Airliner design is a complex task with many compromises. It is not a surprise that some aspects of the design that results aren’t exactly what you would like. Today I am picking on one particular type – the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This is almost as new as it gets in the airliner design world so you would expect it to be better than what came before. However, having seen a number of them recently, I have been focused on two areas of the design that are rather disappointing. One is the wing root fairing area and the other is the cargo doors.
A nice smooth design is what the old aero guy in me likes to see and the inlets and fairings around the transition from the fuselage into the wing root are pretty ugly. They are obviously there as a result of functionality requirements but it does not look good and I imagine it comes with a drag penalty that has had to be accepted.
The other area is the cargo doors. I am not sure whether this is a function of the load transfer requirements from composite to metal in the hinges but this area looks rather chunky and draggy. I know from previous projects that the nature of composites versus metals means that you can end up with some large joining fixtures to redistribute the loads but there may be other reasons I haven’t thought about. Given how smooth some metallic fuselage cargo doors are, these jumped out at me. Perhaps I have never looked closely enough at other types. Whatever the fairness of it, I just don’t like what they have done here.