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Thu Jun 3, 2021, 11:59 AM

United Airlines Wants to Bring Back Supersonic Air Travel

Source: New York Times

The era of supersonic commercial flights came to an end when the Concorde completed its last trip between New York and London in 2003, but the allure of ultrafast air travel never quite died out.

President Biden mused about supersonic flights when discussing his infrastructure plan in April. And on Thursday, United Airlines said it was ordering 15 jets that can travel faster than the speed of sound from Boom Supersonic, a start-up in Denver. The airline said it had an option to increase its order by up to 35 planes.

Boom, which has raised $270 million from venture capital firms and other investors, said it planned to introduce aircraft in 2025 and start flight tests in 2026. It expects the plane, which it calls the Overture, to carry passengers before the end of the decade.

But the start-up’s plans have already slipped at least once, and it will have to overcome many obstacles, including securing approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and regulators in other countries. Even established manufacturers have stumbled when introducing new or redesigned planes. Boeing’s 737 Max was grounded for nearly two years after two crashes.





Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/business/economy/united-airlines-supersonic-planes.html

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Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
Reply United Airlines Wants to Bring Back Supersonic Air Travel (Original post)
brooklynite Jun 3 OP
Polybius Jun 3 #1
Tomconroy Jun 3 #2
SoCalNative Jun 3 #6
smb Jun 3 #30
Aristus Jun 3 #9
brush Jun 3 #11
ProfessorGAC Jun 3 #22
brush Jun 3 #23
Tomconroy Jun 3 #12
ForgoTheConsequence Jun 3 #3
Layzeebeaver Jun 3 #4
FalloutShelter Jun 3 #5
smb Jun 3 #31
Sneederbunk Jun 3 #7
Initech Jun 3 #8
Throck Jun 3 #10
DetroitLegalBeagle Jun 3 #13
yonder Jun 3 #14
EX500rider Jun 3 #21
yonder Jun 3 #25
EX500rider Jun 3 #26
yonder Jun 3 #27
EX500rider Jun 3 #32
LanternWaste Jun 3 #34
yonder Jun 3 #38
EX500rider Jun 3 #39
yonder Jun 4 #41
EX500rider Jun 4 #44
Auggie Jun 3 #15
DFW Jun 3 #16
hatrack Jun 3 #17
LuckyLib Jun 3 #24
Suburban Warrior Jun 3 #18
Jimvanhise Jun 3 #19
yaesu Jun 3 #20
Mr.Bill Jun 3 #28
truthisfreedom Jun 3 #36
Mr.Bill Jun 3 #37
bringthePaine Jun 3 #29
Maxheader Jun 3 #33
Mosby Jun 4 #45
NullTuples Jun 3 #35
NNadir Jun 4 #40
eppur_se_muova Jun 4 #42
IronLionZion Jun 4 #43

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:05 PM

1. Great news

It never should have stopped.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:05 PM

2. I don't think the Concorde was ever profitable. It used too

Much fuel and all the tickets were way pricey.

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Response to Tomconroy (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:23 PM

6. Yes, they were pricey

but I'd rather pay that price to be there in a few hours than a first or business class ticket for a 10 hour+ flight.

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Response to SoCalNative (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 05:17 PM

30. The Extra Time In Ground Traffic And Airport Security Dilutes The Speed Advantage

With a fixed two hours of so tacked on at each end of a trip (no matter what kind of plane you take), the time difference isn't as significant as it looks based on flight time alone.

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Response to Tomconroy (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:33 PM

9. I expect jet technology has advanced in the interim.

They may be able to develop jet engines that are more fuel-efficient now.

Another problem was The Concorde produced ear-splitting amounts of noise when taking off. That definitely restricted the number of airports it could take off from. They'd have to clear that hurdle, too, if they want to be profitable.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:46 PM

11. I would go with an established builder for that. Jet engines are more...

fuel efficient now and quieter but trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flights would probably be limited to coastal cities so as not to have sonic booms with jets leaving from the heartland.

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Response to brush (Reply #11)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 04:39 PM

22. They're Probably Buying The Engines

Aircraft manufacturers have outsourced that part for decades.
There are 4 companies that build around 13,000 engines per year for military or civilian aircraft.
Two you've likely heard of are GE and Pratt & Whitney.
Another (CFM) specializes in supersonic engines, mostly for military.
This new firm might be in airframe & avionic design.
Under this scenario, I'm less concerned about the newness of this firm.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #22)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 04:47 PM

23. Engines have been built by engine builders since the prop plane days.

I still would only trust an established, experienced builder. We're talking millions to billions of dollars involved. I wouldn't be the first one to contract with a new builder.

