United makes supersonic bet

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Trogdor

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United has signed an agreement with a company called Boom Supersonic for up to 50 “Overture” jets, which supposedly will be ready to enter service in 2029.

 

MARC Rider

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United has signed an agreement with a company called Boom Supersonic for up to 50 “Overture” jets, which supposedly will be ready to enter service in 2029.

Are they going to allow them to fly over US land territory? If yes, then we will all be subjected to sonic booms for the benefit of a few people who can afford what will undoubtedly be very high ticket prices. If no, then, just like the Concorde, its utility will be limited. Not to mention the GHG effects from both the high fuel consumption and from messing up the atmosphere at the high altitudes that the SSTs fly. Furthermore, the events of last year have demonstrated that making intercontinental flying fast and cheap might not be the best idea for public health.
 

jiml

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Are they going to allow them to fly over US land territory? If yes, then we will all be subjected to sonic booms for the benefit of a few people who can afford what will undoubtedly be very high ticket prices. If no, then, just like the Concorde, its utility will be limited. Not to mention the GHG effects from both the high fuel consumption and from messing up the atmosphere at the high altitudes that the SSTs fly. Furthermore, the events of last year have demonstrated that making intercontinental flying fast and cheap might not be the best idea for public health.
Indeed, some of the many factors in the demise of Concorde. I was just reading through the notification this morning. Here are some of the projected flying times:
Newark-London in 3.5 hours
Newark-Frankfurt in 4 hours
San Francisco-Tokyo in 6 hours

For those who have actually been inside a Concorde, do you find the concept picture of the interior a bit larger than expected? I certainly do.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Looks like the order is for fifteen actual aircraft tied to a long list of presumptions and caveats. It's an interesting development but Concorde had similar orders from many airlines that were quietly cancelled in the 1970's leaving the program (and taxpayers who funded it) billions in debt from day one.

Are they going to allow them to fly over US land territory? [...] If no, then, just like the Concorde, its utility will be limited.
I presume they'll be able to fly subsonic over land but so could the Concorde and those attempts went nowhere. It's not just an issue for the US either since many countries adopted similar noise restrictions decades ago. Another big issue is the cost of fuel - which is likely to increase relative to inflation over time - and demand for routine business travel, which is likely to stagnate relative to excursion travel. The window for profitable SST's has likely passed if it ever existed at all.

For those who have actually been inside a Concorde, do you find the concept picture of the interior a bit larger than expected? I certainly do.
Back when the Concorde flew I didn't have the money and now that I do I'd rather fly regular speed in a lie-flat suite or pod instead. I'm sure there is a market for the bucket trips and bragging rights that filled many of the final Concorde flights but how many of us are ready to pony up for routine trips in an SST?
 
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jis

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All the examples they quote are mostly over water flights, but extremely lucrative ones. They are targeting only primarily over water routes. Quite a bit of information in the FAQ at Boom - Supersonic Passenger Airplanes

They can do a trans Atlantic flight in one hop, but trans Pacific will require a brief refueling stop en route. The sector end to end times include the time required to refuel, for those flights that require en route refueling. Fares they claim will be around what Business Class tickets cost today. Will be interesting to see how all this unfolds.

More info at Wiki at Boom Technology - Wikipedia

Japan Airlines and Rolls Royce are involved too.
 

railiner

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If this is real, and not just some publicity stunt or investment scheme, I would welcome it. Even if only a relative few could afford it, I think it would be great to have that option, again after all these years without what once was.
As far as the proposed aircraft...it seems to fall somewhat short of the Concorde design from a half century ago, other than the very large windows, if indeed are possible . The Concorde carried 100, and traveled at Mach 2.

This surprised me completely, as I thought the next generation of high speed air travel would be of the "sub-orbital" type (NY to Tokyo in an hour), but I am still glad to see that something may be done in my lifetime...
 

jis

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Looks like 1x1 seating, with a shade under 5' pitch, which could accommodate herringbone lie flat pods. But for at most 8 hour flights that will likely involve a refueling landing after 4 hours, lie flat may not be that important provided the seats have comfortable recline with good leg rest. Certainly looks less cramped than the Concorde.

 

cocojacoby

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Holy crap. The CEO claims you will eventually be able to get anywhere on the planet in under four hours for $100!!!

 
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jis

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Wasteful service only accessible to high rollers most likely just like the Concorde. We should not be inventing new ways to use more fossil fuel.
No. If they meet their own specifications it will cost way less than Concorde, in the range of today's Business Class (not even First Class). There are a lot of people who travel by BC who are not traveling on business too. And as far as fuel goes, again if they use fuel from reconstituted sequestered Carbon rather than actual extracted fossil fuel then it should be Carbon neutral. Though some of the high altitude pollution by the exhaust may still remain an issue, Carbon should not be one of them. It all depends on how much better and cleaner they can make the engines. We will just have to see how it unfolds.

So on the whole I do disagree with you categorical rejection. ;) I take a more nuanced wait and see how it evolves approach.
 

