TupolevTu154 From UK - England, joined Aug 2004, 2116 posts, RR: 31 Posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4728 times:
I was browsing through pictures of the unique starship and old thoughts came to me, why didn't it sell as well as similar private aircraft, such as the Beechcraft King Air etc? I'm surprised that such an interesting aircraft didn't do better.
The push-prop concept doesn't seem to be very popular as there doesn't seem to be many Piaggio Avanti's around either.
Actually, that's not that far from the truth, though probably not in the way that you meant.
Raytheon Aircraft Services offered free maintenance on the Starship, which was possibly its single greatest error. Starship owners naturally took full advantage of this, but 'maintenance' often extended beyond essential repairs, and into operational 'requests', which quickly ballooned the invoices for such works carried out. Because RAS continually explained its high costs for maintenance to its parent by saying that the Starship was naturally a very complex aircraft and therefore costly to maintain, this was a considerable factor in the parent's decision to eventually kill it off.
Commercially, the Starship wasn't a huge success either. I believe only around 50 frames were built in total, including some that were held by Raytheon itself. Part of this was its significant initial cost, which was a good deal more expensive than an equivalent-sized jet aircraft. Additionally, the Starship was simply too advanced for many buyers, pioneering many new technologies including a fully-glass cockpit, and of course, its distinctive push-prop propulsion. At a time when the US economy was hardly at its strongest, such revolutionary thinking combined with a high cost were a recipe for failure. Bizarrely, when the economy began to strengthen, the project was finally killed off.
Dream like you'll live forever. Live like you'll die today.
L1329II From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4633 times:
If there was one big reason for its failure it was that the Starship competed directly with the King Air line. Plain and simple. Other than a fancy plane it really didnt offer the customer any more than the workhorse King Air. It was too radical, too ahead of its time, too expensive to operate and it was a mechanics nightmare to really become a successful product to market.
Having worked at a Beech dealership I had the opportunity to fly in a starship a few times and it was a real treat! It was also comical to listen to mechanics compain about and question some of the design features of the A/C. For example: exhaust over the propellers, exposed flap jack screws, shoddy design and workmanship etc etc. These of course were thier words. Personally I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen!
We had plenty of time to look at it, the thing sat in our hangar for a long time. They couldnt sell it!
RichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4613 times:
I also read someplace that the maintenance company contracted out for the Starship by Raytheon was cooking the books and invoicing higher costs than they were atually incurring, bringing about the belief that it was a high maintenance, high cost aircraft.
Also the fact that because it was slightly heavier than planned, the FAA required a type rating on it which increased pilot cost.
Again, thats just what I read, so I dont know how valid it is.
MD88Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1287 posts, RR: 22 Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4578 times:
The FAA doomed the aircraft by requiring way more composite material than the engineers required. The FAA had not certified an aircraft like the Starship before so the certifiation process added much more weight than was required by the engineers. The result was much less performance due to the added weight. So then Beech was stuck trying to sell new technology that did look much more attractive than the old technology.
Skyexramper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4375 times:
Bob Scherer is the nicest guy you'll ever meet, once you get talking about the starship or even specifically NC-51, its hard to get him to stop chatting. He's like a big kid because NC-51 is his pride'n enjoy. I got the chance to meet him, chat and take pics of his sweet baby back in November. The starship wasn't a total failure, Raytheon brought it out at the wrong time, it would've kicked butt in the world had Raytheon marketed it correctly. Who doesn't want a single pilot plane that cruises at light jet speeds and sips gas. The plane is incredibly stable and doesn't have the problems of a normal twin, you lose and engine at any phase of flight and its no big problem because the thrust is so close to centerline.
Ffis34 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 318 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4244 times:
theres a fellow who lives around the TPA area who i have heard owns 4 starships, but only flys one an uses the others as parts...Now i know he flys it because at about 7 45 everyweek day morning he flys over my house and everyday at 4:30-5:30 he flys back over my house and i see him everyday...i love the aircraft...i take flight lessons at PIE and as the rumor said this is where he is based but i have yet to see them...but i am still curious if this guy is a member of a.net would be cool to meet him....
i will snap photos one of these days and find this link and show you guys....its funny how prompt he is in the morning, ever morning at the same time
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L1329II From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4195 times:
Quoting Hmmmm... (Reply 13): let me get this straight. Those beautiful aircraft are waiting to be destroyed? why? Because nobody is willing to pay anything for them? Not even $5? Why not donate them to flight schools or someone?
There are a few that have been donated to schools.
Once Raytheon stopped producing the aircraft they wanted to rid themselves of all liability of this aircraft so the best way to do that for specifically the Starship was to recall the planes and pay the customers for them. This gives Raytheon the ability to "wipe" the planes from thier "books" and void themselves of all liability. Not to mention they dont have the obligation of supporting the aircraft once they are all destroyed.
Lets say hypothetically that one of these last customers crashes one of these starships and later its found out there was a manufacturing defect that caused the crash. Raytheon could be sued and found liable even though they have attempted to "wash" thier hands clean of it.
Its really in thier best interest to get rid of them all.
OldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3206 posts, RR: 66 Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4075 times:
Another potential reason is that canard airplanes are not more efficient than conventional designs, particularly when it comes to higher wing loading applications like commercial airliners. Hence the King Air was able to compete successfully.
The main advantages for the canard in a Business class airplane are:
1) No wing spar to worry about in the cabin area
2) Props aft of the cabin, reducing cabin noise levels.
3) Wing will not stall, so your self-pilot customers will be around longer.
Unless those features are your most important design goals, there is little reason to pick a canard configuration.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
Quoting L1329II (Reply 16): There are a few that have been donated to schools.
