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Why Suborbital?  
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2340 times:

This is a bit of a rant. I'd like to know why/how some people feel it is easier to develop/build a suborbital compared to an SST when confronted with the problems of SST's?

Are they just ignorant to the fact that a suborbital (a.k.a hypersonic) transport will likely be much more expensive to develop, that such a vehicle would make a SST about as appealing as 787's are now.

BTW, I'm aware there is currently no market for either (or the costs associated will not allow many orders), it would take a decade of serious research before anything would be considered.


The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9523 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2333 times:

Isn't it a case of being more suitable rather than being easier? E.g. much faster speeds and fewer environmental problems, e.g. sonic booms over land?

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2316 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 1):
Isn't it a case of being more suitable rather than being easier? E.g. much faster speeds and fewer environmental problems, e.g. sonic booms over land?

Beat me to it.

While, in my non-expert opinion, a viable SST will probably be built before a viable SOT (Sub Orbital Transports), the latter has merits the former lacks.

Having said that, a lot of effort at the "grass roots" level (i.e. not the military industrial complex) is currently going into sub-orbital flight with all the space tourism stuff. Who knows what breakthroughs we will see in the next decade. Maybe SOT will come before the next SST.

To make an imperfect parallel, look at how ballistic launches overtook all those planned spaceplanes in the 60s. This wasn't because ballistic launches are inherently better. It was because a lot of research had been done into how to best lob a nuke at the other guy with ballistic missiles. Sometimes a technology "wins" for odd reasons.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2200 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 1):
Isn't it a case of being more suitable rather than being easier? E.g. much faster speeds and fewer environmental problems, e.g. sonic booms over land?

That depends. Considering that with regard to low-boom, which only applies to 25% of the Earth's surface, such a vehicle will still have to drag a wave in or around an airport before it is able to climb high enough or slow down from decent so not to bother the NIMBY's below.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
To make an imperfect parallel, look at how ballistic launches overtook all those planned spaceplanes in the 60s.

Forgive me, but lanuching a nuclear weapon or a bunch of trained astronauts is nothing like the average job somebody that benefits from closing the gap between point A and B. The technology literally has to be watered down to even apply as anything but a space freighter.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
Having said that, a lot of effort at the "grass roots" level (i.e. not the military industrial complex) is currently going into sub-orbital flight with all the space tourism stuff

Space tourism is about marketing the impression known as space, whic to many people, is just seeing ablack sky and the round bal of the Earth below. The required velocities for going into orbit are negated. Such vehicles simply go up and down and do not travel very far in doing so.

To make a SOT make sense it not only has to carry more than a few dozen people at a time, but travel thousands of miles, which requires much higher Mach numbers that the Mach 3.5 required by SpaceShipOne and the like. Supersonics are already kicking our butts as we are too used to subsonics which results in our expectations of supersonics to be ill-founded. You remember X-30 NASP? This country tried to replace the space shuttle with an SSTO airplane, the amount of research into something so complex which had never been done was overwhelming.

Unless you want to blast passengers vertically to Singapore? I honestly doubt anyone will endure the punishment of high g's every day to meet their client or cunduct business. Personally wouldn't go through the extra prep time before boarding to make sure I don't get sick. That added to the infrastructral change required as a SOT cannot use Kerosine.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineStarglider From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 678 posts, RR: 44
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2177 times:

Quoting Lehpron (Thread starter):
BTW, I'm aware there is currently no market for either (or the costs associated will not allow many orders), it would take a decade of serious research before anything would be considered.

Another decade of research for an SST would be correct, an SOT will remain science fiction for quite some time. Using SOTs on a daily basis is much more complex than that which meets the eye. Losing 2 out of 5 Space Shuttles, both lost in our violent atmosphere at supersonic / hypersonic speeds, should be a grim reminder for any such attempt at the operational level you are referring to.


