The U.S. government developing new aircrafts

Subject: Technology
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Word count: 1663
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Introduction

In any transportation system, efficiency is a critical tool for measuring profitability or losses incurred by a company. In regards to this, the United States can incur low costs of operation by developing new aircrafts as opposed to maintaining older ones. Since America is witnessing a steady growth in the economy, there is tremendous demand for means of transportation such as aircraft. The stability in the means of air transport has been fueled by the fact that there are seamless movement of goods and people. Although the cost of developing new aircrafts is expensive, they are efficient in the long run than old ones. The main reasons why newer aircrafts should be preferred are: they are quieter, more advanced, and tends to have fuel-efficient engines (Thauvin et al., 2016). Older aircrafts have engines that tend to consume a lot of fuel. Although older aircraft of equivalent performance to a newly developed one can be acquired cheaply, the main tradeoff is that the older plane tends to burn a lot of fuel. Besides, they do not have the specifications of the newer models, thus making them less efficient compared to the newer ones. Aircrafts need to consume fuel in order to generate the energy that is required to propel the various parts. The economy of fuel is to quantity the liters an aircraft requires in order to operate. It is gauged by aerodynamic drag which tends to drag a given aircraft in the opposite path from velocity and is a prime aircraft’s energy consumption determinant.

Some of the advantages of developing new aircrafts

Reliability and maintenance are some of the special differences that underlie newer versus older aircrafts. Newer aircrafts tend to be more reliable and cheaper to maintain as compared to older ones. Although there are some older aircrafts which may seem to be highly reliable, they still need maintenance which are quite expensive for corporations to manage in the long run. Additionally, in terms of safety, operating a new aircraft is safer as compared to an old one. Older aircrafts require constant maintenance to be reliable and efficient. This requires a lot of resources and time which may be expensive for companies.

The United States provides a target market for commercial jets. Often times, airline companies are striving to share customers and operate together to maintain efficiency and safety of customers. Because of the need to gain comparative advantage over other competitors, these airline companies must up their games by investing in economically viable, safe, and efficient aircrafts. Commercial airlines have therefore continued to prefer newer aircrafts over older ones. Again, with the need for continued improvement in products and services from one destination to the other, newer aircrafts are preferred over older ones. For one, many new aircrafts come with the latest technology and innovation which are key factors in advancing the airline industry and increasing the customer-base.

A lot of research is being carried out to show ways of boosting the strategic capabilities of the airline industry in the United States (Dursun & Soutis, 2014). These capabilities are numerous and include the need to develop aircrafts that can be energy efficient, are able to reduce noise, hazard materials, and gas emissions. The other objective of manufacturing the latest aircrafts is that there is the need for aircrafts that can increase material recycling.  Against this backdrop, acquiring newer aircrafts help in ensuring a reduction in gas emissions, noise pollution, and reduction in the discharge of hazardous materials. By implementing these positive changes, it is possible for newer aircrafts to provide a lot of benefits to the environments compared to older aircrafts. Conversely, customers are also able to benefit more from these measures because they are able to save money in running costs as well as time taken to reach their destinations. The government is therefore acting efficiently by building newer aircrafts as opposed to maintaining older ones.

With the rise in technology, the government, in collaboration with aerospace manufacturers, is continuously trying to look for new ways through which they can enhance the flow of materials, aerodynamics, and propulsion as well as other systems, by way of synthesizing them together (Devons, 2013). Building newer aircrafts as opposed to maintaining older ones is a positive measure for the US government because environmental degradation is a global concern. Many old aircrafts often pollute the environment as a result of the toxic gases they emit in the atmosphere. Acquiring newer aircrafts provides an opportunity for the airline companies to help suppress their gaseous emission impact on the environment. Through this measure, it is possible to certify aircraft fleet to utilizing 50-50% mixture of jet fuel and biofuel.

With many US airline companies struggling to maintain their operations in business, they are largely trying to tailor different products to suit their customers. Since efficiency and security of aircrafts exist in tandem, the US government is acting efficiently by investing lots of money on developing and acquiring new and latest aircrafts and other aerospace products such as tankers, airlifts, bomber jets, rotorcraft, launch systems, and aerial vehicles. Many older airlines are prone to accidents no matter how well maintained they are. Against this backdrop, the US government should spend its resources in acquiring newer aircrafts if it needs to continue ensuring efficiency in airline operations.

