DaufuskieGuy
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Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:38 pm

Sir Richard Branson on Tuesday heralded the rebirth of supersonic passenger flights with the unveiling of a prototype aircraft promising 3.5-hour flights from London to New York for an “affordable” $5,000 return.

The billionaire Virgin Group founder said his Spaceship company would help Denver-based startup Boom build a new generation of supersonic jets and reintroduce transatlantic flight times unseen since Concorde was scrapped.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... irgin-boom
 
GDB
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:43 pm

Not to be a downer, however when I saw this in the press that old Smiths song came to mind, 'stop me if you've heard it all before'.
Time was Branson as a backer would be seen a a good thing, how IS Virgin Galactic doing? At least 7 years late, one crash. More to the point a project I did think had more legs was from Aerion, that was a decade or so ago, recent redesigns notwithstanding (and not a good sign either).
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:44 pm

About time. I sincerely hope this becomes a reality
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:49 pm

Interesting, and sad, that the new sst would be carrying half as many passengers as the previous one…

The privileged class is indeed shrinking.
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:52 pm

“I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” Branson said. “As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic’s decision to work with Boom was an easy one. We’re excited to have an option on Boom’s first 10 airframes. Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations as part of our shared ambitions.”


Way to go out on a limb, Sir Richard!
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lowfareair
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:03 pm

Unless I'm missing something, I don't see any prototype unveiled here. Looks like some renderings; a prototype means an actual airplane.

EDIT: My mistake, it will be unveiled later today.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:11 pm

Aircellist wrote:
Interesting, and sad, that the new sst would be carrying half as many passengers as the previous one…

The privileged class is indeed shrinking.


The number of millionaires and billionaires is rather rapidly growing, not shrinking.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/24/how-many ... pends.html

I'm guessing that the new aircraft design/capacity has more to do with practical economics and engineering. A market for it exists.
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:19 pm

Scholl said tickets would cost “about the same as tickets in business class”. “I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t want to get there in half the time, rather than have some free champagne,” he said. “It won’t be a bucket-list purchase any more. There is a huge market and the margins are enormous.”


I think there is a very obvious reason to take a slower flight, and that's still money. Of course, even if they make those € 5.000 tickets come true, for a lot of people that's still a lot of money. They'll be able to fill their planes with it, no doubt about that, but the majority of people will still fly conventional because it's just a whole lot cheaper. The supersonic flights would save you about three hours, but would cost roughly € 4.500 more. That's € 1.500 per hour! And that's only if you count O/D traffic, so if it flies exactly the route that you need to fly. If you need a feeder flight the time gain would be negligible compared to a direct non-supersonic flight.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:25 pm

lowfareair wrote:
Unless I'm missing something, I don't see any prototype unveiled here. Looks like some renderings; a prototype means an actual airplane.

EDIT: My mistake, it will be unveiled later today.


I'm with you. The headline should be "preparing to unveil a prototype" but SRB has always been enthusiastic. Image

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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:25 pm

I would think a BBJ (Boom Business Jet) version might be attractive to some corporations, well to do individuals, and possibly some of the fractional outfits.
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:35 pm

But the real question is: will it wear Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Galactic colors (or Australia)
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NDiesel
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:47 pm

tjwgrr wrote:
I would think a BBJ (Boom Business Jet) version might be attractive to some corporations, well to do individuals, and possibly some of the fractional outfits.


But aren't there still limitations as to where you would be able to operate a commercial supersonic jet? The Concorde was limited to mostly oceanic/Atlantic flights due to noise restrictions, which is part of the reason why it mostly operated routes between Europe - US East Coast. I don't see any oil tycoons purchasing a SSBJ they can't operate wherever they want.
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:53 pm

NDiesel wrote:
But aren't there still limitations as to where you would be able to operate a commercial supersonic jet? The Concorde was limited to mostly oceanic/Atlantic flights due to noise restrictions, which is part of the reason why it mostly operated routes between Europe - US East Coast. I don't see any oil tycoons purchasing a SSBJ they can't operate wherever they want.


