View Full Version : Look at Boeing's beautiful new aircraft!

31st Mar 2001, 07:24
Now, this is an airplane...


31st Mar 2001, 08:04
Wow, a delta wing and canards for improved transonic cruise. Those Boeing guys really are innovative...

31st Mar 2001, 13:51
if they are going to build a dealta wing, why dont they start breaking the sound barriers... but it does look really funky!!

Notso Fantastic
31st Mar 2001, 14:36
I love it. I want children by this thing! I want to fly it. With one step Boeing moves aviation on a generation, and I think will eventually overtake the A3xx. When the A340 came out, I was looking at the plan view and thinking you wouldn't know this wasn't a B707 circa 1958- aviation design just hadn't moved on in 40 years. Brilliant.

31st Mar 2001, 15:08
It reminds me of "Fireflash" from Thunderbirds - now that was a funky aircraft.Didn't they reach FL800 about 5mins after take off???

31st Mar 2001, 15:21
How do you sell this aircraft to the customer airline accountants that has a fuel burn per passenger that is over double that of its competitor, even if the competitor comes in few hours later (its competitor may even be another Boeing product).

Airlines look are revenue per passenger mile, the more seats per unit of fuel and crew the better.

Most passengers look at the cost of the journey not the time it takes (exception on the North Atlantic Concorde routes). It would be a good direct replacement for the Concorde, but that is a very limited market.

The number of passengers on seats per crew is in the wrong direction, i.e. becoming more expensive.

This unconventional aircraft will require yet another Boeing cockpit that would bare little resemblance to others, more training expense for the customer airlines.

The aircraft will be more expensive due to new technologies that will need to be developed and the few airframes (if any) that will be sold. I didn’t think Boeing had anyone left in their design team to complete such a technologically risky project.

This aircraft does nothing to solve the problem of congested airports and airspace.


31st Mar 2001, 15:30
Awe, Zeke, I was starting to get excited for a moment. Wasn't the same true of Concorde? I reckon it's time to "push the frontiers" again. If I was a pax and saw one of these babies on the ramp I reckon I'd want to cancel the new kitchen to fly in it. If the Boeing team need market research confirmation, here's my vote.

31st Mar 2001, 15:36
Why so negative? I understand it uses two engines the same that currently power the B777. OK so .95 rather than .8 mach might require more fuel to get to cruising speed and altitude but FL 450 means more efficient fuel burn doesn't it?
As for the flight deck - isn't it is just another commercial twin. I can't see that it would have to be any different to present day aircraft.
My only concern as a regular passenger on long haul routes is that the airlines will use the additional speed as an excuse NOT to improve customer space and comfort.

31st Mar 2001, 15:47
Well, not that you have to ask me, but if you would...

That is just the PR gag for wall street. It's so simple: they give up (or at least say they do) the 747X and the 767-300ERX, and so basically admit that Airbus has beaten them. So to show that they are such a progressive company, they dig up one of these old studies and present it as the future. Which banker understands the issues that design would give fo any airline operating it. None! SO why care that the project presented to wall street is not really a practical one. You'll have enough time to explain the whole thing to your customers in private anyway.

To the airplane: impractical! First, the airlines don't care about more speed for practical reasons (read R.E.G. Davis: Fallacies and Fantasies of Air Transport History, chapter about Concorde, SST and Orient Express). What is the help of a faster aircraft in the hub and spoke environment? That is stands around longer at destination!

Then, look at that forward wing! How many times will a finger dock bump into it, causing heavy delays and expensive repairs? I would guess every single day in JFK! How do you cater the thing? By rolling the carts over the wings? Or do you cater it first and then have the passengers enter it? Oh, what was that thing about turnaround times again?
Where do you put the bags and the cargo? And how do you put it? By hand? Interesting challenge! And I would like to see the slides of that thing in the back. Will be fun to run over the fuel filled wing in an evacuation. Lovely!

Wake up people! The shape does not work for practical ground servicing reasons and the speed is not really needed. This is a good April's fools joke!

There's nothing like a three-holer...

Anti Skid On
1st Apr 2001, 03:52
Too true Hunter; what'll they produce next - a two hull bi-plane that runs on prune (note spelling) juice. Pure fantasy!!

The Fireflash in Thunderbirds had a smoking lounge with grand piano (just checked it on the VCR) and four engines (but no glass cockpits in 2026!), and had a two man crew.

By the way, how does air get into the engines; very Comet style arrangement there.

1st Apr 2001, 05:13
Pilots always want to fly the fastest heaviest and newest aircraft on the block, fortunately the people who have to pay the bills look at the practicability of running the beast, from economics, crewing, and servicing.


My guess for the delta wing is to carry fuel, the fuse looks like a 757 style cross section.


I did say it would be a good direct replacement for the Concorde. As a passenger are you willing to pay $14,000 to cross the Atlantic ? Or would you stick with $1000 on a 747-400 ?


Have a look at the Boeing Fact sheet (http://www.boeing.com/news/feature/concept/factsheet.html) on the aircraft . It does not talk about the engine configuration.

The aircraft to me looks like a 757 fuse with some supersonic wing on it, a conventional wing would suffice to fly at M0.95 as they have done on the Citation X.

The higher you go the more the core of the engine is providing the aircraft performance, that huge fan on the from of the 777 engine does nothing at M0.95 and 42,000/43,000 feet. Can anyone confirm its a twin ?

FL450 (not tat I have seen it mentioned) does not equate to a more efficient fuel burn if the engine is optimized for flight in the FL300's as it is for the 777.

Look at the Citation X and Challenger aircraft that fly at this altitude and speed (Citation X) for the power to weight ratio they need to achieve this. To get this power to weight ratio Boeing if going to have to put a lot of fuel and thrust out that back of the aircraft to get it to this speed and altitude to get some decent buffet boundary margin.

What other commercial jets are of this configuration, how many other commercial jets currently have the handling characteristics of the is aircraft ? You don’t need a PHD in aerodynamics to know that delta wings are hard to fly in the terminal area, need longer runways, and very high pitch attitude. How easy will it to train people to fly it then ? Concorde V1 VR V2 V2+20 are around the 150 198 220 240 280 kt mark.


I agree with your comments regarding the ground servicing and general maneuvering of the aircraft on the ground and terminal area. I have not worked out how they will get the aircraft into the bay with the canard sticking out where the ramp normally is.


1st Apr 2001, 06:18
Darn! Did't know you can tell that muc by looking at an Artist's Impression! :)

One note though, not many liners cruise between the current conventional altitudes and the Concorde!

The future highways...bla bla bla :)

nuff said :)

Squawk 8888
1st Apr 2001, 10:21
Hey, give the Boing boys a bit of credit. Sure the fuel burn is higher but on the long-haul routes the speed can help offset the costs *if* they can turn it around quick enough to fly more miles per day. With the transpolar routes opening up in a couple of years knocking a few hours off the run to the far east combined with the higher cruising speed it could mean using just one plane for a daily round-trip from North America to Japan or HK- something the bean-counters would love because a plane sitting on the apron overnight doesn't generate much revenue. As for the delta wing, don't know if it gives any advantage in the transonic range but the canard should make it handle reasonably well at low speeds.

Nuke the rainforest- it's more efficient than logging.

1st Apr 2001, 12:21

Going by the number of windows there seems to be about 50 rows, which means about 4 abreast.

More than likely the picture is a computer rendered model of a preliminary CAD model for the aircraft.

Squawk 8888

When looked at as a whole, labor accounts for 35 percent of the airlines' operating expenses and 75 percent of controllable costs. Fuel is the airlines' second largest cost (about 10 to 12 percent of total expenses), and travel-agent commissions is third (about 6 percent). Commission costs, as a percent of total costs, have recently been declining, as more sales are now made directly to the customer through electronic commerce. Another rapidly rising cost has been airport landing fees and terminal rents.

