AC once ordered a supersonic plane from Boeing

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by guinnessxyz, May 7, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. http://gofar.aircanada.com/up-in-the-air/top-5-the-most-unusual-airplanes/
    With a cruising speed of almost three times the speed of sound, the Boeing 2707 was bound to be the fastest of all civil aircrafts, even beating the famous Concorde. Developed by the United States in the 1960s to compete with similar airplane models from France and the Soviet Union, the Boeing 2707 unfortunately never made it to production, despite more than 120 pre-orders made by 26 airlines – including Air Canada.
     
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  2. 2by4

    2by4 Silver Member

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    There were a couple of models of the airplane around the headquarters building.
     
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  3. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Really? Where would they have flown it to/from: YVR/YYZ?
     
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  4. 2by4

    2by4 Silver Member

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    The consideration to buy the airplane was back in the 1960's, even before my time!

    I would imagine that Eastern Canada to Europe would have been all that it could do since the range was nothing spectacular.
     
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  5. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Flight time to Europe was the marketing angle for this aircraft.
     
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  6. canucklehead
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  7. 2by4

    2by4 Silver Member

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    I do not understand Canadian Pacific being interested in the airplane because it lacked the range for Trans-Pacific or even West Coast to Europe.
     
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  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    They were actually just declarations of interest. The design was never finalised and depended almost entirely on US Government funding. When the Federal money dropped the airplane dropped too. According to Joe Sutter, the B747 program chief engineer, the 747 was nearly derailed due to all the engineers devoted to the abortive supersonic airplane. His book is fascinating if you like this stuff:
    http://www.amazon.com/747-Creating-Worlds-Adventures-Aviation/dp/0060882425
     
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  9. NYBanker
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    Sutter's book is indeed an enjoyable read. Perhaps a bit of revisionist history, but for those who like planes, you'll enjoy it.
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    He is obviously not quite objective, but he also was candid about a fair number of surprising things, including the early P&W engine problems. One does need to have an airplane passion , I agree. Otherwise it probably would be terminally boring.
     
  12. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    And AC once took reservations for flights to the moon after Neil Armstrong did his walk, and 2001 played in fabulous ultra wide screen Cinerama. They even sent out certificates. (I worked reservations that summer and booked a few of these PR reservations. Heaven only knows what happened to them.)
     
  13. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    The SST died, a victim of two things: 1. the soaring cost of oil in the mid-1970s and 2. complaints over sonic booms. The latter being the reason Concorde was limited to supersonic flight over the ocean and not over land. This severely limited SST destinations, particularly transcons, and quickly ended US government support of the development program...though NASA still dabbles in hypersonic R&D.
     
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  14. jbcarioca
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    Maybe add a third factor: They could not manage to get enough range, partly because of the prodigious fuel consumption of engines available at that time.
     
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  15. Canadi>n
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    Not really an issue in those days. The SST was bigger than Concorde but could do transAtlantic and transcontinental, it's two main route demands. True a 4K mileage range these days is nothing but then that was the key design parameter. TansPacific flights normally did a stop in HNL or ANC, and NAN on the way to SYD and AKL and while nonstop to HKG or NRT was desirable in the age of the 707 and DC8 it was not a must because the region was never anticipated to be the booming market it is today. The business world was still focused on the NAtlantic and Europe (the sonic boom issue ruled out transcon US domestic) and that was a primary driver of the project. But requiring high fares to pay for operations, the numbers never added up for the airlines...there just were not enough customers who could afford to fly the SST. (Made even worse as fuel prices soared at the end of the 70s.) As a piece of engineering, the SST could have been built and put into service. But as BA and AF was to find with Concorde, the numbers no longer worked. (These airlines claim their Concorde service made money, or at least broke even, but they discounted the capital cost outlay in such statements.)

    A more relavent third factor was Boeing's own other project, the more practical 747 (and the DC10 and L1011 at Douglas and Lockheed). Fare competition across the Atlantic was making flying more accessible but the economics called for the ability to carry more passengers over getting there faster Speed was really only a demand from business travellers, and as Concorde proved, a very narrow slice of those customers. The "jumbo jet" was a much more practical machine, even if the airlines didn't initially recognize the game changer it would become by carrying twice the load of a 707 or DC8 at half the price. (And it offered the luxury of space for premium customers, at least in the early days of stand up bars and piano lounges.) And the earlier versions had a range to meet the two key markets: transAtlantic and US transcontinental. To get across the Pacific in one hop, the smaller version was built for PanAm and Qantas, carrying fewer passengers but having a range of at least 6K miles, able to do nonstop from the west coast to NRT or HKG, and one stop to SYD, the only markets at the time that could support such a service.

    BTW Concorde did fly semi-US transcon for a year or two, with Braniff dry leasing a plane each from BA and AF to offer an IAD-DFW-IAD premium service, albeit it as flown subsonic. Since the planes had to sit overnight at IAD, the two European airlines let Braniff use them for evening flights. My first Concorde flight was on one of these early evening dinner flights to Dallas after a business trip to Washington. The fare was a few dollars more than first class which itself was not that much more than economy, maybe the cost of a nice restaurant dinner (in those days, $30-$40).
     
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  16. jbcarioca
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    At the time the expectation, per Joe Sutter, was that once P&W sorted out the engine problems and made some improvements the B747 would be transpacific. of course that was slow in coming so the B747SP stepping in for those long routes. PanAm specifically wanted the Boeing SST to be transpacific. So did others IIRC but about PanAm I am certain. Nobody wanted the technical stops in ANC for North Pacific. In the end the killing event was the withdrawal of US Government funding, though, because the build was never expected to be commercially viable, but Boeing did have more than 50% of all engineers on the project because they could not resist a gift horse, and maybe even believed in the ideal.

    Some of the engineers who worked on taht stayed involved in some otehr project, like Quest (Quiet Efficient Supersonic Transport) that made some temporary progress in the early 1980's. I know about some of these issues, a little bit anyway, from working on the commercial assessment of Quest. We had access to the studies done for the 2707 and used those as the foundation for Quest. That one ended out at Darpa after the technical side was classified. It has been years since I have thought about that.
     
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