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If this is real, and not just some publicity stunt or investment scheme, I would welcome it.
It's real but unrealized and depends upon a series of narrow outcomes to reach genuine commercial success. Even if every potential failure is somehow avoided a commercially funded SST service is unlikely to survive the next S&L implosion, dotcom bust, housing bubble, global epidemic, etc. If you look at the airline market as a whole the focus is almost entirely on improving efficiency. It would be easier to make money on a greenfield propeller aircraft than an SST.

There are a lot of people who travel by BC who are not traveling on business too.
Seems like a more relevant factor would be how many of them travel on all-business aircraft.

And as far as fuel goes, again if they use fuel from reconstituted sequestered Carbon rather than actual extracted fossil fuel then it should be Carbon neutral.
If they powered it with sequestered unicorn gas then anything is possible but from a practical standpoint this is an unprofitable pipe dream at commercial scale.
 
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jis

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It is not clear where they will get funding for its development unless they can somehow get the DoD hooked on it somehow or something like that.

However, purely from a technical perspective I think it is interesting, and as I said worth waiting and watching what happens rather than outright rejecting the possibility. Just IMHO of course.

Meanwhile another attempt at a Supersonic business jet collapsed last month...

 
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jiml

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UA seems to feel that international "executive" travel is recovering faster than other segments of the market, including traditional "business" travel. Sending one important player to that pivotal meeting, rather than a mid-level team. That's the niche they're targeting, hoping to be ahead of the curve.
 

Bob Dylan

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Indeed, some of the many factors in the demise of Concorde. I was just reading through the notification this morning. Here are some of the projected flying times:
Newark-London in 3.5 hours
Newark-Frankfurt in 4 hours
San Francisco-Tokyo in 6 hours

For those who have actually been inside a Concorde, do you find the concept picture of the interior a bit larger than expected? I certainly do.
My one trip on the Concorde( to Mexico) now reminds me of today's cramped,packed Planes.

I was glad for get in the Bucket List flight, but wouldn't pay for a Long trip on a new version of a Supersonic plane.( however, if someone else was paying,I wouldn't mind riding over the Pacific on those Killer Routes!😁😒)
 

railiner

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My one trip on the Concorde( to Mexico) now reminds me of today's cramped,packed Planes.
My one and only trip on the Concorde, from LHR to JFK, I found, while not as roomy as F class on a jumbo, were nonetheless roomy enough, and the seats themselves were very comfortable...and the BA service was superb...:cool:
 

Tlcooper93

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Sort of like LD train travel, I have grown fond of the sweet spot overnight transatlantic flight.

While I see this service as very helpful in the western direction, I definitely would opt to take an overnight business class seat over a supersonic seat any day.

In terms of the safety and economics of this working, it’s definitely in the wait and see category.
 
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Bob Dylan

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My one and only trip on the Concorde, from LHR to JFK, I found, while not as roomy as F class on a jumbo, were nonetheless roomy enough, and the seats themselves were very comfortable...and the BA service was superb...:cool:
Braniff operated the Flight I was on between Washington and DFW( $150!!!!) and while "Trendy" back in the Day( "Flying Colors",Commercials with Hot Celebrites etc) the Service wasn't up to the Standards of BA and Air France!😉😄

Correction: it was another Flight to Mexico, it wasn't a Braniff operated Concorde but a 747!!( Senior Moment😁)
 
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jis

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Braniff operated the Flight I was on to Mexico and while "Trendy" back in the Day( "Flying Colors",Commercials with Hot Celebrites etc) the Service wasn't up to the Standards of BA and Air France!😉😄
As US like most countries enforces Cabotage rules, they had to jump through multiple hoops to make that happen, including changing the ownership and registration of the aircraft each time it flew within the US and was flown by the Braniff crew.

See Braniff Airways Concorde Operations | heritage-concorde
 
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railiner

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Appreciate that info jis, and see my correction re the Flight)😊
It was subsonic, but still faster than any other flight between Washington and Dallas. BTW, only Braniff cockpit crews were licensed (including supersonic, although in practice they didn't) to fly the Concorder among the other airlines pooling with BA and AF...On the Singapore Airways pool, BA pilots flew with Singapore flight attendants....
 

Dakota 400

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For those who have actually been inside a Concorde, do you find the concept picture of the interior a bit larger than expected? I certainly do.
Never flew in a Concorde, but did visit the Concorde that first visited Barbados when Queen Elizabeth II visited the island. The plane is in a museum hanger near at the airport. To answer your question, yes, the illustration shows much more room than what I experienced. During our tour of the plane, we were seated in the cabin for 20 or more minutes during a presentation. I thought the interior was cramped with a bit of claustrophobic feel.
 

jis

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It was subsonic, but still faster than any other flight between Washington and Dallas. BTW, only Braniff cockpit crews were licensed (including supersonic, although in practice they didn't) to fly the Concorder among the other airlines pooling with BA and AF...On the Singapore Airways pool, BA pilots flew with Singapore flight attendants....
They had to have Braniff cockpit crew for flights carrying commercial traffic between two points within the US because of cabotage rules too probably.
 
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