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Why We Don’t Have an SST

Ask why there was no replacement for the Concorde, which retired in 2003, and people will tell you that supersonic commercial flight is uneconomical. It’s not necessarily true. A supersonic transport (SST) is within the state of the art, but attempts to build one have been misdirected by politics and entrenched business interests, with a dash of class warfare. ( Mehr...

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Ric Wernicke 4
The SST as built is not a significant time saver or subsonic aircraft given the few routes it can ply at greater than Mach 1. Looking back in history it was possible to build a plane that was faster than a Connie, but slower than a 707. In 1958 it would have been a financial disaster to invest in such a platform.

The game changer that will be a huge time saver will be sub-orbital spacecraft that can go anywhere in an hour or less.

In the 19th Century it took Pres. Thomas Jefferson five days to travel from the Whitehouse to Montecito. Today it takes about an hour by car. Few would use aircraft for such a short journey. An hour on todays shuttle would make sense for Jefferson to go from DC to New York, but a 15 minute trip on a SST would make no sense.

On the other hand, Jefferson travelled to France in 1784, under sail for five weeks. It took so long to get there he stayed five years. A half hour flight in a spacecraft would have permitted him to be home on weekends. Certainly more desirable than the 4 plus hour SST duration.

When you extend the distance, say London to Sydney, the spacecraft wins hands down. Warfare (social and military) aside, society has no need for supersonic airplanes.
Dave Mills 3
While the "boom" is certainly a factor, it seems an oversimplification. I've found the recent Duke University piece broader, more substantial and convincing. Economics and new technologies have dictated commercial development. One reason, for example, four-holers are being discarded for twins. The article (in case you missed it:
Michael Fuquay 1
As with everything that rules the progress of humans - $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
Instead of asking why there was no replacement for the Concorde, maybe we should be asking if Concorde really needed to be replaced...


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