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Forbes: Sonic Cruiser Is "Paper Plane"  
User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13756 posts, RR: 18
Posted (14 years 12 months 20 hours ago) and read 4978 times:

Interesting article. A bit on the short side though



"It sure is a big bet. There is a very good chance that higher operating costs will kill this plane. There is even a good chance that Mulally expects as much and ordered up the release of the radical design more as a morale booster than as a serious business proposition."

Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineGOT From Sweden, joined Dec 2000, 1912 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (14 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 4634 times:

The link didn't work, you had to be a registered user.
Anyway I agree. I think that the operating costs will kill the Sonic Cruiser. The Sonic Cruiser is just a dream and I don't think that it will ever fly.


Just like birdwatching - without having to be so damned quiet!
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30403 posts, RR: 57
Reply 2, posted (14 years 12 months 18 hours ago) and read 4614 times:

I've heard of comments like this dealing with other things. A lot of times they are completly against the conventional thinking, which the Forbes article seems to embrace.

"Forget it, Louis, no Civil War picture ever made a nickel."
—Irving Thalberg's warning to Louis B. Mayer regarding Gone With the Wind

"He'll never be any good."
—Robert Irsay, owner of the Baltimore Colts,
after trading newly drafted quarterback John Elway
to the Denver Broncos, 1983

User currently offlineSailorOrion From Germany, joined Feb 2001, 2058 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (14 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 4586 times:

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible"
--Lord Kelvin, 1895 in front of the Royal Society

User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13756 posts, RR: 18
Reply 4, posted (14 years 12 months 15 hours ago) and read 4564 times:

Registration is free though I believe.

Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently offlineKangar From Ireland, joined Feb 2000, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (14 years 12 months 14 hours ago) and read 4536 times:

It is however a fact that the highest drag is achieved in that speed zone the Sonic cruiser is intended for, this is a big deal to over come.

User currently offlineB757300 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 4114 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (14 years 12 months 12 hours ago) and read 4510 times:

Well, until it is built, the A380 should be considered a paper airplane as well.

"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
User currently offlineSabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2748 posts, RR: 46
Reply 7, posted (14 years 12 months 12 hours ago) and read 4512 times:


That's a very stupid reaction I must say.
What you're saying is something like:
Ok, I've jumped out of an airplane whithout parachute, I'm falling down to earth very quickly, but at present I haven't hit the ground yet so everything is fine for me! Yes, well ...Who knows, you might even survive...

By now even the most optimistic Airbus hater knows the A380 will be built and delivered to (at present) over 60 customers.
As for that fake Boeing Concorde, there still is a long road ahead.

User currently offlinePhilB From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (14 years 12 months 11 hours ago) and read 4492 times:

The A380 is now a real aircraft to all intents and purposes. Orders have been placed for the finished product, detailed designs are with sub contractors for final quotation/mock up/prototypes of parts and the whole operation is underway.

The Sonic Cruiser is a long way behind this. Doesn't stop Boeing moving quickly, but the technology might.

The use of current engines is likely to cause some headaches particularly in the area of in take design which will take some engineering for handling air at speeds greatly accelerated from current performance.

Control surface and stability problems have always been a problem to be overcome in the trans-sonic zone. The aircraft is going to operate in this zone and will have to show capabilities at and above the speed of sound, even if only for recovery purposes from accidental overspeed.

Then there is the radical design and its fit on airport ramps and compatibility with existing handling equipment...we'll probably see a number of compromises there before the final design is signed off.

All takes time and whilst the A380 is still not around in the metal, the SC is hardly on paper.

User currently offlineWingman From Seychelles, joined May 1999, 2860 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (14 years 12 months 11 hours ago) and read 4473 times:

60 customers have signed up for the 380? That means at least 52 new airlines placed orders since yesterday. Who were they?

User currently offlineWingman From Seychelles, joined May 1999, 2860 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (14 years 12 months 11 hours ago) and read 4464 times:

Looks like the same people who thrash Boeing for building planes from the Middle Ages while Airbus produces wonderful Star Trek airplanes with joysticks now instantly thrash Boeing for coming up with a revolutionary design. So what do you people want? Make up your minds and let us know.