Who says this new aircraft will make as much noise as the concorde did? Very possible the noise restrictions that applied to the Concorde don't apply to this aircraft. New type of engines for example.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:54 pm

Revelation wrote:
“I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” Branson said. “As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic’s decision to work with Boom was an easy one. We’re excited to have an option on Boom’s first 10 airframes. Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations as part of our shared ambitions.”


Way to go out on a limb, Sir Richard!


They will be delivered right after the A380s...

Branson loves the media attention, but he has very little history of follow through - in many things he announces its obvious he has no intention of carrying through.
 
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moo
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:56 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
NDiesel wrote:
But aren't there still limitations as to where you would be able to operate a commercial supersonic jet? The Concorde was limited to mostly oceanic/Atlantic flights due to noise restrictions, which is part of the reason why it mostly operated routes between Europe - US East Coast. I don't see any oil tycoons purchasing a SSBJ they can't operate wherever they want.


Who says this new aircraft will make as much noise as the concorde did? Very possible the noise restrictions that applied to the Concorde don't apply to this aircraft. New type of engines for example.


The engines werent the issue with Concorde, it was no louder than a 707 of its era.

Its the sonic boom that got it banned the world over. Has that been solved yet...?
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:07 pm

So will the prototype be the 2 seater, or the actual 40 seater? What's the expected range on this aircraft?

SRB should've focused Virgin Galactic on true passenger, sub-orbital flights. Not joy rides for millionaires and celebrities. That's the quickest way to become a billionaire, start out as a millionaire and put your ideas to good use.
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:27 pm

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... or-431503/

Somebody better than I can post photos in the thread!
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:41 pm

Slcpilot wrote:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/boom-unveils-xb-1-supersonic-demonstrator-431503/

Somebody better than I can post photos in the thread!


Image

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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:57 pm

Aircellist wrote:
Interesting, and sad, that the new sst would be carrying half as many passengers as the previous one…

The privileged class is indeed shrinking.


Aircraft capacity isn't the only factor. There were 14 Concordes flying a total of what, 5 routes? I guarantee this project will not happen if the market looks like only 14 aircraft.

He's claiming $5000 one way. Smithsonian [url="http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/my-ride-on-the-concorde-6783087/?no-ist"]claims[/url] a round trip was 12,000 in 2003.

Inflation-adjusted based on the US-CPI (ignoring currency fluctuations), that would have been $7800 one way today.

It seems rather that the privileged class would be growing, assuming (huge if), that price tag actually bears out. That's ignoring the growing income disparity in Western economies, which is doing a really good job of filling huge numbers of similarly priced business and first class seats currently.

With radically increased connectivity options compared to 2003 for high-value business travelers in flight, however, I wonder how much the speed premium is really worth.

I remain skeptical about the prospects, but this is the first time since the Concorde retired that I've felt enthusiasm about the prospects of a supersonic passenger aircraft being produced.

The technology demonstrator airframe already looks cooler than what I've seen from Aerion (assuming that relatively short nose actually produces acceptable sound levels), but the final product renderings just look downright awesome. And the rendering in Flightglobal's article is a trimotor! :cloudnine:
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:19 pm

moo wrote:
The engines werent the issue with Concorde, it was no louder than a 707 of its era.

Its the sonic boom that got it banned the world over. Has that been solved yet...?


I can imagine so. That prototype looks a bit like a jet fighter, only without fighting equipment and painted in bright colors instead of the usual grey that military aircraft mostly are. But I bet it shares a lot of technology with jet fighters, and they're being used everywhere and don't have a sonic boom.

It's not so difficult to make a jet fighter a bit bigger and put a passenger cabin in it. However, what about range? As far as I know, most jet fighters only got a relatively short range and to increase that you need a pretty big fuel tank.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:12 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
moo wrote:
The engines werent the issue with Concorde, it was no louder than a 707 of its era.

