N415XJ
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Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:50 pm

Concorde, even though it is one of the most fondly remembered aircraft in history, is a perfect example of a vanity project and in my view it's amazing it lasted as long as it did. It primarily served on the already quite short NYC-Paris/London route, guzzled fuel faster than your creepy uncle guzzles hard liquor, and had to be owned by the French and British governments as BA and AF would not have been able to hold onto them themselves. I beleive that there is a practical niche for supersonic travel on transpacific routes and other long trans-or-partly-trans-ocean routes, such as Australia-Europe and Japan/Korea/Eastern China to NA and other Pacific destinations. These long journeys could easily have their time cut by a third or in half with a supersonic plane, leading to more frequencies, improved passenger satisfaction, and overall better efficiency. Why is it that with the massive leaps in technology that have taken place since the 60s a supersonic transport remains non viable? Basically, I know that my assessment is wrong because some lowly internet nerd isn't going to outsmart the whole airline industry, but why is it wrong? Is efficient, affordable supersonic transport still simply out of reach of current tech? Why wouldn't Australian and East Asian airlines stand to benefit from such an aircraft?
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:03 pm

every advance that makes a supersonic plane more viable, makes the non-supersonic planes more viable. So the cost delta never really gets fixed.

Look at the Sonic Cruiser Vs 787.
 
trnswrld
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:20 pm

It all comes down to $$$.
 
rta
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:40 pm

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
Why is it that with the massive leaps in technology that have taken place since the 60s a supersonic transport remains non viable?

Leaps in technology comes in different forms. And today, the name of the game is fuel efficiency. Most people aren't willing to pay significantly more money to travel faster.
 
ThReaTeN
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:43 pm

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 1):
every advance that makes a supersonic plane more viable, makes the non-supersonic planes more viable. So the cost delta never really gets fixed.

That makes absolutely no sense. If that was how technology really went forward, we would still be using CPUs with 2 million transistors (imagine how cheap they could be made with today's semiconductor process technology). As supersonic travel will always be more desireable (faster travel time) than subsonic travel, the question is whether the added cost is low enough (along with the minimization other issues, such as possibly more cramped cabins) to allow the shorter travel time to become the deciding factor (at least for a subset of customers, on a subset of routes/situations).

And even though there might be ways to, with sufficient investments, develop an SST aircraft that would be a lot more fuel efficient than the Concorde was, the problem of supersonic booms hasn't really been solved - and this means that regulatory obstacles keep the economic calculations from even really coming into play. In this sense, the assumption made in the OP - that there have been massive technological breakthroughs since the 60's that should make SST more viable - is incorrect.

[Edited 2016-03-31 16:45:46]
 
Gasman
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:44 pm

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
Concorde, even though it is one of the most fondly remembered aircraft in history, is a perfect example of a vanity project and in my view it's amazing it lasted as long as it did. It primarily served on the already quite short NYC-Paris/London route, guzzled fuel faster than your creepy uncle guzzles hard liquor, and had to be owned by the French and British governments as BA and AF would not have been able to hold onto them themselves

You've answered your own question. In fact supersonic transport is regularly re-evaluated - here on a.net, but nowhere else.

Nutshell:
- technologically difficult
- expensive and inefficient
- doesn't save that much time really

Physics doesn't change with the passage of time.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:44 pm

Supersonic airplanes need basic engines, you get none of the current fancy stuff.

The longer the flight, the more fuel you need just to fly the fuel itself. So on a transpacific route a supersonic airplane will guzzle even more than Concorde did.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
RamblinMan
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:58 pm

It has been re-evaluated, many times. And every time the conclusion has been that it is not commercially viable.
 
barney captain
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:02 am

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
Is efficient, affordable supersonic transport still simply out of reach of current tech?

Maybe not -

http://i.gzn.jp/img/2016/03/22/flying-boom/a02.jpg


Following on from projects announced by Nasa and a group of British Concorde enthusiasts, a company called Boom has announced plans for a supersonic jet of the same name which already has the backing of Sir Richard Branson.

It may be 13 years since Concorde made its final flight but the world of supersonic travel retains its allure. Boom’s supersonic jet is predicted to fly at Mach 2.2 - “2.6 times faster than any other [current] airliner” according to the company’s website, and faster than Concorde’s Mach 2.0.

http://home.bt.com/news/science-news...rd-bransons-backing-11364048878021

http://boom.aero/
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RamblinMan
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:32 am

A more nuanced answer would be this...

