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Thread: Aviation failures

  1. #1
    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    Aviation failures

    With so many failures in aviation, it is sad to see such incredible programs like the Concorde and the Nasa Space shuttle become such failures. As fly on crap there will be lots of people defending both programs but it was the total failure to achieve program objectives that puts these two vehicles in this class.

    NASA SHUTTLE

    The entire idea was a cost effective, quick turnaround launch vehicle that wold have a very low failure rate of 1 in 100,000

    "Space Shuttle record we compare the 2 fatal Space Shuttle accidents out of 113 flights. That works out to 1770 fatal accidents per 100,000 flights. 1770 for the Shuttle divided by 0.057 for smaller commercial aircraft works out to an accident rate that is over 31,000 times greater for the shuttle than for small craft commercial aviation."

    The shuttle was designed to be cheaper than a one time launch vehicle and it became Big, Heavy, complex and difficult to test and prep for launch. The theory of a few launches a month turned into a few launches a year.

    To know the shuttle is to love the shuttle and all Americans have the Dream of looking out of our atmosphere. It was wonderful but yet it did not achieve any of its objectives.



    Concorde

    The dream that everyone would fly at Mach 2+ and our cargo would fly first class in a slow lumbering 747 doing a mere Mach .8

    They were looking to build fleets of these aircraft and sell them to the airlines....This never happened. The Government paid for them and not one air-frame was sold at anything remotely close to a good sale price. No company would purchase a Concorde and they were cash sucking failure until BA changed their business plan. The technology would have been good as a government project for military where cost would have been acceptable but for the private sector, Grace and Beauty as 60,000 feet and Mach 2.+ seemed to overshadow the high fuel cost and noise....but rarely talked about was the program was a financial loss for the designers and no aircraft were actually purchased in the entire program.

    Where there any other failures on such a large scale?
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

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    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    This is where this belongs:

    I am not upset that the F-14 no longer flys... I do wish it did as it was the best fighter ever built (in my head).

    The F-14 was not a failure, the Concorde was

    The Concorde was suppose to sell thousands and the 747 was to be a freighter in a supersonic age, the truth is the Concorde never sold 1 aircraft and all the aircraft built were paid mainly by the Goverment and none of the developement costs were ever made back. It was the taxpayers of Europe who paid for the Concorde. The first test airframes were the only ones built...but this turned away from the Concorde...lets talk about my beloved F-14, the Best fighter ever made, shall we?

    The F-14 was an early 70's design as Fleet defender, it was made to stop Russian Bears from delivering the Exocet Missile from being launched 100 miles away and blowing up an aircraft carrier and all of its aircraft, saliors and weapons systems. The cost of the aircraft was known and the price for upkeep was expected but was a small price compared to the cost of a carrier. The E-2C was to see the aircraft inbound at around 300miles and the F-14's would scramble and get supersonic and pick up the aircraft on their long range radar when about 200miles from carrier, the Phoenix missile at 1million a piece would be fired when the Bomber was 200miles away from the carrier and just under 100 miles from the F-14. This stopped the aircraft from launching the unstoppable missile from being launched. The Phoenix was able to be launched at the Escoset missile in a last ditch effort of the Russian attack. The aircraft was a complete success as having over 700 aircraft produced here on Long Island for the Defence of the Carrier. Over time it was easier to defend the aircraft carrier with radar computer controlled high speed guns in the ships around the carrier that made up the battle group. Missiles and inbound bomber were no longer a worry as nothing was able to penetrate the guns. THE F-14 was NO LONGER NEEDED for its primary role.

    Now they modified the aircraft to be an exceptional bomber and with weapons upgrades it is better than most of the aircraft flying today with the only exceptions being the stealth and thrust vectoring aircraft. The F-14 had 4 to 8 times the cost per hour as a Hornet. It was better as it was more maneuverable, could carry more, could fly MUCH longer, was faster and had much better EVERYTHING, Weapons systems, Radar, Engines, fuel Capacity.... once again, Its Primary role was no longer needed. This is why it was retired.

    The F-14 was Beautiful and Graceful, it captured the imagination of all Naval Aviators and many others who flew were in awe of it, Allot like the Concorde, but I do not cry about the F-14 because it was a good decision to terminate the program. I am not happy with the decision, but I understand that its time was up. Concorde was never a success, It was a total failure. It however was the most Beautiful airliner that ever flew and capture the hearts and imagination of all the people who were part of the program, all who flew on her and anyone who gazes up at the sky and dreams to fly. That tho does not make it a success or a failure. The Concorde was a failure and the F-14 was a success....both were magnificent feats of mankind and captured the imagination the way few aircraft do.