Regards,
Starglider


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2141 times:

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 3):
Space tourism is about marketing the impression known as space, whic to many people, is just seeing ablack sky and the round bal of the Earth below. The required velocities for going into orbit are negated. Such vehicles simply go up and down and do not travel very far in doing so.

Agreed. However many of the current space tourism people have orbitals on the roadmap. And the technology is not unrelated. There's an order of magnitude issue to be overcome, not a reinvention of the wheel.

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 3):
Forgive me, but lanuching a nuclear weapon or a bunch of trained astronauts is nothing like the average job somebody that benefits from closing the gap between point A and B. The technology literally has to be watered down to even apply as anything but a space freighter.

Agreed. But that wasn't my point. My point was that there were two somewhat competing technologies and one of them won due to factors somewhat external to the technologies themselves. If there had been no need to lob nukes across the globe, it's quite possible the Apollo program would have been based on a space plane. Vertically launched on top of an expendable booster, but still.

So it is possible (though unlikely) that SOTs will come before (the next) SSTs due to factors external to the technologies.


BTW my second daughter was born very early this morning. Yes, that is totally off topic. Big grin

[Edited 2007-04-01 17:34:57]


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2076 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
BTW my second daughter was born very early this morning. Yes, that is totally off topic.

Congradulations, I'm a bit jealous, I've always wanted a daughter myself.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
My point was that there were two somewhat competing technologies and one of them won due to factors somewhat external to the technologies themselves. If there had been no need to lob nukes across the globe, it's quite possible the Apollo program would have been based on a space plane

I agreed with that, I suppose I was addressing others who believed that rocket technology had somehow progressed to the point where launching more than a crew of 7 was easy or within reach.

I guess that the evolution from tourism/entertainment to an actual transportation system used by the masses (as how the airplane changed) is only a matter of time, a long time IMO. This world we are living in is all about business, little if any risk (which is relative); generally do what works and your success is pretty much gauranteed. But the folks that establish that cycle of 'do what works' are the real geniuses. I count Apple with their I-pod, Ford's Model-T, Boeing's 737, Nintendo's NES (I don't count Atari only cuz I don't think I was alive then -- these are my opinions afterall), etc.

I heard last year from some supporters at my school that SpaceShipTwo, as its called, already booked either 50 seats worth of flights or 5 planes worth of seats, I don't remember the spec. That is quite a bit for US$200k each seat, that was from Fall 2005. So the phrase "it you build it, they will come" still applies.

I didn't grow up rich, or even middle class, so it seems my natural tendency is to try to make something for the masses. I already do not agree with paying more for better quality, which goes against all business models. I want to make an SST viable, it's been my dream, I guess I'm afraid I wont have the opportunity (more like a job) if SOT's take off first, no pun intended. There, I gave you my bias.  Wink



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2098 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2073 times:

Congradulations Starlionblue, I've never spoke to you on here before but always appreciated your input immensely and as a father of a daughter I can tell you there is nothing like it.  Smile


Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2034 times:

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 6):
didn't grow up rich, or even middle class, so it seems my natural tendency is to try to make something for the masses.

A fine sentiment.
- $200k is a lot of money, but it is well within the reach of quite a few people in industrialized countries. We're talking tens or hundreds of thousands of people.
- Air travel as we see today was very much an activity for the rich in the first decades. Air travel for the masses did not take off (haha) until the 60s and 70s. We'll see what happens with space travel.

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 7):
Congradulations Starlionblue, I've never spoke to you on here before but always appreciated your input immensely and as a father of a daughter I can tell you there is nothing like it

Thank you. Yeah our 18 month old daughter is running us ragged. And yes, we are building a third bathroom. Big grin



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6385 posts, RR: 54
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 1941 times:

Dreaming, dreaming dreaming!

We are not getting nearer any neither an SST nor a SOT these days.

The closest thing we have ever seen to a true SST is the 32 years old Concorde. Far too limited range to really warrant SST performance. It could shave 4 hours of a short trans Atlantic crossing at the expense of a 240 gallons per pax extra fuel burn (300 gallons instead of 60). It could be improved today, but nothing to make it worth dreaming about.

