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Is There A Market For Supersonic Airliners?  
User currently offlineGregviperrt From Canada, joined May 2004, 71 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3785 times:

Does anyone think there might still be a market for supersonic aircraft if another manufacturer designs and builds one? Maybe one that could carry more passengers further and cheaper then the Concorde did?

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineZippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5401 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3770 times:

I'm an optimist and feel almost anything is possible. Up till "911," the industry, Boeing with NASA were researching and in the early stages of supersonic transport development. Of course the tragic events of "911" followed by a world economic downturn has put these projects on indefinite hold. Boeing almost green lighted the Sonic Cruiser which was a revolutionary design and, took jet travel to the brink of breaking the sound barrier. This design was to be a spring board to going beyond the threshold of Mach 1 and beyond. Alas, Boeing reading signals from the airline industry went the more conservative route and evolutionized (7E7) instead of revolutionized (Sonic Cruiser/HSCT). I feel, if economic fortunes improve and a demand develops, then there could be a race between Airbus and Boeing and maybe even smaller aerospace companies to develop the successor to the Concorde.
However, if I had to make an educated guess, a supersonic airliner will be the spawn of a successful military aircraft. The Boeing 707 was a mutation of Boeing's military jet.
The other likely scenario would be the development of hypersonic business jets. There was talk about this ten years ago. Buzz in the various aviation magazines. I'm 48 years young and feel I have still have a 50% chance of realizing a successful hypersonic airliner in my lifetime. The Red Sox convincingly won 8 games in a row and became the World Champions, and if Nixon could rise from the ashes (after losing the 1962 California governors race and making that infamous Won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore! and become President than anything is possible. So, never say never in regards to the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series or flying a Boeing 2707 or Airbus A-500! (my fictitious names for these two hypersonic birds.)



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3197 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3763 times:

Yes there is a market.

It all comes down to $$$$. Give me an airplane that meets the rules and I can fly for a price in the range that my customers are willing to pay and then there is a market for it.

So, you go away and design a plane that can do that for the right operating price...and it will sell!


User currently offlineBackfire From Germany, joined Oct 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3749 times:

Yes - the market is there.

But your supersonic aircraft will have to be affordable to airlines and passengers, not face any operating restrictions, burn fuel economically, and meet Chapter 4 noise requirements.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13044 posts, RR: 78
Reply 4, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 3663 times:

Any major work Boeing/NASA were doing in this respect ended in late 1998, well before Sept 11th.
It ended as they were not at all sure if the many environmental and technical hurdles could be beaten and then produce an affordable aircraft.
Worse still for the environmental aspects, they thought that current standards could be met, but what about by the time in would enter service, at that time, around the 2010-15 period, by which time standards would only be tougher.

Personally, I really cannot see that the world is anywhere near ready for a 250-300 seat, 7-8000 mile range, Mach 2.0-2.6 SST.

However, I note the Aerion design for a Mach 1.6 biz-jet, it looks simple, elegant and practical, maybe even a bit stretchable, 18 in a high density biz config could maybe then increase to around 30 pax.
OK, it would be limited to Mach 0.99 overland, but though encouraging work has been done in sonic boom suppression, legislation actually allowing it would take much longer probably, with lots of legal challenges.
I like the use of a modified but existing powerplant, reminds me of the adoption of the Olympus for Concorde, but the Aerion could do Paris-New York in 4 hours, 15 mins.

Later boom suppressive biz-jets could pave the way for full size SST's, that still leaves emissions at high altitude and making something affordable, that if it worked would still be a niche, a large niche, but one that would drain First/Business pax from subsonics on it's routes, making them less viable.
Which could be a problem.

BA Concorde was a niche that complemented the majority subsonics on it's routes, a new SST fleet for BA would not be limited to 7 aircraft.

But we probably won't see a SST before 2020 at the very soonest.


User currently offlineWIDEBODYPHOTOG From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 917 posts, RR: 67
Reply 5, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3546 times:

GDB,

I'll disagree with you on one point: The Aerion is awful looking. It resembles a gigantic lawn dart, hardly elegant when compared to Concorde.