    Frankly, I find your assessment disingenuous as best and insulting to those who designed these programs.

    If you are calling them a failure simply from a return on investment, then I suggest you be clearer.

    Amongst the top engineering feats of the last century, NASA's Shuttle Program, the Channel Tunnel and Burj Dubai rank in the top 10.

    I am not privvy to the objectives of either specifically. But BA did indeed turn a profit on their Concorde program and it was at its end a celebrated success.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

  3. #3
    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    but they did not pay for the aircraft....well, ok, they did but at very reduced rates... Someone gives me an aircraft for almost free, and I can not return a profit, there would be serious issues.... The aircraft may be the most advanced aircraft the world has ever known (SR-71 has my vote for that) but if they could not sell one airframe, it was not a program success. British Air was given the aircraft because they would not buy them. I do not care how anyone takes my statement...I do not sugar coat anything to sound nice, I call it as it is. The Concorde was an amazing feat of mankind, it was also expensive to design, expensive to build and expensive to maintain. The aircraft was only able to cover its maintainence costs ONLY. Designers know they did not sell 1500 of them and they know the program was a flop, they also know it was the best airliner ever built.... IT STILL WAS A FLOP
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

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    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post
    Frankly, I find your assessment disingenuous as best and insulting to those who designed these programs.
    Sorry to hear I upset you but the designers of these aircraft's would not be upset with me at all as they understand that they built and aircraft/spacecraft that was far ahead of what people was possible at the the time. The Failure of the set objectives did not mean it was a bad design nor did it mean that they did a bad job with the design. That was never called into question by me.



    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post
    If you are calling them a failure simply from a return on investment, then I suggest you be clearer.
    I think I was very clear, To offset the cost of design...Any product has to sell a certain amount of product to get back the R&D. They Expected to sell 1000's of aircraft and did not sell 1. R&D and the Cost of 20 Test airframes were paid for by TAXPAYERS for an Airline to USE and to TRY to make a profit. (By the way, the failed miserably in making a profit for many years, only later did they start making a profit) but anything that happened with BA did not matter because the aircraft never paid for itself, taxpayers did that and they paid for R&D and they paid for it to be given to BA...the only thing BA had to pay full price on was GAS.

    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post
    Amongst the top engineering feats of the last century, NASA's Shuttle Program, the Channel Tunnel and Burj Dubai rank in the top 10.
    I agree that the shuttle was an Engineering feat but it failed to meet its program requirements of being a cost effective, quick return launch vehicle that would take multible trips a month to outer space per vehicle and have a cost effective trip compared to non reusable vehicles. Being great is not good when it does not offer a good return to investment. If they let every satellite burn up in the atmosphere and used only one time use vehicles, it would have been much cheaper on taxpayers.... The shuttle was designed to be opposite the last statement, it was to make going to space more affordable Not Less.... It was also suppose to make it almost as routine and safe as airline travel, it failed that way to...and it was suppose to make space travel routine and have many flights a month, this was not possible as they said it would. The Failure rate was suppose to be 1 in 100,000 and it was 2 in 140 (it was 13...something but I forget off the top of my head)

    It may have been an engineering feat but it does not change that it was a failure.... If I was on the design team I would be proud of what was accomplished....but they were not doing a dozen flights a month as predicted. It was a failure in many ways...the Shuttle program was amazing in my eyes, it is an incredible feat of MANKIND. They did what was never done and what was thought to be unachievable but it does not change the fact that the program failed to meet every criteria that it was designed around. The biggest is the moneypit it began. We are probably going back to non reusable vehicles because of cost and more lifting capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post
    I am not privvy to the objectives of either specifically. But BA did indeed turn a profit on their Concorde program and it was at its end a celebrated success.
    BA was not the maker, BA did not do R&D, BA did not pay for the aircraft to be made, BA did not pay for Testing, BA was given an airplane (they did pay a little) and then BA still lost money for many years before it made a profit...and that was with it not paying for anything. The Taxpayer paid for everything!

    The way an airliner makes economic sense or not is whether you sell enough aircraft to pay for the development, R&D, testing. Let me see if I can give you an example

    I am making an airliner
    it cost me 400Million to design the aircraft
    it cost me 400Million to build 6 test aircraft
    it cost me 400Million to test the aircraft

    I need to figure out how many aircraft that are going to sell so you can spread the 1,200 million in Development and testing costs. If you spread that out on 100 aircraft and only sell 50, You are loosing your shirt and your company is out of business.