The closest thing we have seen related to a SOT is the 26 years old Space Shuttle. If only the Shuttle main engines were cut off a couple of seconds early, then it is a SOT. It might be converted from a cargo plane into a 50 pax plane. If we for a minute forget about maintenance costs, then the fuel burn would be roughly 10,000 gallons kerosene equivalent per pax.

Even if we bypass a few trivial facts such as nobody knows how to produce a SOT which can fly in rain, then....

There is no way the world will accept such a massive pollution of our common atmosphere. Even if we might dream about a plane ten times more efficient than the Shuttle, then no way.

All the money, which could have been ready to be spent on SST or SOT projects, they will be spent on making our Mach 0.8 airliners 10, 15 or maybe 20% more fuel efficient than the best known today.

Another thing: The need for fast travel is much less today than it was in the 60'es or 70'es. People, who could warrant the costs of high speed, they don't travel that much any more. World wide data networks have been invented, for video conferences and all other sorts of sharing. Even a SOT is way too slow to compete with the speeds which are needed today.

If you happen to be one of the few people on this planet, who are so busy, and who must travel, then you have already many years ago bought an A319CJ or a B737BBJ, and included a copy of your office in it as well as a fast satellite internet connection. And you do your journey point to point. Scheduled supersonic LHR - JFK with connecting flights probably in both ends, that's oldfashioned way of thinking in case you are a real VIP.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1927 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 9):
Another thing: The need for fast travel is much less today than it was in the 60'es or 70'es. People, who could warrant the costs of high speed, they don't travel that much any more. World wide data networks have been invented, for video conferences and all other sorts of sharing. Even a SOT is way too slow to compete with the speeds which are needed today.

Yes and no. Having been one of those 125000 mile/year travelers, I can say that those who need a lot of far flung meetings will use BOTH tele/video/web conferencing AND air travel. Affordable SST or SOT travel would have made me much more productive.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineStarglider From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 678 posts, RR: 44
Reply 11, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1925 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 9):
Another thing: The need for fast travel is much less today than it was in the 60'es or 70'es. People, who could warrant the costs of high speed, they don't travel that much any more. World wide data networks have been invented, for video conferences and all other sorts of sharing. Even a SOT is way too slow to compete with the speeds which are needed today.



It is a misconception that the speeds you are talking about are "needed". No matter how fast . . .there is always more time . . .we never run out of it.


The future is hopefully more than video conferencing and sitting on our butt all day. True experience is a matter of "being there". Compare it this way:

As a metaphor, data networking is like watching a movie or reading a book about climbing a mountain. Life should be more than watching "talking heads." "Being there" means putting effort into things like traveling, exploring, meeting people of different cultures, using the metaphor, like truly experiencing the climbing of a mountain is more than reading a book about it.

In that picture will fit the SST and perhaps a bit further in the future, a SOT.
Once the technologies are mature and applied, costs will come down and will become affordable as more people use this kind of transportation to travel long distances in the shortest possible time.

Dreams, dreams, dreams:

Without dreams, all that we humans ever built or developed would not exist today. What we can easily see is only a small percentage of what is possible. Imagination is having the vision to see what is just below the surface, to picture that which is essential, but invisible to the eye.


Starglider

[Edited 2007-04-04 00:03:48]

User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1887 times:

Prebennorholm, is it pessimism or majority-opinion conformity? Who got to you man, you weren't like this before.  Smile

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 9):
...who could warrant the costs of high speed, they don't travel that much any more.

If you build it they will come; since there isn't a high-speed transport, I'm not surprised 'they' aren't still flying. People buy a hole not a drill, I'll bet 'they' are still flying.

