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Author: jammerh Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2881  
Subject: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/12/2012 3:41 PM
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Bombardier unveils Learjet 70 and 75
The long wait for Bombardier to move on a replacement for the Learjet 40XR and 45XR is over. The aircraft maker is launching the Learjet 70 and 75, both slated to enter service in second half 2013.

The new models will feature more thrust, improved takeoff performance, faster climb to cruise altitude, better fuel efficiency and lower operating costs. They will be powered by 3,850 lb. thrust Honeywell TFE731-40BR turbofans and have Bombardier’s signature Vision cockpit layout featuring Garmin G5000 avionics.

The Vision flight decks in the cockpit will feature three, 14-inch flat-panel displays, synthetic vision and graphic flight planning, along with split screen images, touch screen controllers and RNP 0.3 capabilities, plus LPV approach navigation and ADS-B OUT broadcasting. They’ll also provide pilots with cabin amenities, such as chrome and leather trim on seats and yokes.

The aircraft will be equipped with much improved winglets modeled after those being developed for the long-range Global 7000 and 8000. The Learjet 70 and 75 will offer sportier performance than the Learjet 40XR and 45XR because they carry several hundred pounds less in avionics weight and are propelled by 700 lb. more thrust.

The increased thrust will shorten takeoff field lengths to less than 4,500 ft. Runway performance long has been a sore point with Learjet 40-series operators. The -40AR engines used on Gulfstream G150 are rated at 4,420 lb. thrust to ISA+13C, thus the 3,850 lb. thrust -40BRs will have generous flat-rating margins for hot-and-high airport performance.

The new aircraft will climb directly to 45,000 and, once there, burn 4-5% less fuel than the aircraft they will replace because of the new winglets. (The -40BR engines have the same high altitude cruise thrust output and thrust specific fuel consumption as the -20BR turbofans on today’s Learjets). Both aircraft will be able to carry at least 200 lb. more payload with maximum fuel and will be able to fly about 2,000 nm at long range cruise. The aircraft will have extended and harmonized maintenance schedules, with 600 hour or 18 month inspection intervals. Reduced fuel consumption and less frequent shop visits should reduce operating costs.

The new aircraft will use the same high definition cabin management system, produced by Lufthansa Technik, on the Learjet 85. Restyled interiors will offer greater comfort and utility, such as PDA storage pockets in the side rails, 7-inch pop-up touchscreen control panels, a 12-inch bulkhead-mounted flat-panel monitor and improved chair comfort and better space utilization. The cabin management system (CMS) has a flexible design allowing for expected growth in digital audio and visual equipment technology. The entire side trim panels will function as speakers.

Flight Test Vehicles 1 and 2, a Learjet 45XR and 40XR, have been flying with G5000 avionics for nearly two years. The new CMS and interior will be installed in FTV3. FTV4, fitted with -40BR engines and redesigned winglets, is slated to make its first flight later this year. Honeywell expects -40BR certification by year’s end. FTV5, a fully-equipped Learjet 75, will be used for function and reliability proving flights.

The $11.1-million Learjet 70 will be certified slightly after the $13.5-million Learjet 75. Bombardier claims to have more than 40 purchase agreements and letters of intent for the two models.
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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2863 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/13/2012 11:20 AM
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Jim,

The new models will feature more thrust, improved takeoff performance, faster climb to cruise altitude, better fuel efficiency and lower operating costs. They will be powered by 3,850 lb. thrust Honeywell TFE731-40BR turbofans and have Bombardier’s signature Vision cockpit layout featuring Garmin G5000 avionics.

Sounds like a major upgrade over the previous model!

Norm.

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Author: jammerh Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2864 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/16/2012 3:01 PM
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Hi Norm, yes. Between these new products, the recent rail order for $650-billion for San Francisco, and the huge ("largest order in history") for business jets from Netjets - which I'm still trying to fathom - things definitely appear to be lining up nicely.

I'd have preferred they stick with the Rockwell Collins avionics. Cessna is the real competitor to watch in the low-to-mid range BJs. It's under new management, and recently switched to the Garmin product.

