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point-to-point passenger flight

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:36 pm
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point-to-point passenger flight 
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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:52 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
http://www.freetranslation.com says "keim" means "germ". The 4th definition of “germ” in www.dictionary.com is, “Something that may serve as the basis of further growth or development: the germ of a project”. So when Burt Rutan says, "The ship could launch not far from Las Vegas and land in Mojave, or, we could launch offshore, start out over the ocean and then... fly over the mountains and land in the desert. I think that will add something to the experience", you are taking this as the germ of a point to point suborbital travel industry.


Germ is an archaic (if not downright ancient) word, from which comes our word "germination". It is synonymous with "seed": beginning, birth, conception.

campbelp2002 wrote:
Then all you need is enough volunteers who have never experienced zero G to see if it really works. Any of you interested?


Not if I can't stay up there, I'm not!

Andy Hill wrote:
A lot of parents would think twice about subjecting their kids to this, we come back to the perception of danger that if the industry originally starts out with thrill seekers as passengers it will have the reputation of being risky. Families going on holiday would not choose a risky means of transport when there is a safer cheaper alternative. While people might be prepared to risk their own neck I cant see them doing the same for their kids. This will apply irrespective of how safe a flight becomes because once labelled as a thrill it will take some persuading that it is as safe as an aircraft.


Must I truly point out that practically the entire aviation industry of the early 1920s consisted of ex-Army airmen flying ex-Army airplanes for fees, room, and board? Thrill-seekers, hell! They were Barnstormers! These guys flew airplanes that literally fell apart if you turned too tight or dove too steep, that caught fire and burnt to a crisp in a matter of seconds for no other reason than the engine overheating.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:32 am
Yes, we are about to start "space storming". But eventually it should all settle down to space lines, with boy scout campouts on the Moon and such. At least I like to think it will.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:51 am
spacecowboy wrote:
Andy Hill wrote:
A lot of parents would think twice about subjecting their kids to this, we come back to the perception of danger that if the industry originally starts out with thrill seekers as passengers it will have the reputation of being risky. Families going on holiday would not choose a risky means of transport when there is a safer cheaper alternative. While people might be prepared to risk their own neck I cant see them doing the same for their kids. This will apply irrespective of how safe a flight becomes because once labelled as a thrill it will take some persuading that it is as safe as an aircraft.


Must I truly point out that practically the entire aviation industry of the early 1920s consisted of ex-Army airmen flying ex-Army airplanes for fees, room, and board? Thrill-seekers, hell! They were Barnstormers! These guys flew airplanes that literally fell apart if you turned too tight or dove too steep, that caught fire and burnt to a crisp in a matter of seconds for no other reason than the engine overheating.


I thought we were discussing the possibility of a commercial point to point sub-orbital transport system, given the discription above I cant see families, or most other people for that matter, using it as an everyday method of travel. It would take a long time for space craft to loose the risky label.

Also spacecraft will have something the early airlines didn't have, competition from a more reliable and cheaper method of transport. The time saving for airlines was significant hours or days compared to weeks on a ship would people see the same advantage in saving only a few hours?

Aircraft in the 1920s would not have succeded in carrying large numbers of passengers either if there had been a comparable alternative or they had been as complicated to maintain or even fuel. Petrol was available everywhere, this is not the case of LOX or nearly all of the other propellants used.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:19 am
Peter,

you quoted Andy Hill and wrote "This is the answer to my question. Andy’s answer is, no, the public will never perceive suborbital travel like they do supersonic travel. Does everyone agree?"

Allright Andy Hill wrote his opinion what the right anser to your questions is. This and your question "Does everyone agree?" seems to indicate that you wre asking after opinions and an exact "yes/no"-answere or an exact answer like given by physics and other natural sciences.

Such answers are posible when there are exact formulars like in physics. By such fromulars the future can be calculated - provided the starting conditions to be found in nature are going into the calculations completely and correctly.

Concerning public perception that's impossible - it's a mainly psychologic topic and Pycholog is faced to similar or larger difficulties as Economics are.Which means: No applicable formulars available, future not calculable, statistical estimations the only way.

There are formulars in Economics and there will be some in Psychology I suppose - but they are covering less than 7ß% of the phenomenons and cannot be compared to physical formulars. Statistics are involved nearly allways and the researches and analyses are forced to use non-mathematical methods.