Anyone who want to take a gander at it look here.

http://www.assetrc.com/Shape.swf

-widebodyphotog



If you know what's really going on then you'll know what to do
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3480 times:

The Aerion is awful looking. It resembles a gigantic lawn dart, hardly elegant when compared to Concorde.

I wouldn't say that at all.... in fact, if you disregard the tail-mounts, trailing edges, and horizontal stabilizer-- it basically looks like Concorde did!


User currently offlineSimProgrammer From France, joined Aug 2004, 192 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3464 times:

Rumour has it that Aurbus is running feasibility tests on this now.

It is accepted that the obstacles are not technological but political (long story) but the market for SST's is there.



Drive a bus, an Airbus, easier than a London bus!
User currently offlineSolnabo From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 847 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3465 times:

For once I agree with C-boy!

Aerion looks great IMO  Big thumbs up

Micke/SE



Airbus SAS - Love them both
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 48
Reply 9, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3424 times:

It all comes down to $$$$. Give me an airplane that meets the rules and I can fly for a price in the range that my customers are willing to pay and then there is a market for it.

Exactly.

But how would you achieve this goal that would not make subsonic transport even cheaper?

The only way SST will have any shot at being viable is if the technology could somehow be developed to make SST less expensive to operate than subsonic.

In other words, it's a pipe dream.

Todays state of the art aircraft (A320, 777, A340) cruise along right around 450 kt. Exactly the same speed as the 707 did nearly half a century ago.

And guess what?

Half a century from now, what speed will jetliners be crusing at?

Yep. right around 450 kt.


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 5 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3394 times:

Exactly the same speed as the 707 did nearly half a century ago.

Actually, they tend to cruise somewhat slower than it did... particularly the A340 (relative to its 300+ seat betters)


User currently offlineWidebodyphotog From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 917 posts, RR: 67
Reply 11, posted (9 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3347 times:

I wouldn't say that at all.... in fact, if you disregard the tail-mounts, trailing edges, and horizontal stabilizer-- it basically looks like Concorde did!

I don't think I can be persuaded to your side on that one. Because it has a horizontal stabilizer and straight wing, the airframe does not have the same fluidity and continuity of Concorde. Just my opinion, I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to aerodynamics.

More relevant to the discussion however is that a parity of specific operating costs between supersonic and subsonic commercial airliner operation is a completely impractical proposition. The drag curve increases so steeply beyond .95M - 1.7M that the required energy to get through that threshold to the lower drag 2.0-2.6M range destroys any gains in efficiency you could make up on either side of that.

Take Concorde as the existing example. It has a cruise fuel burn of 43,900lb/h at 2.02M. That is nearly twice the burn of a 747-400 per hr and the 747 can carry 400 people against the 100 of the concorde. So you have doubled the fuel burn for 4x fewer pax. Now the concorde flies more than twice as fast but still needs to load nearly the same amount of fuel as that 744 to get transatlantic because of the greater rate of fuel use. So you have an aircraft that burns the same amount of fuel for 4x fewer pax than a 747. That's 4 times the cost on a fuel/seat specific basis. Now even with the seemingly magical engine technology of the 21st century, the best you could hope for is to cut that fuel use in half over the distance or extend the range for a given fuel load. That still makes the new SST twice as expensive to operate on a fuel/seat specific basis. Scaling the aircraft to a larger cross-section will increase efficiency to a nearly linear proportion of the scaling but you can't make a practical SST twice the dimensions of Concorde.

So now we are stuck here a bit. In order to build and sell a commercial SST the operator is going to have to accept some kind of dramatically higher specific operating costs. There is no escaping that. But no operator will accept it and that's is the primary reason why none of the commercial design studies ever resulted in an actual passenger carrying aircraft. Hell, Boeing could not even get the Sonic Cruiser built with it's proposed 20% higher specific operating costs over comparable capacity aircraft.

The best thing that could have happened is that Aerospatiale/BAC embarked on a continuous development of Concorde akin to what Boeing has done with 747. If they developed the aircraft to any appreciable degree I think it would be still flying today and be a remarkably more efficient and economical "comprimise".

-widebodyphotog



If you know what's really going on then you'll know what to do
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