According to reports filed with the Department of Transportation in 1999, airline costs were as follows:

Flying Operations - essentially any cost associated with the operation of aircraft, such as fuel and pilot salaries - 27 percent;
Maintenance - both parts and labor - 13 percent;
Aircraft and Traffic Service - basically the cost of handling passengers, cargo and aircraft on the ground and including such things as the salaries of baggage handlers, dispatchers and airline gate agents - 16 percent;
Promotion/Sales - including advertising, reservations and travel agent commissions - 13 percent;
Passenger Service - mostly inflight service and including such things as food and flight attendant salaries - 9 percent;
Transport Related - delivery trucks and inflight sales - 10 percent;
Administrative - 6 percent;
Depreciation/Amortization - equipment and plants - 6 percent.

Therefore any aircraft that gives an airline an increased fuel burn per passenger mile must make up for the extra expense elsewhere in order for this new Boeing aircraft to compete with others within the customer airlines fleet, an increase in utilization alone will not do it.

The configuration of the aircraft alone is novel and would require additional R&D expense on Boeings part that would need to be passed onto the customer airlines leading to an increased initial purchase price, or higher lease payments for the aircraft.

This new aircraft would need to prove to airlines that it had significant saving and benefits for them not to go out and get themselves a B757 or B767.

The problem with the B757 on long haul routes is that customer airlines found that their was insufficient under floor cargo space, airlines do generate significant revenue from what’s carried inside the hold.

The delta (more of a Ogee shape) is of an advantage in transonic rage, as well as other factor such as aerofoil section and the "area rule", on the down side you get a very low Clmax.


1st Apr 2001, 14:38
Despite all the erudition above - IT LOOKS TERRIFIC!!

The Sonic Cruiser will probably have the biggest 'Must have' factor for an airline since the Comet or 707! Who wouldn't want either to fly it or in it??

Boeing say that it could be in service by 2007; now that IS impressive. But just look at the pace of development the US aerospace industry is now capable of with their latest offerings!

Hours and hours with nearly a thousand others bumbling along in the mid-30s in an A380 Megabus or a short trip time in the high stratospheric world of the Sonic Cruiser with just a hundred or two?? The choice may soon be available.....

1st Apr 2001, 15:49
Now...come on guys...as pilots we're supposed to have a few brains!...not many, just a few...have a look at the date!!!

1st Apr 2001, 15:49

You've got me thinking now...hmmmm March 31st at 0300 something. What's the importance of that date? If you mean April fools, that was a few (quite a few) hours after the topic was posted.


I have to agree with the replies that intimated that in releasing images of this aircraft, and the unreasonably optimistic Time-in-Service estimate, Boeing have simply smokescreened their admission of failure to beat Airbus in the 'super jumbo' race.

If they really are going to shelve plans for a B747X, then they're handing the next generation of people movers (read B747 replacements) to Airbus on a platter.

Personally, I think that is a fantastic state of affairs. For too long (the B777 being the only real exception here) Boeing have been sitting back, resting on their laurels, selling rehashed, but nonetheless outdated aircraft to an industry in need of replacements. Airbus, on the other hand has continually gone the hard yards to develop their concepts into state-of-the-art commercial products that satisfy both the customer and the customer's customer.

Is it any wonder that Boeing has commenced what appears to be an unprecedented diversification strategy, culminating in the iminent transfer of their headquarters away from Seattle. They've been protectionist instead of cutting edge for so long that they've lost the plot entirely.

Sadly this could mean that Airbus may become monopolistic to the point that they too become complacent, selfish and ultimately unwilling to continue the hard work that has made them what they are today - arguably the maker of the world's best family of commercial aircraft.

[This message has been edited by Eecam (edited 01 April 2001).]

1st Apr 2001, 16:32
I have to agree that the timing of this release is a little suspect when considered in relation to the dropping of the 747X program. Would somebody like to offer me some odds on whether or not that that picture was actually created over a decade ago for a project that was ditched in the early 90's?

Let's look at the facts - Boeing have just ditched a project which amounts to nothing more than another 747 stretch, at a cost of peanuts, which could have competed (on equal terms? :)) with Airbus for the lion's share in the market for large transport aircraft. Instead, they have abandoned safe ground and (alledgedly) started to develop an aircraft that is 'so good that it will create its own niche in the market' :rolleyes: Of course it will! Like Concorde did? :) If they airlines had wanted to, I'm sure they could have flown Concorde at M0.95 on routes over land. They didn't, because it didn't make economic sense.

I've been involved in an extensive undergraduate study into a design concept almost identical to this. At first we thought it was a winner, but to cut a long story short, we came to the comclusion that it was a [email protected] idea. Development costs too high, certification too difficult, airlines would never go for it, and the foreplane would get in the way of the jetway!!!

Does look cool though ;)

[This message has been edited by Pielander (edited 01 April 2001).]

1st Apr 2001, 16:37
"A good replacement for Concorde"?

Hmmm, one flies at Mach 2 and cuts Transatlantic journey times in half. The other flies at Mach 0.95 and does the Atlantic as quickly as a Convair 990 or a VC10.

This is hardly innovative, is it?

To make a worthwhile reduction in journey time you need to save the pax 50% - say 4 hours across the pond, which would infer Mach 1.3 or so.

1st Apr 2001, 16:42
VC10!!! I'd forgotten about that! That was what almost sunk the British Aero industry, and it was based on exactly the same idea as this cruiser thingy. It was unsuccessful for exactly that reason, i.e. that it was uncompetitive.

2nd Apr 2001, 03:05
It looks very similar to Burt Rutan's Starship ....


A really cool design http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/cool.gif

Squawk 8888
2nd Apr 2001, 03:44
Zeke, no question cycling it more would be only the beginning of making the thing worthwhile- for the airlines another cost savings would be reducing the need for extra crew on the handful of routes where the time saving would bring it over the threshold. Certainly for NAT the extra speed would mean squat, both for pax and the bean-counters. I do see one advantage here for crossing the pond, though- that airspace is getting pretty crowded these days and I'm sure the good folks in Gander would love to see some of that traffic shifted up to 450. In some ways it looks like Boeing and Airbus are taking opposite approaches to the problem of increased traffic- Airbus jamming us by the thousand into fewer planes, Boeing sending more planes above the traffic.

Anito4a- that starship looks an awful lot like that Italian turboprop.

Eecam- I agree that Boeing has been running on inertia far too long. Airbus is light-years ahead in the technology going into the medium-to-large category, Canadair invented a whole new class of jet airliners, De Havilland came up with a way to make a turboprop cabin as quiet as a jet, but what has Boeing ever done? They even owned DH while the Q-series Dashes were under development and they ended up losing a mint and practically giving away the technology to Bombardier. Go figure.

Nuke the rainforest- it's more efficient than logging.

2nd Apr 2001, 04:18
I think Boeing did a masterful job of goading Airbus into building a very large white elephant. There should be a nice downturn in the world economy just about time the orders are ready for the assembly line. Prediction: another big loser.

Boeing's high sub-sonic cruiser? Can't see the big advantage in that. Bitch'n looking airplane though, but still not quite as nice as the Concorde. Probably have about the same economics, which is to say, not so good.

Airbus kicking Boeing's bee-hind? Oh, please. Yea, that 340 is a real barnburner -- can't make 'em fast enough, huh. The 330 is a pig. The 320 is a good money-maker airplane, but has the repuation among mechanics of being, well . . disposable.

Just be glad we have two world-class manufacturers of large aircraft. It keeps everybody somewhat honest and innovative.

