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Flight Internationsl Sonic Cruiser Article  
User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2633 times:


There is a rather interesting article about the Sonic Cruiser in this week's Flight international. Here are some of the key points mentioned:

-- Boeing expects to be in a position to take orders for the Sonic Cruiser by early next year when definition of the initial high-subsonic airliner is planned to be complete. Several combinations of size, speed, range, technology level and service entry date are being
discussed with airlines.

-- Configurations being studied range from a single-aisle 100-seater to a twin-aisle 300-seater, with cruise speeds between Mach 0.95 and 0.98, ranges from 11,100km and 18,500km and service entry dates between 2006 and 2008, depending on the level of technology incorporated.

-- A 2006 Sonic Cruiser would be a metal aircraft using Boeing 777-level technology, including engines, flightdeck and systems.

-- A 2008 development would have some composites, derivative engines and advanced flightdeck and systems. The advantage to airlines of waiting, is that the 2008 aircraft would have lower direct operating costs (DOCs).

-- The cash DOCs (excluding purchase costs) of the 2006 Sonic Cruiser are equal to the Boeing 767-400ER's, for a 13,900km-range aircraft. Cash DOCs for the 2008 aircraft are lower.

-- The baseline configuration is a 767-sized 250-seater with 16,700km-plus range.

-- An 18,500km (Europe-Australia) range Sonic Cruiser would be limited to around 225 seats, says Bair.

Source: Flight International

You can read the full article here: http://www.flightinternational.com/ficurrent/headlines.asp

What do you think?

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
21 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8530 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (15 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2431 times:

Personally, this all sounds great. But so does Airbus' claims about the A380. I am a little skeptical about the .98 aircraft. I wonder how Boeing plans to overcome the high level of drag.

Thanks for the link to the article.

User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2378 times:

Hey MD-90,

I think both the A380 and the Sonic Cruiser will be able to co-exist in the market place!

Kind Regards
Jeremiah Teahan

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
User currently offlineSamurai 777 From Canada, joined Jan 2000, 2461 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2373 times:

18,500 km? If the new sonic plane lives up its expectations, we're looking at a plane that can fly to practically nearly anywhere in the world nonstop!

User currently offlineVASI From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 192 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2373 times:


The sonic cruiser must be as economic as flying the SR71 in airline service.

Boeing has first to concentrate on it´s present product range to make it real competitive instead of offering derivatives again and again.


User currently offlineRIX From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1896 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2355 times:

Poor Boeing... don't know what they are doing while real experts here try to save them... but the poor guys don't hear... what a pity... There is a whole thread about A380 to be "too big", now we know sonic cruiser is "too fast"...

User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2334 times:


I just saw this Sonic Cruiser pictures on the Boeing site. It looks way nicer than the last one:

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8530 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2323 times:

That's a bee-utiful picture. Thanks Teahan. I also think that the A380 and 787 (which is what seems natural to me) will be able to co-exsist in the marketplace. Unless Boeing also decides to develop MD's awesome BWB.

User currently offlineBoeingrulz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 558 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2338 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

There was an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the "technical breakthrough" that spurred the development of this plane. "Engineer X" as they call him/her apparently single-handedly made the breakthrough. Read the full article at http://seattlep-i.nwsource.com/business/19518_sonic20.shtml. It is really much of a fluff piece, but it gives some insight into the process.


User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 8364 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (15 years 1 month 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2331 times:

Given what we know about the Sonic Cruiser, it explains why Boeing is cutting back on developments on the 767-400 series.

What may finally emerge is a plane that has the carrying capacity of the 767-400ER, but will cruise around Mach 0.98 and travel 8,500-9,000 nautical miles.

The dream of flying LHR-SYD non-stop--and do it in 15-17 hours' flight time--on revenue service is about to become a reality.