Per RAC, as of Dec 2003, six museums were identified to receive the Starship as donations, minus the engines, avionics and sometimes landing gear. Didn't say which museums, though. I would guess one would be near them. Check B&CA.
Poitin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 20, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4003 times:
Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 19): Per RAC, as of Dec 2003, six museums were identified to receive the Starship as donations, minus the engines, avionics and sometimes landing gear. Didn't say which museums, though. I would guess one would be near them. Check B&CA.
Go to Scherer's website and you will see what happened to all but a couple of them. This includes the museum placements.
SLCPilot From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 529 posts, RR: 3 Reply 22, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3989 times:
Quoting N1120A (Reply 14): I believe Rutan still owns and flies the prototype, which is 4/5ths scale
Conceived as a new generation light corporate transport in the King Air class, the Starship traces back to the 85% scale proof of concept demonstrator built by Scaled Composites, which first flew in August 1983. It was later cut up by Raytheon in front of Scaled Composites as an intentional dig at the company.
Quoting OldAeroGuy (Reply 17): Another potential reason is that canard airplanes are not more efficient than conventional designs
I have heard this assertion before, and in general, other like GA aircraft are not well suited to short field operations. But the bigger question is why? It seems counter-intuitive that an aircraft with two lifting surfaces would have poorer performance.
I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
OldAeroGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 3206 posts, RR: 66 Reply 24, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3944 times:
Quoting SLCPilot (Reply 22): I have heard this assertion before, and in general, other like GA aircraft are not well suited to short field operations. But the bigger question is why? It seems counter-intuitive that an aircraft with two lifting surfaces would have poorer performance.
The advantage of the canard as a lifting surface is vastly over rated.
In cruise, a conventional configuration has little load on the h-tail (either up or down) because the wing center of lift and the CG are close together. The wing produces lift that is essentially equal to airplane weight and spreads that lift over the entire wing span to minimize induced drag.
On the canard, the CG must always be forward of the wing C.P. for the configuration to be stable. This forces a significant portion of total airplane lift to be carried by the canard. Since the canard span is lower than the wing, its lift portion incurs a higher induced drag than if it were being carried by the wing.
For the above reasons, a canard will have more induced drag and be less efficient than a conventional configuration if both configurations have the same weight and wing span.
For the short answer on slow speed performance:
If a canard config. has high lift devices on the wing, then it also needs them on the canard for an increase in mechnical complexity and weight.
If you're unwilling to put high lift devices on the canard surface, then the canard config. wing area needs to grow realtive to a conventional design and cruise efficiency will take another hit.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
25 SkyexRamper: Robert Scherer owns all of the parts from those Starships that were destoryed by Raytheon, he runs the only company that sells Starship parts. Its ve
26 Wingscrubber: Hate to sound like a troll, but I posted this same topic a while ago, and a troll accosted me for not searching... pfft. Check this out I hate when pe
27 AeroWeanie: The reason it never sold well was that it never meet its performance guarentees. I was there for the "fix-it" exercise. To expand on OldAeroGuy's comm
28 L1329II: I remember hearing something about that a long time ago but I dont remember anything about it. Does anyone know why Ratheon did that? I didnt know th
29 MD-90: Intentional? It was at Mojave, but I think that was just coincidence. I wish it could've been in a major museum.[Edited 2006-03-13 03:15:21]
30 Bond007: I think you'll find this is one of the many P180s that are based at PIE and fly everyday. Jimbo
31 Ffis34: no no....Jimbo I saw it this morning, I am more then postive this is a starship because i have seen those p180 things your on about
32 OldAeroGuy: Thanks for the expansion and I agree completely. You can fix the induced drag but only at the expense of wasted wing wetted area. Total lifting surfa
33 SLCPilot: I have a few friends that "were there". The long story short was Beechcraft felt like they were mislead by the promise of the design. I also heard th
34 Poitin: The short of it is as SLCPilot says, the production aircraft did not "scale" up from the preformance of the "85% proof of concept". Lots of nastiness
35 AeroWeanie: It was very intentional. They towed it to a spot right in front of the Scaled hangar and started up the bulldozers. I was there too (I stood right be
36 Poitin: It must have been a very sad day for you and the others. Vindictive. So, how many Beechcraft have flown around the world non-stop? How many have made
37 Alessandro: I say it was too expensive, not priced to sell.
38 L1329II: Shame on Beechcraft! Its an apples to oranges comparison. Rutan designes alternative forward thinking A/C to break records and Beechcraft produces pr
39 FLALEFTY: The Starship's high price was certainly one of the major issues that hurt its sales. Being in the $5+ million range (in early 1990s $), it was costli
40 Poitin: We will not know what could have been, will we, as long as people stick with the "tried and true". Perhaps you are right, but then why has Beechcraft
41 Bond007: Maybe all but the Raytheon (Beechcraft) Premier 1 - All composite fuselage. Been around for 8 years or so. They have?? It looks like they've record o
42 L1329II: And there is good reason why "tried and true" works! What??? Tell me when and how? Call it stagnant, call it whatever you will but that is what peopl
43 N1120A: In fact, they gave every Starship owner who turned one in a Premier That is f'ed up I don't think so, given that they incinerated the rest at Marana
44 DEVILFISH: Interesting. Was it a one-to-one exchange or were they just given a huge discount on the Premier 1?
45 L1329II: Oh the Premier ... the Starship with jet engines!
46 MD-90: To say the least. How many Scaled aircraft have been in continuous production since 1947? The oldest continuously produced aircraft in the world is t