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Why Super-sonic Passenger Jets Are So Unpopular  
User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5614 times:

It really astounds me how undesirable super sonic passenger travel is with airlines, and how aircraft companies like Boeing and Airbus have completely rejected pursuing this avenue of travel. The Concorde has been the only super-sonic passenger jet ever invented. It seems like nobody else is willing to step up to develop a super-sonic jet that is fuel-efficient and quiet. We certainly have the technology to do it. The Concorde was put into service over two decades ago. Now we are able to develop jets like the 777 whose engines for their power are incredibly quiet. Can anybody see Boeing or Airbus stepping up to develop a super-sonic jet incorporated with modern technology? I certainly believe the value of super-sonic travel ever since it became a real possibility has been underrated. IT surprises me how the Concorde went virtually unchallenged by Douglas, Lockheed, and Boeing for all those years.


Fly one thing; Fly it well
35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAAgent From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 560 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5600 times:

Why Super-sonic Passenger Jets Are So Unpopular

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

That's why. They're really cool, but they're REALLY expensive to develop, to purchase and to operate. Not to mention all of that nasty stuff about sonic booms!

AAgent  Big thumbs up




War Eagle!
User currently offlineDogfighter2111 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1968 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5593 times:

Yeah,

A lot of countries don't allow supersonic aircraft into their airspace because of the noise-pollution. That is why only 2 airlines flew Concorde.

Dog


User currently offlineFritzi From United Arab Emirates, joined Jun 2001, 2762 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5578 times:

A lot of countries don't allow supersonic aircraft into their airspace because of the noise-pollution. That is why only 2 airlines flew Concorde.


Supersonic passenger aircraft that is, unless a county´s Air Force fleet consists of only C182s.  Wink/being sarcastic


User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5577 times:

Expensive, yes...but with the modern technology we have...noise and pollution could be compensated...the Concorde is 30 years old! We have evolved dramatically since the introduction of the Concorde. There must be a way to solve the sound problem....


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineDogfighter2111 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1968 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5567 times:

I meant passenger supersonic, but you are right. We can make less noisy engines and as you said concorde is 30 yrs old so a new version of concorde would possibly be more succesful but we are more into the Space flying now.

Dog


User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5566 times:

It is at least worth pursuing this avenue....if problems like these could be solved, it would make or break a company. Does anybody know if in fact we are capable of solving the Concorde's biggest problems? I certainly would like to able to experience a time similar to the beginning of the jet age. it's worth the cost in my opinion trying to find out if something like this is possible, a super-sonic jetliner as quiet and fuel-efficient as the Boeing 777, and as big.


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineDaedaeg From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 659 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5562 times:

It went unchallenged because companies such as Boeing and the like saw how much of a flop it was. Personally I hope after the 7E7 and A380 programs settle down a bit that supersonic commercial transport will be revisted. As been stated previously, technology has advanced tremendously since Concorde's conception. However there is still much work to be done in making supersonic engines more fuel-efficient and quiet. Not an easy task.


Everyday you're alive is a good day.
User currently offlineChrista From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5562 times:

The problem is not that they are unpopular it is the fact that supersonic commercial aircraft are unviable to operate due to the high maintenance, fuel costs and other problems and restrictions.

Take for example, your government (United States of America) banning Concorde from flying over certain areas of the USA. This PARTLY led to an end of the Concorde program.. ah JFK was an awful President!  Smile

The problem with creating a super sonic commercial/passenger jet is that it is very difficult to sustain super sonic speed especially with a large payload. This really isn't a problem for military fighter aircraft as they only need to travel super sonic at certain times during flight, for example when being attacked. At other times the aircraft will travel at subsonic speeds. Also the sonic boom that super sonic aircraft create is a problem. This is basically when aircraft is flying super sonic over an urban area, e.g. Europe.. it creates too much noise pollution and affects the people below. This of course means that routes over urban areas (Land) are very difficult to be operated.