Do you have any insight on the Netjets deal? Seems there could be a lot going on behind closed doors. It might be interesting to know why Netjets cancelled the Hawker, and Gulfstream orders. I was under the impression they also cancelled an order to Cessna, but it appears they've at least renewed that effort.

As you realize, Netjets is the big player in Fractional Jetshares, despite recent incremental gains in marketshare by Flexjet. One might expect it took something to change their preference for practically any-manufacturer-but-Bombardier.

Presumably it cost Netjets something to cancell the original outstanding orders then a few months later place huge orders with Bombardier and Embraer - with the Bombardier portion alone worth $7.3-billion if all options are exercised.

Even more peculiar, it seems investors are not giving this order much weight. In speculating why this might be I can only imagine it could have something to do with the context. Since Netjets cancelled the orders with its original suppliers, they may be giving less credibility to the new orders.

Also, as you may realize if you've been following this from the Netjets/Berkshire perspective, I'm wondering if recent management changes might have something to do with it.

Bombardier definitely has a lot more to gain by selling aircraft to Netjets. This deal includes a 15-year agreement for maintenence on the aircraft.

In the end it, at least in terms of results, it should matter little whether Bombardier makes money selling CSeries, Regional Jets, Business Jets, Rail equipment, or some combination of each.

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2865 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/16/2012 5:05 PM
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Jim,

I'd have preferred they stick with the Rockwell Collins avionics. Cessna is the real competitor to watch in the low-to-mid range BJs. It's under new management, and recently switched to the Garmin product.

I don't have the inside scoop on this, but the fact that two major manufacturers are switching to a new supplier would indicate either (1) some significant problem with Rockwell Collins or its products (there are many possibilities here -- poor quality, lack of availability, failure to provide timely delivery, bad field experience/poor support, or even some indication that the manufacturer is in trouble and likely to fail, rendering the product unavailable) or (2) significant new features, likely protected by patents, into the Garmin product.

Do you have any insight on the Netjets deal? Seems there could be a lot going on behind closed doors. It might be interesting to know why Netjets cancelled the Hawker, and Gulfstream orders. I was under the impression they also cancelled an order to Cessna, but it appears they've at least renewed that effort.

As you realize, Netjets is the big player in Fractional Jetshares, despite recent incremental gains in marketshare by Flexjet. One might expect it took something to change their preference for practically any-manufacturer-but-Bombardier.


There are three circumstances that are likely to have dictated this decision: (1) customer demand, (2) problems with the other manufacturers or their products of the same sort that might have driven the shift in suppliers of avionics, or (3) a change in interpersonal dynamics between the executives of the two companies.

This deal includes a 15-year agreement for maintenence on the aircraft.

That may well be the most significant detail. It is rather costly to maintain facilities to maintain a relatively small fleet of aircraft. In recent years, Delta Air Lines has developed a very significant sideline business doing major maintenance and repairs of aircraft for other airlines, some of which are pretty big, under its "Delta Tech Ops" brand. It may well be that the economics crossed the line where it's cheaper to contract out maintenance than to do it in house, and thus that ability of the manufacturer to provide maintenace services previously done "in house" entered the procurement picture.

In the end it, at least in terms of results, it should matter little whether Bombardier makes money selling CSeries, Regional Jets, Business Jets, Rail equipment, or some combination of each.

Rather, I want all aspects of the business to be healthy!

Norm.

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Author: jammerh Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2867 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/21/2012 5:33 PM
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Hi Norm, nice to hear from you again.

You're probably right about the avionics end of things. I suspect pricing may have been a factor with Garmin elbowing its way into the business jet market, having earned its stripes with smaller aircraft.

Garmin is big in night vision, surveillance cameras etc...moving into avionics for larger aircraft seems a logical progression for that company. Rockwell and Honeywell have pretty much had this area to themselves for awhile. They'll have to learn to compete with the new contender.

As for the Netjets deal, yes, there definitely is more here than meets the eye. Again, I'd suspect pricing could have played a part.

Netjets, Bombardier, and Cessna have been running full-page ads together in the NY Times, Wall St Journal etc...publicizing this deal.