    The Concorde was designed with a cost that was higher than any other aircraft
    The Concorde was built and it was more expensive than any other aircraft that was built at the time (even the 747)
    The Concorde was tested thoroughly

    This cost would have been spread out among the 100's or eve 1000's airframes....No Airframes were sold.

    Imagine that Boeing developed a 787 with taxpayer money instead of their own, then they build 6 aircraft using taxpayer $'s, then they tested the 787 with taxpayer money, they then gave 6 787's to American Airlines at little to no charge as taxpayers of the US paid 1 billion dollars for it. This is what happened with Concorde.... FAIL=Taxpayers

    And BA made a profit....I HOPE SO!

    Food for thought, the American Government was helping with the SST program and canceled before one aircraft was built...total amount paid....1 BILLION DOLLARS!!!! Not one airframe made! Another Fail, and that plane never flew outside a windtunnel! Then we can talk about the XB-70 Failure...2 airframes. We screwed up lots of military airframes but not so much with civilian.
    Last edited by Derf; 06-10-2011 at 03:08 PM.
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

  5. #5
    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    but they did not pay for the aircraft....well, ok, they did but at very reduced rates...

    Yep, just tazpayer expense, same as Medicaid and Medicare, both failures and yet both serve purpose

    .... The aircraft may be the most advanced aircraft the world has ever known (SR-71 has my vote for that) but if they could not sell one airframe, it was not a program success..... IT STILL WAS A FLOP

    That is success according to your definition. Concorde served a purpose and like a Tomcat whose need was no longer, Cisco, the internet and teleconferencing negating the businessman's need to be around the world in a flash.


    Sorry to hear I upset you

    Where did you hear your upset me? Fred, I'm not upset. Did someone hack your email? Is this really Fred?

    the only thing BA had to pay full price on was GAS.

    Amongst other things. I'm privvy to some of the financial info on the back end.

    but it failed to meet its program requirements of being a cost effective, quick return launch vehicle that would take multible trips a month to outer space per vehicle and have a cost effective trip compared to non reusable vehicles. Being great is not good when it does not offer a good return to investment.

    Also depends on the gauge you are comparing the Shuttle program to.


    Hence both fail according to your parameter of success.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

  6. #6
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    The Space Shuttle is the most amazing thing that man has ever made. Nothing compares. The only failure is that NASA is cutting it for no real reason.

    I kind of agree that calling an aircraft a failure jsut because it didn't make "x" amount of profit means anything. What's your source on the numbers?
    For the Shuttle, where'd you get that failure rate? I don't think that means it was a failure anyway.

    You wanna talk about aviation failures? Dassault Mercure... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dassault_Mercure
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

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    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    The numbers were given when it was designed by NASA for the Budget appropriations. There is talk of using the 2 SRB's and a storage system instead of the shuttle with 3 main motors and a non reusable crew reentry vehicle and 1/2 the cost. That is still more expensive than what the shuttle was suppose to cost when the Idea was sold. Just because it was an incredible engineering feat does not make it a success. If we did not go with the shuttle we could have put 2times to 3 times the amount of stuff in orbit for the same cost. Being Technologically superior does not mean that it was a good idea. The Shuttle is the most amazing thing outside of Apollo that in my mind was created by humans. I feel it trumps the pyramids. I stand firm in my belief.
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

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    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    .lets talk about my beloved F-14, the Best fighter ever made, shall we?

    The F-14 was an early 70's design as Fleet defender, it was made to stop Russian Bears from delivering the Exocet Missile from being launched 100 miles away and blowing up an aircraft carrier and all of its aircraft, saliors and weapons systems. The cost of the aircraft was known and the price for upkeep was expected but was a small price compared to the cost of a carrier. The E-2C was to see the aircraft inbound at around 300miles and the F-14's would scramble and get supersonic and pick up the aircraft on their long range radar when about 200miles from carrier, the Phoenix missile at 1million a piece would be fired when the Bomber was 200miles away from the carrier and just under 100 miles from the F-14. This stopped the aircraft from launching the unstoppable missile from being launched. The Phoenix was able to be launched at the Escoset missile in a last ditch effort of the Russian attack. The aircraft was a complete success as having over 700 aircraft produced here on Long Island for the Defence of the Carrier. Over time it was easier to defend the aircraft carrier with radar computer controlled high speed guns in the ships around the carrier that made up the battle group. Missiles and inbound bomber were no longer a worry as nothing was able to penetrate the guns. THE F-14 was NO LONGER NEEDED for its primary role.