Another thing is that many people would rather pay lower fares for a longer journey with more comfort with amenities such as PVT, Extra Leg Room and so on that make the flight more bearable. This means that aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus & Boeing do not want to risk huge amounts of money on new projects when they can create very good & efficient aircraft with very high speeds close to Mach 1. This is why although the SST got to design stage it was never manufactured as Boeing created the "JUMBO JET" the 747. This aircraft allowed airlines to carry a large number of people and cargo at high speeds and creating profit. After all, why change something that is already working..

At the end of the day, that is what it all comes down to, making MONEY!

Anyway, that is my input!

Regards,

Chris


User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5537 times:

Regardless of how expensive it may be to travel on a super-sonic jetliner, I think it is at least worth trying to find out how cheap we could make it by applying the modern technology to it. Try try again. Who knows how what we could find out after 30 years?


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineAAgent From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 560 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5522 times:

...a super-sonic jetliner as quiet and fuel-efficient as the Boeing 777, and as big.

Well now, you're not asking for much are you? I have to laugh because I too am a huge fan of supersonic commercial air travel and desperately wish that we had a new and improved supersonic star waiting in the wings. However, it again boils down to money. Aircraft manufacturers are fighting to survive and there is little evidence to suggest that the costs of such an expensive program would be supported by potential airline customers...who ultimately must pay the price for the aircraft and the operation thereof. There just aren't enough passengers willing to fork out the massive amounts of money for the sky high air fares required to support the endeavor. I wish there were. However, as I've been told...poop in one hand and wish in the other...see which one fills up first!

AAgent



War Eagle!
User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5522 times:

BTW, just out of curiousity, what was the price of flying a BA Concorde JFK-LHR? yes, I know it was expensive, just trying to get a better idea of how expensive, like say, compared to flying LHR-SYD on a Boeing 744.


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineDogfighter2111 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1968 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5509 times:

I think it was about £1500 a ticket. ($2,892.39 )

User currently offlineAAgent From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 560 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5505 times:

Just a curious piece of trivia. I've been told that it took 2,000 pounds of fuel per passenger to fly one-way transatlantic on Concorde. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I was told.

AAgent



War Eagle!
User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5505 times:

Guess this topic had to be discussed at some point...I just had to know what other people thought of super-sonic travel, and underlying reasons behind its unpopularity. THanks group.

--Thrust



Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 15, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5493 times:

The Concorde has been the only super-sonic passenger jet ever invented

Could it be that you've forgotten Concordski? The TU144 was not only also a supersonic passenger jet, but it flew before Concorde, reached Mach 1 and Mach 2 before Concorde did...

... and was taken out of service way before Concorde...

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (10 years 14 hours ago) and read 5479 times:

Considering the Concorde was so fuel-inefficient, I would not be surprised, AAagent, if it were 2000 lbs. of fuel for passengers. It certainly has the highest fuel-burn of any passenger jet in the world, and twice the speed of all other passenger jets, if I'm correct, also usually means twice the fuel burn. Eventually I am sure though that supersonic passenger travel will become an absolute necessity..just when that will be is beyond me. This problem will eventually have to be solved as the world's population continues to grow.


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineCannikin From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 98 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (10 years 13 hours ago) and read 5457 times:

"BTW, just out of curiousity, what was the price of flying a BA Concorde JFK-LHR? yes, I know it was expensive, just trying to get a better idea of how expensive, like say, compared to flying LHR-SYD on a Boeing 744."

Lets see...
Looks like in '98 AF had 'companion' fares at a super low price.

"Passengers traveling together can purchase two
round-trip Concorde tickets for $12,597, saving more than $4,000 off
the regular $16,796 price for two tickets."

Then, in the lasts days of Concorde:

"British Airways is offering a sale to try to fill the plane's remaining flights. Round-trip fares range from $2,999 to $5,499, which includes one way on the Concorde and one way on a conventional jet."


