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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:30 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 30):
The CEO of American stated he was interested in buying the first three years of production to keep it out of competitor's hands.

Yeah, cause that was going to happen   
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:40 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 47):


  

Looking at shape of Sonic Cruiser one would be certain that Boeing already had done its homework into investigating the technologies to be applied & that Boeing is certain enough for their application. One can not expect to construct such a slender shape for a commercial airliner viably from other than composites, just to think of doing its construction the usual metal way one would expect it to be prohibitive in many terms be it related to cost of manufacturing, or even to expect flight performance guarantees which it was designed for. Besides no one would expect from a high profile company with pronounced history in aviation to go around promising its customers of a product that if they say “Yes” to it would be become apparent it could not deliver. It was a good news for B787 though, the homework was already done.
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:45 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 47):
nd Boeing has been using CFRP since the 1990s on the 777

I wasn't not starting a p...ing contest... or a willy-wavingcompetition... I was just referring to the barrel construction, which was already chosen for the A380, without the pressure of the SC.
As for composite materials used on airplanes, I'm afraid Airbus has been well ahead of the industry by then.
The SC seems to have , in people's opinion, caused a major upheaval in airtliner technology, from the barrel construction to the all-electric architecture and even the avionics... All these would have happened at Boeing without the SC.
To me, the SC was a huge publicity to wow the fans ( that term includes gullible airline executives ) while a simple reflerction on trans-sonic aerodynamics would have been enough to reveal the extant of the con.
THe 787 was developed on its own needs and merits : the first use of the barrel construction for a load-bearing structure, the first bleedless engine and the first all-electrical architecture ( for which the jury is still out...). All these were part of the Boeing on-going tech research and watch. Nothing to do with the SC.

[Edited 2016-02-01 14:53:12]
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:08 pm

Quoting Clipper101 (Reply 51):

Looking at shape of Sonic Cruiser one would be certain that Boeing already had done its homework into investigating the technologies to be applied & that Boeing is certain enough for their application. One can not expect to construct such a slender shape for a commercial airliner viably from other than composites, just to think of doing its construction the usual metal way one would expect it to be prohibitive in many terms be it related to cost of manufacturing, or even to expect flight performance guarantees which it was designed for. Besides no one would expect from a high profile company with pronounced history in aviation to go around promising its customers of a product that if they say “Yes” to it would be become apparent it could not deliver. It was a good news for B787 though, the homework was already done.

Much of the technology investment into the Sonic Cruiser was to make an aircraft go faster while maintaining efficiency on the order of what we find in subsonic airliners like the 762.

Boeing reasoned that if they could pull off a faster plane with efficiency like that, it would sell. The airlines came back and said: "how about you slow the aircraft down and let us reap the improved efficiency?" And so the same technology was used to build the 787.
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Clipper101
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:22 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 53):
Understood, now the debate seem to shift somehow towards the following question: Did Boeing think of getting involved more extensively in composite construction structures for 'commercial airliners' from when SC was presented in its proposal form? Or as some claim, SC had nothing to do with Boeing endeavouring deep into composite construction & it unfolded for B787? My own understanding & knowledge is in the former case.

Indeed for commercial airliners Boeing approach was all along conservative in terms of applying composites & on control law side for which B787 being the breakthrough, much less than Airbus which was already experiencing these technologies more extensively since A320 introduction.

[Edited 2016-02-01 15:24:28]
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:57 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 52):
I was just referring to the barrel construction, which was already chosen for the A380, without the pressure of the SC.

Okay.

Quoting Pihero (Reply 52):
The SC seems to have , in people's opinion, caused a major upheaval in airtliner technology, from the barrel construction to the all-electric architecture and even the avionics...

I think that sentiment is (erroneously) shared by many people about the 787. Regardless, it's not one shared by myself.
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:12 am

Honestly, with the exception of a very few and very unique traffic flows (such as North America or Europe to Australia, or South America to Japan, say), flights if anything are too short. I flew this morning from Minneapolis to London, and it was only seven hours and five minutes in the air. Even though Delta were pretty good at getting the meal out fast, it was three hours until I had eaten, finished Apollo 13* and fallen asleep -- and the wake up / breakfast service started one hour thirty before landing, which equalled two and a half hours' sleep.