As you may have noticed, the original deal was huge in itself. The fact that they decided to increase the size of it has to be a positive. Up from the original $5-Billion to $7.6-Billion for Bombardier's share. I've never seen an order of that magnitude for commercial jets, let alone business jets.

It's definitely a snub to Gulfstream and Hawker, although it seems Cessna's new CEO managed to wrangle his way back into NJs good graces.

On the negative side, Netjets will now have the widest range to offer its customers, making it hard to imagine how Flexjet can continue to compete offering only Bombardier aircraft. Netjets' line-up now offers aircrasft from every major BJ manufacturer.

It's easy to suspect Bombardier may expect to exit the fractional jetshare business at some point because it does not make sense to compete with a customer, even if that customer is willing to buy from you.

"Rather I want all aspects of the business to be healthy"

Well, yes, in a better world we might dare entertain such lofty aspirations. But, as I'm sure you've noticed in recent years things have been a little rough.

Of course, optimally, we'd like to see Bombardier raking in 8% margins on a consistent basis in Transportation and a fat 12% or more in business jets with orders coming in hand over fist. Gulfstream margins have been as high as 20% although they focus more on the upper end (luxury) of the market.

If we're dreaming why not dream big? Big demand for CSeries, turboprops flying off the shelves, a regional jet revival, and exceptional demand for high-speed, and light rail...did I miss anything?

My point is Bombardier can still perform very well even as some of its products slow, or are slow to take-off. In fact it only seems reasonable to expect at least some of its products won't be as successful as anticipated, and some of its products will wax and wane in terms of popularity.

With a sufficient number of successful products Bombardier can still grow sufficiently to compensate for any area that might experience some weakness.

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2868 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/24/2012 8:04 PM
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Jim,

On the negative side, Netjets will now have the widest range to offer its customers, making it hard to imagine how Flexjet can continue to compete offering only Bombardier aircraft. Netjets' line-up now offers aircrasft from every major BJ manufacturer.

FlexJet probably has a significant cost advantage over NetJets because it has fewer types of aircraft -- which means a lot less cost for training both flight crews and technicians and a lot more flexibility in scheduling flight crews.

It's easy to suspect Bombardier may expect to exit the fractional jetshare business at some point because it does not make sense to compete with a customer, even if that customer is willing to buy from you.

Said another way, it's possible that Bombardier will sell the FlexJet business to NetJets or, conversely acquire NetJets and merge it with the FlexJet operation if they can work out a deal that's satisfactory for both companies.

If we're dreaming why not dream big? Big demand for CSeries, turboprops flying off the shelves, a regional jet revival, and exceptional demand for high-speed, and light rail...did I miss anything?

There will be a "regional jet revival" at some point because regional jet operators will need to replace their existing fleets when their fleets become obsolete. The question is when it will occur.

That said, there is one unknown in the regional jet market. In recent years, the regional jet operators have been replacing smaller (50 passenger) aircraft with larger aircraft to meet demand on routes that historically were thin and to replace smaller mainline aircraft on routes that did not require their capacity. The result is a glut of used 50 passenger aircraft on the market.

Norm.

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Author: jammerh Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2869 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/26/2012 5:04 PM
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Hi Norm,

You said, "FlexJet probably has a significant cost advantage over NetJets because it has fewer types of aircraft -- which means a lot less cost for training both flight crews and technicians and a lot more flexibility in scheduling flight crews"

Yes, that's a good point, and one that might be worth digging into to see just how much weight to give to these considerations.

I've always had the impression Bombardier had painted itself into a corner with its fractional jetshares program since it could not offer customers the wide selection Netjets can. As you probably realize, Flexjet offers only Bombardier products.

Bombardier can do so because it has the widest range of business jet aircradft on offer, however, anyone interested in an aircraft built by any one of the five other major business jet manufacturers has to go to Netjets, which continues to dominate with about 75% of this market.

Flight Options, the third major Frax operator takes most of what's left.
Flight Options, originally had a couple of Bombardier aircraft in its fleet, but then subsequently disposed of them.

