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Boeing SST Questions

Tue Oct 22, 2002 6:45 am

I have just gotten a wood model of the Boeing SST. After admiring it for it beauty mor careful examinations have raised some questions.

If the airplane went into production w/ the swing wing where did boeing intend the fuel tanks to be located? I assume that the mechanisms for the swing wing would have been in the wingbox where conventional airplanes have the center tank.

If there was a center tank, where are the baggage pit located? Forward of the wing is obvious but convetional airplanes have an aft pit, engines and wing are in the way on the BSST. If they went with a forward pit only there doens't appear to be enough space for the luggage of all the passengers the plane could carry.

Lastly the fuselage flares out its widest point is just forward of the leading edge of the wings then tapers down towards the rear. What was the cabin configuration?

I have looked around the net and have been unable to find answers to these questions. Does anyone have diagrams of the Boeing SST that could answer them? Thanks in advance.

A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.

RE: Boeing SST Questions

Tue Oct 22, 2002 8:33 am

Sorry - I forgot much about the SST - but you can get info through Boeing at BFI in Seattle very likely. There was a hangar with a full size SST mock-up.
SST initially had "swing wings", while Lockheed attempted a delta wing design... In the last stages of revising the SST design, Boeing reverted to a delta wing project, and consulted Lockheed about it, since Lockheed project hab been abandonned earlier...
And finally, all plans to build the Boeing SST got cancelled early 1970s... Some airlines were thinking of operating both the Boeing as well as Concorde...
Cannot recall, but PanAm was looking at acquiring 6 of each...
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RE: Boeing SST Questions

Wed Oct 23, 2002 1:43 am

At the time of cancellation in 1971, the B2707-300 (the tailed delta) had some 120 options, compared to 74 for Concorde.
Most airlines who had optioned Concorde also optioned B2707's, including BOAC and AF.
Think of the 2707 as an SST 747, and Concorde as a 767.

There was much surprise when Boeing got the SST contract in 1966, Lockheed, with the delta L2000 had been firm favorites, not least because of their supersonic experience.

The US SST began life in 1963, not long after Concorde was launched, JFK was warned that in the 1970's the US could lose their technical edge if a programme was not started, the FAA would run it.

Boeing's first design was the 2707-100, a swing-wing design powered by 4 70,000lb GE4 turbojets, a capacity of 230-300 pax and Mach 3 cruise, though that was soon reduced to Mach 2.7, nonetheless, it had to be bigger and faster than Concorde.

Soon Boeing went to the -200, where the huge engines were mounted on the a large tailplane, a bitter Lockheed engineer commented 'I guess they had to put them there to stop them from burning the tail off!'

This would be an extremely complex aircraft, the VG wings having leading-edge and triple-slotted trailing edge flaps, a droop nose like Concorde, but much more complex, some airline pilots were already expressing concern.

But tests with models were showing that the wing would need strengthening, on an already very overweight design.
It was looking like the aircraft could only get airborne it it had no payload, pax or baggage.
A major redesign was in the offing.

The variable intake system was also a cause for concern, but Boeing ploughed on, this was after all the future of civil air transport, so much so the 747 design had a raised cockpit, as it was expected to soon be replaced by the 2707 on mainline routes, so it was prudent to make the 747 easily convertible to a freighter.

By now, service entry had slipped from 1972, to 1974 and so on, but Concorde had it's share of problems so the 2707 coming late to market was not a concern, it would have the bigger share of orders after all.

In 1969, Boeing finally gave up on the swing-wing, and went for the 230 seat Mach 2.7 tailed delta -300. It at least looked more practical, not to mention simpler to build and operate.
Service entry in 1976-78, assuming a 1972-73 first flight.

Speed was not to be the only innovation, the 3 crew flight deck would have some cathode-ray tube displays, cutting down on the the bewildering array of electro-mechanical instruments.

But by now, concerns about noise had restricted all SST's to mostly overwater supercruise.
As air travel exploded in the late 60's more and more people became affected by aircraft noise, SST's looked like a bad idea to many.