If I could get to or through the airport in half the time, I would pay gladly and profusely. But once in the air, who the hell cares if you get to New York in five and a half hours or seven? Or to Japan in eight hours instead of eleven? It's a tiny bit less of dozing or reading. I don't think it's worth more than $50 to passengers. Shame tickets never went on sale, would have been incredibly revealing to see if lopping a small percentage off the flying time would do much for yield. Seriously, I reckon $50 is as much as people would pay over an A380 or 777 that takes a little bit longer to arrive.

The other thing is, of course, that runway congestion tilts the playing field against the Sonic Cruiser anyway because a high Mach number doesn't do a lot when you have a forty-five minute queue on the taxiway at JFK ahead of you, or four circuits in the Bovingdon Hold en route into Heathrow. A 15% increase on the Mach speed in flight probably buys you only 5% or 7% reduction in the time from gate to gate on most routes. God, not only JFK but ORD, even places like CLT run out of gates and you can wait thirty minutes before you can get off. PEK is murder for taxi times, also AMS (Polderbaan runway) etc.

By the early 70s the combination of physics and human ingenuity had pretty much found the ideal size, speed and layout for airliners. Fossil fuel-powered passenger planes is a mature science, if there was a better way of doing it, we'd be doing it.

* boy does that look like a crappy TV movie these days
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RottenRay
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:01 am

Quoting VC10er (Thread starter):
With oil prices at a crazy, unpredictable low, would...


That says it in a nutshell.

Unpredictable.

As others have mentioned, there are near-subsonic biz jets available for charter RIGHT NOW at far lower ass-in-the-seat prices than would be available in the future for a scheduled "fast" flight.

And the ticket buyers have already spoken: Fewer frills and lower prices are the selling point, and better service tends to not sell as well as price point.

Sad state of affairs, I agree, but reality is what it is.


Cheers!
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:25 am

Quoting Clipper101 (Reply 51):
one would be certain that Boeing already had done its homework into investigating the technologies

  
Not necessarily, and probably not. The whole thing started as a product development strategy study, which was leaked out of Boeing (possibly on purpose with the assent of top management, but possibly not).
And the point of such a study is to generally assess what is the best way to apply the technologies, without going very far into engineering & manufacturing studies of what is exactly feasible or not.

Quoting Clipper101 (Reply 51):
flight performance guarantees
Quoting Clipper101 (Reply 51):
go around promising its customers

To my knowledge, nothing was ever promised to anyone. The SC never got Authorisation to Offer from the board, and the Authorisation to Market seems to have been more of an "accident" than a planned release of product details.

Quoting glbltrvlr (Reply 43):
Companies like Boeing, Airbus and others have teams who do nothing but advanced concept design. Just like auto manufacturer design teams, the people on those teams know that their planes aren't going to get built.

  
As mentioned above, the idea is not to design a fully functional airplane, but merely to get a feel of what could be done with emerging technologies and what kind of cost drivers could be addressed to establish a business case. In this study around Q4 2000, the 3 axes under consideration were :
- Yellowstone : standard tube-with-wings with new tech, focus on efficiency
- Glacier : a slight departure from tube-with-wings (but not too far), trading the efficiency gains for performance. In this case, speed, which in turn delivers utilisation gains
- Redwood : complete departure from standard aircraft design, using a BWB and the new tech to deliver both efficiency and performance

This was combined with a "platform" concept to decline a same base design for the various market segments.
Whether "Glacier" was leaked on purpose or not, it likely created a buzz at a convenient time for Boeing, which was going through a rough patch internally, even while Airbus was on a roll with the newly launched A380. I guess the SC was a good way to keep the wider world dreaming on future promises, while the mangement dealt with harsher present realities, and was quietly maturing the Yellowstone design.

Note : I take this from the book "Boeing 787 Dreamliner" by Guy Norris (of AW&ST) & Mark Wagner. Probably not quite an objective source, especially in its treatment of Boeing management, but it should be generally factual.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 44):
Boeing did release media pictures of a Sonic Cruiser CFRP fuselage barrel test section being produced using the layup mandrill process currently used to produce 787 fuselage barrels.