I agree, based on current proven technology, the costs associated with development an SST and the tiny market in existence will render high break-even values with unit and operational costs that the current market will not support. Which companies conclude: there is no market. Can/should we wait for the customer to ask for an SST? How can they if all their knowledge is based off of a 32-year old machine and a half-dozen other failed projects by other companies in which they prove how serious they are by only funding a few million? What reason do they have to believe things have changed if companies are not going to look into what else is there? Boeing/Airbus don't even consider the high-speed category in their market outlooks, and the customer is still in charge?

Quoting Starglider (Reply 11):
Once the technologies are mature and applied, costs will come down

What about vice-versa? I believe the operational costs can be forced down with exra development spending and faith in the technology*, it should spark/accelerate market growth. The way I see it, a customer is not going to buy a product that they don't know about it, let alone afford. Even if a company decided to bite a bullet, fund serious research and advertised their results; there is no gaurantee the target customer base will choose the intended product of that research -- unless the costs to them were within their convinience (i.e. competitive with no preimium.)

*I find people seem to have faith when it is convinient to them. Like all those who believe a new engine for the 737-replacement will eventually come about, yet cannot apply the same logic to an SST's engine, claiming the market for a 737 replacement has been established  Yeah sure. I call it riskphobia. Don't any of you think that I don't have faith in the technology related to suborbitals, just I know how much more complex they are compared to supersonics. They are so far from suitable.

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 9):
It could be improved today, but nothing to make it worth dreaming about.

I beg to differ.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineElpinDAB From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 468 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1846 times:

I am far from being an authority on this subject, but from what I've read and heard, it seems as if suborbital space transportation might be possible for schedule passenger service, or at least business or cargo-type operations.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
Having said that, a lot of effort at the "grass roots" level (i.e. not the military industrial complex) is currently going into sub-orbital flight with all the space tourism stuff. Who knows what breakthroughs we will see in the next decade. Maybe SOT will come before the next SST.

Starlionblue, what a wonderful point. I, too, am optimistic that the emerging space tourism market will renew public interest in space and eventually lead to the expedited introduction of safe and reliable SOT technologies into other parts of the aviation industry.

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 6):
US$200k each seat

For those very eager to go to space ASAP! I'll be doing some waiting for sure, but the $200,000/seat will just be for the first 5 years or so. Prices are then expected to drop to $50,000 until the 8th or 9th years of operation when they should fall to $25,000...not too much more than a ticket on Concorde, right? (source:http://www.space.com/adastra/050523_virgin_nss.html)
...I also remember seeing a more optimistic prediction of the price decreases for Virgin Galactic, saying that the cost will be $15-20,000 after the first 1,000 or so passengers, but I couldn't find the source again to verify this.



Check out some of these links about suborbital space flight if you haven't already come across them.

First, nobody with any interest in this stuff should get by without watching the Virgin Galactic video...be sure to watch it in full screen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4h247PPOrY
Great stuff! I'm not sure if the passengers would go for the dead stick landing if an SOT were ever put into service by a 121 carrier though...



Here's a slightly dated (2005) report by the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation with an overview of what the FAA's outlook on Space transportation is, as well as a nice overview of the many companies involved in the development of suborbitals.
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/...es/ast/media/Suborbital_Report.pdf


This one's a more recent FAA document going into more detail about the vehicles being developed for space tourism.
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/...s_offices/ast/media/DevCon2007.pdf

FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation Website
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/


Here's an optimistic article about commercial space flight. Be sure to visit the websites homepage (the news tab) for some recent news about space tourism efforts. Also, there are many quality links on this website.
http://spaceliberates.us/news/an-introduction-to-private-spaceflight/


Here's one more article about Suborbital flight.
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/73/1


Happy reading!!!

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 9):
Dreaming, dreaming dreaming!

We are not getting nearer any neither an SST nor a SOT these days.

And finally, while it has nothing to do with aviation, here is a little video to promote optimism in the future of technology. (Or at least that's what I got from it...) Enjoy the Information Age and continue to dream of what we might see in our lifetimes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIqk4agzKPE

[Edited 2007-04-04 20:46:04]

User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6385 posts, RR: 54
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 1730 times:

Quoting Lehpron (Reply 12):
Prebennorholm, is it pessimism or majority-opinion conformity? Who got to you man, you weren't like this before.