The huge majority of the flying public flies economy class on whatever airline is the cheapest. Barring either some massive unforeseen new development in aerodynamics or a new aircraft engine based on some new alternative energy, SSTs will ALWAYS be substantially more expensive than conventional airliners. So basically you're limited to a design that caters to a relatively small premium market. This creates some problems:

a.) Designing a new airplane from scratch is a huge investment. Boeing spent $32 billion on the 787 before they ever delivered the first one. They are depending on selling a lot of frames to see a return on that investment. A SST would be designed to carry a relatively small number of people really really fast, and wouldn't be good for much else. So even if the Asian and Australian carriers would want it, they wouldn't want enough frames to ever pay for the development.

b.) Modern F-class offerings have grown substantially more luxurious than what was available when Concorde was developed. And remember that the seating aboard the Concorde was pretty much like economy. It will be a hard sell to get people to trade 10 hours in 5-star luxury with a flat bed for 4 hours in a coach seat, and will only appeal to those who are in the most hurry.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:59 am

Quoting ThReaTeN (Reply 4):

That makes absolutely no sense. If that was how technology really went forward, we would still be using CPUs with 2 million transistors (imagine how cheap they could be made with today's semiconductor process technology). As supersonic travel will always be more desireable (faster travel time) than subsonic travel, the question is whether the added cost is low enough (along with other issues, such as possibly more cramped cabins) to allow the shorter travel time to become the deciding factor (at least for a subset of customers, on a subset of routes/situations).

These aren't computers, though.

Here are some facts:
1) Whether your airplane is made of lead, steel, aluminum, CFRP, NTRP, or unicorn horn, you need about four times as much material to fly an aircraft of a given size at Mach 2 than you do to fly an aircraft of that size at Mach 0.8.

2) Whether your airplane is powered by hamsters on wheels, coal, Jet A, fusion reactors, or angel farts, you have to move air out of the way at over twice the speed when you are flying at Mach 2 as opposed to Mach 0.8, and that doesn't even begin to factor in wave drag and shock effects. That means that for an aircraft of a given size, you have to burn over four times as much fuel at Mach 2 that you do at Mach 0.8, even using the most efficient engines possible.

3) You still have to accelerate all that mass to that speed, which is over 4x the kinetic energy (E=1/2MV^2). That said, the sheer kinetic energy is a tiny rounding error against the fluid drag of flying through an atmosphere at these speeds.

Concorde was very efficient at cruise. Her four Olympus turbojets at supercruise burned fuel at about the same rate as a 747-200 at cruise. However, if a 747-200 had an internal configuration similar to that of Concorde, she would carry ~450 pax and far more cargo than Concorde, which carried ~150 pax and essentially no cargo other than passenger bags. That ratio will stay the same no matter what technology does because that's just physics. AND...Concorde had to burn a LOT more fuel than a 747-200 to 1) take off and 2) cross Mach 1.
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incitatus
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:55 am

Quoting barney captain (Reply 8):
Following on from projects announced by Nasa and a group of British Concorde enthusiasts, a company called Boom has announced plans for a supersonic jet of the same name which already has the backing of Sir Richard Branson.

Tell y'a what: Just from the size of those windows I can tell these guys don't know what they are doing.
I do not consume Murdoch products including the Wall Street Journal
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:00 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
However, if a 747-200 had an internal configuration similar to that of Concorde, she would carry ~450 pax and far more cargo than Concorde, which carried ~150 pax and essentially no cargo other than passenger bags.

Concorde carried 100 passengers.
 
barney captain
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:15 am

Quoting incitatus (Reply 11):
Tell y'a what: Just from the size of those windows I can tell these guys don't know what they are doing.

You may be right - waaaay to big. But it is still in the concept stage which is where it will likely stay, unfortunately. But if anyone can do it, Sir Branson is probably the guy.


Doc,

As usual, an accurate assessment.

This -

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
or angel farts

...actually made me laugh out loud.
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Freshside3
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:15 am

Let's not forget environmental issues.....between the noise and gas guzzling, there will be a lot of environmentalist against a new supersonic passenger plane.
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:22 am

Quoting ThReaTeN (Reply 4):
That makes absolutely no sense.

Makes perfect sense.

So long as fossil fuel remains the basis for propulsion, it's always going to cost wayyyy more to offer supersonic speed than subsonic. As such, in the age of email, pdfs, videoconferencing, and quasi hotel suites in A380s, most companies and businesspersons just see no need to pay the costs for supersonic speed.



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
which carried ~150 pax

Not even close.
After resumption of service, BA carried 100pax, AF 92
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
timz
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:29 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
Concorde was very efficient at cruise. Her four Olympus turbojets at supercruise burned fuel at about the same rate as a 747-200 at cruise.

The same kilograms per hour? Around... 10000?
 
ThReaTeN
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:33 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):

These aren't computers, though.

Here are some facts:
1) Whether your airplane is made of lead, steel, aluminum, CFRP, NTRP, or unicorn horn, you need about four times as much material to fly an aircraft of a given size at Mach 2 than you do to fly an aircraft of that size at Mach 0.8.

2) Whether your airplane is powered by hamsters on wheels, coal, Jet A, fusion reactors, or angel farts, you have to move air out of the way at over twice the speed when you are flying at Mach 2 as opposed to Mach 0.8, and that doesn't even begin to factor in wave drag and shock effects. That means that for an aircraft of a given size, you have to burn over four times as much fuel at Mach 2 that you do at Mach 0.8, even using the most efficient engines possible.