Regardless of the efficiency of some of the older and well maintained aircrafts, the reality is that these old aircrafts are prone to mechanical breakdown which render them expensive to use in the long run. The only alternative is to remodel the older aircrafts, and acquire new ones. For instance, Boeing 747 has been in existence since the 1960s, but throughout its operation, it has been remodeled more than 15 times. Over the course of the manufacture of newer version of the aircraft, fuel efficiency has been enhanced by a considerable percentage, thus, providing it with the ability to travel longer distances.

The American government is ensuring efficiency by opting for newer aircrafts as opposed to maintaining and using older ones. Newer aircrafts can be modeled to suit the specifications of airline companies in diverse ways. For instance, newer aircrafts may have light weight which is a significant factor in enhancing fuel economy since more lift-induced drag leads to increase in weight. With the reduced airframe and smaller engines, it is possible to maintain efficiency in fuel consumption. This is in consideration with the fact that a 1% reduction in weight corresponds to approximately 0.75% reduced consumption in fuel (McGrath, 2013). However, the low consumption of fuel may not be maintained when old aircrafts are maintained and used.

The efficiency in acquiring new aircrafts over maintaining and using old ones is that the latter is usually associated with increased departure delays which severely interfere with the operations of a given airline. An airline company is likely to lose more customers if it constantly postpones its departure time and destinations over maintaining issue. Although thorough checking of the various mechanical parts of an aircraft is a common phenomenon in most airlines, older aircrafts require regular and proper maintenance as compared to new ones. This is usually time-consuming especially for travelers who are on business trips. Many of such travelers are always competing against time so that they are to reach their destinations on time. A bad experience with a given airline due to maintenance issue is likely to cause huge losses to the company. Furthermore, maintenance of older aircrafts is labor-intensive and complex especially when there is breakdown in a country that does not use the language of international aviation (English).however, most of the mechanics in regions such as El Salvador are not able to speak in English, and therefore, the situation may seem complicated if there is language barrier between the mechanics and the airplane pilots. Rather than subject passengers to a lot of delays resulting from mechanical issue of a plane, it would be economical and efficient for the US airline industry to opt for new aircrafts.

When the economics of aircraft maintenance is higher than the value of an aircraft, it is important that replacing it with a new one would enhance its viability and efficiency. This requires that individuals, companies, as well as the government need to understand the durability of aircrafts beyond their fiscal feasibility. Aircrafts as well as other airlines are always manufactured taking into consideration their maximum cycles. It therefore needless to say that carrying out maintenance to an aircraft beyond the recommended cycle could put more stress on its airframe. This can be catastrophic and expensive on the part of an airline company. A number of studies have confirmed that the major safety concern for general aviation industry is pilot situational awareness. With respect to this, opting for new aircrafts improves the confidence of pilots, thus leading to reduction in the cost of operation and maintenance. This can however, be advanced by modifying the cockpit as a technological advancement to increase safety of passengers, products, and pilots. The preference for new aircraft over old and used ones can be understood based on the theory of the cost of production. Through this theory, opportunity cost can be invoked by considering the number of times a given aircraft is bound to be under maintenance and the expenses involved in comparison to acquiring a new one (Vasigh, Fleming & Tacker, 2013). By American government choosing newer planes, there are possibilities of reduced loss from potential gain in the alternative that has been chosen.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the U.S government is acting efficiently by trying to use funds to develop new aircrafts as opposed to maintaining older aircraft. Newer aircrafts may not only be used to suit the needs of pilots and passengers, but they can also improve on the profitability of an airline company. Every aircraft has a defined lifespan, and there are myriads of variables that are likely to interfere with their longevity.

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  1. Devons, E. (2013). Planning in practice: Essays in aircraft planning in war-time. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Dursun, T., & Soutis, C. (2014). Recent developments in advanced aircraft aluminium alloys. Materials & Design, 56, 862-871.
  3. McGrath, R. G. (2013). Transient advantage. Harvard Business Review, 91(6), 62-70.
  4. Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers. John Wiley & Sons.
  5. Thauvin, J., Barraud, G., Budinger, M., Roboam, X., Leray, D., & Sareni, B. (2016). Hybrid regional aircraft: a comparative review of new potentials enabled by electric power. In 52nd AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference (p. 4612).
  6. Vasigh, B., Fleming, K., & Tacker, T. (2013). Introduction to air transport economics: from theory to applications. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
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