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Old 12-13-2012, 01:35 PM   #40
Scraping Paint
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Originally Posted by SomeSailor View Post
Truth be told, a design engineer is the worst person to ask for a solution that is elegant in form. Engineers will always draw a straight line and meet your spec as closely as possible.

Very true. The original design of the 7E7 (787) was stunning. Absolutely gorgeous plane and it would have had the same impact on the world as the 747 did in terms of elegance and instant recognition. I produced a bunch of marketing films featuring that design.

Then the engineers got hold of it and the 787 is the boring, straight tube you see on the ramp today. Actually, I think the 787 is most boring, uninteresting airplane design Boeing has come out with yet, outside of the wing which is beautiful. And the reality is that an airplane is all about the wing. The fuselage just keeps the wind out of your face and provides a place to store the booze.

But...... there were very good reasons for what the engineers did. The original fuselage design, while amazingly elegant, would have been very difficult--- which means extremely expensive--- to stretch or shorten. And the airlines made it very clear at the outset that they wanted several capacity choices with the 787, not just one. So for that to be practical and cost-competitive, it dictates a straight tube. To do anything different would be a very expensive mistake and would have given an advantage to our competitor right at the start.

Every product, be it a jetliner, car, boat, or washing machine, has to be compromise between design aesthetics and engineering practicality/reality.

And Eric, I completely agree that a material--- wood, fiberglass, etc.--- is not subjective. The material is just the tool chosen to execute the design. The choice of which material to use is, I believe, both subjective and objective. There are usually practical and aesthetic reasons for choosing one over the other. And these can be in conflict sometimes so you have to decide which one will affect the product's success more.

And whether the final product is considered beautiful, utilitarian, or just plain ugly is all in the eyes of the beholder, so is totally subjective.
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