It's a curious situation when a manufacturer owns a company that effectively competes with potential customers. With the growth of the Fractinal Jet Shares market, it's hard to imagine Bombardier wanting to continue competing withe Netjets.

I guess there are precedents, or at least parallels. When you see Microsoft entering the hardware business you have to wonder. When you see management go against the conventional thinking like that, they often have their own strategies and understanding of market demands in mind.

On the other hand, competing with a customer is something everyone can see and can have some impact even on your prospective customers:

"If I buy from these guys, and they see weaknesses in my business model, or think they can do a better job than I can, are they going to turn around and start competing with me?"

"Said another way, it's possible that Bombardier will sell the FlexJet business to NetJets or, conversely acquire NetJets and merge it with the FlexJet operation if they can work out a deal that's satisfactory for both companies."

Most manufacturers want to avoid giving even the impression that they might be considering competing with their customers. It's why in acquisitions, buyers insist on guarantees the sellers won't turn around and start a new entity that competes with the one they're selling.

If you say "possible" I'd say "probable". If not to Netjets, the most likely candidate (although they might not want quite that many Bombardier aircraft), to Flight Options. Another possibility is that they spin it off. I don't see Bombardier buying Netjets from Berkshire Hathaway, but I guess that's within the realm of the possible.

"There will be a "regional jet revival" at some point because regional jet operators will need to replace their existing fleets when their fleets become obsolete. The question is when it will occur. That said, there is one unknown in the regional jet market. In recent years, the regional jet operators have been replacing smaller (50 passenger) aircraft with larger aircraft to meet demand on routes that historically were thin and to replace smaller mainline aircraft on routes that did not require their capacity. The result is a glut of used 50 passenger aircraft on the market."

I wish I could share your confidence in an RJ revival. Although what's left of regional airlines will eventually need new aircraft. and fuel prices appear to be declining as we both expected, taking some of the pressure off the use of regional jets. I see some of that demand going to turboprops, and looking further out, to larger turboprops which both Bombardier and ATR say they're planning.

RJs have two major drawbacks. The primary concern cited for many is fuel-efficiency. With their per passenger seat-mile cost being slightly higher than larger commercial aircraft they're at a distinct disadvantage. Even if the price of fuel drops and remains lower airlines will remain cautious because they don't want to get into a situation where they're operating less fuel-efficient fleets should prices rise again.

The other concern is comfort, and we've already taken runs at that issue on more than one occasion. So, while I hope there's something to what you're saying, I don't share youre degree of confidence that will take place - at least not to the extent you suggest.

Newer, cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient turboprops is another possibile game-changer.

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2870 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 6/27/2012 7:39 AM
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Jim,

Yes, that's a good point, and one that might be worth digging into to see just how much weight to give to these considerations.

The economics of so-called "fractional jet share" operators should be pretty similar to that of airlines with regard to the number of distinct types of aircraft in their fleets.

Here, you have to remember that, under a "fractional ownership" contract, the operator promises the availability of a particular model of aircraft, with a flight crew, for a specific number of hours per year (or per month). The operator does NOT promise the availability of a specific aircraft and crew. Like a major airline, the operator maintains enough aircraft and crews to meet this contractual obligation, knowing that all of its customers will not need aircraft at the same time. The operator then schedules aircraft and crews as its customers request their availability, keeping track of each customer's actual hours of use. Of course, the operator also must schedule each aircraft for maintenance. Like a commercial airline, each FAA "type" of aircraft in its fleet requires a separate pool of pilots and technicians and a separate inventory of spare parts.

I've always had the impression Bombardier had painted itself into a corner with its fractional jetshares program since it could not offer customers the wide selection Netjets can. As you probably realize, Flexjet offers only Bombardier products.

Historically, I think that Bombardier started the Flexjet operation before NetJets took off. Once you have signed contracts with customers, it's rather difficult to shut down the business. A merger with a competitor, following either a sale or an acquisition, would be the most economical way to do it.

I see some of that demand going to turboprops, and looking further out, to larger turboprops which both Bombardier and ATR say they're planning.