3) You still have to accelerate all that mass to that speed, which is over 4x the kinetic energy (E=1/2MV^2). That said, the sheer kinetic energy is a tiny rounding error against the fluid drag of flying through an atmosphere at these speeds.

Concorde was very efficient at cruise. Her four Olympus turbojets at supercruise burned fuel at about the same rate as a 747-200 at cruise. However, if a 747-200 had an internal configuration similar to that of Concorde, she would carry ~450 pax and far more cargo than Concorde, which carried ~150 pax and essentially no cargo other than passenger bags. That ratio will stay the same no matter what technology does because that's just physics. AND...Concorde had to burn a LOT more fuel than a 747-200 to 1) take off and 2) cross Mach 1.

Prettty much all of this applies to the comparison between a turboprop or a fast piston engine aircraft and a jet aircraft (only thing I'm not sure about is your first point about materials). 900 km/h corresponds to 4 times the kinetic energy of the same plane flying at 450 km/h. We still don't fly on turboprops from NRT to JFK.

There are of course important, specific complicating factors that arise when the plane goes supersonic (not least the boom, as I mentioned in my post earlier), but your comparison of kinetic energies completely misses that point.

[Edited 2016-03-31 19:36:18]
 
nomadd22
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:42 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
Here are some facts:
1) Whether your airplane is made of lead, steel, aluminum, CFRP, NTRP, or unicorn horn, you need about four times as much material to fly an aircraft of a given size at Mach 2 than you do to fly an aircraft of that size at Mach 0.8.

Mach 1.6-1.7 would be a better comparison, since it's around a sweet spot for supersonic efficiency and about twice the speed of airliners.
You don't use four times the fuel for a trip. You use fuel at four times the rate, but you only fly for half as long. That also means you double your revenue because you can fly twice as many legs, cut crew cost per trip in half and sell tickets at much higher prices.
Cost of fuel has never been the problem. Not being able to fly over land is the biggest issue.
Anon
 
ThReaTeN
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:53 am

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 18):
Cost of fuel has never been the problem. Not being able to fly over land is the biggest issue.

And there are interesting developments in this area, for instance at NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/na...-quieter-supersonic-passenger-jet/

I can't be the judge however (obviously) of whether this venture will be successful or of how long it would take for any significant amount of progress in research, if achieved, to be translated into commercially viable projects (I doubt the up-start/Richard Branson "Boom" project referred to earlier in the thread - moronic name for an SST by the way, for more on than one reason - will be the silver bullet people have been waiting for to replace the Concorde). I also remember reading about similar "Quiet/low-boom SST" programs (specifically from the Japanese counterpart of NASA, JAXA) since from at least the 90's, and not much seems to have actually happened this then.
 
XT6Wagon
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:14 am

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 18):
Mach 1.6-1.7 would be a better comparison, since it's around a sweet spot for supersonic efficiency and about twice the speed of airliners.
You don't use four times the fuel for a trip. You use fuel at four times the rate, but you only fly for half as long. That also means you double your revenue because you can fly twice as many legs, cut crew cost per trip in half and sell tickets at much higher prices.

The SonicCruiser failed this economic check with the trip fuel being the same as a 767 while hauling 767 passenger load much faster and farther. The airlines said they'd rather have A330 capacity with 777 range and 80% 767 fuel burn.
 
nomadd22
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:19 am

Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 20):
The SonicCruiser failed this economic check with the trip fuel being the same as a 767 while hauling 767 passenger load much faster and farther. The airlines said they'd rather have A330 capacity with 777 range and 80% 767 fuel burn.

The Sonic Cruiser wasn't "much faster" It was 15-20% faster, depending on what you compared it to. And range is whatever you build the plane for. It was very risky in a world that had suddenly become very risk adverse.

[Edited 2016-03-31 22:20:38]
Anon
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:33 am

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
is a perfect example of a vanity project

I'd like to contest that...

The Concorde, while not completely devoid of nationalistic drive, was launched to exploit what was then thought to be the next big commercial segment for airliners.

It was before the oil crisis, and at a time when we had gone from flying barely airworthy piston-driven soapboxes-with-wings to landing on the moon, flying hypersonic test aircraft and hopping across oceans on comfortable jet airplanes in less that 3 decades.

The general sentiment at the time was that supersonic transport for long haul was going to be the norm within a generation, and Concorde was to be the answer to that market.

It proved to be wildly wrong, but I the belief was there, not just in Europe. I wouldn't brush Concorde as a chauvinistic effort only.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
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LAX772LR
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:56 am

Quoting Freshside3 (Reply 14):
Let's not forget environmental issues.....between the noise and gas guzzling, there will be a lot of environmentalist against a new supersonic passenger plane.

   And some of them can be as unreasonable+devoted as religious fanatics.... and that's a bad combo, as they don't give up, but no amount of logic nor compromise works on those types.



Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 18):
That also means you double your revenue because you can fly twice as many legs

In what market? The only one to ever support more than daily supersonic service was LHR-JFK, and even it couldn't do so after the post-9/11 return to service.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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BaconButty
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:25 pm

The one to watch in the near future is probably Aerion. They've had their SBJ project around for years, seemingly going nowhere, until 18 months ago they announced a partnership with Airbus. The project was rescheduled, specifications changed, and renamed as the AS2. It's been getting firm orders too, including 20 last year from Flexjet (used to be Bombadiers Netjets competitor iirc - did they spin it off?). It's targetting 2023 EIS.
http://www.aerionsupersonic.com/
http://aviationweek.com/business-avi...ion-design-supersonic-business-jet
They're also working with NASA on sonic boom reduction.

Airbus having apparently committed a substantial amount of engineering resource, I'd say there's a half decent chance of this happening, and it's also worth considering that Airbus is unlikely investing in this for a direct return - the WIIFM will be in supersonic transport experience. It's the kind of partnership route Boom will have to go down if they want to bring their SST to market, I did think it was a bit harsh in the other thread scoffing at them for having no idea of the efforts and cost required to get the thing certified for commercial use - it may well not happen, but I'm sure they know that they have to do enough to convince one of the big boys to back them.

Anyway, if one or both of these should fly in the next decade, that's the point any re-evaluation will happen.
Down with that sort of thing!
 
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william
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:10 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 10):
These aren't computers, though.

Here are some facts:
1) Whether your airplane is made of lead, steel, aluminum, CFRP, NTRP, or unicorn horn, you need about four times as much material to fly an aircraft of a given size at Mach 2 than you do to fly an aircraft of that size at Mach 0.8.

2) Whether your airplane is powered by hamsters on wheels, coal, Jet A, fusion reactors, or angel farts, you have to move air out of the way at over twice the speed when you are flying at Mach 2 as opposed to Mach 0.8, and that doesn't even begin to factor in wave drag and shock effects. That means that for an aircraft of a given size, you have to burn over four times as much fuel at Mach 2 that you do at Mach 0.8, even using the most efficient engines possible.

3) You still have to accelerate all that mass to that speed, which is over 4x the kinetic energy (E=1/2MV^2). That said, the sheer kinetic energy is a tiny rounding error against the fluid drag of flying through an atmosphere at these speeds.

Concorde was very efficient at cruise. Her four Olympus turbojets at supercruise burned fuel at about the same rate as a 747-200 at cruise. However, if a 747-200 had an internal configuration similar to that of Concorde, she would carry ~450 pax and far more cargo than Concorde, which carried ~150 pax and essentially no cargo other than passenger bags. That ratio will stay the same no matter what technology does because that's just physics. AND...Concorde had to burn a LOT more fuel than a 747-200 to 1) take off and 2) cross Mach 1.

1.Explain why you need four times the materials?

2. Powerplants today are much more efficient in super sonic cruise than the Concorde's afterburner powerplants.

And might I add, physics have not changed but our understanding of it has, and there are designs that minimize the boom over land.

A SST will never be as efficient as a 787 or A350 , nor have a market as large, but it does have a place in today's market.
 
DAL763ER
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:23 pm

Quoting william (Reply 25):
Powerplants today are much more efficient in super sonic cruise than the Concorde's afterburner powerplants.

They are? I don't think we've developed new super sonic engines in the last 30 years. Even the US/UK air force are mostly flying 15-20+ year old planes.

What no one seems to mention is that there may be one day in the mid-future, perhaps in the next 50 years or so, where planes might go electric or hybrid. If you get a hybrid plane that can get you across Mach 1, sit at supersonic using some eco-friendly fuel and then go back to electric again for the descent, you could have a very efficient plane. I'm pretty sure this or a variant of this is something that's being considered. We've been flying in pretty much the same airplanes for the past 30 years and at the same speed. Surely we can do better...
 
GatorClark
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:22 pm

Personally, I think it is obsolete technology. Why spend upwards of $9k (cheapest I've heard and in US dollars) for a one way trip to London from JFK for an important business meeting that, with the advent of skype, facetime, and other programs like that, can allow you to have instantaneous, real time, face to face conference calls spanning the globe? No matter how fast and how "efficient" you make an aircraft, it will NEVER be faster than the internet. Smart phones killed more than just the standard wall phone and payphone. Don't get me wrong, I love the Concorde. I think its a beautiful, sleek aircraft and there is just something that appeals to my speed-loving side about being able to travel at fighter jet speeds as a common civilian passenger but the idea just doesn't work anymore as far as I'm concerned. Same thing with the jumbo's such as the MD11/DC10, A340, A380, & my favorite, the 747. Why use 4 engines when you can do almost the same job cheaper, with only 2 engines? (777, 787, A350, A330). In the end, money talks, everything else walks.
 