The real measure of which is the best airplane is: Which one has the best 12 year Captains pay?

[This message has been edited by Roadtrip (edited 02 April 2001).]

2nd Apr 2001, 05:54
Squawk 8888,

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

Studies I have here show that the direct operating cost of financing is about 0.07USD/nm, fuel/oil/lube 0.232USD/nm.

Everyone agrees this aircraft will have to burn more fuel than a B777 to get the speed and altitude they are designing for but with only half the number of pax. Higher utilization does not help bring the other costs inline…I will try and explain myself a little below.

Also as you fly sectors in excess of 3000 nm the direct operating costs of maintenance and landing, navigation, and registration plateaus out.

The indirect costs drop a little when you have longer sectors, but the cost of airplane and traffic servicing, control, and freight increases.

The overall ratio of direct and indirect operating costs decreases by 0.01 with sector lengths between 3000 and 4000 nm, it plateaus out so longer sectors don’t give you better efficiencies by themselves.

If you were to draw a graph of annual utilization vs block time for many pax transports you will see that if sectors lengths get any longer than 3.5 hours the utilization you can get out of an aircraft in a given year differs little if you were to do 10 hour sectors, for 3.5 hour sectors its about 3250 hours / year, for 10 hour sectors its about 3350 hours per year.

The studies have shown the only efficiencies above this can be made by mechanized loading cargo transport aircraft where the turn around times are quicker. However they also plateau out around 3800 hours per year.

In summary, if you use the aircraft for long sectors (>3.5 hrs) little efficiency is gained in the economics of the aircraft, and you can only fly so many hours a year due to many factors outside the aircraft operators control.

The data I have is a few years old, the historical numbers in that study seemed to indicate that the rations are changing only very slightly over the past 25 years.


2nd Apr 2001, 06:22
My name is gaunty and I'm a Boingaholic.

But lets keep it in perspective, the market is bored and Wontwoloos has the ball, 3 down and 30 yards.

Boing Marketing: "Let's trot out one of our real flash design concepts run it up the pole and see who salutes it.

Give a bunch of engineers a brief and the laws of physics will ultimately have them all going in the same direction. A340 v B707/CV880/CV990/DC8-63 none of the latter were slouches just didn't have the benefit of the new materials and technology now available.

Thunderbirds are go!! :)

[This message has been edited by gaunty (edited 02 April 2001).]

2nd Apr 2001, 07:39
On a serious note I think we have to keep in mind the many early problems that occured on the "Thunderflash" design.

If I remember correctly two aircraft were lost enroute London-New York. One of them lost on the maiden flight on that route. It was only because IR were able to skillfully transfer Alan into the hold of the aircraft (inflight!) that the manufacturers were able to establish that it was in fact a "little wooden man" causing sabotage.

In another incident one Thunderflash crash-landed at London airport due to an undercarriage failure. Once again IR was able to bring the aircraft safetly to rest using three remote vehicles which accelerated along the runway to "catch" Thunderflash as it touched-down.

I was suprised that there was not an immediate public outcry over flight safety. As it was I seem to remember there was just the usual "big party" and mutual back-slapping at IR headquarters.

A message for Boing?

Stop the PR posturing, or call Scott and Virgil for advice to design a practical flying machine (TB2 for example).

2nd Apr 2001, 11:50
Aaah, it really looks sexy . . . . ;)

Maybe I'm getting old but . . .

It's gonna cut, what, one hour off my LON-JFK time, or an hour off Mid-East-Europe?

For a fraction of the cost of the new 'plane, airlines would have me rushing to their door if only they put another couple of agents on check-in, so I could cut 90 to 120 minutes of check-in time to under an hour, and if the arrival airport put a few more customs & immigration guys on, saving me another half an hour.

For my money (poor though I am :) ) I'd much rather save an hour of the ground time than even two hours flight time.

Might even cut down air-rage http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

What goes around . . .
. . often lands better!

2nd Apr 2001, 12:43
It looks too sexy to be true - I think the Boeing Spin Doctors released it a little bit too early (ie: 31st March ).

Who remembers the "SST" project? - not long after Concord became a reality, all the other major manufacturers produced drawings for the latest and greatest. Faster, further, Higher ( in some cases sub-orbital ).

Just remember what day it is after the 31st March!.

2nd Apr 2001, 12:51
But it's so pretty....

2nd Apr 2001, 14:32
It seems that nationalism isn't far below the surface in this argument, with a number of people seemingly regarding admiration of, and support for, Boeing as being their 'patriotic duty', and the rubbishing of anything else as being a similar obligation.

It must smart that the Europeans built (and still operate) the World's only practical SST, and that they built the first successful FBW airliners. The A380 must be a similar 'irritant'.

But a white elephant? The aircraft carries 500 passengers, yet can turn a profit with a 747-load, and the break-even load factors of the existing 747-400 and the small A380 are within a whisker of each other. And those decrying the A380 would doubtless maintain that the 747-400 is a good size for an airplane. So even if they can't fill a 380 every trip, it makes more sense than a 747, because they can give the passengers more comfort, a higher cruising speed and a fractionally cheaper ticket.


Perhaps you have some insight on the operating costs of A380?

2nd Apr 2001, 15:07
Nothing more than an impressive press-release from a big company that's been caught on the back-foot.

Replace the A-380??

I don't think so.

Pure fantasy.

2nd Apr 2001, 16:17

I have to agree with you that nationalism doesn’t seem to be far below the surface in this argument. I do like the new Boeing aircraft, think it looks great, and will fly in uncongested airspace above the weather while in cruise.

I have tried to present a balanced argument as to why the fleet planners at airlines would not go for the new Boeing design as it would not deliver the profits to the airlines shareholders and perpetuate their job security.

Development cost for the A380 is estimated at $US10bn, the number of units forecast to be delivered is 500-1000 region. The forecasts market is for approximately 1332 airliners of 400 seats and above through to 2017, this would also include sales of B747s. The first engineering development work on the A380 commenced in June 1994, with first deliveries expected in early 2006.

I have heard rumors that the A380 will be constructed in the main by robots, and little if any use of rivets as fasteners. I understand a laser welding technique has been developed with save tones in fasteners alone.

Numerous design configurations were studied for the A380 and they gave serious consideration to a single deck aircraft which would have seated 12 abreast and twin vertical tails.

They settled upon a twin deck configuration, largely because of the significantly lighter structure required, the ability to use existing airport gates with little modification, and reuse many of the system concepts found on the A320/A330/A340.

The direct operating costs (DOC) per seat on the A380 are estimated to be 15% less than those for the 747-400 (I don’t know which engine configuration). The DOC is about 53% of the total operating costs.

The DOC includes crew, fuel, oil, lube, insurance, maintenance, depreciation, landing navigation and route charges.


2nd Apr 2001, 17:24
How many Starships did Beech sell? How many Piaggio whatsits of similar configuration did they sell? Recovery of nonrecurring development and certification costs? enough said.

The new Boeing announcement sure looks sexy , but as has been pointed out accountants aren't sexy (don't I know)

The other problem with an aircraft that trades off high fuel burn for performnance is that the fuel costs are variable, sometimes extremely so. An aircraft that makes sense at, say, $1.50/gal becomes progressively less attractive as fuel prices go up and by the time it hits $2.00 a gallon they get white tails and parked in the desert. Given the uncertainties in the oil market it does not appear to be a prudent thing to trade fuel burn for the altitude/speed capability.

As far as the A-380 time will tell, but look at Mr. Boeing's order book... they are laughing all the way to the bank over the next few years. Moving from Seattle and diversifying...well not sure about theSeattle move but if your company was pretty much into one sector of manufacturing (airliners) and another almost similar area (military aircraft and systems) what would you want to do for your shareholders? A little diversification would get you an "A" on the exam at business school and that is who is running the company.

