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Home > Airplanes > Boeing vs Airbus... which is the better plane?
Boeing vs Airbus... which is the better plane?
Aviation - Airplanes
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 19:24

Hello Capt Lim,

My question with regard to the Boeing 777.

Today, when Airbus is testing its new version of the A340-600, I am wondering what are the benefits of equipping two or four engine on an aircraft. Both planes are about of the same size and range capability and they are believed to bring about an interesting competition.

(1) Will Boeing be capable of making the B777-200 flying more fuel efficient and therefore fly further as it has only two engines?

(2) Is Airbus A340-600 able to compensate this loss by flying direct routes as no
ETOPS regulations force it to cruise along potential diversion fields instead of the straight path.

(3) Is it also an advantage when one can distribute the requested thrust on four engines?

Chris Jeker

Hi Chris,

Thank you for your questions regarding the Boeing 777 design. Here are thenanswers to your 3 questions:-

(1) Improving the fuel efficiency of the aircraft will require more fuel efficient engines. The Boeing 777 are fitted with either the Rolls Royce, Pratt and Whitney or General Electric engines. Fitting which type of engines on the Boeing 777 will depend on the preference of the individual Airlines.

You will notice that the Boeing 777 does not have winglets like the A340-600 or Boeing 747-400. Someone once asked me whether fitting winglets on the Boeing 777 will make any difference to the efficiency of the wings. I am made to believe that it does not, as the Boeing 777 is the first aircraft to be completely designed by computer. Therefore, the current wing design is the most efficient one in terms of fuel saving.

Remember that even with only two engines as compared to the A340-600 with four, the Boeing 777 engines are larger and produce more thrust each. Further, Boeing has produced the Longer Range B777-200 with a range of 8820 nautical miles as compared to the A340-600 with 7500 nautical miles.

So your question, will Boeing be capable of making B777 more fuel efficient, the answer is yes if more fuel efficient engines are fitted. Currently, from the data that I have, the Longer Range Boeing 777-200 with two engines flies further than the A340-600.

(2) You are right that the A340-600 is not governed by the ETOPS (extended twin-engine operations) Regulations. The Regulations prohibit a twin engine aircraft to operate over a route that contains a point further than 60 minutes flying time from an adequate airport at the selected one-engine-out diversion speed. This is based on a single-engine flying time to an adequate airport. The diversion time may be 90, 120, 180 or 207 minutes.

This diversion time varies depending on the safety records of the particular Airline (many factors taken into account). The maximum diversion time is only used for determining the area of operation and only granted by the individual country's Department of Civil Aviation.

Back to your question. With the advantage of four engines, the A340-600 can certainly fly direct routes as they are not governed by the ETOPS Regulations.

(3) The issue of two versus four engines has its pros and cons. Your view, if I interpret it correctly, that with four engines, you can distribute the thrust when you needed them, is true in the sense that you only lose 25 percent of the take-off power in the event of an engine failure. So you can still distribute 75 percent of the power to the aircraft. In a twin-engine aircraft, you lose 50 percent of the take-off power (which is not necessarily the maximum power). However, Design Regulations required that the remaining single engine must have sufficient power to meet all the requirements that are applicable even to a four engines aircraft that suffers from single or twin engines failures.

Thus, with four engines, whether it is a plus is debatable. Power-wise, it makes no difference. ETOPS, yes, range-wise, no. You also have to consider operation and maintenance costs, noise level, comfort and many other factors before you can decide which is better. Since I fly the Boeing 777-200, my choice is still with two engines.

I hope I have been able to answer your questions satisfactorily. I do not
represent any Manufacturers and my views are my personal ones.

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Comments (8)

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... , Low-rated comment [Show]
airbus sucks
Airbus was created for profit not leasure!

while boeing was created for both.


ps: is it easier to control the plane by yoke or joystick!



boeing wins

Liam , 08 Feb, 2011
340-600 vs 777
(1) Will Boeing be capable of making the B777-200 flying more fuel efficient and therefore fly further as it has only two engines?
Yes, boeing has already developed winglets for the long range 777-200 with auxilary fuel tanks with a maximun range of as advertised by boeing 9,395nm. the more comperable in size and range would be the hgw 340-500(High gross weight). there is also the extended range 200 and 300 of boeing 777.

(2) Is Airbus A340-600 able to compensate this loss by flying direct routes as no ETOPS regulations force it to cruise along potential diversion fields instead of the straight path.
while this is true to an extent airbus airliners are still force to fly known routes that are guided by radars installed all over the world as to avoid collisions. altitudes are also decided the direction of flight path as to avoid collision however there is workd on aircrafts flying more direct routes via gps but his is still in the works and will apply to all aircraft regardles of manufacture or engine number so at that point it will be prefence of the airline.
(3) Is it also an advantage when one can distribute the requested thrust on four engines?
this I am do not this it is as meany two engine aircraft as well as four engine aircraft are over power so that in the even of engine loss the plane can continue on one engine with the reduced power wheather on in cruise, landing, climb with take off being the exception which will usuall lead to rejected takeoff.
Etop is such a reliable way of designing an aircraft as airbus has adopted this design on there four engine aircrafts due to is safety and redundant design.
In the end Boeing and Airbus are both great state of the art designs both wining airline orders because of safety and efficiency.
Personally I prefere Boeing over airbus because it has been around longer and the design of the way it is flown meaning fly by wire vs pilot controled. people would debate this with the design in airbus not being able to stall or over stress but safety statistics would not reflect this as this has not been shown to be true even in recent years further more even when the plane is in manuel mode the computer is still in control as this has been proven in real life accidents(research and google). this is still a safe design as has been adopted on boeing 777 but manuel over ride does give the pilot real controll regardles of computer input.




larry , 11 Feb, 2011
You dont
You dont work at maintenance field as you would know that planes are maintained every few flights, and bigger maintenance many times in a year, not anything like tens of years. Funny how those who know least about aviation come and try to say that either manufacturer is bad.
qweqsda , 18 Oct, 2011
nationalism perverts correct judgment
Airbus are justa s good as boeing. There is no better> why do some people get obsesed on this which is better, dont they realise in many situations 2 things can be equal. most the people who rubbish airbus are patriotic americans defending an american company. Nationalisn perverts objective judgment quuite dramatically in alot of people.

So the best judges on this question would be asians, australians,latin americans or new zealanders or canadians, who arent being perveted by nationalism. US americans are very guilty of lieng under the influence of nationalism in alot of area.
karis , 06 Feb, 2012
...
The airbus that crashed into Long Island Sound was found to have the tail broken off due to pilot's aggressive movement of the rudder to counteract turbulence.

Airbus' manuals specifically recommended against aggressive use of rudder to prevent potential structural failure.

WTH? Look it up.

I would much rather not fly in planes with known structural weaknesses.
Airbus' known structural weakness , 30 Aug, 2012
Whichever more accidents Boeing or Airbus
haloo sir

Whichever more accidents Boeing or Airbus

2-Whichever is easier and better leadership Boeing or Airbus
eagle baghdad , 10 Jan, 2013
quwstion
haloo sir

Whichever more accidents Boeing or Airbus

2-Whichever is easier and better leadership Boeing or Airbus
eagle baghdad , 10 Jan, 2013

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