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Boeing 2707

The Boeing 2707 was to be the first American supersonic airliner. It would have been built at the Boeing plant in Renton[?], Washington.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy committed the government to subsidizing the development of a commercial airliner to compete with the Concorde. The program launched in 1963, and the Federal Aviation Administration estimated that by 1990 there would be a market for 500 of the craft. The SST was intended to carry 300 passengers (a very large number at the time), fly at Mach 3, and have a range of 4,000 miles. Boeing and Lockheed officially responded, and Republic[?] did some design work of their own on the concept.

Boeing 733
The first Boeing SST design, known as the Boeing 733, had a configuration with a swing-wing[?] and four General Electric engines mounted underneath the wing roots - similar to the B-1 Lancer except that the four engines were mounted in four individual nacelles. By 1966 the 733 had evolved into the Boeing 2707-200. Due to concerns about jet blast the four engines had been move backward to a position underneath an enlarged tailplane. When the wings were in their swept-back position they merged with the tailplane to give a delta-wing planform.

On December 31, 1966 full-scale mockups of the Boeing 2707-200 and Lockheed L-2000[?] design were presented, and the Boeing was selected. Lockheed's L-2000 was judged simpler to produce and less risky, but its performance was slightly lower and its noise levels slightly higher.

Later in the design process Boeing encounted insurmountable weight problems due to the swing-wing mechanism. They were forced to abandon the swing-wing design in favour of a delta wing design, like that used by the Lockheed design they had beaten. The new delta-wing design was known as the Boeing 2707-300. Work began on a full-sized mockup and two prototypes. Other problems were caused by the need to use stainless steel and titanium, unlike the Mach 2 Concorde and Tu-144, as the heat generated by airflow at Mach 3 is enough to make aluminum go "plastic".

The project faced fierce opposition from environmentalists, who had concerns about possible depletion of the ozone layer and about noise at airports and from sonic booms. The later became particularily harsh, and eventually the #1 cause to rally around, eventually banning supersonic flight over land. The project also suffered political opposition from the right, who disliked the government subsidizing the development of a commercial aircraft to be used by private enterprise. The anti-SST campaign was led by Democrat Senator William Proxmire[?] who ran the campaign as a crusade against spending by the federal government.

In March 1971, the U.S. Senate rejected further funding. Afterward, letters of support containing money, nearly $1 million worth, poured in. But the project was cancelled May 20, 1971. At the time, there were 120 unfilled orders by 26 airlines. The two prototypes were never completed.

The mockup was disassembled and shipped to Florida, where it sat in a scrapyard for 19 years before it was purchased and partially reassembled for display at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California.



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