I don't foresee that in North America. If given a choice, most airline passengers will choose a jet over a turboprop every time, so long as there's a choice. This was manifest in the mid-1990's, when Comair's passengers consistently chose flights operated with regional jets over flights on the same routes times operated with turboprops, even when the latter were at more convenient times -- and other regional airlines' passengers started flocking to Comair to fly on regional jets, too.

RJs have two major drawbacks. The primary concern cited for many is fuel-efficiency. With their per passenger seat-mile cost being slightly higher than larger commercial aircraft they're at a distinct disadvantage. Even if the price of fuel drops and remains lower airlines will remain cautious because they don't want to get into a situation where they're operating less fuel-efficient fleets should prices rise again.

Yes, and turboprops have one major drawback. Passengers avoid them whenever there is an alternative, so they will fly nearly empty on routes where there is a competitor with regional jets. They don't generate revenue when they fly nearly empty!

Newer, cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient turboprops is another possibile game-changer.

As best I can tell, the "newer, cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient turboprops" still operate at slower speed and lower altitude, with more susceptibility to turbulence, and are still not as quiet as regional jets. While the speed and the altitude might not be as significant on routes under two hundred miles or so, the susceptibility to turbulence and the thumping noise are still a very significant factor for passenger comfort.

Norm.

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Author: jammerh Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2875 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 7/16/2012 5:43 PM
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"...The operator does NOT promise the availability of a specific aircraft and crew. Like a major airline, the operator maintains enough aircraft and crews to meet this contractual obligation, knowing that all of its customers will not need aircraft at the same time. The operator then schedules aircraft and crews as its customers request their availability, keeping track of each customer's actual hours of use. Of course, the operator also must schedule each aircraft for maintenance. Like a commercial airline, each FAA "type" of aircraft in its fleet requires a separate pool of pilots and technicians and a separate inventory of spare parts."

Yes, from what I understand, Santilli, who started Netjets did a lot of research into algorythms in an effort to come up with a formula that helps serve a maximum number of clients with a minimum number of aircraft. But my guess is that empty flights - to get aircraft where and when - they're needed must still present a problem.

I also get the impression fractional operators don't pay their pilots commercial pilot salaries and pension benefits.

"Historically, I think that Bombardier started the Flexjet operation before NetJets took off. Once you have signed contracts with customers, it's rather difficult to shut down the business. A merger with a competitor, following either a sale or an acquisition, would be the most economical way to do it."

Well, that's an interesting possibility. My impression was that Netjets started things, the Flight Options, and Bombardier followed suit. But this is something that should be verifiable.

"I don't foresee that in North America. If given a choice, most airline passengers will choose a jet over a turboprop every time, so long as there's a choice. This was manifest in the mid-1990's, when Comair's passengers consistently chose flights operated with regional jets over flights on the same routes times operated with turboprops, even when the latter were at more convenient times -- and other regional airlines' passengers started flocking to Comair to fly on regional jets, too."

A lot depends on fuel costs. You'll see more turboprops in North America if fuel costs rise dramatically in the years ahead. And a lot depends on developments in the pipeline with regard to new engine technologies. As you may realize engine makers for both turboprop engines and jet engines have new designs under development.

Eventually, we may even see some new engine type, or variation added to the mix. Voltaire, on his deathbed is said to have remarked, "Je vais voire la grande peut-etre.", or "I'm going to see the big maybe." New engine technologies now under development might be thought of that way.

"Yes, and turboprops have one major drawback. Passengers avoid them whenever there is an alternative, so they will fly nearly empty on routes where there is a competitor with regional jets. They don't generate revenue when they fly nearly empty!"

Passengers also avoid regional jets due to the perception at least, that they're cramped and less comfortable than larger commercial jet aircraft.

"As best I can tell, the "newer, cleaner, quieter, more fuel-efficient turboprops" still operate at slower speed and lower altitude, with more susceptibility to turbulence, and are still not as quiet as regional jets. While the speed and the altitude might not be as significant on routes under two hundred miles or so, the susceptibility to turbulence and the thumping noise are still a very significant factor for passenger comfort."

Any aircraft that flies shorter routes will experience some suceptability to turbulence because it can't easily attain the altitude required to avoid it.