For these reasons I never will give you a "yes/no"-answer or an exact answer - I mustn't, the topic doesn't allow for it.

The only answer is "The future is open and only boarders of possibilities exist" - and this answer can be detailed, the details can be modified and changed by looking at each actual situation and comparing them to fomer predicitons, forecasts or estimations.

The kind of answer you want is impossible for these reasons - possible are personal opinions only and I'm avoiding one because I want to stay open for the future. By that way I will prepared best.

Regarding "They are totally on topic. Will the public ever perceive suborbital travel like they perceive supersonic travel?" - this is a question after the future or the future perception. You are asking for a forecast or a prediciton.

That's a relevant question - but it's not going INTO perception, its not a question for perception-arguments or sources of perception. This is the reason why I called your questions "off-topic"

In principle you could have made the question a poll here and the voters could post reasons for their vote - then it would go into the sources and reasons for perception.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 1:47 pm
Yes, I am looking for answers is if it were a poll. But I can't create a poll without starting a new thread.
So the "poll" only has 2 answers so far. Andy says "no" and I say "maybe".


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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 7:45 pm
Ekkehard what's the problem you're only being asked for an opinion?

What does it matter if you choose to change your mind later if someone makes some good points?

I've said I dont think sub-orbital travel is viable and given my reasons why, I may be right or wrong in this matter it is of no consequence its just a discussion. I would be interested in knowing if you think it is viable and for what reasons, you may even convince me if they're good enough. :)

Please dont quote economic formulas either as they will have little to do with how people perceive things. People form most opinions based on actions and reactions of companies/individuals/governments and their own personal experiences.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:04 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
Also spacecraft will have something the early airlines didn't have, competition from a more reliable and cheaper method of transport.

This is very true for suborbital flight, but there is no competition for travel to the Moon. But that is off topic.
Actually the early airlines competed directly with the railroads. They were not even that much faster. And early airlines were known to put their passengers on trains to complete trips interrupted by bad weather or mechanical problems. There was a certain aura about the new high tech air travel that appealed to rich adventurous people. Not unlike the aura now surrounding space tourism. With enough time, improved technology and a good safety record, suborbital travel could become almost as common as supersonic travel was with Concorde. Not more common though, I think.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:14 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
And early airlines were known to put their passengers on trains to complete trips interrupted by bad weather or mechanical problems.


cant see this happening 100km up over the atlantic :)

I think that commercial orbital and lunar flights are much more likely to happen too, oopps off topic also. :)

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Post    Posted on: Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:23 pm
Going for a Sail in the South Pacific could be seen as comparable to a tour of the moon. It's exotic, expensive and dangerous. But we have been at it for 200 years and its still expensive exotic and dangerous.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 14, 2005 8:39 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

I don't have any "problems" concerning your answer. You took it from the view of the desires and comforts of business men - the argument that they want to rest for example.

No problem - that's a demand-sided argument. It's of relevance - but it's an argument of economics and there can be economic reasons to miss comfortability and time to rest. That relies on the concrete situation. So it's not a perceptional argument I think.

Peter is arguing supply-sided but not economically. Perception is independent of prices, incomes and the like - the prices of nuclear generated electricity are usual pricaes but the perception of nuclear generated electricity in Germany has been reduced that far that the german government is trying to remove all nuclear electricity generators. And peter is using two arguments at least that could be compared to thos arguments reducing the perception of nuclear electricity in Germany.

Regarding my opinion - opinions should be based on sure fundaments and I'm still working on fundaments concerning perception of privatized space travels. The branch or industrie still is in its infancy and so there are no sure fundaments seen from my point of view. You have been arguing by "100 km up over the atlantic" for example. Alright - but a point-to-point passenger flight by a suborbital vehicle doesn't need to reach that altitude. As Rutan said - the point-to-point flight a customer, tourist etc. can offer at Virgin Galactic will be a substitution for altitude. The suborbital vehicle simply can "fly" at altitudes where an airplane never can fly because the atmosphere is too thin.

I personally would prefer if the topic would be worked out up to over 90% first before fixing opinions. Additionaly numbers and the removal of unpreventable and normal misunderstandings of terms are required.

To repeat it - I never have had any problems with your posts or opinions. You are writing very good and useful posts.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:48 am
I think that the main problem with a point to point service is demand.