User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2691 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (10 years 13 hours ago) and read 5439 times:

Christ. $12,000 per ticket pairs. I'm not surprised. There still has to be a way to reduce these costs significantly...super-sonic passenger travel potential has clearly not been fully pursued to say the least. to at least know would be nice.


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineBuckieboy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 13 hours ago) and read 5425 times:

All,

As an engineer (by profession), with a science qualification (chemistry), & in a very unglamourous part of industry (agribusiness), I am very wary of "science for science's sake".

Having said that, it is an absolute pleasure that about every six weeks I fly into PVG and mostly I take a 430 km/hr Maglev towards Shanghai downtown. This is good fun, as other A.nutters may have expierienced.  Smile

No offence to the Chinese & the Germans (both of whom I truly love working with), however the Maglev is somewhat of a gimmick. It doesn't make money and service stops at 17:30 local time. Had it crossed the river and terminated somewhere near Nan Jing Li Rd, it's economics would have been undoubtedly better, I might add.

Concorde had similar issues. Part might have been US pride; however at the time, the sonic boom overland was unnaceptable as far as noise levels go. Currently, I believe there is research going on to try and concentrate any sonic boom on a point (one dimension), versus a plane (two), thereby reducing noise; in the meantime, we should consider Concorde (and its Soviet equivalent) as a "Stretched jet fighter that happened to carry pax & shot no bullets".

My 5 Rappen.

Cheers

CTA (Switzerland)">BB


User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8466 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (10 years 13 hours ago) and read 5423 times:

Considering the Concorde was so fuel-inefficient

it was only inefficuent in subsonic flight, in supersonic flight it was quite the opposite.

But by todays standards, if there was a newer supersonic passenger aircraft in service saying it was inefficient would probably be correct.


User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4593 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (10 years 12 hours ago) and read 5345 times:

Has anyone here ever heard a sonic boom? I can't say that I have, though I've heard quite a bit of thunder in my time. Is a sonic boom that much more "powerful" (i.e. rattling windows and knick-knacks on the mantle) than thunder?

I certainly wouldn't mind if a few times a day I heard a clap of thunder, uh, I mean sonic boom.


User currently offlineAidan From Indonesia, joined Dec 2004, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 12 hours ago) and read 5288 times:

Saw in a Discovery channels once that the scientist is developing and exploring a certain shape of a/c that can actually reduce significantly the sonic boom. They tested it by altering the shape of a jet fighter (F-5 if not mistaken). Did not get any news after that though.

Anyhow, back to the topic, why not developing a super sonic business jet instead? I'm sure there is market for that, Citation X is nearly the speed of sound, shouldn't be to difficult to make it say Mach 1.5, should it?

Cheers!


User currently offlineBENNETT123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7809 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (10 years 11 hours ago) and read 5249 times:


I read an item on the Ceefax today about sonic booms.

Apparently the locals thought that it was an earthquake.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13253 posts, RR: 77
Reply 24, posted (10 years 11 hours ago) and read 5241 times:

The 73 oil crisis, a hardening of US attitudes after the B2707 SST was axed, a general recession even before the oil crisis (which was why the highly influential Pan AM pulled out), led to just BOAC and AF buying Concorde.

At first, AF were probably more enthusiastic than BA, but both airlines found that given the aircraft they had, the early production Concorde, the only route they could attempt to make money on was to JFK.
Business people would pay for the speed.

Things changed when the UK government told BA in 1981, that the maze of contracts, support etc for Concorde, would end.
Everyone expected that BA would call time on Concorde, with AF then paying the full support costs, they wouldn't be that far behind in terminating too.
But, though new BA CEO, Lord King, was a balance sheet man, he knew that BA (and AF) had an asset no one else did.

From March 1984, BA, after paying a nominal sum for spares and new support contracts, ran Concorde to make money, unlike before, they'd keep all of it now, not give 80% of any profit to the UK government.
What followed was over 15 years of profits for BA Concorde, big profits, investment in the product, additional services, a big charter programme.