Its the sonic boom that got it banned the world over. Has that been solved yet...?


I can imagine so. That prototype looks a bit like a jet fighter, only without fighting equipment and painted in bright colors instead of the usual grey that military aircraft mostly are. But I bet it shares a lot of technology with jet fighters, and they're being used everywhere and don't have a sonic boom.

It's not so difficult to make a jet fighter a bit bigger and put a passenger cabin in it. However, what about range? As far as I know, most jet fighters only got a relatively short range and to increase that you need a pretty big fuel tank.



That's because the fighter planes nearly always need to use reheat in order to achieve their maximum speeds. Only in a few cases is that not so. I'm stil dubious that this will actually reach commercial service.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:28 pm

cpd wrote:

That's because the fighter planes nearly always need to use reheat in order to achieve their maximum speeds. Only in a few cases is that not so. I'm stil dubious that this will actually reach commercial service.


Concorde Required Reheat to achieve Mach but did not need it to maintain it. If supercruise can exist on an F22, there shouldn't be a lot of issues moving that technology to the commercial sector
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:02 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
I can imagine so. That prototype looks a bit like a jet fighter, only without fighting equipment and painted in bright colors instead of the usual grey that military aircraft mostly are. But I bet it shares a lot of technology with jet fighters, and they're being used everywhere and don't have a sonic boom.
.



When they fly at supersonic airspeeds they sure do.
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:06 pm

I don't see this working out. With prices dropping and the number of cheap travellers rising how can this work(I might be uneducated in the subject so sorry about that.)? I wish the best of luck though and hope this works out!
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:58 pm

In other news SRB announces his new supersonic airline venture, 'Virgin OnTheRidiculous'... ;-)
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:09 am

I am totally cynical about this aircraft, Extra speed costs lots of money. Boeing could not even make a business case for its "Sonic Cruiser" for Pete's sake.

If you want to learn more about the Boom aircraft, Airways has an interview here https://airwaysmag.com/industry/blake-s ... echnology/

Better minds than me have argued convincingly against supersonic transport, see https://www.amazon.com/Supersonic-Airli ... 1888962097
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:11 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
moo wrote:
The engines werent the issue with Concorde, it was no louder than a 707 of its era.

Its the sonic boom that got it banned the world over. Has that been solved yet...?


I can imagine so. That prototype looks a bit like a jet fighter, only without fighting equipment and painted in bright colors instead of the usual grey that military aircraft mostly are. But I bet it shares a lot of technology with jet fighters, and they're being used everywhere and don't have a sonic boom.


Uh, what? Fighters do generate sonic booms - the RAF regularly apologises for its QRA aircraft making sonic booms on intercepts, and just last week an USAF airman at RAF Lakenheath got grounded for making a sonic boom over my home town of Norwich in the middle of the day in an F-15.

I'm not sure why you think fighters don't generate sonic booms...
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:25 am

qcpilotxf wrote:
cpd wrote:

That's because the fighter planes nearly always need to use reheat in order to achieve their maximum speeds. Only in a few cases is that not so. I'm stil dubious that this will actually reach commercial service.


Concorde Required Reheat to achieve Mach but did not need it to maintain it. If supercruise can exist on an F22, there shouldn't be a lot of issues moving that technology to the commercial sector


I'm not sure if that was aimed at me or not. But I certainly don't need the clarification - I could quote off the entire checklists for you if I wished to. :) Difference is of course that the F22 will go quickly for a while, but Concorde would go quickly for a LONG while. ;) She was a very fast plane.

It's also worth noting that the B-model Concorde would have eliminated the reheat totally and been more powerful. Long before the F22 came along.

