CAUTION: huge timesink hazard.
There's this SR-71 Blackbird stooging around Cuba on a top-secret mission, at FL500+ and Mach 2+.... when they get a call requesting them to change heading "because of traffic at your altitude".
Traffic at THEIR altitude ??
Anyway, they comply, and shortly, yes, there's an Air France Concorde out of Caracas (Air France flew there in the early days) slowly sailing across their flight path.
Just imagine... two guys in bonedomes and full pressure suits, in a cramped cockpit, watching something like a hundred people in shirt sleeves or summer dresses, sipping their champagne and maybe just starting on their smoked salmon hors d'oeuvres, flying at their altitude and nearly their speed....
That thread is fascinating; thanks for sharing!
- it was tiny inside! the seats were comfortable, but small. 2 by 2.
- the force with which you are pressed into your seat on takeoff
- gladly being served a glass of port (I must have been 12-13 at the time)
- leaving the flight with a bag full of good caviar that was served with the meal since quite a few people didn't eat theirs.
- Not just tiny, but claustrophobic: seemed like it had about 30 or 35 rows, so if you were in the back it was like looking down a long too-narrow tunnel.
- The force, and the speed, of takeoff and landing. Ridiculously fast compared to today.
- The view out of the too-small window: it was late morning, but the sky was a dark blue and you could see a couple stars. Also, I thought I could see a slight curve of the earth. As close to space as I'll ever come, I suppose!
- Steve Martin and at least four other people I vaguely recognized were on my flight.
- They offered (I think for free) transfers to LaGuardia or the World Trade Center by helicopter. I really regret not doing that!
- And I remember being underwhelmed by the "Mach 2" speed: other than the flight being only a little over three hours, it didn't "feel" fast in the air at all.
I forget how it much cost, but I remember using frequent flier miles to upgrade to Concorde from a paid first class ticket.
I think the most fascinating part was making it really operational and reliable. That's a very hard problem. AFAIK it has more supersonic time collected than all the other aircraft combined. And if you look at military jets, they have a mind boggling amount of maintenance hours for every flight hour.
only 20 aircraft maintenance man-hours per flying hour
I don't know anything about flying but I assume there's a limit to amount of the parallelization you can do? Can twenty technicians finish the maintenance in an hour? More importantly, how long can you put off this maintenance? Do I have to spend this before each flight or can I delay this as a batch process later in the week?
Sorry for stupid question
For commercial aircraft, this article would suggest massively less wall clock hours in maintenance than in flight, about a ratio of one to ten (assuming 12 flight hours per day and 16 hour days in maintenance).
Maintenance man-hours would be about three per flight hour. So comparable to the cockpit crew.
A check: 500 hours of flying, 20 hour, 200 man-hour (0.04 h/h, 0.4 mh/h)
C check: 2 years of flying: 2 weeks, 6000 man-hours (0.03 h/h, 0.7 mh/h)
D check: 6 years of flying: 2 month, 50,000 man hours (0.03 h/h, 1.9 mh/h)
EDIT: this doesn't include unscheduled maintenance.
"With upgrades to keep the B-1 viable, the air force may keep it in service until approximately 2038. Despite upgrades, the B-1 has repair and cost issues; every flight hour needs 48.4 hours of repair. The fuel, repairs and other needs for a 12-hour mission costs $720,000 as of 2010. The $63,000 cost per flight hour is, however, less than the $72,000 for the B-52 and the $135,000 of the B-2. "
I'll just leave it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupolev_Tu-144
Nonetheless I did not know Boeing was lobbying against it - that kind of protectionism does indeed hinder innovation.
This segment was sub-sonic, though.
At that time only N-reg aircraft were pemitted to operate internal commercial US flights.
To simplify the process the BA Concordes were allocated unique-for-the-UK alpha-numeric registrations which could have their 'G-' prefix hidden by speed-tape:
The magnitude of the sonic boom is relative to mass, and modern planes are being built lighter and lighter (to save on fuel). Something like a 50-seat mostly-carbon-fiber super sonic aircraft at 50,000 ft might well be perfectly fine to fly over land at Mach 2. The smaller size might also help with the problem of empty seats. As well, ideas like wings that change shape/angle for different portions of the flight could also help.
Someone just needs to put down the R&D money and take the risk to build such a plane.
The only way mass would have an effect is if the exhaust (which heavier planes presumably generate more of) contributed to the sonic boom, which doesn't sound right.
I'll believe that modern planes might generate smaller sonic booms, being more efficient sounds like it's related to how you displace the air, which sounds very related to the size of the boom, but I don't believe you that mass is related.