2nd Apr 2001, 18:38
And here is another chapter form the magic book of how to buy an airliner:

Does this bird give me the ability to save 10% per seat over the airplanes it replaces? Yes, get me the thing! No? Screw you!

This is the ultimate question people will ask and that is the most important one (besides the fact that this bird here does not have the shape of making ground support work more efficiently, so therefore it will cost more in that specific peice of the equation!)

There's nothing like a three-holer...

Flight Safety
2nd Apr 2001, 19:25
I'd just like to bring the Cessna Citation X into the discussion here. This aircraft cruises at mach .91 and has a range in excess of 3000nm at that speed, making it the longest ranged Citation jet. The fuel burn for this aircraft starts to drop off drastically at altitudes greater than FL370.

Boeing says the "sonic cruiser's" cruising altitude will be in the mid 40s, and it will have a range of 9000nm.

For it's speed, the fuel burn of the Citation X is not bad at all. If Boeing is able to duplicate this kind of performance in a new airliner, they would definitely have a winner on their hands.

Here are some links to the Cessna website for the relevant specs on the Citation X.




Safe flying to you...

[This message has been edited by Flight Safety (edited 02 April 2001).]

James R Swift
2nd Apr 2001, 22:08
Boeing's shareholders today would never let the Co. gamble on something like the 707 or the 747, which is perhaps why the company was caught out by Airbus when it came to the Super Jumbo. Sad to see a once-great and once-innovative company resorting to this sort of nonsense.

Bottoms Up!
2nd Apr 2001, 22:46
Yes, artist's impressions can be fun designs. But to me this just
resembles a padded out and upgraded 21st Century adaptation of the
Russian Tu-144 'Concordski'.

And don't forget that the American tax-payer, through NASA, recently put
a Tu-144 back in the air at enormous expense for an in depth research study.
Thus all the information obtained will have been made available to
Boeing, so as to be incorporated into this 'Boeingski' design package.

The forward Canards on the 144 do not interfere with jetways, as they
are retractable.

Now if Boeing, or any other manufacturer REALLY wants to take a Giant
Leap Forward, then the first to come up with a Starship Enterprise
'Energizer' people mover to beam me around the world in a split second
will really corner the market! And make all the flying machines, tens
of thousands of airline employees and the PPRuNe Bulletin Board obsolete.

2nd Apr 2001, 23:56
Yawn, Yawn, yet another artists impression of an American SST, If only I had £1 for every one of those I'd seen

2nd Apr 2001, 23:56
For a description of some of the design factors for the sonic cruiser, go to this week's edition of "Aviation Week".


Several previous posts described the sonic cruiser as being built around the 757 tube. All the press stories I've read indicate that it will be a double aisle aircraft. Hard to believe anyone would develop a single aisle plane with a 9000 nautical mile range in this day of DVT worries.

If a second-generation SST is still decades away, then an all first-class 100 seat configuration might serve Concorde-type clientele on selected routes when Concordes reach the end of their operational lives.

Putting aside whether Boeing is trying to splash some water on the A-380 parade, a successfully designed and cost-competitive sonic cruiser would seem to be a stake into the heart of the long-term A-340 market.

Finally, several excerpts from the March 31 Seattle Post Intelligencer:

"Boeing's engineers on the new Sonic Cruiser aren't ready to tell secrets just yet.

But aviation experts say that if the company is right in its claim to be able to produce an efficient jetliner that can cruise just under the speed of sound, they have conquered a problem that has baffled airplane designers since the dawn of the jet age.

"There has to be something very clever here and they are just not releasing it yet," said John Hansman, head of the aeronautics and
astronautics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Those guys are smart and they understand this issue very well," he added. "They would not move forward with this plane unless they are confident they have some means to make it competitive."

...Airbus was quick to say that it studied the concept of a plane that could fly at near sonic speeds and determined it would burn 40
percent more fuel at cruising speed.

But Mike Bair, vice president for business strategy and development for Boeing's commercial airplanes, said the Sonic Cruiser will pay only a "small" fuel penalty. Even that, he said, will be offset by the jet's higher cruise speed.

"Everything we have looked at says this plane will be cost competitive with today's airplanes," he said.

There is no magical technology on the Sonic Cruiser that allows it do what other jets have not -- fly efficiently at transonic speeds.

"The design itself is what is revolutionary," Bair said.

Boeing said yesterday its top engineers on the Sonic Cruiser are not available for interviews.

Until they are willing to talk in detail, aviation experts can only speculate about the new design.

Hansman said Boeing's engineers are probably using a technique called advanced computational fluid dynamics modeling to develop a design that minimizes drag at high Mach numbers.

Such fluid dynamics modeling allows the design to be studied on computer models.

Another challenge Boeing faces, he said, is how to make the jet stable at the higher speeds.

As a jet approaches the speed of sound, he said, the center of pressure moves around, which makes the plane less stable. Aircraft
stability was the main challenge when the sound barrier was finally broken in 1947, he said.

In announcing the Sonic Cruiser development program, Alan Mulally, chief executive of Boeing's commercial airplanes, said the jet would be even more stable than current commercial planes. That stability, he said, comes from the small wing-like canards near the plane's nose.

The canards essentially perform the same function as the horizontal stabilizer at the rear of today's jets. The stabilizer can be moved in flight to trim the plane. The canards on the Sonic Cruiser also move.

Boeing will be working with about a dozen airlines from the United States, Europe and Asia as the development program goes forward.
That's what Boeing also did with the 777 program.

So far, the response from airlines to the Sonic Cruiser announcement has been enthusiastic -- assuming Boeing can do
what it claims.

Typical of the comments was one from Air Canada Chief Executive Robert Milton, who was quoted by Dow Jones News Service as saying, "It's a tactically brilliant move, if the jet is cost-effective and the price is right."

...The Boeing Co. says it wants Japan's three biggest aircraft makers to help develop its new high-speed commercial plane, replacing an
earlier plan to involve them in the wing production for a larger version of the 747 jet."

3rd Apr 2001, 00:17
Hunter58 has said it all. Boeing marketting guys will hate you for that. I wonder where they are going to connet the getty?

3rd Apr 2001, 00:23
Hunter58 has said it all. Boeing marketting guys will hate you for that. I wonder where they are going to connet the bridge?

3rd Apr 2001, 02:46
"An all first-class 100 seat configuration might serve Concorde-type clientele on selected routes when Concordes reach the end of their operational lives." You're kidding, right? A Mach 0.95 airplane replacing a Mach 2 airplane. People who pay to be able to fly the Atlantic both ways in a day will pay a Concorde-type premium to shave 45-75 minutes off their journey time?

By the time the poor thing's struggled up to 45,000 and then back, with the climb and descent micro-managed by ATC, and not optimised for speed or fuel efficiency, it may even end up slower than a 340 whose operators have got their check-in and baggage claim systems properly streamlined.

"A successfully designed and cost-competitive sonic cruiser would seem to be a stake into the heart of the long-term A-340 market." Only if it can offer lower seat mile costs, and there's no suggestion that it will. This misbegotten aircraft (if not actually intended as a joke) represents the worst possible compromise between bold innovation and cautious conservatism. It won't be radical enough to carve a high speed niche, and it won't be cheap enough to compete - and on top of all that it looks too radical for accountants and passengers.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer. There's a good, reliable, impartial source for info on the local industry.

If the company is right in its claim to be able to produce an efficient jetliner that can cruise just under the speed of sound, they have NOT conquered a problem that has baffled airplane designers since the dawn of the jet age, they've re-invented the VC10 and the CV990, and have had to enter Dan Dare design territory to do so.

