Sonic Cruiser will not take off

Skyhungry

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Aug 20, 2002
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Airlines force Boeing to scrap plane
10 November 2002
BOEING is expected to abandon plans for its sonic Cruiser -capable of flying near the speed of sound - after leading airlines cast doubt on the project. Executives from some of the world''s top carriers who went to the US for a preview of the designs have told the plane maker that they are not interested in an aircraft that offers only a small speed advantage over conventional designs.
The decision will come as a major blow to Boeing and will be seen as a vindication for Airbus, which cast doubts on the project from the beginning. The Sonic Cruiser was announced with a fanfare 19 months ago just after Boeing failed to win a single order for its version of a super-jumbo jet and airlines opted for the Airbus version.
 

MileHighGuy

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Oct 14, 2002
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As if it was ever going to fly. Boeing announced the Sonic Cruiser as a smoke screen against Airbus's A380 double decker. Boeing was (and still is) desperate about Airbus receiving more aircraft orders than they do.[BR][BR]Boeing needs to scrap totally any crazy Sonic Cruiser ideas and start to work on a new (non 747) 3 to 4 engine, ultra-long range aircraft capable of carrying 400 plus passengers over 9,000 miles. Besides the A380 program; Airbus has started to deliver A340-600 planes to Virgin and they will start deliverying ultra long range A340-500 planes to other carriers soon. Meanwhile, Boeing insists on putting all their hopes into the 777 program. The 777 is a fine plane, but it is still limited by ETOPS parameters (as are all twin engine planes). Three and four engine aircraft are not.[BR][BR]Boeing needs to build a new, multi-engine, wide body aircraft as quickly as possible. If not, Airbus will continue to solidify it's current position as the number one aircraft manufacturer (if it's only by a small margin).
 

AAG2000

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Aug 20, 2002
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I am not surprised that Boeing will not build a slightly-faster subsonic transport. However, I thought there was a possibility that the Sonic Cruiser thing was just a fallback in case their real intent--i.e., to build a supersonic (maybe Mach 1.5) aircraft--didn't work out. As a passenger, I am disappointed, but as a practical matter, in the post-9/11 environment, airlines are really only concerned with operating costs. Speed is just not that important.

Boeing doesn't need anything new in the 777 category. ETOPS is not a serious restriction--it really only affects a handful of routes. Just look at Continental's EWR-HKG route...if you can make it over the North Pole, there aren't many places you can't go. Airlines buy A340's for political and fleet commonality reasons, but not because the 777 is inferior in any way.

Instead, Boeing should (and will, no doubt) build a 757-767 replacement. It will most likely have 2 engines, a 777 ****pit, and fly-by-wire controls. Probably several different models offering various size/range combinations, and possibly an unconventional-looking design that uses the latest technology to offer a substantial reduction in operating costs and noise over current aircraft. I'm hardly looking into a crystal ball here...Boeing has basically said all this already. But it will be interesting to see what they come up with.
 

mga707

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Aug 19, 2002
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It relieves me to no end that Boeing will most likely put aside this Sonic Cruiser nonsense and stick with the tried and true, just like they did back in '52 when they decided to go with a Model 387 Super Stratocruiser rather than waste time and money with that jet engine nonsense. 350 mph is fast enough for anyone...
 

Steiner

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Aug 21, 2002
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It'll be interesting to see if the A380 actually turns into anything. It reminds me of all of the airlines that signed orders for the Concorde, with only two ever eventually operating them.
 
Dec 29, 2003
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Well, it looks like the 7e7 is well on its way. But what does everyone think about the idea of a 777 super stretch to replace the 747? The 777-300 holds 368 passengers whereas the 747-400 carries 416. With a 15 percent stretch over the 300, 777-400 should hold more passengers than the 747 and get substantially better fuel economy.
 

fritzi

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Dec 29, 2003
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Would it really be economically feasible to streach the 777???
The 777-300 is 74 meters long, and a small bell rings in my mind that the maximum allowed lenght of an aircraft is 80 meters. (not sure though!)
If you were to streach the fuselage 15%, it would be about 85 meters long. Not very many hangars can support an aircraft with that length.

