The Boeing Sonic Cruiser was a subsonic concept
airplane proposed by Boeing in 2001.
The Sonic Cruiser was proposed shortly after the launch of the
Airbus A380 by rival Airbus. The Sonic
Cruiser was designed for rapid point-to-point connections for only 250
passengers. With delta wings and flying just short of the speed of sound
at 0.95 Mach (1131 km/h), the Sonic Cruiser promised 20% faster speed than
conventional airplanes without the noise pollution caused by supersonic
Concorde's sonic boom.
Unveiled on March 29, 2001, the new concept featured canards similar to
those of the Tupolov TU-144, a unique
"gloved" delta wing, rear-mounted engines and two horizontal fins at the
back of the airplane instead of the standard horizontal and vertical tail
section found on today's jetliners.
It was expected that the new aeroplane will accommodate 200 to 250
passengers, fly between 6,000 and 9,000 nautical miles, and travel at a
speed between Mach 0.95 and Mach 0.98- 15 to 20 percent faster than what
currently is possible. It also will have a cruising altitude in the
In 1999, a team of about a dozen engineers first began significant work on
the new design. By fall 2000, they had developed an aeroplane that looked
very much like the design concept.
In early 2001, resources again were added to the effort. Discussions with
airlines in North America, Asia and Europe in the first quarter of the
year confirmed the design offered exactly what airlines and passengers are
looking for: the ability to fly quickly and directly to their destinations
while avoiding time-consuming and costly stops at major hubs - a concept
known as point-to-point service.
With its huge speed advantage, the Sonic Cruiser was expected to cut
travel times by approximately 20 percent, or one hour for every 3,000
miles travelled. And because it can travel at altitudes well above today's
commercial airplanes, the airlines will be less impacted by traffic
congestion, an emerging industry concern.
With the downturn of the airline industry a plane as radical as the sonic
cruiser was the last thing on airlines shopping lists, in fact what
airline operators started to ask for was more economical planes. This
caused Boeing to rethink the future of the Sonic Cruiser leading to to
scrapping of the project and start of development of the super economical
The Sonic Cruiser was intended to serve an all-new market and Boeing was
continue to build it existing range of aircraft families. Following
customers reaction to this plan, the last thing Boeing wanted was to lose
business to rival Airbus. With this in mind the
7E7 project was born, it gave customers a plane that suits their needs
at much lower operating costs and it gives Boeing the opportunity to
replace their 757 and 767 series of aircraft with just one model lowing
their manufacturing costs.