3rd Apr 2001, 03:24
Something bothers me about a twin jet
delta wing. Concorde type wings don't have great lift on take-off hence higher necessary speed. Look how Air France's poor last flight struggled valiantly on 50% power...with afterburners!
Now this new Boeing will have an awful lot of fuel + ~200+ people weight for a 9000 mile dash, and no afterburner take off. Even with high-bypass power, how close to the edge will -it- be with one engine out on take-off from Paris to Hong Kong?
My only guess is that the twin engine layout is a ruse to Airbus in case they want to compete. I suspect that, along with the canards, this element of the `concept car' will never see the outside of the `motor show'.

3rd Apr 2001, 06:05
Engine out performance is not a player in the manner in which you are thinking.

An aircraft must be certified to make a 2.4 percent climb gradiant with the failure of its most critical engine. The concorde, 747 a340 etc are certified to lose 1 engine and make that climb gradient. They are not certified to lose 2 engines and make that. Depending on weight, a double engine failure in any 4 engine aircraft right at v1 may very well be fatal. They aren't required to be able to do it.

A twin is usally more overpowered in normal state because they have to lose 50 percent of their power (vs 25 percent for a 4 engine aircraft) and still climb.

So it will be by certification requirements no different then a 737 in the event of an engine failure...


3rd Apr 2001, 06:52
Flight Safety

When you have a look at the power to weight ratio of jets that fly above FL400 you see that the ratio goes above 30%.

Most airlines at the moment are in the high 20% range, a small comparison is below ..

Below is a quick comparison or aircraft, Power/Weight ratio (%), and Range (nm)
Citation X 37.47% 3250 Gulfstearm V 32.99% 6500 B767-400ER 28.22% 5625 B777-300 29.70% 5720 A330-200 26.82% 6400 A340-500 27.84% 8500 B747-400 27.43% 7259 B747SP 29.49% 8315 A380-100 27.22% 7665

When you go above 30% costs for operating go through the roof. The reason for the high power to weight ratio to allow the aircraft get to the altitude (excess power=climb) and to allow a margin on the buffet boundary.

The power to weight ratio is also linked to the direct operating cost of the aircraft via fuel, oil, lube, insurance, maintenance, and depreciation.


I mentioned the B757 fuse as I counted about 50 rows along the side of the aircraft, 200 seats, 50 rows, 4 across -> single isle.

The AW&ST article has a lot of good engineering sense, and some interesting quotes …

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">The public evidence that this is achievable at Mach 0.95 is sketchy at best, but by comparing improvements in technology between the 767 and 777, and applying that Mach X L/D increment to the 1970s near-sonic studies, an L/D level of 15-16 might be possible.</font>

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">And given a lull in company R&D and cuts in NASA subsonic research, "it's a very tall order to go from this into a new airplane."</font>

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2"> "It burns a little more fuel but the operating cost is very competitive with today's aircraft," Bair said.</font> Michael B. Bair, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president for business strategy and development


Climb gradients for one engine inoperative 4 engine aircraft are higher than for one engine inoperative two engine aircraft.

FAR 25.121 has the following gross climb gradients for second and third segments

2 engine 2.4% 1.2% 3 engine 2.7% 1.5% 4 engine 3.0% 1.7%

The gross to net margins are
2 engine 0.8% 3 engine 0.9% 4 engine 1.0%


3rd Apr 2001, 13:38

Half the speed of Concorde, half the pax of an 747, only an hour off the transatlantic time and most of that spent in the buffet zone. Yipeeekayay! who’s impressed? All this Delta and SST stuff was covered with in the 1960s and 70s and Boeing got cancelled after spending vast cash to produce nothing solid. Lets face it, Concorde was first passenger delta and did it right. The A380 is whipping Boeing with their own stick and the only response is some pretty artist impression dragged out of a dusty cupboard. Yawn.

And another minor point. Developing a new wing is HUGELY expensive whereas stretching an existing tube and doing a spot of engine development is not - something Boeing has been good at in the past. If big cash is being spent, lets see something that is truly radical. Where’s that stainless steel Mach 3, 250 seat machine that was promised? And whatever happened to the North American B70 Valkyrie? Stuff that full of passengers instead of warheads and it would have been a real head-turner!!!!

3rd Apr 2001, 13:40
I tend to agree with Roadtrip's comments on page 1. If this new Boeing sees the light of day - (and I I suspect something relatively radical will eventually surface) - IMHO it will bear little resemblance to the cute pikky we've all been treated to at the start of this thread. My guess would be something a tad closer to a flying wing, but of course, I could be way off beam. I'll wait and see.

We're all witness here to commercial oneupmanship being practised by the real experts in this coming battle for market share. Each player will do anything they can to throw a spanner in the commercial workings of the competitor, right up to using government to government confrontations in other trade areas as part of the gameplan.

I suspect there's more than an element of truth in Roadtrip's comment that Boeing will wait until Airbus is committed to the A380, (a relatively small step forward from what's out there already, in perception, if not in reality), before they unveil something as ground-breaking as the 747 was in its day. I say this because when it comes to sheer thuggery and no-holds-barred infighting in the commercial field, (and I'm not trying to insult anyone with the use of that word), all the rest of us have to get up very very early in the morning to beat those from the good ole US of A. Since WW2, they've even manufactured a succession of wars to keep their economy rollin' right along.

I also can't help but observe that many proponents of the A380 might be letting this develop into something more of a "Europe can p-eye-ss further up a wall than America can" contest rather than looking at the true merits of the 380 and just how much of an advance it really is.

3rd Apr 2001, 15:04
One thing A380 isn't is a pi$$ing contest. It's a sensible, evolutionary response to a requirement to replace now ageing 747s with a more modern, higher-capacity aircraft which fits in the same 80m box, and which can use existing airport infrastructure, and (and I'll write this slowly so the Boeing-is-best boys can understand) with lower-seat mile costs than any extant airliner, and with the ability to turn a profit for its owners when operating with a typical 747-load of pax.

Those are "the true merits of the 380" we don't have to wait to see "just how much of an advance it really is". Technologically, it's not much of an advance. Commercially, however, it's a winner.

It's not all that ground-breaking, except arguably in terms of size - but even there, the big 'leap' came with the 747. That's why it's so sad that Boeing missed the boat in designing a competitor. It's not a case of Boeing waiting and throwing spanners - they've already missed the boat. Short of a world recession and catastrophic collapse in capacity demand, the A380's here already.

Lu Zuckerman
3rd Apr 2001, 19:40
To: Zeke

You stated, “I have heard rumors that the A380 will be constructed in the main by robots, and little if any use of rivets as fasteners. I understand a laser welding technique has been developed with save tones in fasteners alone”.

This may be true and if it is, it will cut the cost of manufacture by cutting down on the salaries of the construction workers as well as eliminating the cost and weight of the fasteners replaced by the laser welding of structural panels and structural elements within the airframe.

It will vastly improve the reliability of the airframe due to the elimination of the fastening devices and rivets. All of this can be used as a selling point.

Here is an example of the application of the above selling points in the marketing of an aircraft.
One of the major selling points to the US Congress in the promotion of the V-22 was that it was mainly made of composite material which has proven to have a “paper” reliability much superior to the metal structure it replaces. Here is the reality of the V-22. If it suffers major damage to the rear end of the aircraft it must be repaired in the same manner as it was constructed. This means that the entire structure from the wings back must be removed and sent back to the factory and be repaired and placed in an autoclave. For skin repairs the US Navy specified the methodology and the design requirements dictated that the repair be X-rayed to verify the integrity of the repair but they found out that the material specified by the Navy was opaque to X-rays.

