United makes supersonic bet

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Devil's Advocate

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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.
So someone high enough to expense a supersonic subfleet airfare but not so high they can charter their own flight. Sounds like a very small niche to chase.

My one trip on the Concorde( to Mexico) now reminds me of today's cramped,packed Planes.
At first I was sad to hear it was being retired but the photos and videos I saw made the Concorde look surprisingly pedestrian relative to the cost. I think it would have been cool to ride once and have a story to tell but even if the cost was much lower I would have preferred more space and service for the money.

Sort of like LD train travel, I have grown fond of the sweet spot overnight transatlantic flight.
There are overnight flights across the Pacific as well and in Business I can sleep through it and arrive in good spirits. Most airlines close the shades or engage the twilight filters on daytime flights so even then you can simply lay down and sleep through most of it. On waking up I barely remember the flight itself.
 
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Dakota 400

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This news about what United has done in conjunction with the company building this new plane earned some air time on NBC Nightly News this Thursday evening.
 

Ryan

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While not a competitor, it seems the USAF is interested in getting in on the action: 'Air Force Two' Replacement Dropped With Funds Redirected To Supersonic Transport Research

The U.S. Air Force has redirected funding to work on supersonic and even hypersonic passenger aircraft that could eventually provide a very different kind of successor to its four C-32A special air mission transport aircraft, itself a commercial derivative of the out-of-production Boeing 757-200. The service is now looking to retire without direct replacement its fleet of C-32As, better known by their “Air Force Two” callsign used when the Vice President is onboard.

Since the 2003 retirement of the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic transport, the aerospace industry at large has wrestled with the conflicting demands of high-speed flight and low-cost, reliable operations, and some contenders have fallen by the wayside. Today, however, with United Airlines’ announcement that it has signed an agreement to acquire 15 examples of the Mach-1.7 Overture airliner from Boom Supersonic, it seems like the kind of technology the Air Force is looking at has inched closer to a realistic proposition.
 

railiner

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If they get some orders from the USAF, that will go a long way into making the project viable. I couldn't find any info in Boom's webpage as to where their factory is or will be, but maybe it should be in the home district of some influential member of the House Appropriation's Committee...;)
 

jis

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If they get some orders from the USAF, that will go a long way into making the project viable. I couldn't find any info in Boom's webpage as to where their factory is or will be, but maybe it should be in the home district of some influential member of the House Appropriation's Committee...;)
They are currently located in Denver I think.
 

George Harris

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Why a refueling stop for trans-Pacific? None needed now from US west coast to at least Hong Kong, maybe even Singapore. Are you saying these things will have a shorter range than the current 747's? That makes no sense. A refueling stop would probably burn about 3 hours versus the non stop time.
 

jis

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Why a refueling stop for trans-Pacific? None needed now from US west coast to at least Hong Kong, maybe even Singapore. Are you saying these things will have a shorter range than the current 747's? That makes no sense. A refueling stop would probably burn about 3 hours versus the non stop time.
Because the range of the proposed plane falls short of what is required to cross the Pacific non-stop. Read the specification linked to above. ;)
 

Devil's Advocate

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Why a refueling stop for trans-Pacific? None needed now from US west coast to at least Hong Kong, maybe even Singapore. Are you saying these things will have a shorter range than the current 747's? That makes no sense. A refueling stop would probably burn about 3 hours versus the non stop time.
It actually makes plenty of sense. Every supersonic aircraft has been a fuel hog relative to other aircraft from the same generation. Although the new designs are expected to be much more efficient than those of the past they are still far behind more conventional aircraft that put efficiency and range above speed.

I really think this topic needs a bit of a sanity check. While a more efficient and lower priced SST is an interesting development from a technical perspective they still don't have any certifications or even a functioning prototype. This means that at the moment Virgin Galactic and even Virgin Hyperloop are closer to production status than Boom's SST program. The decision to purchase at list prices makes this story sound more like marketing hype than a real negotiation.
 

jiml

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The decision to purchase at list prices makes this story sound more like marketing hype than a real negotiation.
UA must be getting a heck of deal to allow their name and image to be used in publicity. A very good friend of mine, who is in a position to know what's going on, spoke highly of the deal and disagreed with my analysis (and by proxy yours;)).
 

railiner

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I really think this topic needs a bit of a sanity check. While a more efficient and lower priced SST is an interesting development from a technical perspective they still don't have any certifications or even a functioning prototype. This means that at the moment Virgin Galactic and even Virgin Hyperloop are closer to production status than Boom's SST program.
This scenario sounds like the Lockheed Electra (L-188) all over again. By that I mean they came out with the "jet-powered" propeller aircraft just a year before they were rendered obsolete by the new Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 turbojets...🤷‍♂️
 

Rover

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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😁)
The Concorde just taking off from DFW was too loud. As loud as a military jet.


