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Author Topic: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?  (Read 24415 times)

Offline alancalverd

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #25 on: 02/12/2014 23:31:38 »
Air travel is essential for environmentalists to attend conferences on pollution. Along with politicians, they have a neolithic intellect and are unable to use Skype. And if it were not for conferences on pollution, we wouldn't be able to exempt the major polluters (India and China) from abiding by the rules they make for everyone else. Apparently it is terribly important for people of limited brain power only to talk when the sun is within 60 degrees of the zenith, so they all have to be in the same place at the same time (with a break for lunch - the middle 30 degrees has some primitive religious significance). I've just been hearing about a 2-day conference of 5000 people in Sydney. Everyone went to dinner with their usual five friends and of course nothing was decided: 5000 environmentalists = 5000! (it's an astonishingly big number) arguments. You can't do that without aeroplanes.

I would be perfectly happy to run my business like a garage or GP surgery - if your x-ray machine doesn't work, or you have spilled radioactive material on the carpet, bring it to me and I'll prescribe some Prozac or explain that you can't get the parts for that model. But, alas, big machinery tends to be bolted to the floor and you certainly can't put a radioactive carpet in a plane, so Moses (or at least his descendant) has to go the mountain, preferably by yesterday.

It was  a stroke of genius to move the HQ of the NHS from London to Leeds, leaving the Dept of Health in Westminster. Obviously the highest-paid executives at each end are unable to use the telephone so they spend half of each working day on the train, and thus don't interfere with real work. A laptop full of speadsheets keeps them amused.

But I presume by "unnecessary trips" you mean holidays. WRONG! You can't have a holiday by Skype, or delegate skiing to the locals. A holiday is the one activity where you really, really must be there to do it, and the aeroplane is the cheapest and least offensive way of moving the unwashed across the planet. 

 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #26 on: 03/12/2014 05:59:42 »
Planes are essential so that environmentalists, politicians, and other highly paid saviours of the planet who are unable to use the telephone, can gather in one place in such numbers that they cannot make a decision.   

Not sure what you mean by "unnecessary travel", but I guess you mean holidays. WRONG!!!! A holiday cannot be had by Skype and you can't delegate skiing to the local staff - you absolutely have to be there. Business can mostly be done by phone or email.

Personally I'd love to run my business like a garage: if your x-ray machine breaks down or you spill radioactive material on the carpet, bring it to me and I'll tell you that you can't get the parts for that model any longer. Unfortunately big machines are bolted to the floor and it's not a good idea to move contamination around the country, so Moses (or at least this descendant) goes to the mouintain, and everyone wants it done yesterday.   
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #27 on: 03/12/2014 06:39:54 »
Planes also enable people to make lots of unnecessary trips that they simply wouldn't do by car, so the pollution goes up an up.
Cars also enable people to make lots of unnecessary trips that they simply wouldn't do by foot or horseback.   And there are many trips that people do in cars that would be better to do on foot or by bike.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #28 on: 03/12/2014 23:47:17 »
Unnecessary air travel is only undertaken by primitive people like politicians and environmentalists, who are unable to use a telephone and cannot communicate unless they are all in the same place. So they travel to huge conferences involving too many people to actually make a decision, apart from exempting the worst polluters from complying with their wishes. I've just been hearing about a 2-day environment conference in Sydney involving 5000 delegates from around the world, who achieved absolutely nothing by being there. 

The only essential air travel is holiday traffic. You can't holiday by Skype, or delegate skiing: you absolutely have to be there yourself.  Almost everything else could be better done by phone or email.
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 23:58:45 by alancalverd »
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #29 on: 04/12/2014 17:26:58 »
Most conferences are a waste of time - there's no point in going anywhere to hear a speaker, and while small group discussions are more productive, they lend themselves well to video conferencing.

