Supersonic flight

ScreenHunter_17 Jun. 23 16.55

This plane is a very fast plane.  It has flown from New York to London in 1 hour 54 minutes 56.4 seconds, which is more than I can say I have done.  All of which reminds me to ask Troppodillians why, when the big supersonic passenger planes failed, there weren’t a few supersonic executive jets to buzz rich merchant bankers and celebrities around.  After all it might be expensive, but there’s been plenty of money around.  And the technology was already locked down with supersonic bombers like the F111.  I would imagine that if you took all the bombs and other stuff away you could get a few execs and a hostie in there to pour the champagne?
This entry was posted in Uncategorised. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
derrida derider
derrida derider
12 years ago

I’ve often wondered this. I know Lear designed one in the 1980s but never built it. But it’s what Jacques said – plus the fact that most developed countires have a similar ban. Also landing and takeoff noise was a problem.

There may be more possibility now with new airframe designs that greatly reduce sonic booms. But it would be one helluva gamble to pour the billions in on the chance that the authorities would then relax the bans.

Still, I’ve always thought there was a market for a very small (say 20 seat), very expensive transoceanic airliner. But testing if that market exists would also be a really risky investment.

Joshua Gans
Joshua Gans(@joshua-gans)
12 years ago

If they could only chop off that 0.4 seconds, I think enough people would be ready to pay the price.

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
12 years ago

I believe it would be basically impossible to refit a military plane with any degree of ‘executive jet’ comfort – they generally have very thin fuselages, for obvious reasons.

Also, can you imagine that the plane pictured was designed with a slide rule – and I don’t even know how to use one!

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
12 years ago

I couldn’t resist googling this. It’s a fun question.

Apparently there are plans for at least two supersonic business jets – the Quiet Supersonic Transport (QSST)and the Aerion Supersonic Business Jet.

I’m not sure it’s right to say that “the technology was already locked down with supersonic bombers like the F111”. The F111 was designed for a specific role — part of which involved flying very close to the ground. And even though it’s a bomber, it doesn’t have much internal space. Check out this diagram and see if you can find a place for a passenger compartment. There is an internal weapons bay but it’s small (two bombs). Most of carrying capacity comes from the 8 pylons on the wings.

Of course this raises the possibility of loading passengers into individual cylinders and mounting them under the wings. Perhaps you could avoid delays due to crowded airports by simply dropping the cylinders near the passenger’s destination (using a parachute of course). I’m not sure how to solve the toilet problem but I assume the technology was locked down during the space program.

A supersonic business jet would be designed around a very different set of constraints — as DD says, it would need to be quiet.

As for refitting an ex-military aircraft

SJ
SJ
12 years ago

A couple of points:

Firstly, the F-111 has an ejectable crew capsule that holds two people. It’s not possible to make this any bigger. There’s no other space inside the fuselage capable of holding passengers, so you’re limited to a pilot and one passenger. This makes the proposition very expensive per head.

Secondly, the F-111 has a subsonic range of almost 7000 km, but a supersonic range of less than 2500 km. It’s about 5600 km from London to New York, so it couldn’t make it that far supersonically. On a shorter trip, say 2000 km, it’s questionable whether the shorter flying time is worth it. Most of your time is spent getting to the airport, hanging about on the runway, waiting for clearance to land, etc. Shortening the in-flight time helps, but only makes economic sense if the opportunity cost of your time is in the millions of dollars per hour.

SJ
SJ
12 years ago

Heh. Comment in moderation. If someone would care to help out?

Patrick
Patrick(@patrick)
12 years ago

Don, I assume that Nicholas’ reference to the technology was to the supersonic technology. Presumably this was pretty locked-down by the time of the F-111 and if not, then is by now!

Interesting links, too. Neither has reached production or even certification yet, but interestingly the QSST claims to be able to travel supersonically in America whilst complying with applicable US laws – ie without sonic booms.

Neither would appear able to fly NY-London, or at least not supersonically. This would seem to be a key ingredident in getting these things to take off (haha).