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United to Retire all 747s by 2018

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Just heard United is planning to retire the last of their 747s by early 2018. Delta is retiring theirs by 2017. Sad to think that we will no longer see 747s in passenger service here in the US. On the bright side though, United is planning to keep their 767s in service for the foreseeable future. (Still have my fingers crossed for a PMDG 767.) Anyways, I think I'm going to start saving up for a ticket on that last flight whenever it may be.

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Airlines don't like 4 engines,more maintenance and more fuel. The airlines forget the positives of having 4 engines namely safety. You loose an engine on 777 on a polar route and your gonna be spending a night freezing in Siberia,with a 747 you'll be at your destination sipping cocktails. My dad flew 747-400s for United and still thinks to this day that trusting two engines to get you there is stupid and honestly I agree with him....there is a reason that the current and next Airforce One has/will have 4 engines and that is reliability.

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You loose an engine on 777 on a polar route and your gonna be spending a night freezing in Siberia,with a 747 you'll be at your destination sipping cocktails.

 

You loose an engine on a BA 744 and you'll be swimming in the Atlantic. Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_268 Four engines does not necessairly mean safer.

 

 

there is a reason that the current and Airforce One has/will have 4 engines and that is reliability.

 

No it was political. The contest for a replacement of the VC-25 was the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A380. Boeing won the order. Why would the President of the United States of America fly on an aircraft manufactured by a French-based company?

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Airlines don't like 4 engines,more maintenance and more fuel. The airlines forget the positives of having 4 engines namely safety. You loose an engine on 777 on a polar route and your gonna be spending a night freezing in Siberia,with a 747 you'll be at your destination sipping cocktails. My dad flew 747-400s for United and still thinks to this day that trusting two engines to get you there is stupid and honestly I agree with him....there is a reason that the current and next Airforce One has/will have 4 engines and that is reliability.

 

Airlines don't like four engines? Ask Emirates with their 74 A380s and another 66 on order. Ask any airline with multiple A380s. It's one of the most successful aircraft available today. There are 180 A380s in the sky.

 

You lose an engine on a 777 and ETOPS takes you up to 6 hours further, in most cases taking you to your destination. Having four engines is not necessarily safer. Twin-engine aircraft are more than capable of flying on one engine. More engines isn't better, no matter what any ex-United pilot tells me. Again, the success of the 777 shows otherwise.

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You loose an engine on a BA 744 and you'll be swimming in the Atlantic. Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_268 Four engines does not necessairly mean safer.

 

 

 

 

No it was political. The contest for a replacement of the VC-25 was the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A380. Boeing won the order. Why would the President of the United States of America fly on an aircraft manufactured by a French-based company?

The A380 has 4 engines aswell. They could have bought a 777 or 787 if they wanted to stick with Boeing but they wanted a 4 engine jet for safety

Airlines don't like four engines? Ask Emirates with their 74 A380s and another 66 on order. Ask any airline with multiple A380s. It's one of the most successful aircraft available today. There are 180 A380s in the sky.

 

You lose an engine on a 777 and ETOPS takes you up to 6 hours further, in most cases taking you to your destination. Having four engines is not necessarily safer. Twin-engine aircraft are more than capable of flying on one engine. More engines isn't better, no matter what any ex-United pilot tells me. Again, the success of the 777 shows otherwise.

The 777 is successful because it's economical to operate not safer or better than a 747. I like the 777 but I also like the feeling of looking out and seeing two Pratts on each wing. Sorry but I will continue to belive the person who's been flying for 50 years and has well over 30,000 hours before I belive a guy on a flight sim board. I'm a real world pilot myself and I don't fly single engine over water or mountains yes people do it everyday but people also get killed doing it.
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The A380 has 4 engines aswell. They could have bought a 777 or 787 if they wanted to stick with Boeing but they wanted a 4 engine jet for safety

 

http://www.defenseone.com/politics/2015/02/buying-new-air-force-one-complicated/104220/

 

I can just see POTUS rocking up in a 787.

 

 

 


The 777 is successful because it's economical to operate not safer or better than a 747. I like the 777 but I also like the feeling of looking out and seeing two Pratts on each wing.

 

You speak complete nonsense with no basis for what you're saying. Did you know a 747-8 has an etops rating of 330 minutes, but the A350 has an etops rating of 370 minutes. Go figure.

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http://www.defenseone.com/politics/2015/02/buying-new-air-force-one-complicated/104220/

 

I can just see POTUS rocking up in a 787.