I can understand that objects floating on water follow that principle but that's because they are floating. Once fully suspended in water, I think the amount of water they displace is just their volume. Shouldn't it be likewise for aircrafts in the atmosphere?
Not quite. Outside of ground effect, a downward force is applied to the air mass around the aircraft, resulting in lift on the aircraft. IIUC, this results in compressed, high pressure air below the plane and low pressure air above it. The result of that is a pair of vortices roughly centered on the plane's wingtips. These vortices themselves are Somehow Important to the whole thing. Anyway, you can see the deal when a plane flies close to a cloud top.
In ground effect (i.e. the aircraft is flying within roughly one wingspan of the ground), the proximity of the ground blocks the formation of the wingtip vortices (?) and greatly enhances the efficiency of lift production (by some form of magic, AFAIK).
Someone else in the thread posted an article I may have read (or the author of the one I read, read, x levels of authors deep).
You may have misread an article describing pounds-per-square-foot as a measure of sonic boom intensity. This measurement is not about the mass or density of the aircraft relative to its area, this is the change in air pressure at the ground caused by the sound wave.
Pretty cool looking actually. Though it does dull the "fighter-planes-fighter-plane" look of the F-5 a bit.
Actually being able to use simulations to a much larger extent than was possible back when Concorde was being developed must play a role in lowering the costs of building a new supersonic aircraft. I believe this is what Boom is trying to do! Let's hope they can spur more investments into this field - it would be very cool if we got to see supersonic travel again :)
Source: I'm 56 years old, have lived in 6 US states (including Nevada) and have never heard a sonic boom in the US. I know what they sound like because I visited Germany in 1970 where sonic booms from US warplanes were common.
Is a vengeful corporation or protectionism responsible for that prohibition, too, in your opinion?
How about extremely sparsely populated.
>I don't know where you were
Massachusetts, South Florida, other places east of the Mississippi.
Here's a related obligatory Elon Musk quote from his talk at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico last month:
"Actually, I was sort of thinking, like, maybe there is some sort of market for really fast transport of stuff around the world, provided we can land somewhere where noise is not a super-big deal — rockets are very noisy — but we could transport cargo to anywhere on earth in 45 minutes, at the longest. So most places on Earth would be maybe 20, 25 minutes. So maybe if we had a floating platform out off the coast of the USA, off the coast of New York, say 20 or 30 miles out, you could go from, you know, from New York to Tokyo in — I don't know — 25 minutes. Cross the Atlantic in 10 minutes. Really, most of your time would be getting to the ship. And then it'd be real quick after that.
So there's some intriguing possibilities there, although we're not counting on that."
Unlikely. Flying supersonic is expensive, and the larger the jet the more expensive it is.
The market for people willing to pay significantly more for a somewhat shorter flight is way too small, people much prefer cheaper flights (hence the success of Ryanair and similar) and those who would/could be willing to pay for it will use private or shared charter jets instead.
Note that even the POTUS doesn't care, Air Force One is a militarised 747-200.
No president has really had a chance to choose super sonic vs subsonic. There's never really been a plane big enough to support the whole retinue and support apparatus that POTUS travels with that's capable of super sonic flight.
That said, there probably is a market for supersonic commercial aircraft. The problem is it's not large enough to develop the hardware. When Boeing or Airbus comes out with a new subsonic mid-sized widebody they're expecting to sell thousands to the commercial market, plus an air freight version, plus tanker variants for military use.
The 2000s, when all of these things slowly were phased out, were a hard time, making me feel old for the first time. Sure, we got the Internet, we got vertically-landing rocket boosters, we got huge improvements in medical procedures ... but they all look so ... non-futuristic.
But futurism has itself taken a massive knock. The 80s was the era of popular realization of the downsides of technology (Chernobyl, Bhopal, phaseout of CFC and tetraethyl lead, global warming, environmental issues generally) and the 2000s the era of realizing that progress is not a ratchet and the simplistic view of bombing countries into democracy wasn't going to work.
You can't present people with an unalloyed utopia and expect them to believe in it. People will ask the same questions of technology as were asked of Concorde - cost and safety - but be far less impressed with the raw concept of highspeed travel.
That is, people have realised that you can't treat "technology" as some kind of standalone magic that would, of itself, deliver a better society. People themselves will not be remade in technology's image.
That's a rather poetic statement. Is that a common expression?
The idea of technology making or remaking man rather than the other way round is definitely part of Futurism, Modernism and to some extent Bolshevism. I'd suggest reading Bruno Latour on the subject, especially "Aramis, or the Love of Technology".
We are living in a second golden age of aerospace innovation.
Fun fact: the Falcon 9 cannot throttle its engines low enough to hover. That means it lands at >1g, cutting thrust the moment it touches the pad to avoid taking off again.
