Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Boeing 7J7 was a short- to medium-range airliner proposed by Boeing in the 1980s, but never built. It would have carried 150 passengers and was touted as the sucessor to the successful Boeing 727. It was initially planned to enter service in 1992.
The 7J7 was planned to use all kinds of advanced technology and electronics such as:
- fly-by-wire flight control system by Bendix
- glass cockpit by Honeywell utilizing LCDs
- advanced integrated avionics suite
- widespread use of high-strength composites such as carbon-fibre
- two General Electric GE-36 UDF rear-mounted advanced technology contra-rotating unducted fan engines
The sum of all these features promised better fuel consumption by more than 60% compared to any existing technology then. "Efficiency" was the key theme. The 7J7 was to have a 2 by 3 by 2 seating design, giving it a relatively wide and spacious cabin for its class.
It was also unprecendented in its foreign content with Japan having 25% industrial workshare. Potential airlines customer were concerned about the economics and noise of the unproven propfan engines. Boeing cancelled the 7J7 in 1987 and instead concentrated its resources on further developments of the Boeing 737 and the Boeing 757.
As the 7J7 provided the doorway for the Japanese industry to be a major civil aviation player, this decision had upset the Japanese companies. However as a consolation, they were given workshares in subsequent Boeing projects (about 21% of the Boeing 777 and 15% of the Boeing 767).
However, the Japanese industry big break would later come in the future when they have a much bigger workshares on the Boeing 787.
McDonnell Douglas Corporation's Douglas Aircraft Company considered an all-new twin propfan; designated MD-94X , it would be a 160-180 seater and also planned to offer propfan retrofitting of its MD-80 series, and, additionally, was designing two propfan-powered MD-80 derivatives: the 100-110 seat MD-91X and the 15O-seat MD-92X. All these designs were supposed to be in service by 1992. However McDonnell Douglas was then in financial difficulties and cancelled all of them to concentrate on the MD80 series.
Its other rival was the then proposed Airbus A320, which also featured a lot of similar advanced technology and electronics but powered by conventional turbofan engines. With the cancellation of the 7J7 and the McDonnell Douglas offerings, the A320 sold well until Boeing regained parity with the introduction of the next-generation Boeing 737-600 to -900, which incorporates many of the proposed 7J7 improvements.
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