RIX
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:49 pm

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
[Concorde] had to be owned by the French and British governments as BA and AF would not have been able to hold onto them themselves

Eventually, both airlines did it by their own, with a profit. What was "owned" by the governments was R&D, which was nowhere near being paid back.

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
quite short NYC-Paris/London route,

It still was reasonable time saving, 7hr -> 3.5. Not so sure about the only passenger route of Tu144, 4hr -> 2.

Quoting william (Reply 25):


2. Powerplants today are much more efficient in super sonic cruise than the Concorde's afterburner powerplants.


Concorde did not use afterburners on supersonic cruise. Tu144 did (earlier version that actually carried passengers).

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 9):
SST would be designed to carry a relatively small number of people really really fast... they wouldn't want enough frames to ever pay for the development.

...that is, the only chance would be an SSBJ stretch. Not-so-unique airframe with not so many seats to fill for scheduled service.

[Edited 2016-04-01 08:09:53]
 
rfields5421
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:52 pm

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
Is efficient, affordable supersonic transport still simply out of reach of current tech?

Not necessarily. However the cost factor is still, and likely will be for the remainder of our lifetimes, such that supersonic travel will be very difficult to make cost efficient.

A limiting factor is that the cost of development and bringing a new commercial passenger aircraft to market today has grown tremendously compared to the cost of bringing the Concorde to market. Development from drawing board to flight today would likely have made the Concorde many time more expensive than the estimated 23 million pounds per aircraft. A new supersonic transport would likely cost over a billion dollars per aircraft. It would be very hard to make that expensive an aircraft pay for itself.

Quoting N415XJ (Thread starter):
I beleive that there is a practical niche for supersonic travel on transpacific routes and other long trans-or-partly-trans-ocean routes, such as Australia-Europe and Japan/Korea/Eastern China to NA and other Pacific destinations.

I disagree. The perfect niche is the TATL routes the Concorde usually flew. Not only is that the highest density route for high cost travel, the geography works out well.

Transpacific flights do not concentrated the high value passengers as much as the transatlantic. Not only on the Asia side but also the US side. New York/DC doesn't have a west coast equalivant area when such a high percentage of business passengers are destined. West coast transpac arrival points of SEA, SFO, LAX tend to be transfer points for further travel.

I do not believe supersonic travel from Tokyo or Shanghai direct to New York will be possible in our lifetimes. Supersonic travel becomes horribly inefficient if the aircraft is forced to fly at sub-sonic rates for much of the journey while over land / populated areas.

Tourist travel and VFR will never support the costs of supersonic travel. The yield / profit per passenger simply isn't there on price driven destinations like Hawaii.

Another potential market for supersonic is Dubai to London, etc. However, because much of the route is over populated areas, it simply won't happen. The same problem exists on Australia -- Europe flights.

When picking potential supersonic flight paths, they have to be completely over water, except for only two to three hundred miles near the origin/ destination airports.

---------------------

Now there is one potential to eliminate much of the issues which prevent supersonic flight. If somehow the technology can 'beat the physics' and make supersonic travel over land/ populated areas without sonic booms - then I could see supersonic travel become cost effective in three or four decades. People would pay for east coast to west coast flights of about three hours, and many other routes such as London to Dubai.
 
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:04 pm

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 9):
Modern F-class offerings have grown substantially more luxurious than what was available when Concorde was developed. And remember that the seating aboard the Concorde was pretty much like economy. It will be a hard sell to get people to trade 10 hours in 5-star luxury with a flat bed for 4 hours in a coach seat, and will only appeal to those who are in the most hurry.

Building on this thought, just as important as the comfort of business and first class seats is the advance of inflight Wi-Fi. For business today, being connected via Wi-Fi makes the length of a flight less important. In the 70s before laptops and internet, being a plane meant you were completely disconnected and limited to working on what you could fit in a briefcase. Now I can do almost my whole job with a laptop, power outlet and an internet connection. With Wifi and a comfortable seat the length of a flight just doesn’t matter like it used to since I can get off the plane with my email inbox cleared and several hours of work done.
 
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:31 pm

Quoting DAL763ER (Reply 26):
They are? I don't think we've developed new super sonic engines in the last 30 years

Not quite sure what you mean by "supersonic" engine. All jet engines are subsonic. The difference between the engine in a subsonic aircraft and a supersonic one is the inlet. The rectangular inlets are designed to slow down the air so that it can be ingested by the engine - at a subsonic speed.

.
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winginit
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:44 pm

Quoting rta (Reply 3):
Most people aren't willing to pay significantly more money to travel faster.

This. Especially now that modern offerings across all cabins can, with varying degrees of comfort, allow for high yielding business travelers to get significant amounts of work done in transit, in some ways further cutting down the need for expediency to or from their destination.
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:21 pm

If you look from a faraway place like today, what stands out very clearly is that aviation was headed in two different directions while Concorde was being born. Simultaneously, we were headed down the path of always flying faster than the previous generation but also developing very large capacity aircraft flying what, then, were very long distances nonstop. Concorde and the B747 were perfect examples of this dichotomy and Concorde lost the race.