User currently offlineCstarU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (14 years 12 months 11 hours ago) and read 4467 times:


Those idiots running American, Continental, Virgin, Emirates and Singapore are being fooled by Boeing. Now, if only those airlines are run by competent management like Sabena's they'd see the light.  Yeah sure

 Big grin Big grin Big grin

User currently offlineGearup From Canada, joined Dec 2000, 578 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 12 months 11 hours ago) and read 4471 times:

How about this scenario. Boeing is undergoing a major corporate makeover. The new HQ is going to Chicago in order to make it more central to all it's business units. Boeing's acquisitions in recent years has increased it's involvement in military and weapons systems development. Is it possible that this is where Boeing sees it's future? Boeing does not want to spend the money to build a 747 replacement and thought that the world is happy with the present 747!!! It predicts far less need for VLA than AI does and simply does not want to go head to head with the A380. So it tries to remain true to IT'S market forcasts, retires gracefully from the competition (saving face in the process, one hopes) and for good measure throws out this sonic cruiser nonsense just to make everyone think that the show ain't over yet at the Boeing Commercial Airplane Division. All the time of course the really big show in town is the Military business units where the development dollars are really needed. So lets keep stretching 737's, 757's, 767's and spend the R&D on F15, F16, B52, B1 replacements and space based weapons. After all, in this area, Airbus Industrie is no competition at all and not likely to be in the near term! Just a few thoughts!

I have no memory of this place.
User currently offlineBoeing nut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (14 years 12 months 10 hours ago) and read 4454 times:

Exactly, 100 years ago, the airplane was considered an impossible machine. It wouldn't work. Look where we are now 100 years later.

Until final assebly begins, it is a paper airplane. If for some reason, hypothetically, the A380 was cancelled today, it would be a "paper airplane". So of course the "sonic criuser" is a paper airplane.

Boeing has stated all along that this aircraft may not have the same operating costs as existing widebodies. They are working on getting it relatively close. The aircraft so far has been marketed as a high end passenger aircraft. First and business class being emphasized. Those passengers will be more than willing to pay extra to not have to be on an aircraft one to three hours more than normal.

User currently offlineB757300 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 4114 posts, RR: 20
Reply 14, posted (14 years 12 months 10 hours ago) and read 4436 times:

Sabenapilot is one of those people who will trash anyone who says anything remotely bad about Airbus.

No matter what you might want to believe, the A380 still does not exist. Until Airbus builds the prototype, its still a paper airplane. (And Yes, I know they will build it, but last time I checked, it still hasn't been built)

"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30403 posts, RR: 57
Reply 15, posted (14 years 12 months 9 hours ago) and read 4396 times:

The funny part is that Sabenapilot holds Sabena's management in such high regard.....

If memory serves they almost ran the company into the ground a few years back.

User currently offlineA330-243 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 251 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (14 years 12 months 9 hours ago) and read 4401 times:


No I don't think Sabenapilot will trash anyone who says something bad about Airbus. I have noticed his posts are very informative and it is very interesting to read a pilot's view. You seem to forget how many people create threads knocking Airbus products. Perhaps Sabenapilot knows more about the situation (i.e. he flies an Airbus) and simply wishes to defend Airbus?

Its's funny how each time somebody doubts/questions the Sonic Cruiser, the response will be something along the lines of:

Well the A380 doesn't have that too.

Why bring the A380 into it? They are not true competitiors? .

Instead of sharing your knowledge/opinions on how Boeing plans on overcoming these diffculties, and thus contributing to the discussion, you choose to attack the Sabena airlines managment.

IIRC, this was orignally meant to be a post on the SC. It had the potential to be an informative debate, maybe somebody would have posted a detailed explanation on Boeing's view.

Now people are just making jokes/attacks. Is that the best you can do?

Makes me wonder how much you really know about the SC...