I'm still rather sceptical that this will really happen. And besides, the technologies that make this plane efficient can be applied to a subsonic plane to make it more efficient too. (I'm borrowing that from other airliners.net posts from ages ago).
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:03 am

>Los Angeles to Sydney
with or without stops?
>First flight next year
at least that is a short time to see how it would turn out...
>45-50 seats
Can a jet of this size do such a long range route economically with business class fare even at sub sonic speed? I mean BA's all business A318 flying London-New York have a rather good margin but the plane is proposed to fly even longer routes
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:29 am

The full pax version looks like Concorde had sex with a CRJ.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:52 am

I fail to see how this can possibly fly by 2020. A supersonic passenger plane developed in a shorter timeframe than any other new company subsonic plane?

Oh, here is there timeline. About time to to put the 'not to scale' prototype into service. (Not the passenger plane.)
https://airwaysmag.com/industry/blake-s ... echnology/

An experieinced company could get out what they need out of the prototype over the next 18 months, assuming it is basically flight ready today. Then, take 18 months to put 'lessons learned' into the new design. Design would take 2 years (With long lead items started earlier) and another year to lag. Then, the plane enters flight test. A minimum of 1 year of subsonic flight testing and then another 6 months to a year for supersonic flight testing. So I count 8 years until EIS from today.

I hope to be proven wrong, but I know no way to do it faster and I believe I put forward a very agressive (tough to achieve) schedule. So the beginning of 2025 is my estimate for EIS. Does the company have enough money to fund this product of a Concord and a CRJ? ;) (Laughing at StrandedAtMKG's quote...)

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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:05 am

GDB wrote:
Not to be a downer, however when I saw this in the press that old Smiths song came to mind, 'stop me if you've heard it all before'.
Time was Branson as a backer would be seen a a good thing, how IS Virgin Galactic doing? At least 7 years late, one crash. More to the point a project I did think had more legs was from Aerion, that was a decade or so ago, recent redesigns notwithstanding (and not a good sign either).

Thank you, Graham. I recall your insight and invaluable information on Concorde from years ago. Doubt anyone else in here is as expert on this topic.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:46 am

I suppose it is more likely to see the VS A380s being delivered first before this ever becomes a reality
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:48 am

This was announced months ago.

http://boomsupersonic.com/
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:06 am

Even if made to be 50% more efficient than Concorde, the aircraft will still be fuel hungry. Will such a premium still be viable, as the costs of fuel rise? Or, is it assumed that fuel's cost (at near present value) will extend well on, into the future, and so little concern is being expressed.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:16 am

psa188 wrote:
I am totally cynical about this aircraft, Extra speed costs lots of money. Boeing could not even make a business case for its "Sonic Cruiser" for Pete's sake.

If you want to learn more about the Boom aircraft, Airways has an interview here https://airwaysmag.com/industry/blake-s ... echnology/

Better minds than me have argued convincingly against supersonic transport, see https://www.amazon.com/Supersonic-Airli ... 1888962097


The extra money is already there. Look up the price of international business class seats on your favorite airline. I see Delta charging 3-1/2 times the price on JFK-LHR for business ($5450) vs. economy ($1499).

His bet is that the way to sell a sports car isn't to soup up an 8-seat SUV so it can do 0-60 in 8 seconds instead of 10 and try to convince regular families to buy it, but to make 2 seat coupe that does 0-60 in 4 seconds and sell it to the rich. The Sonic Cruiser would have had to command higher ticket prices both in economy and premium seats. Boom is trying to target the premium seats only, trading expediency for luxury, and ideally achieving the same price.

The interview link you posted is interesting.. He indicates that he's not planning his business case around successfully implementing the recent work that has been done on trying to reduce sonic booms to acceptable levels for overland flights. That's a significant limitation on his potential market. Even so, he claims they've identified 500 routes the aircraft could fly, and that an outside consultant estimated the market could be as large as 1300 aircraft.

That sounds like a crazy amount, but let me play with some really rough numbers to see what that might imply.