Well, I see that I get quite some bashing for being pessimistic.

Now one of the hardest things to predict, that's the future. I may be wrong. But I'm afraid I am not.

It is now 36 years ago I first time strapped myself in the tube of a DC-8-55. Since then air travel has just become slower and slower all the time.

Parking the car at the airport
Check-in
Security
Running to the gate (usually much further today)
Boarding
Traffic related delays
De-boarding
Baggage retrieval
... it has all become slower and slower year by year. We traveled much faster back in the 70'es. And there is no sign in the crystal ball telling that we will ever reach 70'es travel speed again.

Who remembers that a DC-9 and a B727 has doors both up front and in the back? That speeded up boarding and de-boarding dramatically in the good old days.

Even on the very shortest routes the CV-440 offered a today unmatched speed. It had a front door. The first pax on the stairs rushed to the back of the plane to avoid the propeller noise. Boarding took no time. Today the CV-440s has gone and been replaced by ATR-42. It has a back door. It has the advantage that pax don't run the forehead into the propeller blades. The first four pax to board struggle for ages to get their bags in place at the backmost seat row while everybody else waits. When ages have passed the whole thing is repeated at the seat row in front of the backmost seat row. It is in fact repeated for every single seat row until the seat row in line with the propellers.

If travel speed really is a competition parameter, then there are a hundred things to improve just to reach average speed of 30 years ago. Things which don't even cost extra fuel compared to tomorrow's highly fuel efficient airliners.

Sorry, but I simply can't see how SST's will fit into present day travel system. That small niche market, there may have been a generation ago, it has long time ago been taken up by biz jets with global reach - planes which do it point to point much faster than any SST can do it including transfers times at mega airports.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1717 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 14):
Well, I see that I get quite some bashing for being pessimistic.

I wasn't reacting to your pesimissm. In my experiences, the root of that pessimism was ignorance, people who weren't aware of things reacted as if that particular could not offer [other] options. The odd reality was that they weren't even interessted in the subject, perfered something else, but reacted as if they were in crosshairs. I guess I made an association to your comments.  Wink

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 14):
Since then air travel has just become slower and slower all the time.

Parking the car at the airport
Check-in
Security
Running to the gate (usually much further today)
Boarding
Traffic related delays
De-boarding
Baggage retrieval
... it has all become slower and slower year by year.

This is the airport, and therefore city's and the voter's, problem. I will place blame on those airlines for insisting there is only one solution to passenger demand (The SAN issue annoys me most), but the responsibility of overall travel experience in terms of everything you mention is, basically, due to the majority voter's lack of insight in funding an airport's future ability accomidate more people. Yeah most of my experience is based on the majority-vote opinion in SAN, those of which cannot see past 10-15 years and think those of us who want airport expansion just dont like the military.  Yeah sure

Granted, however, I agree with your sentiments. I also cannot see how SST's will fit into the present day travel system either. But then I don't insist that companies simply deal with available technology as the only means. I realize it makes development cheaper, but also that the options are limited. The problem is the customer, real ones like pax, don't think they have a choice. I don't think 'wait for market' so I'm alreaady backwards to what reality is. I know 'the market' has no clue other than options spoon feed to them, they are very obviously not going to ask for something they don't know or are told cannot happen.

To me, the market for an SST that doesn't cost extra to operate compared to a "highly fuel efficient subsonic" is in the thousands.

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 14):
Sorry, but I simply can't see how SST's will fit into present day travel system.

Don't say sorry, I'm neither God nor anyone of authority you trust, I don't matter.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1707 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 14):
Well, I see that I get quite some bashing for being pessimistic.

Don't feel bad, I too have been raked over the coals for daring to suggest that suborbital probably wouldn't work as a viable transport system. Indeed, any time I have expressed doubt about any proposed new style of lfight, I have been labelled a Luddite.
Dreamers are necessary for progress, but on this site, if you question anyone's dreams, you better have a thick skin!