Holidays are a better excuse for travel, but if you have more time off you can travel slowly by more environmentally friendly means and see more of the world along the way. People would be able to have much more time off work if work was shared out more evenly. It's also better to go and live for a few years in a far-off country instead of flying out there repeatedly for short holidays.
« Last Edit: 04/12/2014 17:28:58 by David Cooper »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #30 on: 06/12/2014 07:45:58 »
It's also better to go and live for a few years in a far-off country instead of flying out there repeatedly for short holidays.

But if you lived there, it wouldn't be "far-off", nor a holiday. The essence of holidays is their transience.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #31 on: 06/12/2014 17:47:29 »
It's also better to go and live for a few years in a far-off country instead of flying out there repeatedly for short holidays.

But if you lived there, it wouldn't be "far-off", nor a holiday. The essence of holidays is their transience.

A lot depends on what your vision is. If you want to live in a fair world where everyone has the same opportunities and a pleasant life, having everyone fly round the planet lots of times for short holidays is incompatible with that. You can only do it today because a rotten political system allows you to take more than your fair share.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #32 on: 07/12/2014 01:28:05 »
Quote from: thedoc
Are we going to be forever stuck in this air speed?  What are the constraints of aerodynamics?  Are noise rules the issue?  Can a supersonic jet be ever built with "decent" fuel economy?  Will we ever see another "Concorde" in our lifetime?
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersonic_transport
Quote
Throughout the 1950s an SST looked possible from a technical standpoint, but it was not clear if it could be made economically viable. Lift is generated using different means at supersonic speeds, and these methods are considerably less efficient than subsonic methods, with approximately one-half the lift-to-drag ratio. This implies that for any given required amount of lift, the aircraft will have to supply about twice the thrust, leading to considerably greater fuel use. This effect is pronounced at speeds close to the speed of sound, as the aircraft is using twice the thrust to travel at about the same speed. The relative effect is reduced as the aircraft accelerates to higher speeds. Offsetting this increase in fuel use was the potential to greatly increase sortie rates of the aircraft, at least on medium and long-range flights where the aircraft spends a considerable amount of time in cruise. SST designs flying at least three times as fast as existing subsonic transports were possible, and would thus be able to replace as many as three planes in service, and thereby lower costs in terms of manpower and maintenance.
...
The desire for a second-generation supersonic aircraft has remained within some elements of the aviation industry,[18][19] and several concepts emerged quickly following the retirement of Concorde.
...
etc.
I recommend reading the whole thing though.
« Last Edit: 07/12/2014 01:30:03 by PmbPhy »
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #33 on: 07/12/2014 07:32:16 »
It's a good read and I think the most telling part is the fuel consumption panel. Concorde operated at 17 passenger miles per gallon, about a quarter of the efficiency of a small Cessna, whilst a 747 (or Airbus 380) flies at over 100 passenger miles per gallon, competitive with a diesel car and far less environmetal impact than road or rail travel.

Size matters! Technical turnround time is pretty much the same for all subsonic aircraft, and rather more for supersonics (they have to cool before they can be refuelled - or even to empty the toilet), so the economic limitation is how quickly you can load a passenger, and how many destinations can handle the aircraft (that's where the 4-seat Cessna 182 wins over just about anything - 40 pmpg and you can fit it with skis, floats, or tundra tyres, and operate from 300 yards of anything vaguely flat!). Given the facilities at most city airports, the economics of a 747 or 380 beat a supersonic every time.

Speed is remarkably unimportant. From carpark to carpark, the subsonic NY-LON journey actually takes 11 - 12 hours, of which about 7 is spent in the air. Reducing the air time to 3 hours doesn't make a lot of difference, and any glitch that adds an hour of ground time will ruin a day that is timed to such precision that it's worth spending 20 times the economy ticket price: is your presence on the ground really worth 2000 per hour?
« Last Edit: 07/12/2014 19:32:16 by alancalverd »
 

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Re: QotW - 14.11.23 - Will flights ever get faster?
« Reply #33 on: 07/12/2014 07:32:16 »

 

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