The SSBJ? Forget about it. The first CEO who buys one will be found hanging from a lamppost outside the next stockholder's meeting.
 
psa188
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:36 pm

R. E. G. Davies wrote a whole book called "Supersonic (Airliner) Non-Sense : A Case Study in Applied Market Research:" on this topic back in 1998. You can buy a copy here:
http://www.amazon.com/Supersonic-Air...nse-Applied-Research/dp/1888962097

He makes his argument better than I ever could. Buy this book and then discuss.
 
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:50 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 29):
Tourist travel and VFR will never support the costs of supersonic travel. The yield / profit per passenger simply isn't there on price driven destinations like Hawaii.

The issue with supersonic aircraft is not only do you have to engineer and test a sub-sonic aircraft, but then you have to engineer and test the trans-sonic and supersonic performance. That drives up the development and production costs.

The Concorde compromised with high speed takeoff and landing performance. That induced risk. A successful new supersonic airframe will have to perform much better on field performance. That will compromise supersonic performance.

I will be curios if there is a supersonic business jet. Business jets have too much of the premium market for another large Concorde like plane.

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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:59 pm

Quoting BaconButty (Reply 24):
until 18 months ago they announced a partnership with Airbus

Emphasis added to the key words above.
Airbus, on the other hand, has barely made a peep about this supposed "partnership."

Airbus' PR department isn't exactly meek-- one would think they'd be screaming about this from the mountain tops:
"Our parents brought you Concorde, we'll bring you its private market successor!"

The fact that they aren't doing so, leads me to believe that there's not much of a "partnership" going on. For all we know, Airbus may have just agreed to browse over Aerion's proposals, with arm's-length interaction.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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BaconButty
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:07 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 36):
Airbus, on the other hand, has barely made a peep about this supposed "partnership."

There's plenty.
Quote:
'We see clear and achievable technical solutions to the design of a supersonic jet, and a realistic road map for helping Aerion proceed toward construction and flight,' said Airbus senior vice president Ken McKenzie.
Daily Hiel, Nov 2015

Quote:
Airbus Group Chairman Allan McArtor and Aerion founder Robert Bass toasted their companies' new collaboration to bring a supersonic business jet to the market, raising champagne glasses together on the NBAA Convention show floor in Orlando, Florida, yesterday afternoon.
Asked by a journalist in attendance how far Airbus plans to take the sleek Aerion AS2 jet, McArtor responded with a smile, "To the finish line."
(There's even a piccie) http://www.flyingmag.com/aircraft/je...-aerion-eye-supersonic-finish-line

Quote:
“We see clear and achievable technical solutions to the design of a supersonic jet, and a realistic road map for helping Aerion proceed toward construction and flight,” Airbus Senior Vice President Ken McKenzie said in a statement.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...advances-with-factory-plans-airbus

Quote:
“The further we proceed along the development path with Aerion, the greater our enthusiasm for this program and the deeper our commitment,” said Airbus Group Chairman and CEO Allan McArtor.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/business...ng-on-supersonic-jet/#6bdc066f56d0

I could keep googling, but if no one else can be arsed.... look, the AS2 may not happen - the next 6 months are crucial, as they try to nail down an engine supplier:
http://aviationweek.com/business-avi...gine-selection-supersonic-as2-near
No engine and the program dies, it's probably the greatest risk to not delivering, but these guys aren't playing games - they've spent >$100m so far, and have been collaborating closely with NASA programs. It really is the best shout of us seeng a supersonic transport in the next decade.

As a, to me anyway, interesting aside, I was reading (but can't find just yet) that Airbus' interest in the program is largely down to the natural laminar flow wings, or at least some proprietary software related to that. And with a view to it's implementation on a "large transport" - presumably subsonic.
Edit: it was it the aviationweek artcle linked above:

Quote:
Apparently, the European company has no equity interest in Aerion; rather, its benefit is exclusive access to the latter’s proprietary NLF software, presumably for application to large transport aircraft.


[Edited 2016-04-01 18:32:32]
Down with that sort of thing!
 
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:32 am

I am sure that it is being reevaluated quite regularly. It's just that it doesn't work out yet. Some day it may. Of course some day we may have transporters or really good virtual presences.
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prebennorholm
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:56 am

Quoting BaconButty (Reply 37):
Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 36):Airbus, on the other hand, has barely made a peep about this supposed "partnership."
There's plenty.

Go to www.airbus.com, then do a site wide search for aerion, or as2, or whatever.

No results found.

Try search for supersonic. One result on a page about pre-Airbus history:

But Concorde was the product of a political dream. It was never going to be the savior of the European aircraft industry because it was highly expensive to build and operate and catered for relatively few people.