User currently offlineJetlagged From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 2543 posts, RR: 24
Reply 17, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1682 times:

People say time is money, but if you have to spend several thousand dollars extra to save three hours, how many people's time is really worth that much? Most sensible business people would take an extra day to travel, rest overnight, then have the meeting the next day. Better still have a video conference, then go to the golf course  Wink

Two Concordes a day made a flight to NY, a day in the office then return to London that evening possible, but you have to ask how many 'commuters' can benefit from such a schedule. With one flight a day, even that advantage was lost, and none at all for people based in NY. No fun in a business trip if you don't get an overnight stay in a hotel as well. So the SST premium market is vanishingly small.

When Boeing offered the Sonic Cruiser no one except the usual publicity seekers was interested. 20% journey time reduction is not worth the extra cost, especially when you could lose it all in the inevitable hold into London. Instead airlines are offering ever more onboard luxury (in business and first at least) to make the hours pass by more comfortably. VIPs are quite happy to spend their valuable time being pampered when it suits them.

Suborbital offers the possibility of dramatically reduced travel times over very long distances, but would be useless on the shorter transatlantic routes. Also there are the energy costs of getting the spaceplane up there and the accelerations involved at either end. The only beneficiaries would be shuttle diplomats and self publicists.

As an aviation enthusiast I'd love to see either a new SST or SOT, but as a practical traveller I can't see the point.



The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 18, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1667 times:

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 17):
People say time is money, but if you have to spend several thousand dollars extra to save three hours, how many people's time is really worth that much? Most sensible business people would take an extra day to travel, rest overnight, then have the meeting the next day. Better still have a video conference, then go to the golf course

You hit the nail on the head. It's all about cost. But if it was only "several thousand dollars extra" (say $3000) I think you'd get quite a few takers. Get it down under $3500 or so return and you'd fill quite a few SOTs.

Videoconferences are much touted. I have had quite a few. But current videoconferences are so primitive and unsatisfying. They are the subsonic airliner of the conferencing industry compared to the SOT I want. I want to shake hands, draw stuff, see people life sized and so forth. Videoconferencing has a long way to go before I stop getting on a plane across the pond at the drop of a hat.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 17):
So the SST premium market is vanishingly small.

Yes. However if you could get transit times down to under an hour for transatlantic, and under two hours for London<->Sydney you would really make a dent.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineJetlagged From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 2543 posts, RR: 24
Reply 19, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1666 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 18):
However if you could get transit times down to under an hour for transatlantic, and under two hours for London<->Sydney you would really make a dent.

Might make quite a dent on landing too.  Smile

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 18):
Videoconferences are much touted. I have had quite a few. But current videoconferences are so primitive and unsatisfying.

You're right, I wasn't really being serious about them as an option. Actually they usually cause more problems due to the poor communications. Even worse, the dreaded conference call "meeting".  banghead  Nothing beats a face to face meeting to generate agreement and decisions. If you have to have the meeting at all of course....



The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 20, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1662 times:

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 19):

You're right, I wasn't really being serious about them as an option. Actually they usually cause more problems due to the poor communications. Even worse, the dreaded conference call "meeting". banghead Nothing beats a face to face meeting to generate agreement and decisions. If you have to have the meeting at all of course....

I was just reading this article. http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/biz...4/09/videoconferencing/index.html. These guys get how videoconference SHOULD be.

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 19):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 18):
However if you could get transit times down to under an hour for transatlantic, and under two hours for London<->Sydney you would really make a dent.

Might make quite a dent on landing too.

 rotfl 



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSABE From Argentina, joined Jun 2005, 156 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1636 times:

Here is an interesting article on research towards a "quieter" sonic boom

http://ptonline.aip.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_60/iss_4/24_1.shtml



TUS-DFW-EZE... can't wait to visit home again!
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6385 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1623 times:

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 16):
Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 14):
Well, I see that I get quite some bashing for being pessimistic.

