We live in the post-modern world, where everything already was done, invented, or said. Skeptics say there’s no way to be original anymore. Some people are influencing our daily decisions. Influencers are the people that were supposed to change the world for better, instead of making on-line ads. So today we will talk about one thing that influenced, and still does, the world of aviation.
Let’s go back to the late 1970s. Boeing’s business is booming thanks to the 747 airliners, and the oil crisis hits the economy of fragile and often below-the-line airline industry. With the fuel costs being a primary concern for the operators, Airbus presents the A300 twin-engine jetliner. To stay on top, Boeing has to come up with the other product that will compliment the narrow-body 737 and the Queen 747, as the middle market option.
(Insert record scratching here). Hey, isn’t all of this sound familiar? As we are preparing this bit, the COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, and many airlines are looking for Boeing’s NMA or middle-market, high-density, medium-capacity aircraft that will close the gap between 737MAX and big 787 and 777X while being more capable than A321XLR from Airbus. It still has to be fuel-efficient. Bear this resemblance between the 70s and 2020 in your mind, because it’s more of those, and we will talk about it later. Back to the story!
This is the genesis of 767 and 757 aircraft. Those aircraft were wide- and narrow-body derivates of the same clean-sheet design that revolutionized the aviation. Now, let us look at how those still influence aviation today.
The irreplaceable formula
Since its debut in 1983, the 757 never had a true successor. Boeing ditched the production in 2004 to focus on the 737-900ER. Despite the efforts, the high-performance, range, and capacity of seven-five is still unbeatable by 737 or A321. Despite its age, many operators still fly the passenger versions of 757 or found it the perfect medium-size freighter.
The handling from heaven
While 757 is your sports coupe, the 767 is a luxury sedan. Pilots praise both for the handling characteristics. This was one of the reasons for Boeing to design triple seven fly-by-wire to mimic the handling of seven-six. The successor of 767 design – Dreamliner’s FBW is also programmed to resemble the predecessors handling.
Range vs capacity
The OEMs are stretching the range of new jetliners. The best example is the Airbus A220. The small narrow-body aircraft can cross the Atlantic with ETOPS180 taking less than 150 passengers. The capacities of both 757 and 767 were the key to popularize the air travel we know it today, or at least before the pandemic. It’s now more profitable for airlines to fly smaller aircraft more often, rather than use big airliners.
The engine technology
Both 757 and 767 were offered in a wide variety of engine options. there were GE CF6, RR RB211, PWJT9D & PW4000. All of those high-bypass turbofans were recently redesigned and can be, directly or non-directly, linked to RR Trent XWB, GEnx, or A380’s GP7000. All of those are currently, the most advanced jet engines for wide-body aircraft.
This had to happen anyway, but the vast popularity of 757 and 767s, especially with the big three of US carriers, made single-engine, emergency, overwater flights possible and ETOPS got significantly longer.
Many aircraft contributed, but at least half was designed from 757 and 767. Yes, we talk about the Dreamliner and Triple-Seven.
Back to square one
Before the pandemic, the aviation industry was booming. Business trips looked like a train ride – take a briefcase, board a plane, get the job done, go back the same day or next morning. This means the passenger traffic between the USA and Europe or even intra-continental flights require more flights multiple times a day. This was a market where 757 was initially the perfect solution is now back, but the reasons are slightly different. We will see inf the NMA will be narrow- or wide-body aircraft in the future.
Regarding the 767, the legend lives on. Recently Boeing restarted production of the -300ER in freighter version. There’s also a KC-46, advanced air-tanker, military transport aircraft. There also rumors about the reengineered 767 with new, modern, efficient engines, to be introduced in the mid-2020s.
Despite the future of discontinued 757 and restarted 767, these airliners have already made an amazing impact in the aviation we know today. We are very fortunate to be working on the 767 at Avia Prime’s LINETECH as well. We hope to go back to the Warsaw Chopin Airport and perform line maintenance activities on the 767s, just to see the smile of the happy passengers going for their dream vacation or to see their loved ones. We are certain this will happen very soon.