Assumptions:
- Boeing's 20 year market forecast is a useful approximation of the in-service premium-only seat capacity for Boom's market period (2025-2045)
- 20% of widebody aircraft seats are premium (business or first)
- Counting on 650 sales for program target. Assuming 1300 is only best case estimate
- Target sales price: $200 million (their website)
- Target fuel capacity: 1/2 as much as Concorde ~= 15,000 US gallons for a 4500nm range
- Flight rate: 2 legs per day (hangar queen / utilization rate is secondary to scheduling for highest yields)
- Oil ~$90/barrel (Jet-A around $3/gallon)
- Development cost: same as Concorde ([url="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1352927/Is-this-the-end-of-the-Concorde-dream.html"]1.3 billion GBP, FY1976[/url] = $13.1 billion USD FY2016)
- Fuel + capital costs are 45% of total costs (Current status quo [url="http://www.wsj.com/news/interactive/MIDSEAT0607"]ref: WSJ[/url])
- 75% capacity factor

That suggests he's shooting for only about 5-6% of the widebody-only premium travel market (10% best case, and most like a much higher proportion than 5-6% on a small fraction of the current routes). Capital cost contributes about $300 of the cost per seat per flight (excluding financing costs, and again, at low utilization). Fuel contributes about $1000 of the cost per seat at max range. Development costs account for $20 million or 10% of the per frame sales price, which is less than the 787 needs to achieve.

The results of my wild guessing are a break-even ticket price of $3850 one-way at max range. Refer back to the Delta JFK-LHR prices above (2/3 of max range). I've apparently got a lot of room to be wrong in my estimate without undermining the claims Boom has made so far.

I'm not casting off my initial skepticism based on the obviously very rough number above, but I tend to think the biggest potential showstopper is going to be finding the billions of dollars of development funding for such a high risk project.

The single review on that Amazon book link seems to suggest the author looked at the market from the Boeing 2707 perspective - examining the business case for a large SST. Boom makes a very intriguing case for why that's the wrong way to approach an SST, and they're also doing so in a market that has more than doubled in size since that book was written.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:40 am

StrandedAtMKG wrote:
The full pax version looks like Concorde had sex with a CRJ.

Concorde was classy, exotic, and had standards. It clearly got it on with an Emb-145.
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:54 am

GDB wrote:
a project I did think had more legs was from Aerion, that was a decade or so ago

When Airbus publicly announced that they were going to work with Aerion, I was extremely excited for what might become of it. But almost nothing has been made public since then. :(


qcpilotxf wrote:
Concorde Required Reheat to achieve Mach

No it didn't. Concorde was capable of going supersonic without reheat.

It was however more efficient to burn the fuel and thus hurry out of the high-drag transonic zone, than save fuel and spend any amount of time therein.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:03 am

As long as I've started, I'm going to keep playing the saint's advocate, not because I'm convinced Boom will succeed, but because I want to give them the benefit of a doubt and keep the debate going (and because I really want to see a supersonic trimotor).

lesfalls wrote:
I don't see this working out. With prices dropping and the number of cheap travellers rising how can this work


The cheap are getting cheaper, but the big-spenders are also get spendier. Business and first class travel is not growing as fast as economy travel travel, but it is growing.

c933103 wrote:
>Los Angeles to Sydney
with or without stops?


With stops. Their website hints at that. "Routes over 4,500nmi include a brief tech stop." An hour in Hawaii to refuel would still turn a 14 hour LAX-SYD trip into a ~7 hour trip. That said, GCMap puts HNL-SYD at 4400nmi - really pushing the projected range.

c933103 wrote:
Can a jet of this size do such a long range route economically with business class fare even at sub sonic speed? I mean BA's all business A318 flying London-New York have a rather good margin but the plane is proposed to fly even longer routes


Tough question, but prices already scale roughly proportionately with distance, hours saved also scales proportionately with distance, and quite a few airlines are already flying ~50 business seats on 777's on a lot of routes longer than the A318 can serve. I think the real question is if there's enough of those passengers for whom time is more valuable than comfort.

And comfort probably is not going to be bad. Their seat rendering in The Guardian article suggests a seat both a decent amount wider and with moderately more legroom than a typical economy seat. Maybe 21" x 35" pitch?