Don't feel bad,

I feel great.

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 16):
Dreamers are necessary for progress

Right! And speed of travel has always been a dream.

I remember especially well, when we kids had chicken pox and such, and got bored lying in bed, then mom always found some old weekly journals which granddad had forgotten to throw away. One issue from 1929 had an article about air traffic. It predicted that within fifteen years airliners would take on board 40 passengers and travel at 1,500 km/h. I stared on the picture of that futuristic plane for hours and dreamed.

It was of course a bi-plane - all planes in 1929 were bi-planes. It had on huge (and I mean HUGE) radial engine up front, and a four bladed propeller which was wider than the wing span.

In most ways things turned out much better than the dreams. Still, for the last fifty years we have been stuck at Mach 0.8.

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 16):
but on this site, if you question anyone's dreams, you better have a thick skin!

I have very thick skin.

And I also have dreams, even if I have stopped dreaming about flying supersonic. Here are a few of my dreams:

When an airport brags that it has 700 security workers, then how come that during rush hours there are 6 or 7 workers on pax duty and half or two third of the gates are closed. I mean, if they have to process 25,000 pax per day, does it take less time to process them just because they have been standing in a one hour long queue?

Same thing for check-in. Why do they begin to close down check-in counters when the queue length drops under 45 minutes?

Not too long ago I had the following experience in security. The nice agent asked me: "Sir, please empty your bag". Fair enough. It was full of all types of strange stuff, computer stuff, camera related stuff and much more. I answered: "Certainly Sir". After a small pause I asked in a low tone: "Do you have a table?" The man looked as if he had just fallen down from the moon.

After a while he said: "Come in here, we do have a table in here". Then I asked: "My wallet, car keys, cell phone, company door transponder (etc.) is on the other side of that scanner, can I go and fetch it first?" Again he got that down-from-moon-look. But after a pause he said: "Yes Sir, yes, you can go and get your stuff". The bag was processed, end of story.

But that security check was not a security check set-up. It was a machine depot with people running around in circles.

Not long time later I was at the same position, and I noticed that they had got a table. Some cheap picnic style table placed in the middle of the machine depot. At least people didn't have to spread the contents of their bags on the floor any longer.

Now that's what you experience at some rural airstrip...? Negative! This was an 18 million pax per year airport.

Then why do so many bags get misdirected? And why do they get slammed a dozen times (and often broken) before getting on the plane? Why can't a bag already at check-in be fitted with a transponder which automatically directs it to the correct container ready to load on the plane? I mean, I long time ago lost count of the transponders I have to get in and out here and there and everywhere, get over bridges etc. For decades we haven's been able to start our car without a transponder in our hand. If we forget to pay for a pair of socks in the department store, then the transponder in the socks will immediately remind us. Why does everything related to air travel have to be so old-fashioned? Everything except one single unit, the airliner itself.

After having survived several hundred segments over a few decades, then you learn somehow to adapt to the circumstanced.

First of all you take all essential stuff as hand baggage.
My "hand bag" is a combined rucksack and foldable chair. The latter makes the long queues a lot more comfu.

A slightly unrelated issue: Why does every airport terminal building look like a temple inside? While the baggage pickup hall almost always looks like an abandoned East German truck factory?

As you see, I have plenty of dreams related to air travel, even if SST and SOT are not included.

[Edited 2007-04-10 22:38:41]


Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16994 posts, RR: 67
Reply 23, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1615 times:

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 22):
Why does everything related to air travel have to be so old-fashioned? Everything except one single unit, the airliner itself.

So true. My theory is that because airports are still high profile objects, so instead of staying out of the way and letting the designers do their jobs, politicians like to stick their fingers where they don't belong.

Quoting Prebennorholm (Reply 22):
Why does every airport terminal building look like a temple inside? While the baggage pickup hall almost always looks like an abandoned East German truck factory?

 rotfl 



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
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