But that's maybe a case of correlation, not causation ? The book I mention above states that composite fuselage R&T was on-going since the 90s. The tests could have been part of those seperate R&T studies, but tagged as "Sonic Cruiser tech" just to keep the buzz going. Good PR at no cost  
Quoting Pihero (Reply 52):
while a simple reflerction on trans-sonic aerodynamics would have been enough to reveal the extant of the con

Agreed that the wisdom of continuous flight beyond divergence mach is questionable, if not borderline stupid !  
But for a strategic study it may be worth exploring, just to have factual numbers to discuss the relative importance of direct fuel efficiency gains vs capital cost gains by leveraging speed within a wide network.

But beyond the aerodynamics and complexities of cost structures of networked airlines, I am fairly certain that from an engineering standpoint, the design is quite unfeasible today. Not so much for technological reasons, but for engineering organisation reasons : simply because we do not know how to start an airliner design process without the accumulated knowledge regarding tubes-with-wings.

It's fairly simple : all parts on an aircraft depend on each other, even more so if you want to reduce the margins as much as possible (to gain efficiency). If component A depends on component B, then you need to get an idea of what B looks like before designing A ; but if at the same time B depends on A, you first need to design A before looking into B...and there you have a circular problem.
To break the circle, the current principle is to leverage knowledge of exisitng designs to make rough designs of A and B at the same time. From there, the design loops can proceed. It's no different from using an external power source to start a motor or jet turbine cycle. The problem with this "Knowledge-based engineering" is that we are stuck with tubes-and-wings...as I discussed not too long ago with Revelation in a Tech/Ops thread, it's no wonder that just about all airplanes going back to at least the 1930s (Laté 28, DC1, Boeing 247 for example) are basically tubes with wings.

The A380 and 787 have shown that even with "usual" designs, the full engineering design process can easily slip out of control. The SC was not too far from a tube-with-wings, but still different. And the mission profiles were quite different (faster climb for example, with new sizing points for the engines). All in all, I am certain the Boeing (or Airbus) of 15 years ago could design this things. I seriously doubt it is possible even today, or even for the next gen of airliners.
My goal as an engineer is to fill my soul with coffee and become immortal
 
Pihero
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:40 am

Welcome back, Airmagnac.
A very insightful post, as usual   
Thanks.

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 58):
Agreed that the wisdom of continuous flight beyond divergence mach is questionable, if not borderline stupid !
But for a strategic study it may be worth exploring, just to have factual numbers to discuss the relative importance of direct fuel efficiency gains vs capital cost gains by leveraging speed within a wide network.

The crux of the matter, IMO. Problem is : transforming a strategic *study* into an offered product is stretching industrial practices a lot.

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 58):
I am certain the Boeing (or Airbus) of 15 years ago could design this things. I seriously doubt it is possible even today, or even for the next gen of airliners.

Could it be that the first sentence should read as : "I am certain that the Boeing of 15 years ago could NOT design this thing..."
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RIX
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:15 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 59):
Could it be that the first sentence should read as : "I am certain that the Boeing of 15 years ago could NOT design this thing..."

And yet offered it to airlines? Am I missing something (could be, while reading through a long post)?
 
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Clipper101
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:35 pm

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 58):

Sorry, I won’t be cheering you yet:

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 58):
leaked

How does that matter now …. It became a programme to follow-up on & to be talked about around aviation circles for next 3 - 4 years from the time it was "Leaked".

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 58):
To my knowledge, nothing was ever promised to anyone

A plane capable of flying at a sonic speed of 0.98M, thus its nickneme ‘Sonic Cruiser’

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 58):
Not necessarily, and probably not.

“Boeing’s original goal is believed to be an 85-95% composite structure” (Flight International, Issue 5-11 February 2002). This is an example reference source, give me an example reference from yours

I do not mean to sound SC PR person, but somehow I felt provoked !
 
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Stitch
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:18 pm

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 58):
But that's maybe a case of correlation, not causation ? The book I mention above states that composite fuselage R&T was on-going since the 90s. The tests could have been part of those seperate R&T studies, but tagged as "Sonic Cruiser tech" just to keep the buzz going. Good PR at no cost.    