Now BA, for most of Concorde's life, could support a double daily between London and New York, the only time it could not be was after Sept 11th.
Let be clear on this, that was the biggest nail in Concorde's coffin, BA spent a lot of time and money keeping regular customers in the loop, even inviting them to see the mods to return to flight being done in spring/early summer 2001.
But, even if things had been different in this period, we were still looking at a 2005/7 retirement.

Had the Concorde B been built, the increased range (and less noise as no reheat) of this version would have made Frankfurt-New York non stop viable, to give an example of two major business centers up to 4000 miles apart with mostly water in between.

The reason no successor to Concorde has been built is that Concorde's very small numbers allowed some waiving of environmental regs, no one is going to build an aircraft that is not going sell in large numbers, but, both manufacturers and research agencies have determined that even big improvements in these issues, are still not enough to make a mass market airliner.

Aside from those issues, well the trick is to have a aircraft with the low noise and low emissions, low fuel burn of a modern widebody, for take off, subsonic flight and landing, that can somehow turn into what is needed for sustained supercruise, the propulsion requirements to do both are almost diametrically opposed.

What is not a target to beat was Concorde's speed (a major reason for B2707's failure-going for Mach 3, later Mach 2.7, needing exotic materials and bigger challenges for cooling), or to try to beat Concorde's efficiency in supercruise.

Funny to see that old myth on here still, sorry doubters, but Concorde was very efficient in supercruise, Concorde cruised at Mach 2 for a couple of hours without reheat and engines at around 10,000lb of thrust each, (reheated take off was 38,000lb per engine), show me any military aircraft that can do that!

Concorde to a point proved that an SST could work, (something the TU-144 never got close to doing), however, the operators got them in circumstances unlikely to be repeated today, in a totally different airline environment.
BA at least, did in time run it on a fully commercial basis, however they were not shy on promoting Concorde's exclusiveness, so charged accordingly.

This would not be the same for a more mass market SST (let's say 200-300 seats, 6-7000 mile range), even if such a machine were environmentally acceptable.
In late 1998, Boeing and NASA concluded that even if they could greatly reduce the environmental impact, by the time this SST entered service, environmental regs would have tightened further, not to mention the sonic boom overland problem.
This, along with the very high development costs and uncertain market, was why they took their studies no further, which concurred with smaller scale Studies in Europe.




25 AAgent : N62NA, Has anyone here ever heard a sonic boom? Yes, I've experienced a number of sonic booms. Those that I've experienced were in Florida, generated
26 Post contains images LeanOfPeak : There are supersonic business jets in development, with the focus of the development being boom reduction. I have experienced a sonic boom (I believe
27 RIX : "Try try again. Who knows how what we could find out after 30 years?" - but they tried, last one was abandoned not long ago, in late 90's. Meaning, in
28 Post contains links B2707SST : This topic came up not long ago; see http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1858801 for that discussion. The reason the airli
29 BlueSky1976 : Two words: fuel cost. That's the reason why a little publicity stunt from Boeing called Sonic Cruiser didn't work.
30 RIX : It's by far not only fuel cost. At least, jets consume more fuel than turboprops, but because of higher speed have higher utilization, and overall are
31 Cloudy : Regardless of how expensive it may be to travel on a super-sonic jetliner, I think it is at least worth trying to find out how cheap we could make it
32 Post contains images ConcordeBoy : Considering the Concorde was so fuel-inefficient ...bet you'd be interested to know that even the 7E7 and proposed A350 will not be able to match (nor
33 Post contains images Sllevin : As far as noise -- in flight, when you are on the ground, it's the boom pattern, and not the aircraft engines that you hear. I had the good fortune to
34 Cloudboy : It has more to do with accepted risk and how willing to take a chance on technology a company is. The corporate world, particulalry big companies, are
35 Alessandro : Only way to get another SST going would be to give Tupolev a lot of money, the Tu-244 was an interesting idea, I think even some parts where built.
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