That tells me a lot about Airbus' commitment to supersonic transport and Aerion.
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LAX772LR
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:07 am

Quoting BaconButty (Reply 37):
There's plenty.

No there isn't.

Aerion has been touting some alleged "partnership" since early 2012, and specifically mentioned it to be Airbus in fall of 2014; yet nary a peep out of Airbus, except noncommittal ultra-generic statements all seemingly issued over the same November-ish 2015 period.

Four years, and that's the "plenty" that you're referring to?

Hardly.

Nothing on their site.
Nothing to their investors.
Not even forward-looking declarations.... totally not Airbus' typical style.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Freshside3
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:12 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 23):
And some of them can be as unreasonable+devoted as religious fanatics.... and that's a bad combo, as they don't give up, but no amount of logic nor compromise works on those types.

Which is also why SFO still hasn't gotten a new runway, after all these years.
 
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:13 am

I would dearly love to fly on an Aerion or Boom some day, and maybe an SSBJ-type project could be viable if development costs can be controlled, but it's very hard to make the case for an airliner-scale SST in the foreseeable future. Here are just a few of the many reasons why:

Noise: The physics of supersonic flight require the lowest cruise bypass ratio you can get away with, which in turn demands very heavy and complex silencing systems for takeoff and landing. This still results in significantly higher noise levels than the public is becoming used to: modern aircraft like the 787 or A350 are shockingly quiet compared to just the prior generation. With geared turbofans on the horizon, subsonic noise levels are about to make a step-change down again. Persuading the public to accept higher noise levels so elites can fly supersonic very nearly killed Concorde. It would be even harder today.

Efficiency: XT6Wagon's reply #1 is spot on - "every advance that makes a supersonic plane more viable, makes the non-supersonic planes more viable". In particular, high-bypass turbofans are inherently leveraged engines: any technology that makes the core more efficient on its own (contra-rotating spools, ceramic turbine blades, etc.) means you can shrink the core and boost your bypass ratio for the same frontal area (= drag). Look how tiny the core on the Rolls-Royce Advance is. Again, geared fans look set to disrupt subsonic engine architecture over the next decade, but the GTF benefits an SST not at all. On the contrary, most of those engine core improvements will be offset by the need for things like higher bypass ratios and lower NOx emissions.

Economics: supersonic flights would cannibalize high-margin premium traffic from subsonics, shifting it onto much higher-cost SSTs. Even if you assume a fare premium that makes the SSTs profitable on a stand-alone basis, the margin on subsonics would drop significantly. An airline CFO would see a moderate increase in yield versus a large increase in cost system-wide. This is not a great formula for increasing ROI.

This is all very discouraging to aircraft enthusiasts, which I think we all are here, but the facts are what they are. RIP Concorde.


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[Edited 2016-04-01 20:15:52]
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BaconButty
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:09 pm

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 40):
Nothing on their site.
Nothing to their investors.
Not even forward-looking declarations.... totally not Airbus' typical style.

Don't move the goalposts. You said "barely a peep" and I demonstrated direct quotes from Airbus people at business aviation shows. "Peeps" you might say.

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 40):
alleged "partnership"

Come on, there's nothing alleged about it. Of course it's not a massive commitment, there's no equity involved as I said, but Airbus is supplying engineering resource in return for exposure to Aerions IP. Does that mean the plane will enter revenue service? No, all I'm saying is it's the most likely of any supersonic transport program to make it, at least in the medium term.

I'd really challenge anyone to read this progress update and talk about "Alleged" partnership with a straight face:
http://www.jeccomposites.com/news/co...anded-collaboration-supersonic-as2

Quote:

Engineering progress report
At the one-year anniversary of the Aerion/Airbus Group collaboration, the two companies drew back the curtains on engineering efforts that have proceeded quietly, but steadily, since the first joint engineering team meeting in 2014. Airbus Defence and Space has made significant progress in the engineering of airframe structures, the AS2’s digital (fly-by-wire) flight control system, its integrated fuel system, and landing gear. Notable accomplishments include preliminary designs for:
A strong and light 10-spar carbon fiber wing structure;
Fuselage and empennage structures;
An innovative articulating main landing gear system that minimizes space requirements in the fuselage when stowed/retracted;
A fuel system that is integrated with the digital fly-by-wire system for control of center of gravity;
Flight control design that takes advantage of small, powerful actuators that can be housed in the AS2’s thin flying surfaces;
A fly-by-wire system based on Airbus Group’s long experience with digital flight control technology.
To supplement the design process, AIRBUS D&S has built a sample titanium wing leading-edge section for evaluation and is testing composite material specimens to optimize material properties. Aerion is the lead for other systems, such as avionics, electrical, environmental control, hydraulics, and auxiliary power. In conjunction with AIRBUS D&S, Aerion had made preliminary space allocations for every system with weight and balance considerations in mind. Candidate suppliers have been identified and the supplier selection process has begun.