I am struggling to understand the disconnect here.

I neither stated, implied, nor inferred in any way that the use of CFRP in a commercial airliner - be it the fuselage or any other structural member - was unique to Boeing nor pioneered by Boeing.

The question asked was "What, if anything, did Boeing learn from the Sonic Cruiser?". And my answer was that they learned, or at least prototyped, some of the production methodology that was later used on the 787.

I didn't mention Airbus' nor Boeing's prior work with CFRP in commercial or military aircraft because it wasn't relevant to the question being asked, IMO.

[Edited 2016-02-02 09:24:02]
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:27 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 59):

Could it be that the first sentence

Yup. Typo! Thanks for the correction

Quoting Clipper101 (Reply 61):
A plane capable of flying at a sonic speed of 0.98M, thus its nickneme ‘Sonic Cruiser’

Anyone can come up with a paper saying that. I can "promise" you an anti-gravity flying saucer if you wish. I can even call it the Super Thingamajig...
If there is no signed engagement with penalties for non delivery, then there is no promise. Thus :

Quoting Clipper101 (Reply 61):
It became a programme to follow-up on & to be talked about around aviation circles

is irrelevant. It probably made for lively discussions about transonic drag rise or airline cost structures. But it never was an official development program. Boeing never had anything to lose.

Quoting Clipper101 (Reply 61):

“Boeing’s original goal is believed to be an 85-95% composite structure

"Original goal", "is believed"....not many hard numbers in there. For my reference, I mentioned the 787 book. It'll give you much more detail.

But in short : it only ever was a preliminary study. And there is nothing wrong with that !  
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:31 pm

Thanks to all. I'm thrilled I asked. I must say, I loved her looks, although I couldn't see how an airlines livery would have looked on the SC.

A sort of related question. I read here how far Boeing went on the SC in order to introduce the "concept", that they had to have done a significant amount of homework. But, she didn't get beyond computer models and 3D small scale models. Has there ever been a time when Boeing or Airbus (or another aerospace company) put a "radical" passenger concept in the air?

I do not count putting a 787 in the air or an L-1011 or A340, but something as radical a change in shape and performance vs a tube with 2/3/4 engines?

And I'm thinking "PASSENGER" aircraft, NOT military or space related aircraft. Curious!?!
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
WIederling
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:53 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 64):

my understanding is that a lot of design/systems decission carried over from the SC to the 787.

overlayed by the transformation from mindblowing hottie to sensible girl you could actually marry.  

The whiff of centerfold image was carefully preserved on the Dreamliner.
Murphy is an optimist
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:01 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 64):
Has there ever been a time when Boeing or Airbus (or another aerospace company) put a "radical" passenger concept in the air?

Only Concorde and the Tu-144 come to mind.
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 63):
is irrelevant.
Quoting airmagnac (Reply 63):
Boeing never had anything to lose.

What are you talking about ! This is a professional industry where people perform formal meetings to come out with decisions & guidance, meetings that take from your resources, resources mean manpower/manhour/financial cost, nothing is for a bluffing game. "Oh, but you offered me this!", "Impossible !! I only offered you half of it.", "So, why we are making all these meeting all along !" = is not the way to go.

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 63):
It probably made for lively discussions about transonic drag rise

Quote - Airlines working with Boeing on the initial configuration of the sonic cruiser high-speed airliner are asking it to design in a supersonic dash capability, despite apparent resistance from the manufacturer to step beyond the sound barrier with its new concept ...... Boeing sonic cruiser vice president and general manager .... "This is a sonic cruiser. We are looking at Mach 1, not any faster right now because, frankly, the technology is not here yet for a Mach 1.4, 1.6 to Mach 2 aircraft" - Unquote, from Flight International (Issue 25 Sep - 01 Oct 2001)

[Edited to delete the text related to preliminary aircraft design]

[Edited 2016-02-02 10:10:04]
 
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:08 pm

Quoting WIederling (Reply 65):
overlayed by the transformation from mindblowing hottie to sensible girl you could actually marry.

The whiff of centerfold image was carefully preserved on the Dreamliner.

Ooh, the metaphors...wet dream stuff.   
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
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Clipper101
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:27 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 64):
put a "radical" passenger concept in the air?

