Re: Fastest airliner ?

From:         Steve Lacker <>
Organization: applied research laboratories
Date:         08 Aug 95 01:45:11 
References:   1 2 3
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  or MIME structure (Richard Shevell) wrote:
>I do not think the Coronado was that fast.  It gained a higher drag
>divergence Mach No. through the use of Whitcomb bumps, carefully shaped
>bodies placed aft on the wing.  While the 'bumps' raised the Mach No. for
>sharp drag increase, they added so much parasite drag that they did not
>increase range and were never used again.  The Convair 990 was not a
>successful airplane.

True, the Coronado wasn't a 'success' by the standards of the 727, etc.,
but I have read widely that it is, in fact, the fastest-cruising airliner
of all time, except for the Concorde and TU-144 (which was truly a
failure). Convair spent a lot of time and money (too much, according to
most people) in obtaining that distinction, including adding the anti-shock
bodies you mention in an effort to get the plane to perform up to their
goals. In terms of utilization, I think the Coronado was as much of a
success as the Concorde. Quite a few Coronado's were flying into the '80s
(with Spantax, I think...), and I wouldn't be too surprized if a few were
still flying today. The only one I've ever seen firsthand was in the
process of being cut up at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International (Florida)
about 4 years ago. I was amazed at how small the Coronado actually is
(DC-9ish in size) since it was competing with the 707, 720, and DC-8.

As I recall, the Cornado was powered by GE's first attempt at a turbofan,
which actually had the fan mounted *aft* of the engine.... interesting.

Steve Lacker	/	Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas
512-835-3286	/	PO Box 8029, Austin TX 78713-8029