Originally Posted by billybob_jcv I once met Bill Park
That's just downright cool.
Originally Posted by veyrongatti
So supersonic flight will never come back?
Billy probably knows better than I do (or than anyone else here does), but FWIR/AFAIK it's unlikely - Concorde was stupid expensive to operate (iirc it was like $8-12k/seat for passengers, and there were pretty serious limitations on luggage/etc due to weight (I have no idea how they'd handle modern customers who weigh in a 300-700 lbs per person
The fuel economy thing is a piece of it - Wikipedia has a nice comparison between fuel economy and passenger carrying looking at Concorde vs 747-400:
Passenger miles/US Gallon:
That's pretty dramatic, especially when fuel has probably gone up 10x in price since the late 1960s and today.
There's also the whole public fear thing (same reason nuclear reactors haven't become the de facto standard for power in the US) - if it's blown up live on CNN, it will probably never be commercially successful.
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv
Supersonic flight for passengers? Not in the foreseeable future. Even if the ban of supersonic flight over the USA were lifted, the combination of exotic materials required to deal with heat, fuel consumption and a much smaller carrying capacity makes supersonic passenger service financially nonviable. Passenger service is all about maximizing the number of people (or freight) you can move for the least cost. If you make a plane that can carry more passengers for less money, you will sell planes. Otherwise, the airlines will just upgrade the avionics and engines for the planes they already own.
This is also my understanding, more or less. Isn't the "next big thing" supposed to be spaceplanes, because they get to the whole "lower operating cost/speed" thing better than Concorde?
So - outside of fighters, supersonic doesn't make sense. Now, if we could do hypersonic (Mach 5+) for the same cost as the current transonic planes - then I think it's a whole new ball game!
Wouldn't that require some sort of, gee idk, world-altering scientific breakthrough?
The SR71 still officially holds most of the airplane speed records for "air-breathing aircraft" - that makes it different from rocket powered aircraft like the X-15 or the reentry of orbiting vehicles like the Shuttle or Apollo. There have been other aircraft that could do Mach 3 - like the Mig-25 - however that wasn't a sustained cruising speed - it was a maximum dash speed. Most of the top-line fighters have max speeds of between ~Mach 2 - 2.5. When you go over that, you start to need to think about more exotic materials to withstand the heat, special fuels, etc.
Doesn't it also hold the cruising altitude records, or have the various spaceplane prototypes started to take those?
Originally Posted by Magick Man
Didn't they make scramjet prototypes capable of Mach 7-8 but were never declassified? I remember reading testimonies of folks in the Arizona and Nevada deserts saying they heard 6, 7, or even 8 booms in succession. I believe it, there are manned aircraft faster than the SR-71, but I believe they implement some pretty exotic respiration systems.
I thought X-15 did Mach 6-7?
Or are you talking about "Aurora" (the Illuminati of aircraft...
So no one gives two squawks about the Merc/McLaren SLR? Okay, yeah, I see how it is.
I was going to go into detail about the history of that particular car and previous owner but, you know, whatever...
Hey man -
Your car can do like 200mph, we're talking about things that can do like, 2000mph. I mean sure, you can go hop in your car right now and party down, while getting into any of these aircraft would likely be impossible, but still...