Re: new SST work?

From: (Terrell D. Drinkard)
Organization: Boeing
Date:         21 Sep 93 22:47:40 PDT
References:   1 2
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In article <airliners.1993.591@ohare.Chicago.COM> kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz) writes:
>>... a PBS broadcast ... mentioned that the Soviets, Boeing, and the
>>European consortium are ALL working on new Supersonic Transports...
>Douglas is in there too.  The project(s) is (are) generally referred
>to as the HSCT (High Speed Civil Transport).  The Pacific rim is the
>primary driving market for such a transport, because there is such
>an explosive growth in business and hence traffic, and because the
>distances are so great.

I don't think I'm giving away the store when if I tell you that Douglas
and Boeing are working together on the HSCT even as we speak.  It was 
all over the local papers, and I know the fellow who is doing the
coordination.  Heck, I even know the guy doing the digital inboard
profile.  :-)

I agree with Karl's analysis of the market forces for this airplane.
I would also add that the business traveler is usually willing to pay
more for reduced flight time because time really can be money for that
class of passenger.  Hence ticket price can creep up just a bit to cover
what are obviously higher operating costs.

>One key feature of any such plane is sufficient range to fly Tokyo-
>New York non-stop, keeping in mind that the distance may be greater
>than for a sub-sonic aircraft because of the need to avoid flying
>over land areas.  One variable is just what this means -- gaining
>authority for supersonic overflight of remote, largely uninhabited
>areas of Siberia would significantly shorten the range needed, for

The other big scenario (and my information is a couple of years old
here) is to start with a West Coast US to Tokyo range, and grow into 
the New York to Tokyo market after a couple of years, ala 'B' Market

Another variable here is sonic boom reduction technology.  With some
advances that don't require weird configuration compromises we could
conceivably see overland SST flight, and not just in Siberia.

>Another consideration is capacity.  What I've seen is roughly 300
>seats, I believe in a more-or-less standard three-class mix.  This
>and the range could potentially make such an aircraft financially
>feasible to operate.  There undoubtedly are some substantial tech-
>nical hurdles to clear first, however.

It has been awhile, but I think the Boeing HSCT has a 325 seat count.
In a three class layout, of course.  :-)

The technical hurdles for this class of airplane, and not just the Boeing
version are materials and engines.  The current class of materials
certified for aerospace structural application tend to creep under the high
temperatures associated with Mach 2+ flight.  This is not good.  :-)

Engines need to be very quiet on takeoff and approach, yet be very
efficient at 50,000+ ft and Mach 2 or faster.  Not to mention they need to
be utterly reliable, and if one *does* have the poor manners to fail en
route, the other engines must have the efficiency to get to a suitable
airport while flying off-design.  Pretty stiff set of requirements at the

>It's worth noting that the Pacific Rim market is also the turf of
>the 650-seat aircraft proposals floating around.  Assuming one (or,
>Gods forbid, several) of these projects is actually built, it will
>probably fly around the turn of the century.  Technical problems
>make it unlikely an HSCT could be flying that soon, but it's not
>unreasonable to expect an HSCT within twenty years.  That appears
>to put a rather quick cap on the life of the 650-seat behemoth(s),
>though the rapidly growly airfreight business may offer a continued
>market for these beasts while passenger traffic migrates to HSCT.

Hey, don't be knocking my airplane!  It pays the bills around here.  :-)
I would also like to point out that even if the HSCT comes on line as
predicted, it will have nowhere near the economics of the NLA (600 seats).
And if you are going on vacation, you aren't nearly so concerned with
flight time as price.  And the NLA will have it all over the HSCT in terms
of operating cost.  I would guess that one could purchase a ticket to Tokyo
from San Francisco on an NLA for only 2/3 of what you would pay for that
ticket on an HSCT - and that is assuming that everyone meets their economic

Not that I'm against the HSCT.  I think it is an obvious area for growth.
The Next Great Step, if you will.

"Anyone who thinks they can hold the company responsible for what I say has
more lawyers than sense."