Navy, the disastrous Westinghouse J40 that never fully materialized in acceptable form

The Rockwell XFV-12 was a prototype supersonic United States Navy fighter which was built in 1977. The XFV-12 design attempted to combined the Mach 2 speed andAIM-7 Sparrow armament of the F-4 Phantom II in a VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) fighter for the small Sea Control Ship which was under study at the time. On paper, it looked superior to the subsonic Hawker Siddeley Harrier attack fighter. However, it proved unable to produce enough thrust for vertical flight, even with an installed engine with more thrust than its empty weight, and the project was abandoned.

Lists of V/STOL aircraft


This is a partial list, there have been many designs for V/STOL aircraft.
Of these, only the V-22, Yak-38, Harrier and F-35 have been or are likely to be operational in significant numbers. All the others are experimental or failures. The XFV-12 could never lift its own weight. 

[edit]Vectored thrust



[edit]Separate thrust and lift


Although many aircraft have been proposed, built, and some even tested, the F-35B is expected to be the first supersonic VTOL aircraft in operational service.
  • Bell D-188A Mach 2 swivelling engines, mockup stage
  • EWR VJ 101 Mach 2 fighter from Germany similar to Bell D-188A, flown to M1.04 but not operational
  • Mirage III V the first VTOL capable of supersonic flight (Mach 2.03 during tests), not operational
  • Hawker Siddeley P.1154 M1.7 Supersonic Harrier. Never built
  • Rockwell XFV-12 Built but could not lift its own weight
  • Yakovlev Yak-141 Flown, but not operational
  • Lockheed Martin X-35B/F-35B uses a vectored-thrust engine (the Pratt & Whitney F135) plus a lifting fan. First aircraft capable of demonstrating transition from short take-off to supersonic flight to vertical landing on the same sortie.[2
Behind the Times
Aviation Traders ATL-90 Accountant (1957)
Blohm und Voss BV 238 )1944
Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger (1942)
Boulton Paul Defiant (1937)
Bristol Brabazon (1949)
Convair 880/990 (1959 and 1961)
Convair B-32 Dominator (1942)
Douglas TBD Devastator (1935)
Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster (1942)
Fairey Albacore (1938)
Fairey Battle (1936)
Fairey Fulmar (1937)
Farman Jabiru (1923)
Republic XF-12 Rainbow (1946)
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2. (1912)
Saab Scandia 90A (1946)
Saunders-Roe Princess (1952)
Shenyang J-8 "Finback" (1969)
Short SB.6 Seamew (1953)
Short Sterling (1939)
Short Sturgeon and SB.3 (1946)
Sopwith LRTTR (1916)

Bogus Concepts
Aerocar (1949)
Ahrens AR-404 (1976)
Allied Aviation XLRA-1 and -2 (1941)
Antonov KT Flying Tank (1942)
Armstrong Whitworth Ape (1926)
Armstrong Whitworth F.K.6 (1916)
Avro Avrocar (1959)
Avro Tudor (1945)
Bachem BA 349 Natter (1945)
Bell FM Airacuda (1937)
Blackburn A.D. Scout (Sparrow) (1915)
Blackburn Blackburd (1918)
Blackburn TB (1915)
Blohm und Voss BV 40 (1944)
Boeing 2707 (1960s)
Boeing Sonic Cruister (2001-2002)
Boeing XB-15 (1937)
Bonney Gull (1925)
Bristol Braemar, Pullman and Tramp (1917-1919)
Bristol Buckingham and Buckmaster (1943)
British Aerospace Nimrod AEW.3 (1980s)
Caproni CA.60 Noviplano (1921)
Convair NB-36 (1955)
Convair R3Y Tradewind (1950)
Convair F2Y Sea Dart (1953)
Convair XFY-1 Pogo (1954)
Fairey Rotodyne (1957)
Fieseler F1 103R-IV Flying Bomb (1944)
Fisher P-75 Eagle (1943)
Focke-Wulf TA-154 Moskito (1943)
Fokker V8 (1917)
General Aircraft Fleet Shadower (1940)
General Dynamics F-111B (1960s)
Gloster Meteor (Prone Pilot) (1954
General Dynamics/McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avengers II (cancelled 1991)
Goodyear Inflatoplane (1956)
Hafner Rotabuggy Flying Jeep (1943)
Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee (1955)
Hughes H-4 Hercules 'Spruce Goose' (1947)
Hughes XH-17 Flying Crane (1952)
Kokusai KI-105 Ohtori (1945)
Learavia Learfan 2100 (1981)
Martin P6M Seamaster (1955)
McDonnell XF-85 Goblin (1948)
Mitsubishi F-2 (1995)
Myasishchev M-50 'Bounder' (1959)
North American XB-70A Valkyrie (1964)
Northrop XP-79B (1945)
Pemberton Billing (Supermarine) Nighthawk (1917)
PZL-Mielec M-15 Belphegor (1973)
Rockwell XFV-12A (1976)
Ryan X-13 Vertijet (1955
Saunders Roe S.R./A.1 (1947)
Snecma Colèoptére (1959)
Tupolev Ant-20 Maksim Gorkii (1934)
Tupolev TU-144 (1968)
Wight Quadrupleplane (1917)
Yokosuka Ohka (1944)