For me, Hong Kong and especially its skyline was much more futuristic and fascinating. If you've never been there, go for it!
I also feel it's like the M&M test for quality and culture of a company or nation.
(in Montreal they also believe that heir trains are super smooth and quiet because of the rubber wheels, compared to steel train. I can not explain this belief.)
The experience of going so fast so close to the ground is quite maginficent. I was wondering why the cars 'stop' on the nearby motorway.
The German Wikipedia says that there are two 45 minute slots a day, but not when exactly. Maybe their web site tells it? I could find the information after a cursory look.
Working from home with people thousands of km away, talking to them, looking at them in the eye.
Working, pairing with other people, while in flight between cities.
Walking around with a phone in my pocket, people can call me wherever I am.
Looking things up from different sources quickly while talking at the dinner table (use to be single source dictionary + a trip to the library later).
At work, an my kids working together collaboratively on a document.
I often wonder what kids can dream of, today, given all of this happened. The only parts of my dreams which haven't yield are AI and infinite energy.
I'm pretty satisfied with the future we live in. But the global warming is coming too fast.
Holodeck-type VR, I'm guessing.
we all get what you mean, it's great and whatnot, but this specific case you describe are new-age idiots - constantly checking cell phones, while sitting with each other, just because there is 'something important'... no, there isn't
That's still an open research field right now.
There's currently research going on to find out if there is any way to make eye contact possible, but I don't know of any proposed way so far.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_%26_Technik_Museum_Sinshe... and https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Concorde...
1) British Airways
2) Air France
3) The United States Air Force
Military jets don't go supersonic very often or for very l0ng, and virtually never cruise at Mach 2+. (The striking exception being the SR-71, which -- like Concorde -- is now retired.)
Wow. Just wow. These engines are obviously far from their designed power band when taxiing, but this is incredibly inefficient.
So basically the travellers would cause more pollution in the 10 minutes of taxiing than in maybe 10 hours of driving a car...
Engines and intakes were designed to be supersonic efficient, which meant they were horribly inefficient at subsonic and taxi speeds. SR71, XB70 and similar big supersonics of that generation had similar, but worse, issues. Being military it didn't matter - they used to just in-air refuel the SR71 right after takeoff!
> The TaxiBot eliminates the use of airplane engines during taxi-in and until immediately prior to take-off during taxi-out, significantly reducing aircraft fuel usage and the risk of foreign object damage.
So which is it?
Most likely, in this different scenario, there actually is a FOD Advantage.
SR-71 was the same, leaking aside, it needed to be refuelled immediately after takeoff.
That's an exaggeration. 100 passengers, so 20kg/passenger, i.e. about 20l, which is less than 200km worth of fuel. Maybe 2 hours' worth.
And a car has pretty bad fuel consumption going in and out of the driveway too. You want to compare the fuel consumption for the flight as a whole really, since the alternative is presumably driving a transatlantic-equivalent distance.
Still not quite 10 hours, but well past the 2 hours.
 http://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/volume-to-weight using 'petrol', which is going to be different to what airlines use, but it's the closest i can find
Much less glamorous, an image of a Concorde that is sitting in the grass near Orly airport:
I think flight time was around 4 hours, looking at the other folks arriving in reception hours after us all looking shattered after a 9ish hour flight was a great experience.
Would do it again tomorrow if I could worth every penny.
I subsequently worked with a Concorde when I worked at the Science Museum in London and I must say I fell a bit in love with it. It had a wonderful mix of glamour and geek that completely struck a chord.
However, Concorde really wasn't the worst offender. The 747s delivered a noticeably deeper and more earthshaking thunder.
I am aware this is completely anecdotal, and that once supersonic, the Concorde would drown out anything Boeing.
The KCs used water-augmentation (I think) on takeoff with a full fuselage of fuel, and honestly sounded like the sky was made of 100 layers of cotton and someone was tearing them apart with their hands. 2 solid minutes of "hey, they're ripping the sky again" and the water would run out and they'd sound like a normal heavily loaded Boeing chassis again.
Miss it still
I don't care if Concorde was uneconomic. Some things you should do just because they're beautiful.
Its said that once a USAF pilot saw the Vulcan manoeuvring and remarked that it was awfully big for a fighter...
Not sure if the Vulcan was supposed to deter the Soviets with its nukes or simply scare them to death.
Edit: The Vulcan wasn't just loud in the "strategic bomber" sense of loud - it also sometimes generated a completely unearthly howl that it is famous for. Combine the engine noise and the howl and it really was quite a monster.
Just a shame it was originally built to kill millions of Russians. I know military investment produces all kinds of awesome technology, but... we could be better than that. And that's something Concorde felt like it represented.