User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Reply 10, posted (15 years 1 month 22 hours ago) and read 2295 times:

Hey RayChuang,

15-17 hours is a bit on the short side for LHR-SYD non-stop. A Boeing press release says around 18-19 hours with a maximum passenger load of 225. I could see a once daily Sonic Cruiser flight by BA or Qantas, but I think it would be difficult to replace all flights because of slots at Heathrow.

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
User currently offlineMEGAPTERA From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2001, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 1 month 22 hours ago) and read 2262 times:

I don't know why people keep comparing the A380 to the Sonic Cruiser. It's like comparing a bus to a Ferrari; they are two different products aimed at two different markets.

User currently offlineGOT From Sweden, joined Dec 2000, 1912 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (15 years 1 month 20 hours ago) and read 2259 times:

I'm still sceptic to the sonic cruiser, I don't think that it will ever fly. The fuel consumption will be high and therefore the DOC will be high. The revenue for airlines will get lost and noone will buy this plane. But, these are only my thoughts.


Just like birdwatching - without having to be so damned quiet!
User currently offlineNa From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 11590 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (15 years 1 month 20 hours ago) and read 2252 times:

Just picked this somehow strange comparison up: the A380 a bus, the Sonic Cruiser a Ferrari? Then its the slowest Ferrari the world has ever seen, and the A380 the fastest bus so far. But I agree, these two products will not be in the same market as some still think. The Sonic cruiser, if capable of cannibalising any current type around, will be a threat to the 777/767/A340/A330.

I´ll believe in the Sonic Cruiser when it will become reality. Otherwise I strongly doubt that it will ever come up with similar low seat/mile-costs as the A380 will most likely have. The Boeing guys have the bigger problems to solve, thats pretty sure. And that for a product- a fantastic looking aircraft no doubt - , that offers so little time savings that I cannot understand the hype around that. Let Boeing surprise us all. I don´t believe in its chances and economical sense too much, but I would be glad if Boeing could prove me wrong and achieve a huge step forward in technology and produce something that brings air travel ahead, ways ahead. And I´m talking about possible fuel-savings here in the first row.

There´s a second half of this article you mentioned, Teahan. And that half is interesting, too. Its about the 747 and its future. In Seattle they are convinced that the "Queen of the skies" is good for 15 production-years more, with a modest production rate of 25-30 (if I remember this figure right, I read the magazine this afternoon on a flight from Munich) a year. Boeing is planning a "normal"-size 747 version (no stretch at all) now with almost all the goodies of the cancelled "X", modified wing, other aerodynamic refinements, 777-style cockpit and so on. Boeing says there´s enough interest from current operators who don´t want anything bigger.

Thats good news, I think. And its realistic.

User currently offlineRIX From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1896 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (15 years 1 month 20 hours ago) and read 2253 times:

that offers so little time savings that I cannot understand the hype around that - well, A380 offers quite little additional space (comparable in % to what Sonic Cruiser offers for speed), then what is "the hype around" A380? About fuel-savings: let the thing fly, then we'll see. Otherwise, again, what is "the hype around" A380 to be 17-20% more efficient than 747 while offering MORE SPACE per passenger than 747?

User currently offlineDIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3273 posts, RR: 24
Reply 15, posted (15 years 1 month 19 hours ago) and read 2243 times:

No matter which design they choose, Airbus should be very nervous. (And doing some similar studies!)

Also, remember that Boeing could suprise us and develop both a narrow and a widebody cruiser.

Regards, DIA

Ding! You are now free to keep supporting Frontier.
User currently offlineCch362 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 147 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (15 years 1 month 19 hours ago) and read 2223 times:

The reason that sonic cruiser and a380 are compared is that the nature of intl air travel will be defined by either one aircraft, but possibly not both. The A380 will serve the role in a classic gateway to gateway network. The sonic cruiser envisions a new network of long haul, medium sized markets. If the sonic cruiser lives up to expectations with speed, range and cost, then we will witness a revolution in the industry similar to what the RJs are doing to regional markets right now. Otherwise, it will be cash bonanza time for Airbus.

