Boeing Sonic Cruiser
The Sonic Cruiser is a new airplane concept unveiled by Boeing in March 2001. The airplane has a dramatic new configuration and is designed to fly as fast as Mach 0.98, shortening travel times with fuel consumption per passenger comparable to today's best performing widebody twinjets. The program remains targeted for 2008 entry into service. Cruise altitude will be in the mid-40,000 foot (above 13,000 meters) level.
Initial range of the airplane will likely be between 6,000 and 7,500 nautical miles. Under consideration were ranges of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 kilometers) to 10,000 nautical miles (18,500 kilometers). If airlines and Boeing agree to pursue the higher scope of range possibilities, the new airplane will open entirely new routes for non-stop, faster service. If the decision is made to stay within ranges currently available - 6,000 nautical miles (11,112 kilometers) to 8,810 nautical miles (16,316 kilometers) -- the new airplane still will offer significant time savings to passengers.
The Sonic Cruiser being featured in The Boeing Company's Farnborough Air Show display in July 2002 highlighted several configuration modifications that have been made during the pprevious year. There is a new angle to the raked wing tip of the airplane. The size and shape of the tail and canard have been modified, and the engine nacelles now encase the entire engine. These changes are part of the ongoing process to finesse the design to ensure optimum performance
The Sonic Cruiser's new airplane concept is intended to change the way people fly, enabling passengers to travel non-stop directly to their desired destinations in less time. Likewise, it will allow airlines to maximize the economic performance of their airplanes. Environmental performance is an important factor in the design of the Sonic Cruiser; it will be quieter and cleaner than all anticipated regulations and provide excellent fuel efficiency.
The Sonic Cruiser wind tunnel tests provided valuable information that will be used in evaluating the general design concepts for the airplane. The specific size, range, capacity and performance attributes of the airplane will be developed and tested as needed. Boeing continues to work together with customers around the world as it evaluates this airplane concept and continues to gather input on airline needs and direction for future travel. Initial results of the high-speed wind tunnel test are within the range typical for first tests of a new transport airplane design. The test results match the expectations we had based on our modeling approach for this new airplane.
Work was done on the Sonic Cruiser prior to Dec. 20, 2002. Boeing is focusing its product development efforts on a super efficient airplane. This is the airplane that airline customers around the globe agree will bring the best value to an industry in need of improved performance. The advanced technologies that allowed the Sonic Cruiser configuration to provide 15 to 20 percent faster flight at today's efficiencies now will be used to bring 15 to 20 percent lower fuel usage at the top end of today's commercial jet speeds. Boeing believes that in the future airlines will again be interested in faster flight and we will be ready with a concept and technologies to meet this need.
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