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Response to Tomconroy (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:54 PM

12. Actually, I was half right. Britain an France never recovered

The development costs for the Concorde but the airlines did fly it at a profit.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:07 PM

3. I'll let others go first.

I'll nap a few more hours.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:12 PM

4. At least they didn't name it KaBoom!

just saying...

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Response to Layzeebeaver (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:15 PM

5. LOL.. We have a winner.

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Response to Layzeebeaver (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 05:22 PM

31. I Suspect That "Boom" Is Doomed By Zoom

For business meetings, if it's time-critical it'll be done online. That doesn't leave enough of a market to begin to sustain a supersonic fleet.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:25 PM

7. I won't pay for first class now so doubt I would ride on this.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:29 PM

8. I hope this becomes a reality!

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 12:34 PM

10. Fuel efficiency?

Only the super rich will be able to afford it.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 01:08 PM

13. interesting

I know jet engine tech has advanced fairly far from the Concorde's 1960's era tech. Would be great if supersonic air travel made a comeback. I hate flying overseas due to how long the flights take. Paying for first class like Delta One is worth it if the flight is 12-14hours, like when I go to Japan. I would gladly move back to main cabin seating if the flight times are cut in half or more.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 01:12 PM

14. If I remember right, upper atmosphere environmental

concerns were part of the reason that kept the US version of the Concorde from development. Have those issues been negated somehow, perhaps by engine design? I wouldn't think our airshed is magically more robust now than before.

Presumably and because of noise, there would be no supersonic continental flights - only international flights over open water. Can that be made a profitable business model? (Yes, I read the link).

I was in my teens but I think it was Illinois Senator Charles Percy (R) who put the nail in the coffin for the US version. Were his reasons wrong 50 some years ago?

And lastly, just because we might be able to, should we? Things aren't exactly fixing themselves down here on the ground.

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Response to yonder (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 04:16 PM

21. "And lastly, just because we might be able to, should we?"

Are you suggesting airplane technology should stagnate due to other issues not the focus of airplane developers?

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Response to EX500rider (Reply #21)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 04:52 PM

25. No suggestion was made.

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Response to yonder (Reply #25)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 04:57 PM

26. That's kind of what this sounds like:

And lastly, just because we might be able to, should we? Things aren't exactly fixing themselves down here on the ground.

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Response to EX500rider (Reply #26)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 05:00 PM

27. Who suggested airplane technology should stagnate?

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Response to yonder (Reply #27)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 06:00 PM

32. Suggesting we not do it..

... certainly wouldn't be advancing airplane technology

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Response to yonder (Reply #27)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 07:34 PM

34. An implication rather than suggestion...

(for those who take literalism to same degree as the southern Baptist church I attended in my youth)

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #34)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 10:15 PM

38. Stagnating aircraft technological development was neither implied or suggested.

That was an incorrect inference made by the poster to my rhetorical question. Thinking twice, should we?, about developing commercial supersonic aircraft would have been accurate.

We already have the technology to speed people around at Mach+ and I certainly expect that development to continue. Yes, I implied that the development of that technology for commercial purposes may not be in the best interests of the common good, given the very real needs that currently exist on the ground and which remain unaddressed.

Us frogs in the boiling pot, wealthy or not, may not have much more time to enjoy 3 hour trips across the Atlantic.

Here's an interesting link about what was discussed 50+ years ago about our own Concorde, the SST:

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/b2707-problem.htm

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Response to yonder (Reply #38)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 11:28 PM

39. "may not be in the best interests of the common good, given the very real needs.."

Yes, I implied that the development of that technology for commercial purposes may not be in the best interests of the common good, given the very real needs that currently exist on the ground and which remain unaddressed.
And how would those needs be filled by airplane manufacturers and airlines exactly, I don't get your point.

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Response to EX500rider (Reply #39)

Fri Jun 4, 2021, 01:23 AM

41. You've not yet answered my question at #27 while inserting a bit of a strawman.

You're the one creating an argument for the aerospace industry's responsibility/non-responsibility for the common good, not I. For whatever reason I don't know.

My 4th point remains: should we develop commercial, supersonic aviation? Is that the best thing we can do right now? How does that help you, me, the rest of us, survive on the only home we know?

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Response to yonder (Reply #41)

Fri Jun 4, 2021, 01:58 PM

44. Practically every industry makes advances that aren't based on survival of the human race.

New TV's and new SUV's and new cruise ships and hotels & TV shows etc come out or are built every year.
I see no reason to stagnate any technology just because you don't think it furthers the cause of survival, life would be pretty grim if that's all we could focus on...no new art, music, museums, etc, none of those further that cause.
Speeding up long range travel it a good endeavor to me. I'd love to go to Australia and not have it take 20 hours of flying and while SST's will be very high priced at 1st so was standard aviation initially.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 02:07 PM

15. I'm waiting for Transporter technology



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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 02:27 PM

16. The Concorde was cool, but also noisy, cramped and expensive

I must admit, getting to New York or Washington from London or Paris in 3 hours was fabulous, but I only flew on it maybe four times, and I have crossed the Atlantic hundreds of times on "regular" aircraft, and lived to tell the tale.