In order to get the A-380 certificated Airbus must create a repair scheme for every conceivable type of skin repair or the repair to major structure. What happens if a repair of the skin spans across a laser weld? What is the down time on the aircraft when a repair must be effected?

I worked as a senior Reliability Engineer on the A-310, A-300-600 and the A-320 wing and I personally saw how lax the consortia companies were when it came to Reliability, Maintainability and Systems Safety. I don’t think much has changed in the last ten years.

One other point and this is the same point that went through the collective minds of Boeing management relative to the 747 and that is what happens if the aircraft crashes. The Warsaw and Montreal conventions both indicate that if a crash results from an intentional error on the part of the builder the damages claimed by the survivors is unlimited.

If this is upheld in court it could wipe out Airbus and their insurers.

The Cat

3rd Apr 2001, 21:14

all i have read on this board is how boeing has lost it and airbus has beaten them. boeing cant come up with anything new. airbus is "lightyears" ahead and is setting the standards while boeing just recycles old airframes.

boeing comes up with a revolutionary new design and all you guys do is rip it apart. what do you want boeing to do? granted, this is in the very earlier stages, but all i have read is how they will never pull it off yet no one here really questions some of the dubious claims of the A380.

the other complaint is that this airplane is not a revolutionary step in aviation. how would you improve on the 757/767/A320/A330 size of aircraft? i want to hear what all of you would propose for the "next generation". this airplane, if they can make it work, will be faster, fly much farther with very comparable operating costs.

i am not trying to start a boeing vs airbus war because both are fine manufacturers. but lets point out a couple of things. it is obvious from this thread as someone earlier pointed out that nationalism has a lot to do with peoples comments. everyone was ripping the americans, but how about the europeans? boeing is damned if they do and damned if they dont in your eyes.

all i am saying is lets try to keep things in perspective. everyone loved to point out that airbus outsold boeing in 1999. yet i didnt see alot of threads here pointing out that boeing beat airbus last year. they are two major airframe manufacturers and i think we will see a 50/50 split for the forseeable future. think about it, what new design has airbus come up with in the last 15 years? the 380 is just a double decker 340. everyhing over the last 10 years has been a variant of their late 80's work. at least boeing developed an all new airliner during the 1990's that is still the most advanced airliner around. everyone loves to point out that the A330 is so much better than the 767. does anyone want to compare the 330 to the 777? i didnt think so.

sorry for the rant gents, but i think we all need to remember that america and europe are friends and both have alot to offer to the world of aviation.

3rd Apr 2001, 21:36
Bring it on Boeing, hope it is a success. Time for a new era of airliners. There is space for the A380 and the sonic cruiser. Top end Biz Travellers will like Boeings aircraft, why would biz peeps want to be in a plane with 500 mere economy pax when they can get to there destination faster, eg long haul routes London-Hong Kong/Sinagpore,OZ. And also cut out the need of a stop on some routes such as West Coast USA to Asia. Airlines can still use A380 for high Density routes. BA is focusing more on top end pax so why shouldn't the Sonic Cruiser work if you fill it with Biz Pax mainly to cater for their needs. Hope I make sense

3rd Apr 2001, 22:02
Has anyone looked at where the A-380 will land? I understand that there is a question of gross weight and pavement load and that parts of runways will have to be rebuilt to take the loads. There is also the small matter of the dimensions of taxiways, ramps and gates.

Someone asked where the XB-70 is? There were 2, one crashed at Edwards AFB after a midair, the other is parked at Dayton Ohio at the Air Frce Museum. Looks like it is doing Mach 5 while parked.

4th Apr 2001, 00:41
I hope they build it, and hope it will be a success too, 747 436...but I don't think there is any more likelihood of seeing a real one than any of the scores of artists impressions of Boeing SST's that have appeared over the last 20 years.

4th Apr 2001, 00:56
The new Boeing does look quite sporty although it's still not as fast as the rocket (smiles smugly and wishes he was senior enough!). However I think the true replacements for Concorde will be supersonic bizjets a la Sukhoi-Gulfstream! Anyone any ideas if and when one will be built?

4th Apr 2001, 01:22
the reason that the boeing SST was not built was not because they couldnt build it but because it was not financially feasible at the time (incidently, neither was the concorde). you can build airplanes for the technology advances or you can build airplanes that make money, both are needed.

numerous posts on this thread have implied that this aircraft is a joke because it is not supersonic. well if it were then it would be subjected to the same limited routes as the concorde.

one more point regarding how "revolutionary" this aircraft would be. let me ask a question; which would be a greater step forward (assuming that they bulid it):
a)737-400 to the A320 or b)A320 to the sonic-cruiser?

[This message has been edited by LMD (edited 03 April 2001).]

4th Apr 2001, 02:19
Forget this plane. Its what they call 'Tossing the dogs a bone'. Boeing loses the Mega jet contest and cancels the ultimate 747 stretch, but how do they tell the shareholders? Heres an idea.. get a concept out of the vault and throw it at the media and tell them it'll take, oh, maybe ten years to get flying. Lets see..

Boeing is going to spend ten years financing an entirely new fuselage/ wing combination out of spite? How many airlines have been clamouring for 'just this kind of aircraft'? How much would a passenger be prepared to spend for less legroom and two hours off a transpacific flight? Not enough I imagine. They are going to go through the entire certification process for a slightly faster 777 with no advance orders?

We're lucky they didnt show an airship by mistake when dusting off the concept de jour.

4th Apr 2001, 12:16
Let's hope this thing flies if only for one reason.

"Virgin 901 say mach number"


"Speedbird 8 say mach number"


Ho ho ho.
No change there then !!

4th Apr 2001, 12:53
Build it and they will come. :)

Flap 5
4th Apr 2001, 14:09

There are a couple of threads going on this one. I have answered your point in 'Airbus A380 Rules' but I shall reiterate: A revolutionary aircraft today would use sub orbital technology and would achieve London to Sydney in one hour.

Concorde and the 747 were started well over 30 years ago. This new aircraft from Boeing is just more of the same. Even sub orbital technology has been investigated many years ago (Hotol), but went the same way as many other projects.

This new Boeing would achieve an extra 50 knots groundspeed over the existing 747-400. Not really a quantum leap after over 30 years is it?

4th Apr 2001, 17:15

Concorde was ‘operationally’ commercially viable when conceived and later proved to be very much so for BA. The funding of the build was expensive at the time due to the European reccesion and other factors, however both countries were in a no break clause to finish the project. Concorde could have had a healthy return much earlier if two things had happened.

One was if overland supersonic flying had got approval it would have opened many more airports to Concorde. Changing the rules after so much money had been spent was way out of order. Of the main approved airports, as we all know, one was fraught with severe political delays that were costly and unfounded!

The second reason was a major withdrawing of options to buy, led by several US airlines, leaving the two manufacturing countries picking up the tab. What happened behind the scenes is anyones guess but not very hard to imagine.

A considerably larger tab was picked up by the US government (several times over) with no aircraft to show for it. The government withdrew its funding from Boeing and other SST projects because they felt that there wasn’t room for two SST airframes in the existing climate, especially when Boeing’s version was two years behind Concorde.

With a large home market the new aircraft, if it arrives, should be a success, proving all sceptical people wrong, but that’s ten years off. Concorde’s been there and done that nearly thirty years ago. Don’t knock it.

Thanks Ratboy for the B70 note. That WAS an aircraft!

