The Boeing 2707 – America’s Failed Answer To The Concorde

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The Boeing 2707 was the US planemaker’s take on a supersonic Concorde design back in the 1970s. What was it like, and why was it never built? Let us explore.

Boeing 2707
The Boeing 2707 mockup. Photo: Boeing

What was the Boeing 2707?

The Boeing 2707 SST (Super Sonic Transport) was Boeing’s answer to the Concorde. It was designed to be bigger, fly further, and carry more passengers than its rival.

  • The Boeing 2707 was designed to carry 292 passengers in two classes (28 in first with 40 inches of legroom and 264 in economy 34 inches of legroom). It would have a range of around 6,400 km or 3,500 nautical miles.
  • It would have been powered by four General Electric GE4/J5P turbojets. Each would have provided 63,200 lb/f (281 kN) of thrust. This would push the aircraft up to Mach 2.7.

It would have been used on travel between Europe and North America (the same as the Concorde), as well as routes over to Asia.

Boeing super sonic
The mockup of the Boeing 2707 from the rear. Photo: Boeing

Who ordered the Boeing 2707?

Here is a rough list of all the airlines that had intentions to order the aircraft.

Airline Orders
Aer Lingus 2
Air Canada 6
Air France 6
Air India 2
Airlift International 1
Alitalia 6
American 6
BOAC 6
Braniff 2
Canadian Pacific 3
Continental 3
Delta 3
Eastern 6
El Al 2
Iberia 3
JAL 5
KLM 6
Lufthansa 3
Northwest 6
Pakistan International 2
Pan American 15
Qantas 6
Trans-Am. 1
TWA 12
United 6
World Airways 3
Total 122

We do know that some of these orders were real. Qantas made an order for six of these SST’s and planned to use them to fly to London from Sydney. It would have been able to do the journey in 10 and a half hours with several refueling stops.

“1964 Qantas paid a $600,000 ($16 million in today’s money) deposit on six Boeing-manufactured supersonic SST aircraft.”Qantas Roo Tales

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Why was it never built?

With so many orders and an internal desire to beat the Concorde, why did the aircraft never get built?

The aircraft itself had some design issues. To fuel the powerful engines and carry the designed load, the aircraft would be too heavy to fly. Thus they needed a lighter material such as titanium, which at the time was incredibly expensive. Not very practical for an industry that was so focused on costs.

Boeing 2707 sketch
Sketches of the Boeing 2707 design. Photo: Nibifer via Wikimedia / 

But make no mistake, the major issue was the objection to supersonic travel. Going so fast created sonic booms that caused damage down below and prevented the aircraft’s usefulness. In fact, thanks to some political issues, the Concorde was increasingly being banned in some areas of the world.

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With government funding cut, this led Boeing to favor other projects such as Boeing 747 instead.

Ironically, a fun item of trivia is that it is reported that the design of the Boeing 747 was delayed due to the design of the Boeing 2707, as engineers were so committed to the future of supersonic transport that they didn’t want to waste time working on a sub-speed-of-sound cargo transport.

Translated above: In 1966, Iberia placed the order for three SST #Boeing 2707 aircraft, machines capable of reaching 2.7 Mach. The project was canceled and Boeing offered the 747s to companies that had advanced money. That is why Iberia was one of the first to operate Jumbos

Despite being the end of Boeing’s attempt at fast travel, the future of all supersonic transport is not yet closed, with some firms very close to launching their own aircraft very soon. 

What do you think of this story? Would you have liked to fly onboard the Boeing 2707 SST? Let us know in the comments.

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