All Concorde tickets were first class; first class tickets on flag carriers are fully exchangable without rebooking fees, and the carriers will honour each others tickets -- if you have a first-class ticket on Air France and the flight's cancelled they'll ensure that some other (any other) airline with a free first class seat will carry you instead.
So first-class tickets are popular with people who really need flexibility, and if you were flying JFK-LHR you might as well book a Concorde seat because if you missed the speedbird you could just waltz aboard the next departing 747.
I do know a guy who was booked JFK-LHR in business class in the 90s and whose flight was overbooked; BA offered free first class upgrades to anyone who was willing to travel on the next departing flight with seats so he volunteered, and was most surprised to get home two hours early!
> It has been suggested that Concorde was not withdrawn for the reasons usually given but that it became apparent during the grounding of Concorde that the airlines could make more profit carrying first class passengers subsonically.
USA is okay for being the first, but not the other country. They look like France (and UK) of the colonial times.
So fun that a nation became what they fought against.
We won't get supersonic commercial flight again without going suborbital (which seems likely to happen at some point, just land SpaceShipTwo somewhere else... like Australia), or someone figuring out how to design an airframe which dissipates the boom before it hits the ground.
People are working on that, though.
I have a picture for you to compare how small France is compared to USA http://www.wanderingfrance.com/blog/images/143.png
Oh, and the mirage and rafale find inhabited places everyday to make their sonic bangs, so I am sure it can be done in the USA too and that their military planes are doing so too.
empires rise and fall, look where greek, roman or ottoman empire where and where the countries are now. same will happen to US, it lost many ideals of it's founding fathers and losing more every day. I wouldn't stress too much about it, it's natural. all old must die so new, maybe even better can be born
Grounding them was also a very good thing from an environmental perspective!
But Concorde was a differentiated product that other airlines couldn't compete with. Despite it's high operating costs, it was profitable (at least for BA) and it also acted as a "halo" product that boosted to the image/prestige of the entire airline.
In the case of BA, they were also given the aircraft (and spare parts) by the government at far below market value. There may have been some kind of unwritten agreement that they would keep operating them for as long as reasonably possible, basically as a matter of national pride.
I think he said that it was the charter flights that brought it the money.
My uncle was involved from the radar side and recounts how amusing it was to watch the Lightning fighters try to scramble to perform a mock interception; they could peak at Mach > 2.2 but that wasn't anywhere near sufficient. They could only manage it if held airborne with a tanker ahead of the flight path and given lots of warning.
Later the Lightnings were 'replaced' by the Tornado F3, which was so anemic in performance that they didn't even try for a firing solution. They used to have to engage partial reheat to keep-up with the turboprop Soviet 'Bears'!
My most lasting memory of it, though was the pollution - the air was brown behind it when it initially thrusted up, and the smell was really intense. A great machine, but not a friend of the environment, sadly!
Can't remember runway minima etc, but I remember watching one leave Leeds-Bradford that also ran some charters near end of life.
Right to the end of the runway, then full short takeoff tactics. Spin up engines and fire reheat on the brakes, then release. Noise and smoke as you'd expect - engines were in the power and on reheat before it even moves. One thing afterburners can never be is environmental.
Still managed to look like it used most of the runway before unsticking!
0_O - I think they invented the first commercial, non-viable time-travel.
I don't think that's the proper wording; I'm pretty sure there were other things on the flight deck besides a radiometer.
This always bothered me - how come it's easier/cheaper to burn 2 tonnes of fuel, than just tow the damn thing to the runway?
Obviously, it could start the engine but don't use them for taxiing, except that the 4 engines were so powerful that at idle produced enough thrust to move the plane (and they were burning a lot of gas). So better to taxi on it's on power than been towed.
P.s: the 2 tons figure was the higher estimation, not the regular consumption...
It seems like the latter would need less fuel because it only fights the atmosphere on launch and then glides through a near vacuum most of the way.
But perhaps the additional speed requirements cancel the drag savings?
Googling for this helped put the sub 3 hour 1996 concorde flight into perspective.
East cost flights to Europe are horrible.
Well... after having done Paris/Réunion a couple of times, a 12-hour flight with little jetlag, I must say this was a pretty terrible experience. The problem with sleeping for me isn't the length of the flight, it's the general noisy environment and uncomfortable seats with little room for legs (even if I'm not that tall), the upright posture, etc. Also, you don't get time for a movie but for three or four of them.
I've always liked the Paris/Montreal flights much better simply because they're short enough that you don't get bored as much.
That said, after having done Europe<->Australia and North America<->Australia a couple of times, the prospect of a 12 hour flight doesn't really sound that bad any more ("Only 12 hours? Sweet!").