Museums Boeing Archives - Bellevue, Washington USA

Boeing 733 SST Development Model at Boeing Corporate Archives - 1960's

Boeing 733 SST Development Model at Boeing Corporate Archives - 1960's

The Boeing 2707 was supposed to be America's answer to the Concorde - the first US SST. Boeing and Lockheed competed to win the bid for a government-funded contract to build the aircraft. Boeing won the competition with its larger, faster, and more complex proposal. This contract was unusual that the expenses were underwritten by the federal government for what was a civil airliner. Much like the Concorde was a collaboration between the French and British governments. In the early 1960s, it was thought that the Concorde was so far ahead in development to bother building a direct competitor so a much larger, faster, and more advanced aircraft was commissioned. The Boeing SST was intended to carry 250 passengers (more than twice as many as Concorde), fly at Mach 2.7-3.0, and have a trans-Atlantic range of 4,000 miles (6,400 km). At 306 feet, it would be some 60 feet longer than even the 747, and it would be a widebody 2-3-2 cross section in economy similar to the much later 767. The speed, size, and technology significantly inflated the costs yet wouldn't significantly improve flight times over its European rival. Boeing said when it won the contract, the construction of the SST prototypes would begin in early 1967 and the first flight could be made in early 1970. Production aircraft could start being built in early 1969, with the flight testing in late 1972 and certification by mid-1974. It was projected that SSTs would dominate the skies with subsonic jumbo jets, such as Boeing's own 747, these becoming mostly freighters. In March 1971, despite the project's strong support by the administration of President Richard Nixon, the U.S. Senate rejected further funding citing envirormental issues not to mention a downturn in air traffic during a recession at the time. Afterward, letters of support from aviation buffs, containing nearly $1 million worth of contributions, poured in. Still, the SST project was canceled on May 20, 1971. At the time, there were 115 unfilled orders by 25 airlines while Concorde had 74 orders from 16 customers. Noteworthy were orders from Concorde operators Air France and BOAC, as well as all the major US airlines of the time. Though a full-size wood mockup was built, the two prototypes were never completed. The Boeing SST became known as "the airplane that almost ate Seattle." Due to the loss of several government contracts and a downturn in the civilian aviation market, Boeing reduced its number of employees by more than 60,000. A billboard was erected in 1971 that read, "Will the last person leaving Seattle - turn out the lights". One of the wooden mockups was displayed at the SST Aviation Exhibit Center in Kissimmee, Florida from 1973 to 1981. It is now on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum of San Carlos, California Special thanks to the author from Wilkedia for much of this information.

comments powered by Disqus
F