In The List of Billionaire's Toys. . .

Why don’t any of them have their own supersonic jet liner? Lots of them have jets like 757s and some of them even have their own space programs, so why didn’t any of them buy up a Concorde when BA retired the fleet? Or have their own built from scratch?

When the Concorde fleet was retired away went all the providers of spare parts, gone were all the maintenance facilities, simulators to keep the crews current and whatnot. Further I suppose the airwortiness certificates were pulled.

Of course with enough money, all of these problems could be resolved, I suppose. It is just not worth it.

Is it “worth it” for the guys who own Google to have a 757? I mean, these guys are already busy trying to one-up each other by competing to see who has the fanciest jet, biggest house, most private islands, etc. Getting a Concorde or your own custom made SST would just be another part of that “one upmanship” many of them play.

Additionally, what’s the motivation for going for a supersonic jetliner?

AIUI the Concorde was cramped, for a commercial craft, and not a particularly comfortable flight.

While getting from point A to point B faster was an attraction to the plane, AIUI one of the reasons that it was popular for business travellers was that it meant the traveller was blacked out for a much shorter time than would have been the case for a traditional flight. For the people you’re talking about, they could afford, then the sort of communications suite that would have kept them available at all times, even in the heyday of the Concorde. Today, without that, most people can be reached on airliners anyways - so the concept of the communications black out while travelling (Between First World destinations, at least) is a thing of the past.

Again, you can argue for the social cachet matter. I’m just offering another potential pragmatic reason not to get one.

True, but if you’ve seen the interiors of billionaire’s private jets, they’re not at all like commercial airliners. More like flying yachts. I would think that someone who could afford to buy a Concorde could also afford to have the interior retrofitted to something more comfortable. And one reason why you’d “want” an SST as oppossed to an “ordinary” billionaire’s jet is that you could (for example) fly from NYC to London, have breakfast, and then fly back to NYC in time for a 3 martini lunch, then fly to Paris for dinner, fly back to NYC and sleep in your own bed.

Pfft. A lousy SST. A real man buys fighter jets, not some pansy comfortable airliner.

This guy’s private collection could take on the entire air forces of many small countries!

Pfft! A real man shows up in a fighter jet, but leaves in an SST so that the woman he’s seduced can ride in comfort. :cool:

Isn’t supersonic flight banned over the United States? That would sharply limit the utility of owning a supersonic plane.

There’s really not much utility in owning your own private 757, either when you think about it. And you can fly your SST up to Mach .9999 overland, which is still faster than a commercial jet.

But not so much faster. And nobody’s explained where the spare parts are going to come from.

There’s plenty of parts and maintenance services available for 757s. Not so much for the Concorde. That’s not a problem that even a billionaire could easily solve with money.

So have one custom built with off-the-shelf parts. AFAIK, there’s no law which says you can’t use the same engines that fighter jets use.

It sounds like your question is devolving into why rich people don’t have supersonic aircraft. The simple answer is that it is a crap idea and will never exist again in our lifetime as a major consumer option. The drawbacks are huge if not prohibitive and you can fly coast to coast in a regular airliner in 6 hours. Those aircraft include things like a 737 or a 747 and can be outfitted nicely to billionaire standards and there are parts and maintenance crews on the ground at every major airport in the world. That is the killer feature. You can fly a 747 (new $200,000,000) anywhere in the world in about 24 hours. The advantages of having a faster mid-range aircraft are destroyed by having a giant, reliable, fully supported, aircraft that can stay aloft for a much greater time without having to refuel and take you anywhere.

You seem to be forgetting that Paul Allen, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and others all have their own freakin’ space programs. The same arguments you’re making against the private SST could be levied against their space programs, but they’re still pouring money into them.

No, that has no relevance whatsoever. I am an aviation buff like you are a car buff if not more. Airliner design takes decades with the current crop of new airliners having 30 or more years of service life. There are zero serious plans on the table for supersonic airliners now. That means, if someone announced one today, it won’t be in service for about 30 years and other factors prohibit that from happening.