Power Problems
Avro Manchester (1939)
Baade (VEB) 152 (1958)
Barling XNBL-1 (1923)
Beardmore Inflexible (1928)
Bell HSL-1 (1953)
Bell X-1 and X-2 (1951)
Bell XP-77 (1944)
Blackburn Botha (1938)
Blackburn Roc (1938)
Boeing Model 273 (XF7B-1) 1933
Breda BA.88 Lince (1936)
Brewster Buffalo (1937)
Bristol 188 (1962)
Caproni Campini N.1 (1940)
Caproni-Stipa (1932)
Convair YF-102 Delta Dagger (1953)
Curtiss XP-62 (1944)
Dassault Balzac Mirage IIIV (1962)
Dornier DO X (1929)
Douglas XA2D Skyshark (1951)
Douglas X-3 Stiletto (1952)
Handley Page Hereford (1938)
Heinkel He 177 'Greif' (1939-1945)
Hiller HJ-1 Hornet (1950)
Hughes XF-11 (1946)
McDonnell F3H Demon (1950)
Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet (1941)
Messerschmitt Me 321/323 Gigant (1941)
Percival P.74 (1956)
Republic XF-84H (1955)
Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor (1949)
Ryan FR-1 Fireball (1944)
Vought F6U-1 Pirate (1946)
Vought F7U Cutlass (1948)
Yakovlev Yak-38 'Forger' (1971)
Construction Problems
Albatros D.III (1916)
Beechcraft Starship 2000A (1986)
Blériot biplanes (1917-1925)
Boeing/Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche (1996)
Brewster Bermuda/Buccaneer (1941)
Christmas Bullet (1918)
Dassault Mercure (1971)
De Havilland Comet (1949)
De Havilland D.H.91 Albatross (1937)
Focke-Wulf FW 200 Condor (1937)
Kalinin K-7 (1933)
PZL LWS.6 Zubr (Bison) (1936)
Langley Aerodrome (1903)
Phillips Multiplanes (1893-1907)
Royal Aircraft Factory Re.8 (1916)
Seddon Mayfly (1910)
Unintentionally Unstable
Avia S.199 'Mule' (1947)
Blackburn Firebrand (1942)
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (1940)
Curtiss SO3C Seamew (1939)
Curtiss XP - 55 Ascender (1943)
De Bruyére C1 (1917)
Gee Bee Racers (1913 - 1933)
Grumman XF10F Jaguar (1952)
Lavochkin Lagg-1 and -3
Lavochkin La-250 (1956)
Lohner Type AA (1916)
Messerschmitt ME 210 (1939)
Mignit Flying Flea (1933)
Northrop YB-35/YB-49 Flyng Wings (1946)
Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet (1953)
Rolls-Royce 'Flying Bedstead' (1954)
Supermarine Swift (1951)
Tarrant Tabor (1919)
Tupolev TU-22 'Blinder' (1959) 

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