A few days ago, I went on a rant about how the planes we currently have are actually the most efficient ones for airliners. A few people asked that I expand my thoughts into a blog post. The original discussion can be found here.
To clarify, autogyros and turboprops are two different things. Autogyros use unpowered rotorblades, much like helicopters, and a propeller for forward thrust. Turboprops use jet engines to power propellers. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive, as combining them creates the autogyro turboprop.
A recent airline experiment with autogyro turboprops was done by the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways who used an ATR-42-320 which included both an autogyro and a turboprop engine. The plane was designed to be more fuel efficient, but it did not work out so well in practice. It was used for only 10 years before being scrapped in favor of newer planes.
The reason why autogyro turboprops were not adopted is because they were found to have a number of problems in real world usage. First of all, takeoffs and landings require a lot more energy than normal flight does, so the
It’s a common misconception that commercial planes are jets. The truth is, they are actually giant autogyro turboprops. When the “jet age” began in the 1950s, it didn’t take long for airlines to realize that jets were impractical for civilian use.
First of all, jets can’t take off or land on short runways. It doesn’t matter if they have vertical stabilizers; they still need a lot of space to accelerate and decelerate safely.
The biggest problem with jets, however, is their high fuel consumption. It costs a fortune to fill up a jet fuel tank large enough for a transcontinental flight. Autogyros on the other hand can easily fly across the country on just one tank of gas.
It was clear from the beginning that autogyros were going to dominate commercial aviation, but when the first commercial autogyros appeared in the late 1950s, they were disappointingly slow and loud.
In 1961 Bell Aircraft Corporation introduced the Bell 47-GX, an experimental autogyro with an alloy rotor and a 200 hp Franklin 6VS4-200-C32 6-cylinder engine made specifically for autogyro propellers (the engine
When we buy a plane ticket, how often do we wonder what kind of plane will fly us to our destination? Not very often. Most of us probably don’t care, as long as we arrive safely at our destination. However, the type of plane we are flying can actually have a big impact on our flight experience and the cost of our tickets. Autogyro Turboprops, in particular, are a relatively new technology that can greatly improve both the flight experience and the cost-efficiency of commercial flights. Unfortunately, these planes are not yet widely used in commercial aviation. I recently learned about this interesting new type of aircraft from friends who work as pilots for United Airlines and wanted to share what I learned with everyone.
Autogyro Turboprops are similar to helicopters in that they can take off vertically. They are different from helicopters in many other ways, however. Helicopters require constant input from their pilots to keep them balanced during flight, which is stressful for the pilot and requires more fuel than would be necessary if the plane could balance itself. Autogyro Turboprops can balance themselves through their rotors, which gives them more stability than helicopters but also allows them to take advantage of aerodynamics like traditional airplanes (Kam
It’s the early 1990s, and you live in the US. If you want to travel from JFK to LAX, your only option is to take an expensive flight on a Boeing 707 or McDonnell Douglas DC-8, with a flying time of around 6 hours. But if you’re willing to wait until 1993, you can fly a new kind of plane, the Boeing 777. This plane has two turbofans mounted in the rear fuselage and two turboprops integrated into the wing. It uses advanced materials like composites and titanium to reduce weight and fuel consumption, allowing it to fly nonstop between New York and Los Angeles.
Why would a company like Boeing develop such an odd aircraft? The answer is that even though it looks strange, the 777 is actually quite similar to its competitors. The only difference is that it uses Turboprop Engines instead of jet engines. Turboprops are cheaper than jets because they use less fuel per hour than jets do at high altitudes. They also allow for longer distances due to their lower cruise speed (around 400 knots versus 550 knots for most commercial airliners).
The 777 was designed with transcontinental flights in mind because it could fly faster than other planes while also
Airlines are a classic example of the razor and blades business model. They make most of their profits by selling seats on the same plane over and over again, day after day. Since the variable costs of flying a plane from point A to point B are far less than the fixed costs, this is actually a pretty good business to be in.
As long as you can fill up the plane on most of your flights, you stand to make a lot of money for a long time. And that’s why airlines have been so good at filling up the planes: they will do whatever it takes to sell you that ticket. They’ll offer cheap fares and frequent-flier miles; they’ll fly to small towns; they’ll even fly planes with no passengers on them if they think it will help sell more tickets in general.
The only thing an airline won’t do is buy bigger planes. The reason is obvious: bigger planes mean fewer flights per day, which means fewer opportunities to sell tickets.
The next time you’re flying on a commercial airliner, check out the plane’s tail. See the two little propellers spinning on either side? Those are called turbofans, and they’re responsible for most of the noise in a jet engine.
But why do we use jets instead of propellers? This post explains the reason why jets are preferable to propellers for commercial planes.
A jet engine uses a turbine to compress air which is then mixed with fuel that is ignited in the combustion chamber. The expansion of the hot gases turns the turbine blades which in turn powers the compressor. The exhaust gases also provide forward thrust by accelerating through a nozzle (like in a balloon but very fast).
Propeller engines and turbojets produce thrust by accelerating a working fluid; propellers accelerate air, while turbojets compress and heat air before accelerating it. While their efficiency is similar, turbojets have much greater power-to-weight ratios than propeller engines and can accelerate their exiting gases to much higher velocities. This means that when you fly at high altitudes where there isn’t enough oxygen to support combustion, jet engines can still generate thrust while propellers cannot.
This is a story of a passenger that had to fly from JFK to LAX. Because he was too young to get a boarding pass by himself, his father got it for him. The agent said they would get the window seats they requested but at the gate, they found out they were not seated together. The father was in seat 16B and the son in 32E. The father complained to the agent about why their seats were not together and she simply said that those are the seats they were assigned when they checked-in online and there’s nothing she can do about it because the flight was overbooked.
The man asked another agent about it and he also said there’s nothing he can do about it.
The man then asked if he could speak to a manager and he also said there’s nothing he can do about it because the flight was overbooked.
During his trip, the man had many thoughts running through his mind. He was thinking how much time per day airline agents have to deal with such situations and how little time they spend on trying to fix them. He was thinking that this type of problem happens frequently but nobody ever really tries to fix it. The man thought that we live in an age where computer science problems are usually fixed by