Boeing-2707 SST - Supersonic Marvel, Largely Forgotten Today Capable of transporting 296 passengers across the ocean

at 2900 km/h. 40 years ago, in 1968. The Sixties were simply amazing times for fascinating technology development. In the automotive industry, the "American dream" of a powerful full-size car was still very much alive. In space exploration, we reached out to the Moon. In air travel, the dream of a supersonic passenger plane seemed almost certain to become reality. Witness "Boeing-2707" SST (Supersonic Transport):

Such was the dream. The goal was to produce a commercial aircraft capable of carrying 250 passengers (twice as many as the Concorde) at Mach 3 speed and a trans-Atlantic range of 4.000 miles. but plagued by accidents). loftier than the European projects. which energized American designers and manufacturers. (At that time it was believed that all future commercial aircraft would be supersonic). but things heated up significantly when in 1962 the governments of Britain and France decided to join efforts in the creation of a supersonic "Concorde" airplane. almost on par with the idea of reaching the Moon. The American government nearly panicked and responded with its own program SCAT (Supersonic Commercial Air Transport) in 1963. Well. The intrepid Russians also came up with the Tu-144 (no less capable.from "delta wing" to "swept wing" design . Boeing 733 . The race for dominating supersonic airways was on. it was good while it lasted It all started in 1952 with small-scale studies of SST designs by Boeing.ru) ------America enters the race...(images credit: Testpilot. which got endorsement from President Kennedy himself.

but it would be the "American Dream" plane. the future of the world's airways (FAA estimated 500 of such planes in use by 1990) Some initial concepts from the 50s: .The proposed plane would be almost twice as large as the Concorde. cost two times more and require twice as much time to build.

it will certainly end up to be the best. Engineers of the new Boeing plane boasted that European supersonic aircraft is based on already nearly obsolete technology.Conceptual development of wing geometry (with variations on delta-wing and swing-wing themes): (image courtesy of NASA) The variable geometry wing already had quite a history in US (read this article). plus there was considerable data accumulated by the military in developing the XB-70 "Valkyrie" strategic bomber and YF-12 «Blackbird» spy plane. Air tunnel testing of Boeing 733 model: . and while American model may not be the first.

but "North American" (responsible for the X-15 Rocketplane) was strangely declined.an honorable mention. Lockheed 2000 .in 1964 the government started a competition for preliminary designs: "Boeing" and "Lockheed" were chosen. Thus.Some of these concepts looked like F111 fighters with variable geometry wings (a legacy from the TFX program). The Lockheed mock-up was proudly presented to the judges in 1966. but Boeing did not enjoy a monopoly on SST research for long . with better aerodynamics and less noise pollution. Boeing emerged the sole winner of the government contract. but rival Boeing-2707-100 already could take that many passengers and more. . Some progress was being made. and the design race nicely heated up. the others could pass for the upcoming Rockwell B-1 bomber. This baby was admirably full-size: some models could transport up to 300 passengers with range of 3500 miles. two giant corporations were pitched against each other.

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. See our previous article Glamour in the Skies for some Braniff helmeted uniforms. A new name reflected the fact that the plane's speed was Mach 2. "Boeing 2707" still featured variable geometry wing and a distinctive two-hinged "droop-nose" .7. too.(images courtesy of Lockheed) Note: Space helmets on cute stewardesses were all the rage back then. Boeing 2707-100: growing longer and sleeker. . It was decidedly bigger airplane.added for the best visibility during takeoffs and landings (its extra joint ensured better ground clearance). designed by Emilio Pucci.. With engines now in the tail section (removed from under aircraft's body due to safety concerns).

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To me it looks more like a futuristic "dream come true".ironically. New 2707 had a tailed delta wing all over again . reaching (some say) truly monstrous proportions. 2707-200 again grew in size. . By October 1968 it was decided to abandon the variable geometry wing due to overwhelming technical problems. However..Boeing 2707-200: almost there.. just like the rejected Lockheed entry.

Delta Airlines Artist Conception of swing wing 2707 design Size comparison: .

. seating "only" 234. Two prototypes were approved by President Nixon in 1969. and it was projected that SST would dominate the skies. .. rendering all other subsonic aircraft obsolete. The new design was smaller.(images credit: Boeing) Boeing 2707-300: already 2 years behind schedule.

000 mi .7 or 1.Length: 306 ft (1968) 318 ft (1972) Wingspan: (1968) 174 ft extended 106 ft swept Cruising speed: Mach 2.000 lb Passengers: 300 Altitude: More than 60.000 feet Power: Four GE4 turbojets Range: Transpacific.800 mph Weight: (1968) 675. 4.

(images credit: Hiller Aviation Museum) .

Also.2 the aircraft would encounter "skin friction effect" and its body will have to be built out of either stainless steel or titanium. The biggest complaint was "environmental/ noise pollution".net) Soon.(photos courtesy: Ben Wang via Airliners. The government (troubled by the Vietnam war) decided not to spend additional . significantly increasing the price. such as sonic booms and reduction of the ozone layer. These concerns surprisingly gained a lot of weight in the government. the project began to gather adverse publicity. at speeds above Mach 2. however. with supersonic flights over land in the United States eventually completely forbidden.

and was stretched so thin that a billboard was erected that read. "Will the last person leaving Seattle . with the beautiful Concorde resting in a museum.turn out the lights?" Extreme costs in operating supersonics brought the whole idea to an unfortunate end. Well." Boeing was a major economic force in the region. yet fuel-efficient subsonic jets. The dream still remains only a dream.. money (over a million dollars) poured in from American schools & kids. children's enthusiasm could not save the project either. and the skies dominated by sluggish. According to Wikipedia: "The SST became known as "the airplane that almost ate Seattle..millions of dollars and completely cut the funding in 1971. "The High-Speed Research (HSR)" program was canceled by NASA in 1999: (image credit: NASA) "Concorde" resides in a museum (appropriately in Seattle): . but consider one interesting fact: when the government withdrew the funds for SST program.

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This page has a few more pictures.. It was withdrawn after a short time due . The Soviet Tu-144 was the first commercial SST aircraft flown (built almost entirely with KGB & military technology). TU-444 keeps the dream alive. (image credit: NASA) But it's not the end of the story: ------Meanwhile in the remote & mysterious Russia. and then some.NOTE: one of the most glamorous flights of French Concorde was during the full solar eclipse in 1973 .as a flying scientific laboratory..

Today. but not before making Europeans and Americans accelerate their own projects. Tupolev Aircraft Design Bureau seems to keep the project alive and plans to come up with next-generation Supersonic Transport Tu-444.to crashes and problems. Have a look: .

The dream may live on. @2007 . -----Article written by Avi Abrams. so it's pointless trying to improve their flight times with expensive SST .ru) Some say that modern travelers are able to get anywhere on the globe within 24 hours anyway.and back! . are over.(images credit: Tupolev. but the times when the governments raced each other to achieve a shared dream.in a day.but apparently people at Tupolev's are still excited by the idea of getting from Moscow to New York .

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