Small spacecraft are cool and they might well happen but that doesn’t mean that billionaires are going to buy them for travel. Sitting here in Boston, I can fly 6 hours one way and get to San Francisco or 6 hours in the other direction and get to Paris, There just aren’t any people that need to get to Paris in 3.5 hours as opposed to 6 hours to justify exotic airliners especially when it comes at the cost of comfort and maintenance options. You can’t go supersonic over land anyway.

:dubious: It took Paul Allen and Burt Rutan less than a decade to get a spaceship designed from whole cloth into space. There’d never been a civilian spaceship until then. They now expect to have commercial flights before the end of the decade. Based on that, I’d say if Allen, et. al. wanted one, they could have one in less time than you think.

Again, one could make the same argument about spaceflight as well. There’s no need to spend 15 minutes floating around in zero g, but VirginGalactic’s got plenty of customers who’ve paid for the experience, even though it’ll be a couple of years before any of them get to go. Mark Shuttleworth and a handful of others have shelled out $100 million each to fly to the ISS. For that price, he could have had Rutan build him five SpaceShipOnes and WhiteKnights.

I kind of suspect that I could not afford the tender boat on the Man of War (63 ft. long, which is a huge fucking boat) which in turn is the tender boat for Paul Allen’s yacht Octopus . The Octopus was parked off the coast of Santa Barbara a couple of years ago, and has two helicopters, seven boats and a submarine.

I can’t tell if you are asking why billionaires don’t have SST’s based on practical reasons or just for the hell of it. They don’t have them for practical reasons because, well, they just aren’t practical. You can outfit a 747 in an Air Force One type configuration that means that it doesn’t matter if you are in the air for 6 hours or 24 hours. You can have offices, bedrooms, conference rooms etc. so that you can do anything that you can do on the ground. There is very little need for someone to get to Australia in half the time if the (rare) need occurs. The maintenance infrastructure is not trivial either with such aircraft and the 747 has it.

If you are asking why someone doesn’t do it as a stunt, most billionaires aren’t that interested in aviation. Warren Buffet doesn’t care about that at all and Bill Gates doesn’t seem to either. There are a few that do as you noted but they are focused on small-scale space flight which is not the same as practical intercontinental travel. Routine supersonic airliner travel has numerous huge problems like not being able to go supersonic over land and it is unlikely that will be overcome in the next few decades.

There’s the ban on supersonic flight over the continental US to think about too. As a child of the Space age it still amazes me that we are still basically tooling around in late 1950’s technology when it comes to passenger jets (even if such newfangled doodads as computers and composite materials make up the newest airliners). Yeah I know all the reasons, political, technical, and environmental as to why SSTs never made it big and now have died out, just lamenting a lost future.

Absolutely. Airliners today are safer, quieter, and have more technological creature comforts but it is the same basic design used in the 1950’s and they won’t get you to your destination any faster. The major change is the deregulation of the airlines which allows people to fly cheaply and routinely.

Large airliners are so expensive that they would severely tax the finances of even the average billionaire. Even the average billionaire couldn’t afford to buy and customize a new 747. The upfront cost would be about $300,000,000 for a customized new one and the operating costs would be thousands of dollars per hour.

Funding the develop of a new, nice airliner would be much more so there is hardly anyone, anywhere that could afford it.

My second year project (Aero Eng) was around the idea of a SSBJ (Supersonic Business Jet), and whether there will ever be a feasible design/market or not.

The stumbling blocks are the massive costs of both initial production and maintenance/running. Not enough people could afford to buy and run one to make design/testing/manufacture profitable. The market it for more efficient BizJets (I think that contraction is used to saying things like ‘More efficient BJs’), consumers aren’t generally willing to pay 10x the cost for a slight time increase when it’s at the cost of comfort or the radius of operation of the aircraft.

Gulfstream’s SSBJ is the closest to the kind of design that might one day be a reality. It doesn’t have the massive sonic boom of Concorde (supposedly), but it would still require a change in the Federal Aviation Regulations to be economically viable as flight over the US is forbidden at speeds greater than mach 1, irrespective of how much noise is made.

If you look at the link above, the animation shows why we don’t have this kind of aircraft yet. In order to be viable, an SSBJ would need to be efficient in Supersonic flight and Subsonic flight which require two different airframes, hence the variable geometry wings/fuselage. The technology to do this properly and reliably isn’t here yet.