Rajahdhani wrote:
Even if made to be 50% more efficient than Concorde, the aircraft will still be fuel hungry.


Boom says they're targeting 30% more efficient than Concorde (presumably fuel consumption per ASM) in the FAQ on their website. It will definitely be fuel hungry, but fuel would still be a minority fraction of the ticket price.
 
ikramerica
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:52 am

Concorde didn't make sense for BA under Bermuda 2 because without full competition, there was no place for customers to turn to. BA could make more money flying affluent pax in J and F in the front of a 747 (777, A380) than in Concorde class.

AF had the problem of a limited market year round on the routes, and could also make more money flying those pax in F/J.

Not sure how that changes with this new aircraft really. You make more money not using it than using it...
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:06 am

Sorry but this sounds like Sir Branson is investing some of his company's talent into some phase of this project and commits to buying some aircraft if they hit performance/price goals of course. This is an existing start up (Boom) that was raising money to get to the next phase and a partner that can generate publicity and a commitment to purchase aircraft helps assist in raising capital while any engineering resources SRB brings to the table is just gravy on reducing costs.

This is announcement is about marketing and investment, not engineering and development.

I am thrilled more entities are pushing the envelop here. I do think it will happen and I think it will happen to business jets first but I do think this ideas have merit and there is a lot of cash out there looking for growth. I hope this one is successful.

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N14AZ
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:05 pm

From that article:
Transatlantic trips can be done in a single business day


Hmmm, so these super-important business men have nothing better to do during the (short) flight than watching Star Wars?!?!

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BestWestern
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:19 pm

Seven hours in a premium economy seat... 'sleep' broken by a stop in HNL....

Or 10 hours rest in QF First...

Just another Branson pipe dream. Sonic cruiser anyone???
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lightsaber
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:39 pm

I'm not agreeing with Boom's timeline or their costs, but technically, this is feasible.

1. New technology limits sonic boom. This isn't a current fighter.
2. New quieter engines (limits maximum speed)
3. Range is good enough.
4. Capacity is good enough


No supersonic over land, but no noise waiver will be required (shouldn't be required...).


But for a prototype that hasn't flown, the timeline makes no sense. In particular as the prototype isn't a direct comparison.

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The audacious plan to bring back supersonic flight — and change air travel forever

Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:55 pm

There was a big feature about new supersonic developments like a week ago at Vox:
http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2016/11/2/13409324
So what makes these companies think they can do better than the Concorde’s designers and build a vastly more fuel-efficient plane? In interviews, Boom and Aerion pointed to three broad technical advances that make this all seem feasible:
  1. First, modern-day computer modeling makes exploring new aircraft designs far easier than it was in the 1960s. If the Concorde’s designers wanted to test a new shape to see how it affected drag, they had to build a scale model and put it through large wind tunnels — a clumsy process that could take months. Nowadays, genetic algorithms can explore and tweak new shapes much more quickly and effectively.
  2. Newer composite materials, like carbon fiber, allow aircraft designers to pursue shapes and contours that weren’t possible for the Concorde’s designers, who worked with aluminum. (These materials can also better deal with the serious heat that builds up on the leading edge of the plane’s wing at speeds above Mach 2.)
  3. Today’s jet engines are far more efficient than they were in the Concorde’s heyday.
 
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Rajahdhani
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:23 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
c933103 wrote:
Can a jet of this size do such a long range route economically with business class fare even at sub sonic speed? I mean BA's all business A318 flying London-New York have a rather good margin but the plane is proposed to fly even longer routes


Tough question, but prices already scale roughly proportionately with distance, hours saved also scales proportionately with distance, and quite a few airlines are already flying ~50 business seats on 777's on a lot of routes longer than the A318 can serve. I think the real question is if there's enough of those passengers for whom time is more valuable than comfort.