The Today Show had a promo video that showed the artist representation of the United aircraft with 27 windows each side = 54 windows. The YT video inferred there would one seat per window, but the video stated there would be 88 passengers. So is the final aircraft going to be 2 seats across or four seats across??? (1:31)

 

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This venture was a flop the first go around. What's different now that would make it profitable and therefore successful? The Concorde catered to the rich, basically. How can this be different? Enquiring minds want to know.
 

jis

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This venture was a flop the first go around. What's different now that would make it profitable and therefore successful? The Concorde catered to the rich, basically. How can this be different? Enquiring minds want to know.
I dunno. The venture of Jet passenger aircraft was also pretty much a flop the first go around what with the Comet Is falling out of the sky. It was so much of a flop that most people don't even remember it in popular folklore. It was in the second round that it started succeeding wildly and has never looked back. Technology changes making things a little more possible. These things are hard to predict and previous experience often does not pan out necessarily either. So it could flop again, or it could work out. We will just have to wait and see. I see a significant hurdle at present in getting finances for development, but then afterall Musk's ventures looked pretty iffy when he started too.
 

Palmetto

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Elon's ventures are still looking pretty iffy in South Texas. Things keep blowing up there 😁 He did donate 20 million dollars to the local Brownsville School District, though. [I used to live there.]
 

Dakota 400

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the Comet Is falling out of the sky.
I do remember those early accidents. I think you make good points in your post. Improvements in technology are a fact of life that makes such products a better product today than it once was.

I wonder if it was economics that was the main reason that the Concorde failed. That accident in Paris surely had to be a contributing factor, particularly when the cause of the accident was determined.
 

Anderson

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Given the timing and so on, I feel like this might (ironically) be a side-effect of the pandemic and the environmental "push" potentially restricting/highly taxing international flights. If they can make this work in the ballpark of a "regular" J ticket (of which I have purchased exactly two and never ended up flying either [one flipped to an award ticket, the other got cancelled last spring]), it feels like there might be a move to "segment" some of the international market a la Regional vs Acela on some airlines. I can see a scenario where a 787 is running all-coach/premium economy while the SST is the Business Class operation.

(Really, the issue at hand seems to be that if a bunch of countries slap...say, a $500 tax on all intercontinental flights...that would have some very odd effects in terms of demand.)
 

Mailliw

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...There are overnight flights across the Pacific as well and in Business I can sleep through it and arrive in good spirits. Most airlines close the shades or engage the twilight filters on daytime flights so even then you can simply lay down and sleep through most of it. On waking up I barely remember the flight itself.
I think the real game changer for long distance aviation is a model where you show up at a travel clinic, are sedated and placed in a pod, and shipped to your destination unconscious as cargo.
If they get some orders from the USAF, that will go a long way into making the project viable. I couldn't find any info in Boom's webpage as to where their factory is or will be, but maybe it should be in the home district of some influential member of the House Appropriation's Committee...;)
World leaders would have a real practical need for supersonic airliners of this size, but that's still a very small market.
 

MARC Rider

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I think the real game changer for long distance aviation is a model where you show up at a travel clinic, are sedated and placed in a pod, and shipped to your destination unconscious as cargo.
But if airlines now routinely screw up baggage handling and send bags that are supposed to to to Oakland to Auckland, imagine what will happen with passengers that get misplaced:

"What??!! I thought I was flying to Kansas City! What am I doing in Beijing?"
 

Dakota 400

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I think the real game changer for long distance aviation is a model where you show up at a travel clinic, are sedated and placed in a pod, and shipped to your destination unconscious as cargo.

:eek: No thank you! That scenario reminds me too much of some of the space ship's crew in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey with HAL, the evil computer.
 
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