User currently offlineA320FO From Austria, joined Oct 2000, 211 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (14 years 12 months 9 hours ago) and read 4399 times:

Well just a couple of comments:
First of all this post is heading back to the good old A versus B....

No, now back to some FACTS:

100 years ago aerodynimic knowledge was near zero, that's why nobody believed in aviation as we know it today.
Todays aviation is limited by the aerodynamic knowledge, which is very far developed, making the former large jumps ahead in technology smaller and smaller.
Just compare the 1903 aircraft with the ~1933 design of the DC-3: a huge improvement in 30 years. Today we are still flying aircraft based on a 30 year old design (A300, B747, etc), with improvements in details and way smaller.

We are already operating with highly optimized designs, where just small efficiency increases come with a huge price tag, due to the huge amount of research required. Just look at what CFM is investing in the CFM56 series engine just to reduce costs (operating, fuel consumption, etc) by ONE to TWO percent!

So to get back to the A versus B bashing (at least for some of you out there):
The A380 is a conventional airplane, limited AND designed within known aerodynamic laws, just at slightly larger dimensions. On the paper, already in design freeze.
The Sonic Cruiser is a new airplane, limited by known aerodynamic laws, with still UNKNOWN ways of resolving known aerodynamic limitations.

I am always fascinated by new designs, and a lot of airlines are also fascinated by the fact of faster travel, but at the current stage, Boeings project is a mere idea, and aerodynamics won't make an exeption for Boeing.
Boeing might quite well solve some of the problems, but that will take a long time, so the time frame sounds a little to optimistic.
A similar example was the Concorde. Quite many airlines signed for options, but how many really operated them? Just a little increase in operating costs doomed the entire program. And energy costs definately won't be as low (on average) anymore as they were over the last two decades....

Just my 0.02 (whatever currency) worth....


User currently offlineNotarzt From Germany, joined Dec 2000, 642 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (14 years 12 months 7 hours ago) and read 4359 times:


The airline industry decides if the Sonic Cruiser will become reality or not. I just heard that Branson of Virgon Atlantic announced his firm interest in the project...

Indeed, there'S no need to deny that the A380 is paper work - for the moment. Disregarding the "orders" already received, we must consider that quite a number of these "orders" are still (and just) letters of intent and similar "commitments". This goes, at least, for FedEx (and, thus, for ALL A380 freighter orders) as well as for Qatar Airways. Furthermore, I was told that Qantas made a certain step back - may be, another member can comment on this.

Stay cool, watch the scene.

Daniel  Big thumbs up

User currently offlineGreenArc From United States of America, joined May 2000, 90 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (14 years 12 months 6 hours ago) and read 4328 times:


The Citation X cruises efficiently at M.92.

It accomplishes this incredible feat using:

a conventional configuration,
conventional materials,
conventional aerodynamics,
and conventional powerplants.

Boeing is stretching out a staggering .03M with ten year better technology.

I wouldn't bet that it can't be done.


User currently offlineLowfareair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (14 years 12 months 6 hours ago) and read 4319 times:

Some more quotes for the doubters of the sonic cruiser, this time, from the computer industry.

"640K ought to be enough for everybody"
-Bill Gates, 1981

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers"
-IBM chairman, 1943

User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5442 posts, RR: 59
Reply 21, posted (14 years 12 months 5 hours ago) and read 4303 times:


Notarzt wrote: Furthermore, I was told that Qantas made a certain step back - may be, another member can comment on this.

Nope you are wrong. The Qantas order made a step forward. It is now a firm order and not a LOI!

Kind Regards,
Jeremiah Teahan

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
User currently offlineB808/A400 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (14 years 12 months 5 hours ago) and read 4290 times:

I doubt Boeing would waste everyone's time discussing an unfeasible project.
I sincerely hope they (and I'm certain they will) get this baby flying and making

User currently offlineNotarzt From Germany, joined Dec 2000, 642 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (14 years 12 months 4 hours ago) and read 4282 times:


No, I am not wrong. I just asked someone to comment on something that I've heard. You might say the source was wrong - not me. Note the difference. Dispense the thread-like tone.

