Welcome to the landing page for the ‘Grassroots SST Project’, this page is intended to expand over time to detail the basic essentials of designing, building and certifying a new supersonic transport. Other pages will crop up in due course, addressing specific technical topics such as the airframe, the powerplant, the systems, and the project plan and so on.
…but cutting to the chase, Sir Henry Royce once said ‘Take the best that exists, and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.’
To date, only two purpose built civilian SST types have been built and flown, and if you’ve arrived here you probably already know them very well – it’s no use me describing them, others have already done a fine job, so I’ll post the links below;
The best that exists, is…was… Concorde. There is no disputing this. We could blather on about returning Concorde to service, creating a new Concorde, likewise with the Tu-144, but we’d be kidding ourselves (especially with Tu-144) – it’s not going to happen.
So let’s get back to Sir Royce’s first statement. Take the best that exists – what IS the best? And then once we’ve found it, how do we make it better? and if it does not exist, how do we design it?
The current fastest civilian passenger aircraft in the world, is the Cessna Citation X.
“A Cessna?” I hear you say? Don’t laugh. I’m serious now – it IS the world’s fastest business jet. Gulfstream tried to beat it with the Gulfstream G650, a large cabin type costing 4 times as much, and Cessna simply increased their MMO to regain the speed crown with the Citation X+, without breaking a sweat. (I know, I was there)
Here’s some info;
And how then, if we’ve found the best, do we make it better?
Create a civilian Supersonic Transport by Modifying a Citation X.
Credit: Cessna Aircraft Company
Although for all intents and purposes, the scope of this webpage is a no more than a hobby project with only one volunteer(so far), it is a serious thought exercise about whether it’s possible to push the boundary back to former benchmarks.
There are many a precedent set, which demonstrates that the general scope of the ‘Grassroots SST’ is eminently achievable, so I’ll list them;
http://www.thrustssc.com/ : A supersonic car, (the one and only) pioneered by Richard Noble.
http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/ : Richard Noble at it again.
http://www.vulcantothesky.org/ : Dr Robert Pleming’s fleeting affair with a heritage display Vulcan bomber, XH 558. (You might have heard of it)
http://starfighter.no/ : Some Norwegian chaps, who have quite casually returned an F-104 Starfighter to flying condition.
http://www.b-29doc.com/ : A B-29 restored to flyable condition.
http://www.incredible-adventures.com/capetown2.html : Thunder City, the now defunct South African fast jet experience company.
http://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/theaircraft/ : The Battle of Britain Memorial flight, maintains and operates rare world war 2 display aircraft.
Perhaps, looking at the above, you are noticing a theme? These are all groups/teams/companies/trusts of individuals who are passionate about the idea of a vehicle to the point that they have self-organised, pooled their resources, sought and won investment or donations, and then have gone on to create/build/restore/maintain incredible aircraft/vehicles, overcoming significant technical adversity.
In some cases, the fruits of their labours have resulted in operating these vehicles briefly, but successfully.
But not necessarily profitably. The saying that must be ringing in your ears, if you have an iota of aviation business acumen, is the old adage;
‘How do you make a small fortune in aviation?…
…You start off with a large one.’
And so, it is with great trepidation then, looking back at the triumphs and struggles of some of those who have attempted similar feats before, that one must look at the prospects of a project as audacious as the one I have in mind. The ‘business model’, therefore, will be addressed separately in another area, this area is where I (we) will plan how to build our new speedbird.
But it is with the words of George Mallory I will leave you, the climber who attempted to summit everest three separate occasions, and died trying, he said of why he should try to climb Everest at all;
“BECAUSE IT’S THERE… EVEREST IS THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD, AND NO MAN HAS REACHED ITS SUMMIT. ITS EXISTENCE IS A CHALLENGE. THE ANSWER IS INSTINCTIVE, A PART, I SUPPOSE, OF MAN’S DESIRE TO CONQUER THE UNIVERSE.”
and further still, he also said;
“MY INTENTION IS TO CARRY AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE, MOVE FAST AND CATCH THE SUMMIT BY SURPRISE.”
I believe then, that we shall adopt this same mantra, for our goal to build an SST – and for the same reason!
To learn more about the TMB Grassroots SST project and Supersonic Advocacy, please navigate via the tabs at the top right, or follow the links below. New material is being added as and when there is time to write it…