A lot of the problem for turboprops involves perception versus the facts. Historically, turboprops have been much noisier than newer models such as Bombardier's QSeries with its proprietary noise-cancellation technology.

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2876 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 7/17/2012 3:57 AM
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Jim,

But my guess is that empty flights - to get aircraft where and when - they're needed must still present a problem.

Fractional jet share operators have to factor in the cost of flights to reposition aircraft and crews somehow. Some of it probably counts as usage within the hours allocated to each fractional share, and some of it undoubtedly is mitigated by the fact that one customer will want to go to a location from which another customer wants to depart at about the same time, or at least a location that's close enough so the "dead head" to reposition the plane and the flight crew is short. Also, the wording of the customers' "fractional ownership" contracts can provide flexibility by requiring the customers to specify time windows of several hours in duration rather than specific times.

I also get the impression fractional operators don't pay their pilots commercial pilot salaries and pension benefits.

They probably pay their pilots about the same as employed by private and corporate owners to operate the same model of aircraft. The pay probably does include provisions for a retirement plan, but the pilots normally will move to commercial airlines when they gain enough experience to do so.

Note that commercial airlines typically pay their pilots on a pay scale that's linked to the size of the aircraft that they fly, with larger aircraft paying more than smaller aircraft fot the corresponding positions (a "captain" on a smaller aircraft often making more than a "first officer" on a larger aircraft). Private jets are simply at the smaller end of such a scale.

You'll see more turboprops in North America if fuel costs rise dramatically in the years ahead.

Not if a significant percentage of passengers refuse to fly on them!

Passengers also avoid regional jets due to the perception at least, that they're cramped and less comfortable than larger commercial jet aircraft.

Perhaps, but any passengers who shun regional jets for this reason most assuredly do not choose turboprops instead.

Any aircraft that flies shorter routes will experience some suceptability to turbulence because it can't easily attain the altitude required to avoid it.

I have flown enough to know that the turbulence sometimes occurs at higher altitudes and that the plane needs to get under it.

But more fundamentally, some aircraft are a lot more susceptible to turbulence than others, and it has nothing to do with size. The Canadair Regional Jet line has very low susceptibility. I have flown across the Rocky Mountains -- an area well known for bad turbulence -- in both directions within a couple hours, when the actual conditions did not change much, so I'm speaking from personal experience on this.

A lot of the problem for turboprops involves perception versus the facts. Historically, turboprops have been much noisier than newer models such as Bombardier's QSeries with its proprietary noise-cancellation technology.

I know that Bombardier advertises that its Q Series of turboprops have some sort of system that cancels noise, and that it is much quieter than the previous series of DeHavilland tuboprops, but I doubt that the noise cancellation system is perfect. Suppression of the "thump-thump-thump" produced by propeller blades passing in front of the wing is exceedingly difficult.

In any case, I suspect that the Canadair Regional Jet line, which has a longstanding reputation as one of the quietest aircraft in the skies, is far quieter than the Q Series. Air traffic controllers have long boasted that they could send Canadair Regional Jets "anywhere" -- even on low approaches over residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night -- with no worries that residents would call to complain about noise.

Norm.

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Author: jammerh Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2877 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 7/20/2012 4:32 PM
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Hi Norm, in response to your last post. As usual, I agree with most of what you said, but here are a few points that come to mind in reading what you wrote:

"Fractional jet share operators have to factor in the cost of flights to reposition aircraft and crews somehow. Some of it probably counts as usage within the hours allocated to each fractional share, and some of it undoubtedly is mitigated by the fact that one customer will want to go to a location from which another customer wants to depart at about the same time, or at least a location that's close enough so the "dead head" to reposition the plane and the flight crew is short. Also, the wording of the customers' "fractional ownership" contracts can provide flexibility by requiring the customers to specify time windows of several hours in duration rather than specific times."

Yes, according to what I read they employ complex mathematical algorythms in an effort to minimize flights to reposition aircraft still it's a sizeable cost for any fractional jet share operator. It seems to me that the larger the company, the easier it would be able to do this. Would you agree?

