Re: Boeing's Sonic Cruiser - a Boeing stealth aircraft

Date:         04 Apr 2001 16:41:04 
From:         "Paul Palmer" <>
Organization: Verio
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"Damon Hill" <> wrote in message
> Will it fly?  Will the airlines buy?  I hope so!  Commercial
> aircraft design has been SO boring for the past couple of
> decades.
> How fast WILL it go?  It already looks supersonic, with the right
> engines.

I believe Boeing is fibbing.

Why go to the lengths of a canard and double-delta wing for Mach .95?
Cessna's Citation X does Mach .92 in a standard configuration.  So add some
more wing sweep and burn a bit more kerosene, big deal.

I worked on General Dynamics' F-16XL, which had a double-delta "cranked
arrow" wing.  The program was originally called SCAMP, which was an acronym
for 'supersonic cruise at mil power'.  Mil power is without afterburner, and
SS cruise without it is something that could not be done on the 1980's
generation of engines.  During the program, we found out that the
configuration was also structurally efficient, and could carry a lot of
load.  Hmmm, sounds like an airliner....

At Mach .95, the Sonic Cruiser vs. A380 debate becomes, on my NYC-Tokyo
flight, where do I want to take my shower?  With the sonic cruiser, I take
it at the airline club at the airport; on the A380, I take it on the plane.
Either way, I get to my meeting at the same time.

At Mach 1.5, about the max speed standard aluminum and 350 degree F cure
composites will allow, I get to Narita with enough time for a side trip to
the Ginza.  I'll go to great lengths to get my company to swing for the
increased fare for that (...but boss, I'll be so refreshed...)

Combine Boeing's announcement with the AvWeek articles a few weeks back
about GE working on a combined cycle engine.  Excuse me, why would a
profit-motivated enterprise like GE work on such a thing, if not for a
supersonic commercial aircraft?  For the military?  Give me a break, Pratt's
been working on the F119 engine for 20 years and hasn't put that into
production yet, while ceding commercial market share to GE.  The USAF hasn't
been able to get the F-22 into production despite all of its efforts.  GE
would no more pour its own money into an unfunded military program than it
would admit that it wasn't number 1 or a strong number 2 in some market.

The 'Sonic Cruiser' has got to be a low cost Mach 1.4-1.5 bird that can
cruise economically subsonically over land.  If it ain't, Boeing's just
putting out word of the Sonic Cruiser because it's getting its butt kicked
by Airbus in the tin-can airliner battle, and somehow that makes it feel

How about it, anonymous Boeing engineers?

Paul Palmer