Virgin Galactic - Well, almost...    ...yes !   
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:28 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 64):
Has there ever been a time when Boeing or Airbus (or another aerospace company) put a "radical" passenger concept in the air?

....those speedy ol' whitegals with AF, BA, and SU.

And all of those EOMs lost their shirts doing it.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
RIX
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:27 pm

Quoting airmagnac (Reply 63):
Anyone can come up with a paper saying that. I can "promise" you an anti-gravity flying saucer if you wish...

If you tried to make an impression you've got no idea that big responsible established businesses do not act just like "anyone", you succeeded.

Quoting VC10er (Reply 64):
Has there ever been a time when Boeing or Airbus (or another aerospace company) put a "radical" passenger concept in the air?

Considering, like it was said above, the only "true" radical ones were just the two SST designes that made it to scheduled service, I'd rather "soften" a bit definition of "radical", and suggest to add the Comet and, may be, even 747 (OTOH, if 747 was a result of evolution started by 767 or A300, this point would be completely moot). Anything less radical is not radical at all.
 
VC10er
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:52 pm

I thought about the Comet. I love that bird.

Was the Coment a commercial success? It doesn't seem as if it was. What airlines operated them or had the biggest fleet of Comets?

I will have to read-up on her.

Are there any still in flying? Even just one?
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
WIederling
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:04 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 66):
Only Concorde and the Tu-144 come to mind.

You'll have to go back quite a bit:

Junkers F13.
When everybody else was flying in flimsy WWI leftovers or adaptions
the F13 as a sturdy full metal passenger and freight plane
opened up commercial flying all around the world.
Murphy is an optimist
 
RIX
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:34 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 72):
I thought about the Comet. I love that bird.

You can definitely find a lot of information on Comet. Just imagine how it looked on May 2, 1952, when the bird was about to take off for first ever passenger jet flight - yes, in 1952, when development of big piston prop airliners was in its fullest run (DC-7 was yet to be revealed to the world)! Surpassed only by SST, indeed. Comet was also the first jet to fly transatlantic scheduled service.

Comet airframe (Nimrod) was still flying not long ago - may be even in 21st century.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:07 pm

Quoting WIederling (Reply 73):
You'll have to go back quite a bit: Junkers F13.

When everybody else was flying in flimsy WWI leftovers or adaptions the F13 as a sturdy full metal passenger and freight plane opened up commercial flying all around the world.

I considered the F.13 and the Boeing 247, but they were both still "tube with 2/3/4 engines" airframes, even if the most advanced airframes of their respective eras.
 
Amiga500
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:11 pm

Quoting VC10er (Thread starter):

With oil prices at a crazy, unpredictable low, would the Sonic Cruiser had a chance today?

The sonic cruiser never had a chance of production.

It was one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard of.

Why on earth would you want to go deep into the heart of the transonic drag bucket and sit there?


Either go Mach0.85/0.9 or Mach1.5+... otherwise you might as well just shut down the program, you'll save yourself money and heartache.
 
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Clipper101
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:38 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 72):
the Comet

You reminded me of the Caravelle
 
WIederling
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:34 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 75):
I considered the F.13 and the Boeing 247, but they were both still "tube with 2/3/4 engines" airframes, even if the most advanced airframes of their respective eras.

The F13 started the tube with wings aircraft. Everything else at the time was stick, strings and doped canvas.
The F13 started the age of robust airliners.
Murphy is an optimist
 
rwessel
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RE: Sonic Cruiser Today

Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:35 am

Quoting VC10er (Reply 72):
Was the Coment a commercial success? It doesn't seem as if it was. What airlines operated them or had the biggest fleet of Comets?

About 163 were built, counting both the Comets and the (military) Nimrods. The Comet of course suffered greatly from the early crashes resulting from metal fatigue, and it was never a commercial success for de Havilland. I think the last commercial service was with Dan Air in 1982. The last Nimrod retired in 2011, and one Comet 4C, ("Canopus"), which was the last to fly (1997 or 98), is in semi-operable condition, and they do monthly taxi runs, and there is always chatter about restoring it to flight-worthy condition. Several are in museums.

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