4th Apr 2001, 17:56
flap 5,

how much would a "sub-orbital" aircraft cost to operate? when asked for everyones ideas for the next generation of airliners (since no one liked boeings) i was counting on ideas that would be achievable and profitable. any sub-orbital aircraft would be incredibly expensive to operate. there is no way it could be operated in todays environment at todays fares. i think that idea will be viable in the next-next generation (30 years or so).

knave and others,

there are several here who seem to take joy in stating that boeing lost to airbus in the very large category. the did not lose. they chose not to compete because they do not believe it will be profitable. they may be wrong in this assessment but at least state the facts correctly. what would happen if ferrari decided to build a new 300 mph car. if porche decided that it was not going to build a competing car because they didnt believe that there was a large enough market for it, would they be categorized as "losing" even though ferrari might sell a few of their fancy new cars?

buck rogers,

i understand the economics of the concorde. the fact is that while it is a wonderful airplane (one of my favorites), it is was not economically viable 30 years ago and it is not viable today. the manufacturers either failed to consider or ignored the environmental, fuel and other negative aspects. whether or not concorde is profitable in a very small niche market is irrelavent. they sold 13 airplanes (to the state owned airlines of the countries who manufactured it i might add). you can guys can blame the U.S. for the problems of the concorde if you want but that doesnt change anything. the airplane doesnt work in todays airline environment. just because something is a technologicical marvel doesnt mean that it makes good business sense.

one last point, do you think that airbus will be building all new aircraft in 10 years from now? or will they be building derivitives of their current airframes? i can almost guarentee that they will not be able to build any brand new airframes for a while because of all the money tied up in the A380 (they better hope that boeing doesnt go ahead, because there is now way that they could compete with it). if this is the case that would mean about 25 years of updating the same airframes. roughly the same as boeing and their "old" airframes. just trying to put things in perspective.

[This message has been edited by LMD (edited 04 April 2001).]

4th Apr 2001, 21:25
Buck Rogers,
Your post seems to insinuate that there was a concerted attempt by the US to sabotage the commercial sucess of the Concorde. I spend alot of time when on layovers at libraries, and reading alot of back issues of Aviation Week from that period, there was nothing but high hopes that the sky's would be full of SST's both US and Concorde, the real problem was the environmentalists as well as the business potential of flying a few people at high speeds. Hell if you prescribe to your theory then why is Airbus's biggest customers US based airlines? certainly if all US airlines stopped buying Airbus's their bottom line would suffer massively. PS This wasn't intended to start an "Airbus is a superior jet" thread.

Epsom Hold 2
4th Apr 2001, 22:12
The Sonic Cruiser is not the answer to Boeing's woes. For some reason, they still insist that airports are not congested, that the system is not creaking close to capacity, and that more frequency is what the public want.

How can they be serious? Some of the worst taxiway queues are in the US hub airports. I have sat on the taxiway rolling an aircraft-length forward every 90 seconds for 45 minutes at Minneapolis, Charlotte, Newark, Altanta. And every city-pair I can think of has ample frequency - there is daily non-stop service or more from London to the likes of Baltimore, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Diego, Charlotte, Cleveland (hardly in the league of NY / LA / SF / Chicago) in the US, five times a day from London to Sydney... There are regional jets which fly all over Europe from the likes of Southampton, all over the US from the likes of Elko NV, Ottawa, San Jose CA... Is there really a city-pair in the world which does not offer ample options should the meeting end two hours early or half a day late?

For my money, Boeing lost it with the 737 "NG". When they needed to come through with something to compete with the A320 and maybe begin a line of aircraft with common type ratings, they instead did very little. Look at the overhead panel on a 737-100 and a 737NG. 35 years in the making? Oh dear.

Regarding Concorde, this lovely aircraft was doomed fairly early on. The British were screwed by the French over a joint-venture missile development and therefore the penalties for either side to walk away from Concorde made cancelling the project very difficult, even though both sides had their doubts. Braniff were very keen but they looked at a cabin mock up and the actual operational stats and told the consortium, "It's too small, it's too slow, it's range is too short." Lufthansa were interested as well but Concorde does not have the range for Frankfurt to JFK.

4th Apr 2001, 23:04
epsom hold,

"How can they be serious?"
well, compare 777/767/A330 sells to 747/A340-600 sells over the last few years. which a/c type is getting the bulk of he sales?

"For my money, Boeing lost it with the 737 "NG". "

once again, i guess making money doesnt mean that much to you. boeing has sold quite a few of these mistake a/c. for he record, i believe that boeing could have done more with the 737NG but it has done very well in its market up against world beater A320. but they got most of it right, new wings, new cockpit, new engines, new interior, better performance. what more do you want? oh, i forgot, they didnt change fuselage. well i guess airbus should be chastised for using the same 1970's A300 fuselage for all their "new" airplanes.

i guess it boils down to what you consider a "success" to be.

5th Apr 2001, 04:06
Flap V and LMD,

I think the Sultan of Brunei could afford a sub-orbital flight from LHR to home. Bill Gates could have, but his stock is sort of in the tank these days.

Come to think of it, we haven't made any progress in orbital speed in 40 years either, and the XB-70 and Blackbird designs are over 35 years old.
The good news of the day is that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is going to put all of its courses on the Web, so ppruners can look forward to getting their virtual aeronautical engineering degrees. I just hope that there will be not be a new forum devoted solely to swapping answers to the problem sets.

[This message has been edited by SaturnV (edited 05 April 2001).]

Flight Safety
5th Apr 2001, 19:30
From the Aviation Week website, dated April 4th from Dallas.

American Airlines CEO Donald Carty strongly endorsed Boeing's effort to develop a new high-speed, subsonic aircraft today, saying such an airliner could revolutionize scheduling and possibly the industry.

Speaking at Aviation Week's MRO Conference & Exhibition, which opened here this morning, Carty praised the concept as the next great way for airlines to gain significant productivity improvements. "Over the past several years, we've had to work hard to make gains in productivity and save costs," he said. "But there have been no such productivity enhancements in the flying part of the industry in 40 years," since turbofan transports became common in the fleet. "Twenty percent faster is 20% gain in productivity, and the whole scheduling equation changes."

Such an aircraft would be a strong competitor to Airbus' A380, Carty said. "I had a conversation with an executive from Qantas and asked him why he committed to the A380, and he told me that there are really only three time windows per day where you can fly from Los Angeles to Sydney and depart at a reasonable hour Los Angeles time and arrive at a reasonable hour Sydney time. You can't increase frequency, so you have to increase aircraft size.

"But if you change the speed of the aircraft, that would change that equation altogether." Such a change could be especially attractive to the high-end business traveler, Carty noted.

American is watching to see if Boeing can fulfill its promise to keep the economics of the aircraft similar to the 767 that it would replace. "We don't say we need to be able to buy the plane for what we paid for a 767 five years ago. We do say that we'd like to pay what we'd pay for a 767 tomorrow with all the technological upgrades it's had since then."

He advised that Boeing Airplanes President Allan Mulally bring other airlines into design talks, providing, he joked, that "he make clear that American gets the first three years of production."

This is good sign for the new Boeing.

Safe flying to you...

Flight Safety
6th Apr 2001, 00:18
Hmmm...the "sonic cruiser" debate just got more interesting. This is from the Aviation week website, dated April 5th from Dallas.

http://www.aviationnow.com/media/images/news/Esquare.jpg Airbus Industrie will sit down with airlines to discuss their desire for a high-speed subsonic aircraft, Airbus Industrie's top market-forecasting executive said today, calling the idea "fascinating and intriguing" while harboring some doubt that such an aircraft could be produced economically.

Speaking at the Air Transport Association Engineering, Maintenance & Materiel Forum running in conjunction with Aviation Week's Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul Conference & Exhibition in Dallas, Airbus market forecast VP Adam Brown said that a transport cruising at Mach 0.95 could be "the best way for us to move on" for a next generation of airliner technology "if the trade-offs can be done" that will allow airlines to acquire and use the aircraft at a viable cost.