If that's the case Netjets would have a definite advantage in terms of its size and number of clients. Last time I looked Netjets still had a whopping 75% marketshare compared to Flexjet and Flight Options sharing the bulk of the remaining 25%.

Me: "You'll see more turboprops in North America if fuel costs rise dramatically in the years ahead."

You: "Not if a significant percentage of passengers refuse to fly on them!"


I see some similarity between this problem and the one seperating regional jets and larger commercial jets. Yes, there will be periods in which these aircraft types experience something of a resurgence in demand, but in other respects they're up against it in terms of having specific advantages and disadvantages.

Fuel prices are one of a number of factors in this equation - with each factor waxing and waning in terms of importance over time. Turboprops haven't died yet, neither have regional jets.

And while it can be difficult to predict where industry trends will take these two commercial aircraft types in the years ahead, the fact that Bombardier apprears to be losing ground in both turboprops (to ATR) and regional jets (to Embraer) isn't encouraging.

As I see this ATR has a distinct advantage in terms of having an edge with european carriers which - due to their particular flying requirements and shorter routes (along with perhaps higher fuel prices) - seem to have developed a greater appreciateion for turboprops.

Embraer's biggest edge, from my perspective, comes in the form of its lower labour costs. Embraer has effectively leveraged this advantage to elbow its way to becoming a major competitor in business jets in recent years.

Just a few years ago it had no product line-up in this category aside from the Legacy, a converted regional jet. Now it's taking a big bite out of Cessna with its cheap Phenoms. And it is in the process of developing new products wich will soon be competing with mid-sized and the larger business jet segments.

Me: ,"Passengers also avoid regional jets due to the perception at least, that they're cramped and less comfortable than larger commercial jet aircraft.

You: "Perhaps, but any passengers who shun regional jets for this reason most assuredly do not choose turboprops instead.

Yes, the fact that flying passengers complain probably doesn't surprise anybody. I'm usually not quite as good-humored as I'd like to be myself on days when I have to fly. And as an old friend here once pointed out it can be a different story when it comes to getting out their wallets to pay.

"I have flown enough to know that the turbulence sometimes occurs at higher altitudes and that the plane needs to get under it. But more fundamentally, some aircraft are a lot more susceptible to turbulence than others, and it has nothing to do with size. The Canadair Regional Jet line has very low susceptibility. I have flown across the Rocky Mountains -- an area well known for bad turbulence -- in both directions within a couple hours, when the actual conditions did not change much, so I'm speaking from personal experience on this."

I understand from this, and what you've indidcated in previous posts over the years, that you've flown a lot. Are you saying you have flown both aircraft types? or predominantly RJs? and larger aircraft?

I you haven't flown turboprops, or haven't flown Q400s frequently enough to make a comparison through varied flying conditions it could be difficult to make a comparison. It can be difficult to make judgements based solely on personal experience since we can't easily measure things like how violent turbulence is to make concise comparisons.

I realize we often have to make some generalizations in life based on our own individual experiences, but we should realizse it isn't very scientific.

"I know that Bombardier advertises that its Q Series of turboprops have some sort of system that cancels noise, and that it is much quieter than the previous series of DeHavilland tuboprops, but I doubt that the noise cancellation system is perfect. Suppression of the "thump-thump-thump" produced by propeller blades passing in front of the wing is exceedingly difficult. In any case, I suspect that the Canadair Regional Jet line, which has a longstanding reputation as one of the quietest aircraft in the skies, is far quieter than the Q Series. Air traffic controllers have long boasted that they could send Canadair Regional Jets "anywhere" -- even on low approaches over residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night -- with no worries that residents would call to complain about noise."

I agree we need to be a little skeptical when it comes to any company's advertising. I don't agree if you're suggesting jets can be considered "QUIET". I'd also point out that noise is a complicated thing. Sound generated at idle on the tarmac and varies as an aircraft accelerates and passes through air currents at varying speeds.

I wouldn't describe the noise of a propeller, or fan as being a thump, thump, sound except perhaps at very low speeds. In fact it is often referred to as "white noise". As such its something many of us relate to in different ways. Many actually like it because it helps the brain block out more intrusive sounds.