 

 

 

You speak complete nonsense with no basis for what you're saying. Did you know a 747-8 has an etops rating of 330 minutes, but the A350 has an etops rating of 370 minutes. Go figure.

If only one fails your in great shape but if two fail on a 777 or other twinjet your swimming. It does happen ask Sully
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Sorry but I will continue to belive the person who's been flying for 50 years and has well over 30,000 hours before I belive a guy on a flight sim board. 

 

The older generation of pilots always believe more engines are better because back in their day it was. It's the same story with technology. Just because you think it doesn't make it right.

 

 

 

I'm a real world pilot myself and I don't fly single engine over water or mountains yes people do it everyday but people also get killed doing it.

 

Your mediocre knowledge on aircraft reliability plus the fact you think as a pilot (literally a pawn in an airlines game) is allowed to pick and choose what aircraft type you fly and what you're allowed to fly over tells me you're no pilot.

If only one fails your in great shape but if two fail on a 777 or other twinjet your swimming. It does happen ask Sully

 

The whole reasoning behind ETOPS is that the probability of two engines failing in cruise is so slim. Bird strikes don't happen at cruising altitude on a 777. Had Sully been flying a 747 that day, he still would have ended in the hudson.

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The older generation of pilots always believe more engines are better because back in their day it was. It's the same story with technology. Just because you think it doesn't make it right.

 

 

 

Your mediocre knowledge on aircraft reliability plus the fact you think as a pilot (literally a pawn in an airlines game) is allowed to pick and choose what aircraft type you fly and what you're allowed to fly over tells me you're no pilot.

 

 

Bird strikes don't happen at cruising altitude on a 777. Had Sully been flying a 747 that day, he still would have ended in the hudson.

Actually Geese have been spotted at over 30,000 feet. My point is there are times when you will loose two of your engines rare yes but it does happen. I don't think there is anything wrong with having some extra engines for just incase.

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Actually Geese have been spotted at over 30,000 feet. My point is there are times when you will loose two of your engines rare yes but it does happen. I don't think there is anything wrong with having some extra engines for just incase.

 

And most aircraft that have bird strikes don't lose all engines. Hence why Cactus 1549 was such a spectacle because it was such a rare occurrence. The difference in probability between 2 engines failing on a twin engine, and four failing on a four engine aircraft is extremely marginal, because both probabilities are so small to begin with.

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Emirates has so many A380s because they are one of if not the most heavily subsidized airlines.

 

I did a report on ETOPS when I was in college. At least at that time in every case where a jet airliner lost all of its engines it lost them for the same reason. The ones that come to my memory was a 747 in volcanic ash, an L-1011 where all three engines were missing O rings the led to loss of oil and a 767 that ran out of fuel. If I remember right since then an A330 has run out of fuel too. There had never been a twin engine jet airliner that lost both engines for different reasons and I believe that still holds true.

 

ETOPS is a numbers game. Modern jet engine reliability is so good that the governments and the airlines feel it's within the acceptable margin of risk to allow it. In fact I write this on my Maui layover. I've been flying our A321s over here for four months now so obviously I feel it's with my margin of risk too.

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The choice of 2 vs 4 engines goes beyond ETOPS.

 

Emirates makes far more money in an A380 than a B777 because of the larger Premium and cargo capacity on CERTAIN ROUTES.

 

It is a case of horses for courses. The inverse occurs on thinner markets, the B777 makes more money than the A380.

 

And going back to original topic, both those models are more efficient than the old B744 which is why airlines are replacing it.

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Whatever your views on them are, if you wanna fly on one for cheap before they retire, United will be flying them between SFO-ORD from March 3 - May 4. Last flight between ORD-SFO is May 5.

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No.. It's not.

 

How's that 747-8 going...oh wait. Barely delivered 100 and already scaling back production. Note I said one of. Not THE most. Sure it's not as successful as a 777 but it's never going to be, look at the extra costs of operating an A380 over a 777. But it's miles more successful than the 747-8, it's direct competitor.

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Kids!

My goodness....the topic of this post is about UA retiring its 747s....not who's 4 engine is better or if a twin is better than a quad.

All I know is that in my 54 years, I've not had a chance to ride on the "Queen" yet.  She's called the Queen for good reason, and no matter your personal preference, you can't argue she has been one of the...of not the most iconic airliner to date.

 

Thanks for the heads up Robert...I'll make sure I'll get a ride on a UA 747 before they're gone.

 

I just wish I had a chance to ride her on Pan Am, the airline that made the 747 a reality.  I am lucky enough (and old enough :lol: ) to have ridden on a Pan Am 707 though, which was an awesome experience (and a UA & DAL DC8 which were also memorable flights).