    Now they modified the aircraft to be an exceptional bomber and with weapons upgrades it is better than most of the aircraft flying today with the only exceptions being the stealth and thrust vectoring aircraft. The F-14 had 4 to 8 times the cost per hour as a Hornet. It was better as it was more maneuverable, could carry more, could fly MUCH longer, was faster and had much better EVERYTHING, Weapons systems, Radar, Engines, fuel Capacity.... once again, Its Primary role was no longer needed. This is why it was retired.


    As it relates to your beloved F14, one could make the argument that we wasted millions of US taxpayers dollars to "protect" a landmass that has natural defensive borders on both sides.

    One could also state correctly that your verbage above could be stated in a single sentence: "The entire F14 program was entirely a bigger dick show vs the russians and other enemies."

    The F14s rarely saw combat (in comparison to a/c use in previous wars) and thus I hardly call that success. It was as big a waste of money as was Concorde if use use sense, not cents, as an argument.

    In fact, based on your argument that the F14 was built to protect, one could make a case that in light of the 9-11 attacks, our entire US air defense was a failure.


    It all lies in what gauge one uses to define success.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

  9. #9
    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post
    As it relates to your beloved F14, one could make the argument that we wasted millions of US taxpayers dollars to "protect" a landmass that has natural defensive borders on both sides.
    at the time there were no defenses for an aircraft carrier. The F-14 was the only fleet defender because if there was in inbound missle or bomb or airplane or anything...Nothing else offered any protection for the floating city. I have never heard anyone make that argument.


    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post
    One could also state correctly that your verbage above could be stated in a single sentence: "The entire F14 program was entirely a bigger dick show vs the russians and other enemies."
    No, The F-14 was a secret program and any info on the aircraft was Classified. The Range, Ceiling, Speed, and weapons system was not for show and some aspects of the weapons system is still classified. A “Bigger Dick show” as you so colorfully said was not the case as no info was realeased about the aircraft until it became outdated as a fleet defender. When the F-14B’s came around they had release info about the A’s and so on. This is Completely false and can not be stretched into truth


    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post
    The F14s rarely saw combat (in comparison to a/c use in previous wars) and thus I hardly call that success. It was as big a waste of money as was Concorde if use use sense, not cents, as an argument.
    The only time that the F-14 was suppose to see combat for its role was if WWIII was in progress and TU-95 Bears were inbound to destroy Carriers. The Nuclear Warheads that US owned are in place for Mutually assured destruction and are their to make sure that countries with the Nuclear power would not use them…. They are only to be used if the world is ending… do you view this as a waste of money? Why spend the money on Nuclear War if the world was over because of it? The F-14 is to protect the carrier, No carrier was ever fired upon, but if you want to argue that…. Would it not be great if we had armed Jets patrolling U.S. in case of inbound attack? As of September 10th that would have seemed like the biggest waist of money and NOBODY would ever think that was anything other than just plain crazy…… Now it does not seem so bad does it?
    Quote Originally Posted by mirrodie View Post

    In fact, based on your argument that the F14 was built to protect, one could make a case that in light of the 9-11 attacks, our entire US air defense was a failure.
    It all lies in what gauge one uses to define success.
    The US air defense was a failure, because we were not at war and nobody was able to realize that it may happen. If we were at war and there were a possibility of enemy fighters, there would have been lots of aircraft waiting. Kind of like the Tomcats on every carrier, every second of every day until the defensive guns became active. So now your upset that the Airforce did not protect the U.S. like the Navy was protecting their carriers??? You can not have it both ways, The Navy does not do CAP over the US. That is the Airforce. You need to take that fight to a different thread….

    The F-14 can be backed up, it was expensive but necessary. The Cost of only 1 carrier would have paid for the program 50 fold and that is only 1 carrier.

    If we did not have the F-14 and one carrer was attacked and blown up there would have been lots of people asking why was it not protected….

    If we did not have CAP and one city was attacked and blown up there would have been lots of people asking why was it not protected….

    Your upset that Navy took care of its assets?
    Last edited by Derf; 06-11-2011 at 12:58 PM.
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

  10. #10
    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    I have never heard anyone make that argument.

    Never? Really. Now I know you are being disingenuous. First heard it in 10th grade Global Studies or US History. That's NY Regents material.

    Part of the initial success of the nation rests on its huge natural borders. (and a large part of our economy is in the down due to entitlements and excessive military spending that are allowing us to default on foreign loans, which can actually hurt our security.)

    Carriers don't sit on our borders and thus they do not defend. So your F14/Carrier "Defense" model does not hold. Those were offensive strategies. On offense, you look to gain points. Don't think the F14 gained us anything. Reagan's words were more effective than any F14.