Most people don't mind the sound of their own vehicle, but if you're outside near a lot of traffic it can seem like a lot of noise.

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Author: rev2217 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 2878 of 2881
Subject: Re: New Learjet 70 and 75 Date: 7/22/2012 5:16 PM
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Jim,

Yes, according to what I read they employ complex mathematical algorythms in an effort to minimize flights to reposition aircraft still it's a sizeable cost for any fractional jet share operator. It seems to me that the larger the company, the easier it would be able to do this. Would you agree?

Unfortunately, it is not so simple. Each customer buys a fractional share of a particular model of aircraft, so the company generally must serve each customer with the respective model of aircraft in which the customer purchased a fractional share. Note, also, that each FAA type of aircraft must have a separate pool of flight crews to fly it and technicians to service it. Here, the FAA "type" roughly corresponds to the model of aircraft, excepting that a replacement model often has the same type as the model that it replaces. Thus, a company like NetJets that offers fractional shares of similar aircraft from multiple manufacturers is actually managing more pools of aircraft and flight crews rather than more aircraft and crews within the same pool.

Fuel prices are one of a number of factors in this equation - with each factor waxing and waning in terms of importance over time. Turboprops haven't died yet, neither have regional jets.

In the battle between regional jets and mainline jets, the convenience factor is also very significant. Here, the major airlines in the United States have discovered that they will draw more passsengers by offering more frequent service on smaller planes than by offering less frequent service on larger aircraft. Passengers generally have shown a propensity to choose a regional jet at the time that best coincides with their schedules over the larger jet three hours earlier or later. The result is that many intermediate routes now have six to eight flights per day, most of which may be served with regional jets, rather than three or four flights on larger aircraft.

But current turboprops offer about the same capacity as regional jets, so they cannot offer more frequent service on smaller aircraft.

As I see this ATR has a distinct advantage in terms of having an edge with european carriers which - due to their particular flying requirements and shorter routes (along with perhaps higher fuel prices) - seem to have developed a greater appreciateion for turboprops.

I rather think that it's simply a question of there not being a European regional airline that has shifted its entire fleet to regional jets, as Comair did here in the states about 2 1/2 decades ago. Once Comair announced that decision here, the other regional carriers pretty much had to follow suit to remain competitive.

Are you saying you have flown both aircraft types? or predominantly RJs? and larger aircraft?

Sorry, I meant that I flew a "mainline" aircraft and a regional jet in substantially the same airspace no more than a couple hours apart. Basically, I was flying between Boston and either Colorado Springs or Denver with a connection in Salt Lake, thus crossing the Rockies on both legs. The longer segment was on a "mainline" jet and the shorter segment was on a regional jet. I actually have done this several times, in both directions, and the flight on the Canadair Regional Jet was always substantially smoother.

I you haven't flown turboprops, or haven't flown Q400s frequently enough to make a comparison through varied flying conditions it could be difficult to make a comparison. It can be difficult to make judgements based solely on personal experience since we can't easily measure things like how violent turbulence is to make concise comparisons.

I have flown turboprops, but not specifically the Q400 models. I avoid them if at all possible.

I wouldn't describe the noise of a propeller, or fan as being a thump, thump, sound except perhaps at very low speeds.

The problem is not the propeller itself. Rather, the thumping occurs because the airflow from the propeller impinges on the wing or the engine strut when a blade of the propeller passes in front of the respective structure, disrupting the smooth airflow behind the propeller. This produces vibrations at various harmonics of a frequency equal to the product of the rotational frequency of the propeller and the number of blades, with either the fundamental frequency or its first harmonic being the strongest. You can simulate this by holding a tube vertically in front of a window fan; you'll feel the change in pressure on the tube as the blades of the fan pass through the vertical position.

Most people don't mind the sound of their own vehicle, but if you're outside near a lot of traffic it can seem like a lot of noise.

But in this case, the cause is impingement of the airflow on the structure (wing or engine strut) of the aircraft that causes the airframe itself to vibrate. A jet does not have this problem because there's no structure either in front of or behind it.

Norm.

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