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8530 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (15 years 1 month 15 hours ago) and read 2186 times:

I would LOVE to have Gulfstream-sized windows on the sonic cruiser.

C'mon Boeing, if the GV can fly at 51,000 ft. with those big windows, surely you can do it too.

User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Reply 18, posted (15 years 1 month 2 hours ago) and read 2158 times:


Here is another interesting Sonic Cruiser article from The Economist:

Boeing may have shied away from a fight with Airbus’s super-jumbo. But in marketing its “sonic cruiser”, it is learning from the Europeans

LATE last year Alan Mulally, boss of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, thought he was about to land some crucial orders for the stretched 747 that he wanted to launch to compete with Airbus’s super-jumbo, the A380. As Airbus, based in Toulouse, raced towards the 50 orders it needed to launch its giant, Mr Mulally was pinning his hopes on a deal with Federal Express to buy freighter versions for its huge cargo airline. When he learned that Fedex was going to buy the all-new Airbus, it was time to face facts.
Nobody wanted the latest stretched 747, just as nobody had wanted an attempt to upgrade the ageing war-horse a few years earlier. A 32-year monopoly as the queen of the skies was coming to an end. For the Seattle company, which had already seen Airbus’s share of the civil-jet market rise from a fifth to half, losing roughly 50 to nil on the orders score was too much to bear. Boeing wisely decided to withdraw from the contest, while it thought up a different one.

That is the real story behind the fanfare at the end of March, when Boeing announced that it was switching its attention from a super-jumbo to an entirely new aircraft: a long-range jetliner, dubbed the “sonic cruiser” because it would fly at just below the speed of sound, cutting an hour off transatlantic flights and saving three hours over the Pacific. This may well be what the market wants: even Airbus agrees it might have potential. “We also have design studies for aircraft like that,” says Rainer Hertrich, co-chief executive of Airbus’s parent company, EADS. “If the market likes it, we’ll see how we react.” That is probably bombast, as Airbus would struggle to launch a second all-new aircraft, if Boeing is in the lead, just as Boeing would struggle to make money against the Airbus super-jumbo, a huge punt made possible only by soft government loans.

Boeing is still far from committed to launching its faster aircraft, however: it is merely talking it up to attract interest among the travelling public and airlines. This is exactly what Airbus did for several years before winning enough orders to launch the A380. All the guff about the A380’s on-board gyms, casinos and saunas bears little relation to airline reality. Most launch customers are determined to pack in as many seats as possible, to maximise revenues. All the same, Airbus has taught Boeing that hype is now a key part of launching aircraft.
In the early 1990s, Boeing and Airbus considered a joint venture to build super-jumbos. But their talks came to nothing, and Airbus executives suspected that it was all a ploy by Boeing to delay Airbus’s own super-jumbo. The two sides emerged from their brief liaison with starkly different views of the potential demand. Boeing estimated that, over 20 years, there was a market for only about 700 aircraft of the size of the 747 or bigger. Airbus, on the other hand, reckoned there was demand for 1,550 aircraft, worth $345 billion. After many false starts, Airbus eventually began marketing its aircraft a year ago. By last autumn, it had landed some big orders, notably from Singapore Airlines. In December, Airbus launched the programme, which now has 62 orders and 40 options from eight carriers. The first A380, destined for Singapore, should fly in late 2006. Until then, Airbus is likely to face a dearth of new orders, while airlines weigh up whether they have to follow the early customers, but without the steep discounts those first-movers enjoyed.

When it was trying to persuade airlines not to buy the Airbus super-jumbo, Boeing argued that the airline market is fragmenting, with more growth coming from direct flights between cities large and small, rather than from flights between big hub airports. There is evidence to support this: traffic growth at most hubs (with some exceptions, such as Paris Charles de Gaulle) is much slower than overall growth of 8% a year worldwide (see chart). Analysts such as John Lindquist of Boston Consulting Group, are convinced that Boeing is right about fragmentation, which is making it easier to open new routes as aviation markets liberalise.