And comfort probably is not going to be bad. Their seat rendering in The Guardian article suggests a seat both a decent amount wider and with moderately more legroom than a typical economy seat. Maybe 21" x 35" pitch?


Could such an aircraft replace the BA A318s based at LCY? That would be one of the most challenging, but perhaps, most profitable routes for such a run. That said, I am sure that, as with Concorde - once they route (and deactivate the need for sonic-boom performance), the aircraft can operate much as Concorde (on their IAD-DFW runs under the Braniff Banner).

Rajahdhani wrote:
Even if made to be 50% more efficient than Concorde, the aircraft will still be fuel hungry.


Boom says they're targeting 30% more efficient than Concorde (presumably fuel consumption per ASM) in the FAQ on their website. It will definitely be fuel hungry, but fuel would still be a minority fraction of the ticket price.[/quote]

1). Terrific analysis above! That post was legendary. That said, my 50% was pulled out of the air. 30% sounds quite fair (albeit, I suspect, it's actually higher, but they are downplaying that at this early stage, and like at most other manufacturers, as we close in on the EIS, we will get better numbers). Based on your calculations, you are right. At that break-even point - there is still quite some room for profit, and despite being 'fuel hungry', the costs are not as astronomical as I assumed.

2). He should ask Bombardier for the Money. Perhaps this, was the 'new aircraft' they wish to build! Just kidding. As for how funding will come about, I hope that they do find it. If this aircraft does come to fruition, and at that size - it will likely fit well with the major legacy carriers (and dependent upon sonic boom dampening) with coastal hubs that can manage the traffic. I not only see the market, but a future for this aircraft - and hope that at this size, and with future developments - we can see it finally achieve what Concorde was unable to do.
 
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:38 pm

Those seem like massive windows for a plane that will likely fly above 50,000ft. The Concorde's windows were the smallest of any commercial aircraft I've ever seen. Is window size a problem when designing a highly pressurized cabin intended to fly at high altitudes?

As a window seat fanatic, if that is the size of the windows, I am saving my pennies now for a flight on this plane ;)
 
psa188
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:43 pm

I would like to see some serious analysis on this concept from a scheduling perspective, factoring in the time change. What time would you have to leave the west coast to arrive in Tokyo at a decent hour. Would it be worthwhile for a high-roller to pay a supersonic premium is they're only going to arrive at bedtime? Heartwarming stories of grandpas bonding with grandsons do not justify sales of multi million dollar aircraft. Would the decreased SST flying time be offset by inefficient use of ground time?

I think that Boom is too dismissive of the negative effects of east/west travel. It doesn't matter how quickly you rush from LAX to NRT, your body will still be disoriented by the time you get there. Going north/south is not as much of a problem as anyone who has gone to from the US east coast to South America can attest.
 
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moo
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:14 pm

JAAlbert wrote:
Those seem like massive windows for a plane that will likely fly above 50,000ft. The Concorde's windows were the smallest of any commercial aircraft I've ever seen. Is window size a problem when designing a highly pressurized cabin intended to fly at high altitudes?

As a window seat fanatic, if that is the size of the windows, I am saving my pennies now for a flight on this plane ;)


Concorde was designed with those windows because the descent rate from its typical cruise altitude during a decompression would prove to be an issue for various reasons, so the windows were designed around the requirement for the pressurisation system to be able to maintain suitable cabin pressure even if one or two of them were missing.

Perhaps Boom are taking a different approach, or perhaps its the 787 sharktail all over again...?
 
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Aesma
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Re: Richard Branson reveals prototype for supersonic passenger aircraft

Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:20 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
So will the prototype be the 2 seater, or the actual 40 seater? What's the expected range on this aircraft?

SRB should've focused Virgin Galactic on true passenger, sub-orbital flights. Not joy rides for millionaires and celebrities. That's the quickest way to become a billionaire, start out as a millionaire and put your ideas to good use.


If you mean point to point suborbital flights, instead of up and down the same spot, the problem is that it's extremely energy intensive.
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