Of course, I'm not expecting the full-scale prototype to come rolling out of Boeing next week, but where does this 'concept aircaft' ('concept' is THEIR word for this thing, not mine) stand? With much fanfare and timed so nicely to steal Airbus' A380 thunder (albeit temporarily), Boeing 'announced' this grand new aircraft (quotation marks used for emphasis) as a smarter way to fly.
Skeptics then and now wondered whether this concept would ever see the light of day, so I wondered myself how they treat this neat airplane on their web site.
Upon going to Boeing's web site, you first have to wonder whether the Company is even in the commercial aircraft business anymore. The home page is festooned with military missiles, and you have to drill down a few levels to get to the 'commercial aircraft' side of Boeing's business. Those dearly-departed historians will recall the day when 'Commercial Aircraft' MEANT Boeing and MEANT America. No one--no company and no country--could do it better than Boeing and the United States. It is somewhat sad to see that 'commercial aircraft' is 'just another business unit' of the Company.
But I digress.
Once you manage to find the commercial aircraft section of Boeing's web site, you have to drill down a few MORE levels before you get to a rather truncated section devoted to 'future developments.' And it's here that the Sonic Cruiser is nice and neatly hidden away, kind of like the Spruce Goose was in Long Beach. The web pages describing this aircraft are months and months old, with no references to timelines for mockups, for prototypes, for anything. If this thing were for real, I'd expect more (and more prominently-displayed) information than what's there now.
One could be forgiven for wondering then--and even moreso now--about whether Boeing was (and is) just full of blather at a time when their lunch was being eaten by a company (Airbus) that none of them gave much credence to. This 'We've Gotta Say SOMETHING!' sort of attitude, if not backed up by a defined timeline of metal-cutting, design milestones, first-flight dates, gives Boeing a very decided 'Chicken Little' image.
I hope SOMEONE pushes Boeing on this. I agree that an aircraft this radical, this advanced, needs its time to germinate. Granted. But don't go blow your horn and then pull back into your shell. If this thing isn't going to see the light of day for decades to come, then it's obvious that their 'pre-announcement' was nothing more than an anti-Airbus ploy.
All that, to attack a company that they all thought would never amount to anything way back in the 1970s.
But, Boeing's still got nice-looking missiles!
Chris in New Hampshire