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Encyclopedia > Sonic Cruiser

The Boeing Sonic Cruiser was a subsonic concept airplane proposed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 2001.

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Boeing Sonic Cruiser (concept picture)

The Sonic Cruiser was publicly unveiled on March 29, 2001, shortly after the launch of the A380 by rival Airbus. Boeing had recently withdrawn its advanced 747 derivatives from competition with the Airbus 380 when no airline interest was forthcoming, and instead proposed the Sonic Cruiser as a completely different approach.


Instead of the A380's massive capacity, requiring a hub and spoke model of operation, the Sonic Cruiser was designed for rapid point-to-point connections for only 250 passengers. With delta wings and flying just short of the speed of sound at 0.95 Mach (about 1010 km/h or 627 mph at altitude), the Sonic Cruiser promised 20% faster speed than conventional airplanes without the noise pollution caused by supersonic Concorde's sonic boom. The aircraft would have flown at altitudes in excess of 40,000 feet, and would have possessed a range somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 nautical miles.


According to Boeing's own estimates, the Sonic Cruiser would burn 15-20% more fuel than conventional aircraft. However, it was estimated the aircraft would burn roughly the same amount of fuel as a conventional aircraft flying the same route due to the faster travel-time.


The Sonic Cruiser concept originated in 1999 and a variety of concepts were studied, including supersonic aircraft, aircraft with the engines mounted above the wing, aircraft with a single vertical tail, and aircraft with rectangular intakes. The initial sketches released to the public were highly conjectural. A patent drawing filed by Boeing on March 22, 2001 put the baseline aircraft's dimensions at 250 feet in length, with a wingspan of 164.9 feet.


Wind tunnel testing and Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis further refined the Sonic Cuiser concept. Based on artwork released by Boeing in July 2002, the Sonic Cruiser now sported two taller vertical tails with no inward cant. The forward canard was set at zero degrees dihedral. At this point, Boeing had yet to decide on the size or layout of the aircraft's fuselage cross section.


In the end, most airlines favored lower operating costs over a marginal increase in speed, and the project did not attract the interest Boeing had been hoping for. In fall 2002, Boeing released artwork of a notional "7E7" concept aircraft, which would become the Boeing 787. The Sonic Cruiser project was finally abandoned by December 2002, in favor of the slower but fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner.


External links

  • [1] (http://www.boeing.com/news/feature/concept/flash.html) Boeing Sonic Cruiser Webpage

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Boeing Sonic Cruiser - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (620 words)
The Boeing Sonic Cruiser was a subsonic concept aircraft proposed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 2001.
The Sonic Cruiser was born from one of numerous outline projects in a Boeing RandD program known internally as "20XX" (hinting that, had it entered production, it might have spawned a new "20 series" of Boeing aircraft), the goal of which was to look at potential designs for a possible new near-sonic or supersonic airliner.
The strongest of these initial concepts was dubbed "Sonic Cruiser" and publicly unveiled on March 29, 2001, shortly after the launch of the A380 by rival Airbus.
FLUG REVUE Aircraft Gallery: Boeing "Sonic Cruiser" (968 words)
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the ensuing airline crisis, it became increasingly clear that the Sonic Cruiser was not an attractive proposition for airlines struggling to survive.
Much of the technology of the Sonic Cruiser will read across to the new project, which could be launched in early 2004.
Before shelving the Sonic Cruiser, predicted service entry was late 2007 or early 2008, according to Mulally at the first presentation in 2001.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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