Boeing made a big splash in recent weeks when it announced it would work to create a high-speed, subsonic airliner series to replace the 757-767 family of aircraft. Brown contended that Airbus, because some of its engineers have experience on the Concorde, has the most qualified staff to design such an aircraft, but, he said, "my engineers tell me that it actually would be easier to design an aircraft that could cruise at Mach 2 than at 0.95."

Brown told attendees that Airbus conceptual designers have been working on an aircraft, dubbed the E2 (E-squared), that could fly about the same stage length as an A320 but have a capacity somewhere between the A320 and the A330/A340 family.

The concept, which Brown emphasized to AviationNow.Com here is not really new, is little more than an exercise for advanced engineering studies right now. A production version of the plane would need to drop its noise, nitrogen oxides and CO2 by 50% to meet ever stricter environmental requirements, especially in Europe. The aircraft would have a variable-geometry wing, a front canard, and two very-high bypass engines mounted behind the aircraft high above the wing surface to reduce noise signature.

Brown said Airbus is losing interest in the concept of a supersonic transport, saying such an aircraft doesn't meet the needs of his forecast of a rapidly growing low-cost leisure travel passenger base - some 42% of the current market, he said - a need served quite well by the A380. An SST for more exclusive passengers, he said, would be viable in the market, but could not draw the public funding that would be needed to finance research and development.

That's crucial for Airbus, since Brown noted he anticipates a high degree of input from the European Community - 120 billion euros through 2020, with the aim of making Europe the leader in the aviation technology industry by 2020. That call echoed a speech by 101-year-old aviation pioneer L. Welch Pogue at the conference Tuesday night, when he called for an "aviation champion" to keep the U.S. in front.

Safe flying to you...

[This message has been edited by Flight Safety (edited 05 April 2001).]

Tom Tipper
6th Apr 2001, 09:53
And if I was Gerry Anderson, I would sue Boeing for pinching his design.

This could have been viewed 37 years ago in Episode 1 of 'The Thunderbirds' and was called 'Fireflash'. Only it did Mach 6.0 - which is what the Boeing thing should do if it is to be called in any way revolutionary!

6th Apr 2001, 13:55
An Airbus marketing official may find the sonic cruiser to be "fascinating and intriguing", but they don't have enough bullion in the bank to simultaneously develop and tool-up production of both the A-380 and a mach 0.95 competitor to sonic cruiser.

IF, and thats a big if, Boeing pulls this off, Airbus must be thinking whether that will cap their A-380 market and they might never reach break-even on that plane, which I think Airbus claimed was 250 aircraft at about year 2011 (though there is skepticism about that break-even point).

From a marketing standpoint, the business and high-end traveler prize speed and convenience (flight frequency). Looking at the 3-class configuration of the A-380-100, I count 22 first class and 96 business class seats. How many of those seats will be filled if there is a competitive flight that gets passangers to their destination a lot sooner?

Does their market ultimately turn to one of flying planes with 800 steerage-class passengers on pilgrimages and to tourist meccas?

And given Airbus' comment that they are not interested in building an SST, does that mean that a Mach 0.95 aircraft with 100 first class seats is what will substitute for Concorde at the end of its operational life? That would be a sad commentary on aeronautical progress in the 21st Century, but it may also be economic reality.

6th Apr 2001, 15:26
Mach 0.95 does not get you there "Much quicker". Especially not with ATC issues and a very high cruising altitude. Those descents and climbs are going to be slow. If an airline streamlined its check-in and customs procedures, it could still beat a Sonic Cruiser 'from arrival at airport, to leaving airport at the other end'.

And a half-hour saving across the pond will never replace Concorde.

6th Apr 2001, 21:00

i think they actually quoted 1 to 2 hour savings across the pond depending on the sector length. anyway, i dont think it is being marketed to replace the concorde in the transatlantic market(there are only 13 concordes to replace). it is being marketed to replace the 767's and compete against the A330's. boeing quoted capacity as 150-300. this would indicate different variants. it is also being marketed for the pacific where the concorde can not compete because of lack of range. i believe boeing were saying up to 3 hours shorter in the pacific.

actually, the higher altitudes may help with ATC delays as there is much less traffic up there and you are above more of the wx. when things get backed up at FL330 because of wx related departure delays, they may be able to clear you out earlier if you are at 40 something.

6th Apr 2001, 21:51

Most sincere apologies. I didn't make myself clear, I'm afraid. Mach 0.95 couldn't shave one or two hours off a five or six hour trip in a Mach 0.8 aircraft, and what really counts isn't Mach no. It's groundspeed. Also, my point about the height isn't the congestion at that altitude, but the difficulty in getting down through lower traffic.

I'd also take issue with your earlier contention that Boeing did not lose to Airbus in the very large category, and that "they chose not to compete because they did not believe it will be profitable."

I'd remind you that Boeing sank a great deal of money and ebergy into studying and beginning development of a number of 747 derivatives and variants to meet the need for a VLA, and clearly thought that there was enough of a market to justify this. You may write me off as an anti-American embittered and envious European (especially after I've been so rude to you on another thread!), but I can assure you that I am deeply saddened that Boeing has lost its long-standing adventurous, risk-taking, go-getting, fire-in-the-belly innovation and spirit (traditional American business values, and much to be admired). I'd be the first to admit that the 707 and 747 were landmark airplanes which would earn the company a place in aviation heaven or the hall of fame. But the decision to opt out of the VLA market was forced on Boeing because Airbus got their first, with a technologically more advanced aircraft, against which warmed-over 747s couldn't compete. I blame the climate of caution forced on the company by greedy, short-termist shareholders, who want their jam today, not the chance of caviar a week on Wednesday.

The tragedy is that the Boeing of yesterday would not be developing a sub-sonic cruiser, they'd be halfway towards the first practical, economically viable SST.

6th Apr 2001, 22:08
Hey Jacko
The Comit now thats a good one!!

6th Apr 2001, 22:18

thanks for flight instruction, i shouldnt need recurrent this year :~)

you are basing your numbers on a 6 hour trans-atlantic flight. i am not sure if you are aware of this or not but there are other routes besides JFK-LHR. some thans atlantic flights are 8,9, even 12 hours. so obviously the time savings are quite benificial on thise longer sectors.

as far as losing out to airbus on the VLA, only time will tell. but boeing spent relative peanuts researching the idea, contrary to your earlier statement. but selling 500 airplanes (i know AB says 250 but the bankers and investors say 500) will be a challenge. even if they do, it will probably take the better part of 20 years just to break even. in the mean time, they will have precious little capitol to develope new ideas, which is what you are slamming boeing for.

this gets to my 2 points that i was trying to get across when i joined this dicussion. the first is boeing is damned if they do and damned if they dont. the second point was that it is not "revolutionary" enough for you guys. what is more "revolutionary" ; this new offering from boeing or the A320 (which all europeans point to as the great leap forward in aviation)?

when i asked for ideas for what boeing should do next, no one had any answers (except for a sub-orbital hypersonic a/c that is impossible to operate economically with todays technology).

i do agree that if they had done it right, they could have had a real SST operational by now that actually makes money. JUST JOKING! i love the concorde. the concorde and the L1011 are what made me want to become a pilot.

6th Apr 2001, 22:34
I will only ever damn Boeing for NOT being as innovative and as revolutionary as their heritage shows us that they can be. It's the leaps of faith (707, 747, 377) which have made the company the World leader that it still is. Caution will make them lose the crown. Mach 0.95 is not revolutionary.

I need to save more than one hour from LHR-JFK, and about four hours LHR-PHO! And even more if the ticket price goes up appreciably. Air Travel has shrunk the world, and now needs to shrink it again.