That would give you around 4 extra rows of seats. That would, in my opinion, be a very bad move, economically speaking. You would maybe also have to throw in another emergency exit for the evacuation requirements.
 

DHHeronCLE

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Jan 24, 2004
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The Sonic Cruiser was never more than a trial balloon, intended to take some of the buzz away from the A380. Had Boeing seriously proposed a mach 2 a/c, like Concorde, with nearly 40 additional years of knowledge included, the aviation world would have been awed, and the a/c would be under development right now. The 7E7 (one hopes 787) is Boeing's next big bet. The 777 has done very well, and the 7E7 compliments, rather than directly competes with the A380, a good sign for both makers. I still have the sense that Boeing needs to move beyond and I say that as a shareholder. Give the world's airlines something they can't avoid buying. The 707 was such an a/c, as was the 747. Neither the A380 nor the 7E7 are must buys for any airline.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Boeing was trying to gain sone time in order to get something going that could save their civil aviation reputation. They took an old MD playbook out of the box put some new drawings in and presented it to the public. Shortly after MD did something similar they went under (or as others say became a part of Boeing). Boeing needed the time to create the 7E7 concept. If they don't get it of the ground and have a winning aircraft (like B707 or B747) they will have a hard time to stay #2 in the game. Bombardier would get to be #2. Boeing has no other choice than making it!
 

DHHeronCLE

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Jan 24, 2004
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I have long thought that both Boeing and Airbus have been missing a major part of the game in ignoring Embraer and Canadair. Boeing has had decades of success in the commercial business and I don't think Airbus is slated
to eat Boeing's lunch just yet. In any event, all it takes is one bad major program to put a builder on the downward spiral, as with the DC-10 and the L-1011. The A-380 has the makings of such a program.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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DHHeronCLE said:
I have long thought that both Boeing and Airbus have been missing a major part of the game in ignoring Embraer and Canadair. Boeing has had decades of success in the commercial business and I don't think Airbus is slated
to eat Boeing's lunch just yet. In any event, all it takes is one bad major program to put a builder on the downward spiral, as with the DC-10 and the L-1011. The A-380 has the makings of such a program.
Don't underestimate the A380. There is a need for a large aircraft and since Boeing decided not to go ahead with it's B747, Airbus is the only other alternative for airlines. I would have agreed with your comments would Boeing have not decided to abandon the idea of a new version of B747.

Airbus has meoved toward smaler aircrafts with it's A318 but has missed the opportunity to incorporate Dornier/Fairchild when it was avaliable (as well as Boeing has missed it).

Airbus is allready eating Boeing's lunch and just because the companuy is not 50 yet dosen't mean that they are not capable. At this moment Boeing is the #2 and not the #1 like for the last 40 years. It only takes one good aircraft to make a company successfull. The A320 family is such a success!
 

DHHeronCLE

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Jan 24, 2004
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The A380 will have very obvious uses for certain carriers on certain routes. Wheather its utility will extend beyond a few Asain and European routes remains to be seen. How many 747s actually saw domestic US pax service? Airbus is ahead at the moment, and the A320 has done quite well. In all candor, except for the really dirty, worn interior of one we flew, operated by a carrier under bankruptcy protection (UAL), there is really nothing wrong with the aircraft. I should add that Airbus has gone from zero to very competitive in only 30 years, not that long of a time, given the life typical aircraft programs can have. Airbus does offer a family of models, and is more than willing to step up to the plate in any sales battle. Airbus has destroyed MD, and one cannot really expect Lockheed to be looking at any more commercial projects. Boeing (aside from Airbus) is it in the mainline market, and Airbus has demonstarted that it can build fine aircraft. After all, no amount of give-away pricing will induce airlines to buy a/c that cannot be economically operated.