Daniel  Big grin

User currently offlineAirbusDriver From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 255 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (14 years 12 months 3 hours ago) and read 4276 times:

sombody made the comment that the Citation X cruise a mach 0.92, that true but at that speed it's burning as much fuel as a Falcon 2000.

i think the sonic cruiser is a good idea and will most surely be build but on thing is for sure it will cost more to operate than the same plane cruising a 0.85.

also a 15% increase in speed does not mean a 15% reduction in time, more and more we are restricted a lower speed for a longer period of time by atc so 15% of reduction of the time at cruise speed mean a 7 to 10% reduction in actual flt time.

25 SJC>SFO : The people at Boeing aren't stupid. Many airlines have expressed great interest in the SC, and Boeing will try to make it work; time is money. It may
26 Hkgspotter1 : Wingman, Have you forgotten Concorde ??, this was the start of Airbus. Boeings idea has taken them almost 30 years to think up !!!!!!!!!!!!!
27 Eg777er : Seeing we're into quoutes: "This aircraft is all about speed. Anyone who criticises Concorde is missing the point." British Trade Minister, 1976. BUT
28 Fly-By-Pilot : The problem isnt really efficiency at altitude but efficiency throughout the whole flight. I think this double delta wing is the key in maintaining bo
29 NoUFO : SJC > SFO On another note, I think something needs to be understood about part of the A v B war. I just need to say that in the US there is alot of re
30 LZ-TLT : (Here in Germany, approx. one spy per week is expelled back to the US and according to some major papers it is very likely that governmental authoriti
31 Post contains images NoUFO : Don't be ridiculous!!!Major papers? Which ones...I'm very very sorry for you, if you mean "Spiegel", "Stern" or even "Focus". "Die Zeit" and "Der Spie
32 A320FO : Just concerning subsidies, direct or indirect, what made Boeing HQs move to Chicago? NO, not that Seattle is off the map and Chicago in the middle of
33 LZ-TLT : I don't have the intention to focus this post on the A vs B topic but merely make a comparison to clarify the "paper plane"-definition and look if it
34 Rabenschlag : do you think boeing would have built the 767 without being paced by the A300? the 777 without the 330/340? who came up with the idea of widebody twins
35 RayChuang : Actually, the 767 was going to be built anyway because three airlines--AA, DL and UA--during the middle 1970's were looking for a plane with the feel
36 Post contains images Jwenting : AFAIK work on the 7x7 also started before plans for the A330 were published. If Boeing had prior knowledge they would have been stupid to make it that
37 B808/A400 : Work on the 747 started when Airbus wasn't around yet. As for SC, if it has the 10000 nm range, it will fly literally anywhere in the world. I think B
38 B744F : well. comments to prepious posts: 1. Yes, we already have airliners able to cruise over M0.9. But, who tell you that these aircraft ACTUALLY flying th
39 Prebennorholm : There must be something wrong with my pocket calculator, and even more strange, Mr. Bill Gates put the same flaw into my Excel license. Everybody talk
40 Post contains images RIX : A real time saving won't be its speed (though, to save some hour or two in a long route is not bad at all) but its range that will allow to avoid conn
41 Navion : I'm not sure what you were saying in your post, so pardon me if this response is wrong. 1) Nothing has taken Boeing 30 years to catch up. Boeings SST
42 ScottB : One thing which many people forget about the Sonic Cruiser is that while fuel costs may be higher for this aircraft at M0.95 (potentially 20-30% highe
43 Jwenting : IAS is not groundspeed. When flying M0.97 at FL490, you have a higher groundspeed than you do when flying M0.97 at FL390.
44 D L X : Hey Preben, I think Scott just found your factor of 2 bug. Well done. Gotta think outside the box on this one. The S.C. won't be flying like a convent
45 Post contains images Singapore_Air : What wonderful posts! I may congratulate myself in getting over 1000 views Thanks to you all!
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