While I admit there will always be a few people willing to pay more or take a small risk to get somewhere quicker this is not a large enough number to run a regular service.

If it was imperitive that someone had to fly from Europe to the US in less than a couple hours, what would be the chances that they would be able to get a rocket flight immeadiately? If forced to wait a few hours or even a day for the next flight they might as well go by aeroplane. To make rocket flights available virtually on demand would require a huge number of individual flights to many destinations, after all what would be the point of using a rocket to get to the US but then having to wait for a plane to take you somewhere else you might as well fly direct on a conventional plane?

I do not see how rocket flights could evolve to that level of numbers and complexity from the thrill seeker flights of the next few years.

This is a catch 22 situation, with 2 markets. If you make a trip attractive to one group you will loose the other. Making it safer to appeal to business men would mean you loose the thrill seekers, while keeping the thrill element would mean never getting enough business men (I admit there may be a tiny minority who fit into both groups but this would be very small).

So overall demand, competition from planes and the perception of safety will not allow this to become a regular service. It may evolve into a small number of dayly pleasure rides as part of an overall experience or adventure holiday for thrill seekers only but this is also in question as the thrill comes from the amount of time in space not the destination you go to. Any reduction in the altitude to get distance will result in less time weightless and make it less attractive to thrill seekers. I would want to experience the maximum time weightless rather than landing somewhere different.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:00 am
You say "I think that the main problem with a point to point service is demand." and it's right that demand has to be considered and thought about. But demand isn't perception and demand is Economics -. it should be discussed in the "Financial Barriers" section - there are already threads about demand.

Demand is a fraction of perception, actual demand is a fraction of demand and tickets sold (as well as products sold in general or services sold in general) are a fraction of actual demand.

Because of the title of this section I don't discus demand here.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 14, 2005 12:09 pm
OK, I surrender!

If you want to discuss such a narrow part of the whole question then someone else will have to talk about it as I see no point in continuing to waste my time making arguments in support of the statements I make only to be told they are off topic.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 14, 2005 12:40 pm
I didn't want you to surrender - please go on posting, Andy Hill. Demand is a very important and interesting topic of privatized space travel - but it's an economic topic and so "Financial Barriers..." would be the section where it can be discussed best.

Perception is a more moral, cultural, psychological, sociological, ideological, political, religious etc. phenomenon which we urgently should discuss. For this reason discussions about demand and perception shouldn't be mixed with each other.

Your argument that business men want time to rest is relevant and correct and may cause them not to go by suborbital vehicles - but this wouldn't mean that they don't percept suborbital travel for point-to-point flights. It would mean only that they don't demand it. I for example percept airplane flights from Hamburg to Southern Germany - but I usually go by car. So I percept the airplane flights to Frankfurt but don't demand these flights. My perception would be a topic of this section here - that I don't demand them would be a topic of the "Financial Barriers..." section.

I am interested in your demand-sided thoughts and ideas and so on but we should discuss them not here.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 14, 2005 3:22 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
"100 km up over the atlantic" for example. Alright - but a point-to-point passenger flight by a suborbital vehicle doesn't need to reach that altitude. As Rutan said - the point-to-point flight a customer, tourist etc. can offer at Virgin Galactic will be a substitution for altitude. The suborbital vehicle simply can "fly" at altitudes where an airplane never can fly because the atmosphere is too thin.

You misunderstand Rutan here. SSO does not fly so much as it gets thrown out of the atmosphere by a powerful rocket. After entering the atmosphere again it glides slowly, much slower than a normal airliner.

A point to point suborbital flight is more like a cannon shot at a 45 degree angle than an aircraft in level flight. SSO can go straight up to 100 km. If it were launched at a 45 degree angle it would got up only 71 km, but would also go 237 km horizontally. If launched higher than 45 degrees, it goes higher than 71 km but does not go as far as 237 km. If launched lower than 45 degrees never gets as high as 71 km, but it still does not go as far as 237 km. So 45 degrees gives you the longest distance. To go farther than 237 km, you need more speed. And you have to go higher. For transatlantic you definitely need to go higher than 100 km, even if you consider the curvature of the Earth and skip off the atmosphere to extend the range. But skipping off the atmosphere requires several episodes of high G and zero G, bad for the comfort of the passengers.


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