GE Reveals Jet Engine for Commercial Supersonic Aircraft

AlphaAtlas

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The Concord was retired 15 years ago, and spacecraft aside, no commercial aircraft has broken the sound barrier since then. But earlier this month, GE unveiled their "Affinity" jet engine, which they hope will usher in a new age of supersonic jet travel. Hackaday notes that the engine is based on the old CFM56 core, and should allow planes to cruise at mach 1.4 at 60,000 feet. GE claims that it has the highest bypass ratio of any supersonic engine to date, which is important for using fuel efficiently. Real planes using this engine are still a long way away, but David Richardson, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' director of air vehicle design, notes that "For us to design a clean-sheet airplane at Skunkworks, we always start with an engine. Without an engine, you don't have an airplane. It is the enabler really for this whole enterprise."

Check out a video of the engine here.

A number of supersonic passenger aircraft are currently being developed, with the farthest along being the Aerion AS2. Designed in conjunction with GE and the legendary Lockheed Martin "Skunk Works", the AS2 is a business jet that is currently slated to begin operation in 2026. Test flights however could start as soon as 2023, which coincides with GE's plans for Affinity.
 
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i think what killed the concord was that it was nice to get somewhere in 1/3 of the time BUT to your employer the saved time isn't enough still to justify the premium cost. With video conferencing as great as it is today, I don't see anything new in 2018 to warrant a return to supersonic travel.
 
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The one listed as "getting close" is a 120 million Private Jet.
Nobody buying one of those cares about "premium cost" for plebe's.

This is for the ultra-wealthy to jet around the world in 1/2 the time.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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i think what killed the concord was that it was nice to get somewhere in 1/3 of the time BUT to your employer the saved time isn't enough still to justify the premium cost. With video conferencing as great as it is today, I don't see anything new in 2018 to warrant a return to supersonic travel.
What killed it was inefficiency.
-It could barely go New York to London on one tank using 4 times as much fuel as a 747 going the same distance while carrying 1/4 as many passengers.
-It was a prestige plane for the west. A loss leader. It was built because we could and as a big Fuck You to Soviet Russia and Communism in general. Soviets tried to copy it and failed miserably.
-The plane hit the market in the beginning of the 70's right in the middle of the oil crisis. Most of the orders were cancelled. Less planes built = less demand = less cost lowering on parts due to volume production.
-All of above points plus the ever increasing costs of travel and competitors shuttering their doors, its a miracle the plane was still flying into the 90's.

The crashes it experienced late in its career were the nail in the coffin for the plane. The airlines were looking for any excuse to shut it down to save money. The only reason they were still flying at that point was the plane was an advertisement of prestige for those airlines that still owned them.
 
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CombatChrisNC

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What killed it was inefficiency.
-It could barely go New York to London on one tank using 4 times as much fuel as a 747 going the same distance while carrying 1/4 as many passengers.
-It was a prestige plane for the west. A loss leader. It was built because we could and as a big Fuck You to Soviet Russia and Communism in general. Soviets tried to copy it and failed miserably.
-The plane hit the market in the beginning of the 70's right in the middle of the oil crisis. Most of the orders were cancelled. Less planes built = less demand = less cost lowering on parts due to volume production.
-All of above points plus the ever increasing costs of travel and competitors shuttering their doors, its a miracle the plane was still flying into the 90's.


One of the things I've heard about the Concord was that because it was SUCH a prestige plane and the passengers were such VIPs they kept a spare plane where ever it flew a normal route. So that when one did break down they could replace it immediately with minimal downtime.
 

vegeta535

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Maybe we'll have a hyperloop that will run under the ocean. Then we won't need planes anymore :D
I wonder what the cost of a hyperloop across the ocean would cost to make if it is even possible. Not to mention damages cause by hurricanes and tsunami.
 

Dr. Righteous

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Miracle courtesy of UK and French government subsidies.
This is it. This is why the American version of the SST didn't make into production. We had the technology in the XB-70 Valkyrie bomber. But as a commercial aircrafts the proposed designs just wouldn't be cost effective without government footing the bill to operate it.
 
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Draax

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Why do we not use pulse detonation engines? They have been around for 10 years now
 

Trepidati0n

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On any long routes, if it even got close to being 2x or less the current rates would be a game changer. This would double pilot efficiency for those runs because of the 100 hour limit for flight hours per month.
 

Trepidati0n

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Why do we not use pulse detonation engines? They have been around for 10 years now

Ahh...this old argument. Just because something has been shown in a lab to work doesn't make it commercially viable in a few years. With aerospace the way it is...taking a risk to either revenue or life over modest gains is a really foolish move.
 

Mega6

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Commercial Supersonic Hurtles:

1) Efficiency /Cost (as mentioned previously)
2) Sonic Boom restrictions. All new Supersonic (commercial) designs are working to lower the volume of the Boom so that the aircraft will be allowed to actually break the barrier near or over populated areas.
 
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Crystoff

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VG action novel set on a plane like this: "Mayday" by Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block. The standard DeMille narrative excellence, maybe with aviation tech info from Block.
 

Draax

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Ahh...this old argument. Just because something has been shown in a lab to work doesn't make it commercially viable in a few years. With aerospace the way it is...taking a risk to either revenue or life over modest gains is a really foolish move.
It wasn't just shown to work in a lab … a pulse detonation engine was attached to a Long-EZ and it worked. Pulse detonation engines are far more fuel efficient than gas turbines, hardly modest gains considering jet fuel prices have quadrupled since the year 2000. Pulse detonation engines can operate from subsonic all the way up to speeds of Mach 5. The only thing old about the pulse detonation engine "argument" is that the Nazis were using them on V1's in 1945.
 
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Tsumi

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It wasn't just shown to work in a lab … a pulse detonation engine was attached to a Long-EZ and it worked. Pulse detonation engines are far more fuel efficient than gas turbines, hardly modest gains considering jet fuel prices have quadrupled since the year 2000. Pulse detonation engines can operate from subsonic all the way up to speeds of Mach 5. The only thing old about the pulse detonation engine "argument" is that the Nazis were using them on V1's in 1945.

It working on a small scale plane does not mean that that particular design was suitable for scaleup to larger engines. I see a lot of continuing research on PDEs but nothing commercially viable. There are many engineering hurdles to overcome. It's no different from the battery breakthroughs we constantly hear about that never actually make it to market.
 

Trepidati0n

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It wasn't just shown to work in a lab … a pulse detonation engine was attached to a Long-EZ and it worked. Pulse detonation engines are far more fuel efficient than gas turbines, hardly modest gains considering jet fuel prices have quadrupled since the year 2000. Pulse detonation engines can operate from subsonic all the way up to speeds of Mach 5. The only thing old about the pulse detonation engine "argument" is that the Nazis were using them on V1's in 1945.

That is still "lab" for all intents and purposes. PDE's...like thorium reactors....are very easy to wave your hands and say "see, worlds problems solved" while ignoring the realities of well....reality. Don't get me wrong...I am glad there are people working on it as their life's work and maybe someday we will see something commercially viable. But until PDE can demonstrate a IFSD number near 1 million hours, not much is gonna change.
 

robble

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I guess he answered the age old question: "Which came first? The airplane or the engine?"
 

katanaD

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-It could barely go New York to London on one tank using 4 times as much fuel as a 747 going the same distance while carrying 1/4 as many passengers


I have actually walked through one once, it was at an air museum, cant recall where now though, and MAN inside was super TINY. you were paying for speed, not comfort on those things.
 

daglesj

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What really killed Concorde?

A good % of its regular paying customers went down in the Twin Towers.

After that sales of video conferencing suites went up bigly.
 
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