Re: A3XX vs B747-600 (was: Airbus lawsuit coming?)

From:         faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         03 Sep 96 01:16:53 
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In article <airliners.1996.1702@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Don.Stokes@vuw.ac.nz
(Don Stokes) wrote:

> In article <airliners.1996.1680@ohare.chicago.com>,
> C. Marin Faure <faurecm@halcyon.com> wrote:
> >Of course, the SST never materialized, so the 747 continued in its very
> >successful role as a passenger carrier, but that was not the intention.
> >If the SST HAD been put into production, you would not see any 747s in
> >passenger service today, assuming Juan Tripp's plan had continued through
> >to fruition.
>
> Actually, the SST got axed at least partly because it wasn't going to be
> as useful as subsonic airliners simply due to the sonic boom problem.
> That problem wasn't one that could be made to go away by throwing more
> money at it.
>
> Even if the SST had survived, the huge drop in seat-mile costs that came
> with the 747 (and other widebodies) would have meant there was always a
> market for cheap subsonic travel.  I doubt any SST with the equivalent
> capacity of a 707 could come close to a 747 when looking at raw seat-mile
> numbers, and practical experience with Concorde tends to bear this out.

I suspect you're right.  I was simply stating what Mr. Tripp's intention
was at the time, when everyone seemed to think that supersonic travel was
the answer to everyone's travel needs.  If the SST had been put into
production, I'm sure the realities of its operational costs would have
kept subsonic airliners very much in the picture.

Incidentally, while I was not at Boeing at the time, their SST proposal
was a huge airplane compared to the Concord.  I believe it was almost the
length (but not the girth) of a 747.  They painted a full-size sillouette
of the SST on the north wall of the high bay building at the Developmental
Center at the south end of Boeing Field.  The full-scale mockup was inside
that building at the time.  In the early 1980s, after I had joined the
company, when the brown paint on the high bay building would begin to
weather off, that white SST sillouette would start to ghost through.  I
remember seeing it and realizing what a big plane it would have been.  My
office is not longer at the DC, so while the building is still painted
brown, I don't know if the SST's "ghost" still appears or not.

C. Marin Faure
   author, Flying a Floatplane