Besides, United? My greatest fear would be that I would reach a destination farther away from my luggage, and faster, than ever before. or else, they'd overbook the flight, and then kick off the ones who had tight connections to make, and make them pay for their accommodation, new air fares, and then say, "tough luck, Charlie." United and American are the last domestic carriers I would want to fly on an SST.

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Response to DFW (Reply #16)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 02:28 PM

17. "Breakfast in New York, Lunch In Paris, Baggage In Beirut"

.

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Response to DFW (Reply #16)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 04:50 PM

24. My take exactly: United should work on developing quality

domestic travel here at home.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 03:42 PM

18. Not Going To Happen...

This aircraft only has 55 passenger seats and can't go supersonic unless it's over water. Those two issues killed the Concorde in 2003 and have not been resolved. Not financially feasible.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 03:47 PM

19. Concorde was never profitable

Even at $5,000 a ticket, the Concorde only flew because it was subsidized by the governments of England and France. After a deadly runway accident in France, the bloom was off the rose and I believe it was the UK who pulled out of the deal and France refused to subsidize the aircraft by itself because the technology required an expensive upgrade as the planes were getting old. The Concorde worked, but it was just too expensive to operate for a private company. Only governments can afford to fly super sonic aircraft.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 03:56 PM

20. the uber rich must be running out of ways to spend their money. nt

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 05:01 PM

28. Ordering 15 supersonic passenger airplanes

from a start-up company who has raised 270 million? 270 million wouldn't build the bathrooms in those airplanes.

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #28)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 08:51 PM

36. Elon Musk got Tesla and SpaceX going with much less.

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #36)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 08:57 PM

37. The fact is, for every Silicon Valley success story,

there are a thousand failures. And Musk borrowed a lot more than 270 million before he was a success.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 05:06 PM

29. fuck this carve-out for a handful of over-privileged parasites

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 07:24 PM

33. I remember all the problems the Concorde had..


with supersonic flight. Lots of issues to deal with, unique to moving anything that fast.

Wonder who is going to develop propulsion? ge? pratt and whitney? rolls royce?

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Response to Maxheader (Reply #33)


Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 08:23 PM

35. With passenger 747's retired, there's nothing to attract the super wealthy.

Many have turned to leased/chartered/owned/contracted smaller planes as a status symbol, but that doesn't help the airlines' bottom lines or images.

I was kinda wondering if once COVID subsided completely we were going to head into a 1920's style era of excess, at least at certain socio-economic levels.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Jun 4, 2021, 12:52 AM

40. I flew on the Concorde three times.

The first time was my first trip to France.

I left JFK at 1 pm, roughly, as I recall, and arrived in Paris - if I recall correctly, CDG air por about 3 or 4 hours later. The problem with that was that in Paris, it was late evening.

I had to struggle with speaking (and worse, understanding) French, which I had not done for many years; my reading knowledge was not of much use. All the restaurants were closing, and I was wide awake. By the time I got out of customs, found a cab, got to my hotel, it was very late Paris time.

I'm already an insomniac.

It sucked.

I flew to Paris one other time on the Concorde, mostly for logistic reasons: At the time, in order to fill the seats, Air France had a deal that they would upgrade Americans (not French) to Concorde if you purchased a Business class ticket.

The plane was small, rather cramped, something like a bus.

Flying from Paris to NY was better. One actually arrived an hour before one left. I had a business breakfast in the morning, and a business meeting in the late afternoon.

I really don't think supersonic flight is a great thing. Going to Paris, it's much better to buy a business class ticket, have dinner, sleep on the plane with an Ambien (or equivalent, if needed) arrive in the morning, and go right to meetings so that at the end of the day, you're totally time adjusted.

These machines are also environmental disasters, although I didn't really think (or know) all that much about them in the early 1990's when I was flying to France a lot.

The only really cool thing about the plane was the altitude; it flew very high, and one could actually see the curvature of the Earth quite well.

The service was good, but not as good as in business or in first class.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #40)

Fri Jun 4, 2021, 01:28 AM

42. You raise an interesting point re time zones. Maybe what is needed ...

is a plane that travels so slow to the east that a trip takes 24 hr after including the time change, and supersonic to the west, so that it takes 0 hr. That would take care of it.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Fri Jun 4, 2021, 09:21 AM

43. That would be good for long haul trans-pacific flights

if they could hold enough fuel for the journey. Going from the US to Asia/Australia would be awesome but they probably have to make refueling stops along the way and be super expensive.

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