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Home > Airplanes > The Boeing versus Airbus debate - how about some balanced views?
The Boeing versus Airbus debate - how about some balanced views?
Aviation - Airplanes
Monday, 07 January 2008 20:06

Hi Capt Lim,

I am amazed at how one eyed your comments and views are. As someone running their own web site you can be biased even dishonest and no one can stop you, but how about a bit of balance? Airbus was subsidized by governments just as Boeing and other US manufacturers are.

The USAF and NASA spend huge amounts on research and buy for instance many hundreds of B707's as tankers, along with DC10s, while fighter programs have ridiculous costs to off set manufacturers costs like $8,000 for a 1/8 Allen key that cost 10 cents at Sears.

To sell B707's in the 60's the US government would give squadrons of recently retired aircraft like Sabres to countries who bought US aircraft. That is bribery or "subsidy". Both major manufacturers and their respective governments still do that so don't flog that pathetic story of US free enterprise against European government help. Many passengers prefer the A320 over the B737, for good reason, while you try getting Northwest pilots out of the A320, back to the older design stuff !!

Airbus have continued to push the frontiers of design, while Boeing have stagnated. The last new Boeing was the 777 which has been around for a decade, with nothing new on the marketing table.

Please give credit where it is due, and remember about 30% of the value of an Airbus is US built eg leading edge skins, engines etc.

The US government gives money to farmers so they can sell at lower prices and destroy other countries farmers, but that is OK. Uncle Sam cares for his own and there is no one else who matters like the breast implant court cases where damages for US citizens was many time greater than the compensation for women from other countries.

As for your very poorly researched comments on Airbus versus Boeing on winglets and how the Boeing wing is better and doesn't need to have them, well what an uneducated comment, the B737 800 and BBJ have them because of performance gains. Surely you know enough about aerodynamics to tell the truth?

I am an Australian and yes I have been to the US twice, once for 2 weeks rode a BMW from LA to Dallas and back with a mate who was in the Marines and is now a State Trooper in Alaska and I visited him there on my second trip, some 4 weeks during which time I visited LA Dallas Nashville Washington DC NY, Toronto with your northern neighbors, Chicago, Seattle, Anchorage and Portland I flew on about 6 US airlines, but I also flew with Aeroflot and found their meals vastly superior to any other Airlines, European, Asian, Australian, or US and they offered wonderful leg room. All the world has much to offer. No country is best at very many things, so open your eyes and your mind and your web site will be worth visiting again.

Arnold Long,
Brisbane Australia.

Hi Arnold,

Thank you for your feedbacks. For your information, I don't work for Boeing nor do I endorse their products intentionally. I am giving my opinion, as I know the Boeing 777 better than any other airplanes. I share whatever information I have to whoever ask them. I may be biased unintentionally, but it would be interesting if you could give more views in favor of the Airbuses. In this ways, readers may form their own matured opinion.

Back to the Boeing 777 - what truth do you want to know why this airplane does not require winglets? The Boeing 747-400 has winglets. Fine. It was found that it improves performance and saves fuel up to 20 per cent. However, from what I can gather, to save wing design costs, the computer came up with an optimum wing for the Boeing 777 that did not require winglets and still perform just as well. It still cruises at Mach 0.84 as compared to the Airbus 330/340 with winglets that cruises at Mach 0.82 What more can I say? True, the Boeing 737-800 and the BBJ also have winglets but they have nothing to do with my explanation that the Boeing 777 does not require winglets for them to perform just as well!

Hi Capt Lim,

No I do not intend to defend Airbus, no run down Boeing, both build fine aircraft, I just read your comments as if they were Boeing comments . Flying a 777 means you graduated from other aircraft, and being US based that probably means via smaller Boeing, Douglas or/ and Lockheed.

Also I never believed no suggested you worked for Boeing. I attended a training course on MSG 3 planning, during which which a Boeing Designer and a head of maintenance from North West Airlines presented. The Boeing designer was very positive about the attributes of Airbus, and the Northwest man said once they shifted pilots into the A320, they would not trade that command for anything.

Lack of winglets or addition of them is not a design problem, rather the wing can be designed to incorporate them, so having them built in is not a problem. If the wing , once built, is enhanced by the addition of the winglet, then one could say the design was the optimum wing.