September joint design review highlights engineering progress This past September, senior engineering staff from Aerion, AIRBUS D&S, Airbus
Group, Inc., and other tier-one equipment suppliers gathered at Aerion headquarters in Reno for a four-day technical and program review, covering engineering accomplished to date on all structures and aircraft systems.

There's more at the link. Again, I'm not trying to convince anybody that the AS2 will enter service on time in 2023, or at all, rather that your characterisation of the program is divorced from reality.
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LAX772LR
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:25 am

Quoting BaconButty (Reply 43):
You said "barely a peep" and I demonstrated direct quotes from Airbus people at business aviation shows. "Peeps" you might say.

Ah, a thousand pardons.

Perhaps I should've said:
"Any peep that anyone other than an aviation enthusiast would take seriously; as it involves no specifics, no outlined goals, and presents a dearth of any involvement (or seeming notification) to financial stakeholders who would be key to any such interaction actually having a tangible outcome."

There, better?  


Quoting BaconButty (Reply 43):
Of course it's not a massive commitment

....ya think?



Quoting BaconButty (Reply 43):
in return for exposure to Aerions IP

Which gains them _____?

[Edited 2016-04-02 22:28:20]
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
incitatus
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:38 pm

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 33):
The SSBJ? Forget about it. The first CEO who buys one will be found hanging from a lamppost outside the next stockholder's meeting.

I agree in general terms that a super sonic business jet has a tough business case. Also agree that getting a purchase through in major public corporations would be a challenge. But not every large corporation is public and some fairly small private businesses own aircraft. Then there is the charter market and many large corporations would end up being occasional users.

There is enough demand out there to fool an investor into funding it  
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par13del
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:04 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 29):
Development from drawing board to flight today would likely have made the Concorde many time more expensive than the estimated 23 million pounds per aircraft.

What is it about supersonic flight that is presently unknown that would require such cost, unlike the 60's when Concorde and the SR71 were being developed, most of the physics were overcome then and are known today.
Now do we have companies who are banking on one project to make their profits for the next 10 years, yes, and I suspect the way they would do that is to say the physics is the same but new materials and processes have to be designed and developed.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:36 pm

Well today Concorde's safety level wouldn't be acceptable. At the time it was great.

To me the market for SST today is the super rich and them only.

For business, either you need to meet ASAP and you use videoconferencing, or it can wait and a scheduled flight or current business jet will do fine.

I'm responsible for the videoconference service in my company and we add a system or two every week, 350 at the moment, and that's 10000€ systems. Our supplier just showed us much cheaper models and I expect they will be very popular.

A big advantage of videoconferencing is that you can have many people meet without anyone travelling. Whatever your business travel policy is, it will be difficult and expensive to have 10 persons from country A meet 10 persons from country B, 5 persons from country C, 2 from D, etc.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:51 pm

The moment I get "Mr Scots transporter" working they are all out of business, I am in the garage most weekends.
So far I have manage to move my bank account from 1K to zero, so that worked! Just have to think bigger.  

[Edited 2016-04-03 09:59:00]
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DocLightning
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RE: Why Has Supersonic Transport Not Been Reevaluated?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:47 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 12):

Concorde carried 100 passengers.
Quoting william (Reply 25):

1.Explain why you need four times the materials?

1) At the altitude that an SST flies (50-70,000 feet), the pressure differential from the cabin to the exterior is much higher than it would be down at 30-40,000 feet.

2) Fluid drag increases quadratically with speed. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_equation) So the engines must be producing around four times the force and the airframe is pushing back on the engines with around four times the force. Now, they're at a higher altitude, which helps, but that doesn't even take shock formation into account.

Quoting william (Reply 25):

2. Powerplants today are much more efficient in super sonic cruise than the Concorde's afterburner powerplants.

After Concorde, there have been no supercruise engines produced. Thus, I assume R&D has been pretty limited. While turbofan core design has improved, those improvements are not necessarily easily translated to turbojet engines, since turbojet engines are basically not in use anymore. And most of the efficiency improvement that we see with modern high-bypass ratio, low-specific impusle turbofans have been made in the fan itself with broad-chord swept blades made of composite. GE has done some serious work with new core materials, but I'm not sure that will make a supersonic engine that much more efficient.

Quoting ThReaTeN (Reply 17):

Prettty much all of this applies to the comparison between a turboprop or a fast piston engine aircraft and a jet aircraft (only thing I'm not sure about is your first point about materials). 900 km/h corresponds to 4 times the kinetic energy of the same plane flying at 450 km/h. We still don't fly on turboprops from NRT to JFK.

The kinetic energies are rounding errors, but they are there. On long flights, a turbofan-powered transsonic airliner like those in use for the last ~60 years is the most efficient choice.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 12):

Concorde carried 100 passengers.

So it did. My apologies. That makes the ratio even worse.  
Quoting timz (Reply 16):

The same kilograms per hour? Around... 10000?

Per *distance.* So twice the rate per hour.
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