Boeing’s new view is that more and more business passengers (who contribute most to airline profits) will opt for a fast, long-range aircraft that flies direct to their final destination, saving them a change at a hub. Boeing expects the Pacific market to fragment, rather as the Atlantic routes have done over the past 20 years. Airbus accepts much of this argument, which is why it launched its A340 long-haul aircraft to compete against Boeing’s 777. But Airbus still believes that the sheer growth of traffic between a dozen or so global hubs, at which landing slots are limited, will force airlines to choose the A380 over the 747.

Moreover, Boeing’s sonic cruiser has a big hurdle to clear: fuel efficiency. Although many American airlines reacted enthusiastically to the planned Boeing jetliner, they will need to be convinced that it can fly at just under the speed of sound without consuming too much fuel. Today’s jets fly more slowly than their predecessors did before the 1973 OPEC oil-price rise, to save fuel. Boeing is confident it can keep the fuel consumption within affordable limits, given the premium that passengers will pay for speed.

Separate niches

If Boeing gets enough support to proceed with the sonic cruiser, it will have a niche product cornering the fast end of the market, while Airbus has another at the bulk end with the A380. And, as Oz Shy, an Israeli academic and author of a new book on network economics points out, both niches are appropriate markets to be occupied by only a single company. Both manufacturers have realised this. When Airbus moved to stake out the super-jumbo niche, the old Boeing would have plodded on with its rival stretched 747. But the new, profit-minded Boeing is happy to let Airbus take a chance, while it seeks another niche.

In any case, the real action may be elsewhere. Despite some glee in Seattle about having found an “Airbus killer” in the proposed sonic cruiser, this is a sideshow. The fiercest competition will continue to be between the two companies’ single-aisle aircraft and the wide-bodied 250-380 seaters such as the Boeing 767 and 777 and the A330 and A340, where the two companies share the market roughly equally.

The duopoly’s battle could extend beyond aircraft into aviation services. Boeing appeared to steal a march on Airbus last year when it launched “Connexion by Boeing” to provide broadband communications that would deliver fast Internet access and live TV pictures in aircraft. Continental Airlines is said to be interested in America, and Ireland’s Ryanair wants live TV on every seat-back video screen, paid for by the passenger swiping a credit card.
Yet Boeing’s “Connexion” has still to land a single customer, while a simpler narrower-band service from a small Seattle company called Tenzing is already being installed by Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. The Tenzing approach has been to start modestly, then upgrade to real broadband once enough satellites are in place to make that work. According to industry sources, quoted by Flight International, an industry magazine, Airbus is negotiating to buy a big stake in Tenzing and plans to unveil its own Internet strategy at the Paris Air Show in mid-June. Vive la concurrence, even if it does not apply to super-jumbos and sonic cruisers.

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
User currently offlineWingman From Seychelles, joined May 1999, 2889 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (15 years 1 month ago) and read 2142 times:

If Boeing can make this work, it will be a smah hit. If BA buys the plane and puts it against a QF 380 on the London-Sydney route, what plane do you think all the high-yield business passengers will be on? BA could easily charge them 10% more than QF just to get them there 5-6 hours earlier and DIRECT. No stops, no seething mass of 550 greasy cranky fellow travelers going through Customs all at once. By the time you get to your hotel, the SC traveler is already 3-3.5 hours into a well deserved sleep. I think this is why the airlines are jumping up and down.

User currently offlineBoeing nut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (15 years 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2128 times:

A lot of people out there are saying that the Sonic Cruiser wil never work.

A lot of people said that about the airplane 100 years ago. Look where we are now.

User currently offlineCO777-200ER From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 356 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (15 years 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2106 times:

Hello I think the sonic cruiser will work.And i saw in an article that Emirates,American,Singapore,United,and Continental are strongly looking at this aircraft. So I think that Airbus is getting nervous now.

GO SONIC CRUSIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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