The fact that 90% of the 2707 was being funded from tax $ made it a target of many right-wingers in the US, who saw it a 'socialist' and 'un-American', what a strange alliance that was, right wing republicans with people they'd call 'tree-huggers'!
But some like Senator Barry Goldwater, defended the SST vigorously.

1970 saw the 'Earth Day', the first really big environmental campaign, SST's were seen as a polluting, noisy threat to the well-being of both the Earth and it's inhabitants.

Boeing had their own problems, the Mach 2.7 specification required the use of titanium as the primary structure, very expensive, difficult to work with, (aluminum melts at Mach 2.6), plus massive challenges in environmental control systems etc.
Making Concorde work at Mach 2 was hard enough, the mind boggles at the challenges Boeing engineers faced.

So more money, more time, the SST ban overland was almost as bad for the 2707 as it was for Concorde, the 2707 would only have a few hundred miles more range, non-stop Trans-Pacific was out.

In 1971, time and money ran out, Congress voted, by a majority of one, to stop funding the programme.
As much cash had been spent as the UK contribution to Concorde up to 1982.
Airlines were in a slump, Nixon had to slash spending while remaining popular, (the US was still in Vietnam).
The 2707, along with the space programme took the hit, but fears of excessive layoffs in aerospace and the political implications in vital states like CA, led to the Space Shuttle programme being approved a few months later.

Could the 2707 have been at least a technical success? (The 1973 oil price hike would have done for it in the same way as Concorde sales wise).
Without a prototype flying it's hard to say, it would have been an immensely complex and expensive aircraft to maintain and operate, (basically Concorde X2).
Boeing got the pax capacity right, but not much else, imagine 4x70,000lbs reheated engines on take-off, nearly twice as much as Concorde.

IMHO Lockheed should have got the contract, with a sound design from the start they would probably have got a prototype in the air, at less cost, before the major anti-SST campaigns started.
So even without a service entry (it still would have had all the environmental problems) the US would have had a very valuable research tool.


RE: Boeing SST Questions

Wed Oct 23, 2002 5:30 am

Dear GDB - Thank you -
I live much of that period with hopes - I was a PanAm pilot, going in 1970, with the idea of soon being a SST first officer... then 3 years later in late 1973, going on layoff...
Aviation history though - and the SST - look at movie Space Odyssey 2001. with PanAm space ships - could have been that much too...
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RE: Boeing SST Questions

Wed Oct 23, 2002 6:33 am

I thank you for the information I've gotten so far. The one Link had a pic that detailed where the landing gear would go. Another question answered. But I still can't picture where the pts woudl be for a 250 to 300 passenger airplane.

With the Swingwing or Delta wing and engines in the way, does Concorde or the BSST have a rear pit?

This is also a question about the Sonic Cruiser. W/ the wings and engine pusheed to the back of the fuselage you seem to cut off access to rear pits.
A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.
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RE: Boeing SST Questions

Mon Oct 28, 2002 10:53 pm

I remember reading that the British and French were quite upset when the 2707 was cancelled. They figured that as Concorde would be in service at least five years before the 2707 that no major airline could remain un-competitive for that long.

When the 2707 did enter service they figured that Concorde would become a niche player.

I have also heard it said that some of the vehement opposition to Concorde landing in the US would not have been there if the 2707 was cancelled.

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RE: Boeing SST Questions

Tue Oct 29, 2002 2:00 am

I'd agree that the 2707 cancellation was a negative for Concorde, all the opposition, now emboldened, would focus on the Anglo/French project.

Some of the political opposition to Concorde may have been based on the 2707 loss, but I'm pretty certain that those anti-noise people around JFK would have liked the 2707 even less, it would have been nosier.

A bigger SST market meant more people affected by the aircraft, chopping one project, the one with the bigger Pax capacity, meant niche status for Concorde.

In terms of the airlines who operated it, the niche market became profitable in time, though the manufacturers lost out, which in those days also meant the taxpayer.

But operating such a small specialized fleet today is no easy task, even if only 30 or so Concorde's had entered service with perhaps half a dozen carriers, the job of those at AF and BA on the Concorde operation would be a lot easier.

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