Say what you will...but looking out over a wing and seeing 2 engines hanging out there just looks cool in my opinion, regardless of fuel economy or safety. :wink:

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You loose an engine on a BA 744 and you'll be swimming in the Atlantic. Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_268 Four engines does not necessairly mean safer.

 

Errrrr, they diverted to Manchester... I suppose that's a bit like swimming but your feet don't get wet.

 

You're proving their point though, engine failure at 300ft and still managed to fly over 4500 nm to get everyone to within 20 mins of their original destination, would have never even been reported if the winds weren't so bad over the Atlantic. Like to see you do that in a twin...

 

I agree that doesn't necessarily mean they're safer but they have much more redundancy and can withstand more failures (particularly engine related) and continue safely than a twin.

 

Ian

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Errrrr, they diverted to Manchester... I suppose that's a bit like swimming but your feet don't get wet.

 

You're proving their point though, engine failure at 300ft and still managed to fly over 4500 nm to get everyone to within 20 mins of their original destination, would have never even been reported if the winds weren't so bad over the Atlantic. Like to see you do that in a twin...

 

I agree that doesn't necessarily mean they're safer but they have much more redundancy and can withstand more failures (particularly engine related) and continue safely than a twin.

 

Ian

 

Could easily be done in a 777-200LR or 300ER on single engine. Difference is, they'd actually get to Heathrow. Either way pointless argument. That was 11 years ago. Flight safety has changed a lot since then. That would never happen today, the crew would turn around and land back at LAX.

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Could easily be done in a 777-200LR or 300ER on single engine. Difference is, they'd actually get to Heathrow. Either way pointless argument. That was 11 years ago. Flight safety has changed a lot since then. That would never happen today, the crew would turn around and land back at LAX.

 

No, an engine failure in a twin is a land at nearest suitable, they would have dumped fuel and returned to LAX.

 

And, No, according to the wiki article you quoted, "BA said they hadn't changed their procedures" so their flight continuation policy remains the same and even today a jumbo (or 380) would/could continue to destination on three engines (still 50% more than the 777 departed with).

 

Flight safety has improved and so has our evaluation of it, if a 777/330 can fly across the Atlantic on 2 engines a jumbo can get across it perfectly safely on 3.

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I know this is far from realistic but I flew RC for over 30 years and one time my 70 pound B-17 lost and engine and I did not know it until I landed. Flew most of the flight on three with no adverse input but it was an inside engine.

 

On the other hand my 200 pound C-47 lost an engine and I had to land straight ahead immediately no matter what because it became so sluggish and ready to fall out of the sky. One time my smaller 25 pound P-61 twin lost and engine and spun in immediately.

 

WWII bombers were mostly four engine versions to get to the target and, more importantly, to get home from the target so that thinking migrated into civil airliners of the day.

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No, an engine failure in a twin is a land at nearest suitable, they would have dumped fuel and returned to LAX.

 

And, No, according to the wiki article you quoted, "BA said they hadn't changed their procedures" so their flight continuation policy remains the same and even today a jumbo (or 380) would/could continue to destination on three engines (still 50% more than the 777 departed with).

 

Flight safety has improved and so has our evaluation of it, if a 777/330 can fly across the Atlantic on 2 engines a jumbo can get across it perfectly safely on 3.

Firstly, I didn't quote the wiki article that was somebody else. Wikipedia isn't always true and they definitely don't know SOPs of BA. These days, if anything happens to an aircraft during takeoff or initial climb, it turns around. Whether it's four or two engined.

 

A 777/330 being able to cross the Atlantic on two engines doesn't mean a 747 can on three because it has more engines. A 747 is not a 777 with two extra engines, that's not how physics works. If it did work like that we'd have 6-8 engine passenger aircraft because it's safer right? It's a lot heavier, each engine produces much less thrust, and it's a lot more inefficient than a 777. Again, I go back to my point about ETOPS. ETOPS is all about reliability. How can a two engine aircraft have a higher ETOPS rating than a four engine if four is better than two with engines out? That alone shows that something like the A350/777 can handle flying single engine much better than 747s.

 

In all honesty, no single commercial aircraft would be certified to fly if it could not easily operate with one engine. 777/A350 etc can clearly handle flying single engine, otherwise they wouldn't let them fly over 6 hours away from a suitable airport!!

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Both are superb airplanes, appealing in their own ways. Had the chance to fly a BA 744 last year and a United 777 this year and really enjoyed it. They are just beautiful pieces of engineering.