Boeing designed the 777 to cruise at the same speed as the 747 deliberately, so they could be interchanged with no rescheduling, whereas Airbus chose a slightly lower Mach number cruise, to provide a better fuel consumption rate. With the problems in the middle east, and the fuel prices going up like a Saturn 4 rocket, I imagine Airline executives look more at fuel consumption than speed differentials of .01 mach. If speed was the only criteria, the Sonic cruiser would have sold well. Same with Concorde. You would know it uses the same fuel to carry just over a 100 passengers London New York as a 747, carrying 400 plus. Concorde sold 17, B747 over 1100 and still going strong. Much the same problem killed the 880 and 990 of the early 60's.

Interesting that many years ago, an ex navy pilot said he like the Beech Baron much more than the Cessna 310, but said the 310 rode rough air much better because the wing flex made turbulence much less jarring. You indicate the opposite for Airbus versus Boeing.

As I said, you run the web site, so can write what ever you like, and obviously base it on your own experience and beliefs. I found most of what you wrote interesting but the (natural) bias was strong, as was your communicants suggestion that Airbus had unfair tax payer help. Informed people all over the world know the US has never operated any international dealing on a level playing field, it is always tilted in favor of the US, yet when it comes to helping even enemies, no country or people are as generous or forgiving. On that point, sadly, people keep saying the US wants war with Iraq simply so they can control the oil fields, while supporting a brutal undemocratic government in Saudi Arabia. I happen to believe that even though Saddam actually offers Iraqi's greater freedom than any other mid east country, eg women have encouragement to be educated, no restriction on their dress, greater religious freedom that any place other than Israel, he should be removed from office and the people given freedom from poison gas, chemical weapons and torture.

Sadly this is one cause of so much hatred towards the US from so many countries. The terrible sight of people in middle east countries celebrating when news came through of the space shuttle accidentand earlier of the world trade center destruction, shows the attitude, bred of ignorance but also influenced by often dishonest government and business actions. Sadly the US has never done any good in public relations. Read the book "The ugly American" and it really does portray so much of US foreign policy, and even after more than 40 years, it is relevant. Why does not the US place more emphasis on what your country did to protect Muslims in Bosnia, Your people spend countless hundreds of millions and many lives helping people who were personally thankful but apparently not very publicly thankful for US help. I do not remember Muslim countries helping their brothers. There are also more Muslims in the US than in Afghanistan !!

Having traveled around the world worked, in 3rd world countries, including a strongly Muslim one I saw that attitude so often. I went to school with many US kids, my oldest son is named after my US friend Mark, the trooper in Alaska, my sister taught in San Diego for 12 months, my Aunt is an American and naturally my cousins are, and amongst my great grandparents is an American, so I an not anti US, I am simply aware of a one eyed view of the world which to me, came through in some of your comments.

Five friends, a family Mum Dad 3 girls died in the Pan Am crash in Pago Pago early 74. I went to school with the eldest daughter, while the father was from an electronics background, and helped develop the auto pilot system on the B58 Hustlers, a plane about which he spoke often. In 77 I actually got to see several B58's and saw what he he had described so often.

Sadly too the most common image of the US and its citizens is what your media portray, immoral, drug dealing violent criminals with life styles far beyond the dreams of 99% of the world. How is that you ask ? Watch your TV and movies Hollywood produces and tell me even one that actually is a reflection of what US of A is really like. Baywatch was enormously popular in the middle east, but it sure does not portray real people, E.R., LA law, Sex and the City are not a mirror to your country, but that is what people see, and so bad opinions are formed and cemented.

A strict Muslim would be horrified at what they see as "normal" Americans Which probably explains many of the attitudes. My six weeks there was very different ... Apart from some rotten sod stealing my sheepskin gloves in the post office in Richardson (Dallas) while I posted my letters, and there were only 4 other people there !!!.

Anyway enough of my ravings, happy flying,

Regards ...


Hi Arnold,

Thank you for sharing some of your views in life. For your information, I am not an US citizen and I don't reside in the USA.