    This is Completely false and can not be stretched into truth

    Well I am only going based on everything you've said and nothing more.

    The US air defense was a failure, because we were not at war OK, so then again, based on your statements, the F14 was a failure since we were not at war.

    Your upset that Navy took care of its assets? Again, who's upset?

    But since you are trying to use ROI as a sole parameter of success, let's continue:

    Say I buy a $5 million Life insurance policy today. Then I would theoretically be worth more dead than alive. Now if you kill me tomorrow and my decayed carcass is worth $5M to some beneficiary. Is that failure or success? (all in the eyes of the beholder)

    But if I live another 50 years, making money, investing and the like, and we assume my salary may increase only 2% a year and I make 8% compounded on it, I am likely worth more, just from a financial standpoint. Is that failure or success once more?

    So, was I more successful dead or alive?

    Silly right?

    Lastly, how many lives would I have touched up to my death vs my death in 50 years? What value do those intangibles hold? The answer there is invaluable.


    Not all is measured in terms of ROI.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

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    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    Egads, the Viking cat stole my line!


    No worries. I understand Fred wants to say Concorde was a financial failure.

    Otherwise it was successful on several fronts, the most prominent being technology.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

  13. #13
    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    The Concorde and the Shuttle and the 747 were unrivaled as being on the cutting edge of Technology. As I said earlier, I feel the Shuttle was only trumped by the Appolo program when looking at what a man has accomplished. The measure of a program its ability to at least pay for itself or it is considered a failure..... Anyone can make the best Car, Computer, Building etc... you need to make a profit or there will be no investors and no company for production. Tucker automobile is a good example of a Success based on what you are judging should be considered a success and or failure. Being the best of something does not make it a success.
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

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    Senior Member Speedbagel_001's Avatar
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    I understand both perspectives here and they have validity. I think everyone will agree that these programs did not turn out as originally envisioned.

    However, my questions are: Is the world a better place because these machines were built and flown? Did people benefit from their service?

    In my opinion - the answers are a definite YES. Could something different have been built that would have been better? Maybe.

    But nothing better has come along to replace them, as of yet. Knowing what we know now, if you had to design and build them today from scratch, they'd certainly never see the light of day beyond some fancy 3D renderings on a computer or movie screen.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Derf's Avatar
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    I will pick this apart piece by piece

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedbagel_001 View Post
    I understand both perspectives here and they have validity. I think everyone will agree that these programs did not turn out as originally envisioned.

    However, my questions are: Is the world a better place because these machines were built and flown? Did people benefit from their service?

    In my opinion - the answers are a definite YES.

    but then again, the only reason why they ever came about was because it was paid for by the Government. If it was not payed for by the government it would have turned out just like the Tucker automobile... Do you consider this car a success? People did benefit from the Tucker automobile even tho one was not sold...Like the Concorde, The world was a better place (created many new revolutionary ideas that almost all cars use today). The Shuttle not being built would have allowed much more to be put into space for the same amount of money. For sexy space craft the shuttle wins, but I really would rather put double to 4 times the payload in space in half the time and costing less... I can not by any stretch of the imagination consider it any kind of success what so ever.... Unless we are talking about how cool it looks...then it has my vote on being the greatest thing that was ever made!!!!

    Concorde
    Nothing came along to replace them FOR A REASON, it was the same reason that the Boeing 717 and the Douglas and other manufacturer abandoned it. It was not going to pay for itself let alone be feasible in any way. Once again, I can not give something points for looking cool. The SR-71 is not around for a reason. It is too expensive. To keep the aircraft flight ready for taking photos was more than having satellites in space doing the same thing for cheaper. Like the F-14, it served it purpose but was too expensive and technology made it outdated and too expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedbagel_001 View Post
    Could something different have been built that would have been better? Maybe.

    But nothing better has come along to replace them, as of yet. Knowing what we know now, if you had to design and build them today from scratch, they'd certainly never see the light of day beyond some fancy 3D renderings on a computer or movie screen.
    The only reason why things are made is to sell and make life better. If you can not sell it, a company will not want to make it. If it does not make life better, the Government will not use the taxpayer dollars on it. Neither of these air/spacecraft met that simple criteria.

    I wish more than most that they could be considered a success, I love the shuttle more than just about every person on this site, I love the Concorde more than just about everyone on this site...with the exception of Mario...but barley! I have not had one good reason to consider either one of these two crafts a success other than "their accomplishments because they are complex, or they are beautiful".
    The three most common expressions in aviation are, "Why is it doing that?", "Where are we?" and "Oh Crap".

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