(Athough United service was better, but that's another debate haha)

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Gents,

 

Firstly, the argument between Airbus v Boeing, and/or 2 engines v 4 engines is so incredibly backward that I don't even know where to start. If you're going to have a discussion about said things, then you should really bring facts instead of hypothetical situations. Using a flight that landed safely, despite somewhat of a weather miscalculation, is probably more evidence against an argument than for it. For the record, a few airlines regularly used 75s to cross the Atlantic to NY, Chicago and DC. These flights were routinely shoved into the NE Canadian airports for tech stops because weather (wind) was different over the NATs that had been forecast. It happens, particularly in the winter. Planning over the NATs is actually rather gross (as in "the opposite of 'fine' ") because we don't have wind data collection out there to the same degree we do over mainland airports (enter strong selling point for SWIM).

 

Losing an engine in a quad jet is much less of an issue than in a twin. This is a fact. As an example of this, when NOAA takes its P-3 up to collect data, they will - intentionally - shut down an engine in order to cut back fuel burn and loiter longer. Granted, this is a prop, so they can feather and avoid increased fuel burn, but you'd be hard pressed to find an operator who would do this with a twin. Could a twin do the same work on less fuel? Probably. Would I intentionally bring a twin into a hurricane and other terrible weather? Personally? No. The determination of risk is one that an operator needs to decide. How do you define risk? What are your plans in place to mitigate that risk? What ETOPS ratings are available for the airframe? What ETOPS rating can I realistically and economically maintain? What is the public perception of a quad jet versus a twin? Keep in mind that the customer will make choices that are not in line with actuality. As an example, to many customers, prop planes are unsafe. To others, four engines are categorically better than two, even if they're comparing a 777 to a 707. Your decisions here are determining factors into the profitability of your airline.

 

Also...I'm not sure if people are aware, but ETOPS 330 allows overflight of just about any spot on the globe except some minor parts of Antarctica and southern seas that you really don't need to fly over. As ETOPS ratings go up, they become increasingly difficult and costly to maintain. So...hooray ETOPS 370! You now have the option to fly over areas of the world that you will never, realistically, fly over, unless you think there is incredibly high demand for a FACT-YSSY route over a perfect great circle (the more realistic FAOR-YSSY is already 330 compliant over a GC route).

 

The A v B battle is pointless, to include the 380 v 747 battle. The issues are more complex than sales numbers. Determining 'success' based on a base metric of overall sales may be an initial stab at it, but another argument could be made for the idea that re-use of an older airframe significantly lowered the cost of production to the point where the profit line was much lower. If you have a look around the financial sites, they have strong opinions on the marketability and financial success of each. One could also argue that the 747-8 was simply a build for a VC-25 replacement, with the cost of tooling and development (of about $4.5B) offset by selling it to a handful of airlines and cargo ops. Additionally, no, the ability to use a twin engine aircraft is not feasible given the amount of power draw that all of the secret squirrel stuff requires. Each engine is not only a provider of thrust - it is also a power plant for the electrics, and in the land of computing, redundancy is even more key than in aviation.

 

Aviation is a complex thing. There's a reason many of the airlines of yesteryear are now gone. There's a reason a lot of the upstarts augered in, particularly when run by people who didn't fully understand the intricacies of the industry. PeoplExpress (both times), the six attempts at re-starting Pan AmJetAmerica, and quite a few others - all brought down by people who had no idea how complex aviation really was. In many cases, they barely even or never got off of the ground. "Oh...wait...you mean I have to secure rights to use airports before starting airline service there???" I'm sure you all know that looking at marketing numbers like range on some random website isn't a good idea to figure out what your actual range would be. You all know it's more complex than that: what's the wind; what's weight; what's the ISA DEV; what's your CG? So why are we using very, very basic figures to make very complex arguments? We shouldn't be.

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Is this them retiring their 747-400 fleet or are we talking 747-8's as well? The 747-400 is an old bird and its not surprising that they are coming to the end of their lives. Whereas the 747-8 is still in production (albeit production seriously cut back now). These long distance wide-body airliners don't have the same stresses and strains as regional airliners do from repeated pressurisation cycles and take-off/landings each day but there still comes a time where the costs of maintaining them with the inspection regimes becomes uneconomical. If they were retiring any 747-8's I would be a little bit more alarmed.

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Is this them retiring their 747-400 fleet or are we talking 747-8's as well?

 

400s - UAL doesn't use 8s.

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