Below are further clarifications to my previous answers:-

I think you are not so clear about my explanation as to why the Boeing 777 does not have winglets. Winglets are fine on Boeing 747-400, Airbus 330/340, Boeing 737-800 or the BBJ. When Boeing first designed the 777, the computer came out with an optimum wing
design that does not require winglets. Of course, winglets on the Boeing 777 would have made it look sleek and majestic! If the additional construction cost justified the fuel saving, or its sleek look, I would have thought that the Boeing engineers would have done that!

You mentioned that the Boeing 777 was designed to cruise at the same speed as the Boeing 747 to facilitate interchangeability on commercial grounds. This is not true. The Boeing 777 is designed to cruise at Mach .84 whereas the Boeing 747 cruises at Mach .86

True, the Airbus 330/340 cruises at a lower speed of Mach .82 (Mach 0.02 slower and not 0.01!) than the Boeing 777. It is also agreed that it is more economical than the Boeing 777 because of lower fuel consumption.

The composite materials used to build the wings on the Airbus 330/340 have the advantage of reducing the basic weight of the airplanes. The minus point is that the wings are now more flexible, causing them to flex more than a Boeing 777. Result? Any turbulence felt
becomes more pronounced. The Baron and Cessna comparison you mentioned - wing flexing more makes turbulence less jarring - is an interesting theory. If you have not flown on both the airplanes, you should ask those who have experienced the differences or check it out yourself.

You are quite upset over my 'one eyed view' about Boeing planes, but I do give credits to where they are due. Only thing is, sometimes I do make a stand if I am asked for an opinion as to which airplane I prefer more. Having flown the Boeing 777 for the last five and a half years, (and still flying) I am happy with this latest plane from Boeing. Perhaps, the Airbus 380, when it comes into service in 2006, will offer something even better for every one.


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You have gone off course, Arnold
Honestly, this is a great example of poor argument construction and honestly, the kind of blind firing and criticism expected from people who have too much ego and little experience.

This is a forum about flying, not about the geopolitical situation in the Middle East or elsewhere. Be it Airbus or Boeing, Capt Lim has the democratic right to express his preference and I think he has more calibre to make such a comment than you do being in the cockpit, whereas you can only talk about airline service/food/leg room.

Your views are your own, no doubt. But for the sake of your own ego and for our viewing, please express your comments at a more appropriate forum.

Capt Lim, I applaud your tireless efforts on keeping people who seek information, informed. To be frank, I would have not entertained or allowed such mindless attacks to be posted for public viewing. So to you, I will give credit to where I see it is due.
J L , 16 Jan, 2009
Mr. Arnold Long seriously needs to get a life. But I guess 6 weeks in the US makes him an expert on world affairs and breast implant law suits.

Keep up the good work Captain Lim!
John Doe , 27 Jan, 2009
Hi capt lim,

i have heared alot abt u . can u plz tell me the diff between B737 and A320 hydraulic system .

although i am a technition .
sader ali , 31 Jan, 2009
well to comment on the winglet issue, it seems it isnt the optimum wing design, the newer 200LR and 300ER have raked wingtips designed to do the same thing as a winglet. therefore the original wings were flawed
Ared , 27 Jul, 2009
Not true Ared, any wing designs as long as it is structurally capable of carrying the increased loads created by the addition of winglets or rakes will get aerodynamic improvements. Wingtip devices such as winglets or rakes reduces the intensity of induced drag (caused by the vortices generated on the tips). If you want to totally eliminate this, you need an infinite wing which is impossible. Also, for designing the wings, you need to think about gate limitations. So wingspan is limited. Blended winglet is the most effective way to increase the effective wingspan of an aircraft without increasing the planar wingspan. Of course this is for now, maybe in the future a brilliant engineer or scientist will come up with a new idea to tackle induced drag. Blended winglets on 737 also reduces viscous drag providing more efficiency improvements. Air NZ recently announced that they get 6% fuel savings from the blended winglet on their 767s, 19% better than what was expected. Airlines that operates 737s with winglets (Alaska and Southwest) reported at least 5% fuel savings. Blended winglets was so popular that they are now offered on all 737, 757, and 767 models. Airbus also looked at blended winglets on their A320 but the structural modifications needed to strengthen the wings will off-set the savings. They are now looking at other way to improve efficiency since the 737NG is improving. Currently A320 has what we called tip fences.
pinoyaggie , 15 Oct, 2009

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