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Boeing 797 Hoax

Message claims that aircraft company Boeing is set to launch its Boeing 797, a new 1000 passenger jet that sports a radical Blended Wing design. The message features several images supposedly depicting a Boeing 797.

Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are untrue. The hoax message has been circulating via email and online since at least 2006. Boeing has denied the claims in the message although, in conjunction with NASA and the US Air Force, the company has been working on an unmanned, non-commercial blended wing test aircraft dubbed the X-48. The images in the message are conceptual renditions of future aircraft designs.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

Last updated: 19th April 2012
First published: 19th April 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

Subject: BOEING 797 ........WOW

Better get a window seat...... BOEING 797 It can comfortably fly 10,000 Miles at Mach 0.88 or 654 mph with 1000 passengers on board ! They have kept this secret long enough. This shot was taken last month by an amateur photographer.

Boeing 797 Hoax 1

Boeing has been preparing a 1000 passenger jet that could reshape the Air travel industry for the next 100 years. The radical Blended Wing design has been developed by Boeing in cooperation with the NASA Langley Research Center. The mammoth plane will have a wing span of 265 feet compared to the 747’s 211 feet, and is designed to fit within the newly created terminals used for the 555 seat Airbus A380, which is 262 feet wide. The new 797 is in direct response to the Airbus A380 which has racked up159 orders, but has not yet flown any passengers.

Boeing 797 Hoax 2

The new 797 is Boeing's direct response to the Airbus A380, which has racked up orders for 159 already. Boeing decided to kill its 747X Stretched Super Jumbo in 2003 after little interest was shown for it by Airline Companies, but continued to develop its "Ultimate Airbus Crusher", the 797 at its Phantom Works Research Facility in Long Beach, California. The Airbus A380 had been in the works since 1999 and has accumulated $13 Billion in development costs, which gives Boeing a huge advantage. More so because Airbus is thus committed to the older style tubular structure for their aircraft for decades to come.

Boeing 797 Hoax 3

There are several big advantages in the "Blended Wing & Fuselage" design, the most important being the ‘Lift to Drag’ ratio which is expected to increase by an amazing 50%, resulting in an overall weight reduction of the aircraft by 25%, making it an estimated 33% more fuel efficient than the A380, and thus making the Airbus's $13 Billion Dollar investment look pretty shaky. "High Airframe Rigidity" is another key factor in the "Blended Wing & Fuselage" technology. It reduces turbulence and creates less stress on the airframe which adds to fuel efficiency, giving the 797 a tremendous 10,000 Mile range with 1,000 passengers on board cruising comfortably at Mach 0.88 or 654 MPH, which gives it another advantage over the tube-and-wing designed A380's 570 MPH.

Boeing 797 Hoax 4

The exact date ! for introduction of the 797 is as yet unclear, but the battle lines are clearly drawn in the high-stakes war for future civilian aircraft supremacy.

Boeing 797 Hoax 5

Detailed Analysis
This message, which has circulated via email and other means since at least 2006, informs recipients that aerospace giant Boeing will soon launch its Boeing 797, a 1000 seat passenger jet that sports a radical new blended wing design. According to the message, the 797 has been developed in direct response to the Airbus A380 and is set to "reshape the air travel industry". The message features several images supposedly depicting the Boeing 797 in action, including one that it claims was shot "last month" by an amateur photographer. The original 2006 version of the message included only the first image in the series, while further images were added in later incarnations.

Image courtesy NASA

X-48B Test Flight
However, the claims in the message are untrue. In fact, the message is a long running hoax. Although Boeing is working on a blended wing non commercial aircraft design ( as discussed below), it has no current plans to develop a blended wing "797" passenger aircraft. Boeing quashed the rumour back in November 2006, soon after the original message began circulating, noting via a blog post:
From Boulder, Colorado, Walter brings up a topic we frequently get questioned about: the "blended wing" concept. Earlier this year an image of a blended wing "797" made the rounds of the Internet, and got speculation swirling that Boeing has this in the works.
Is there any truth to the emails showing a blended wing 1,000-passenger concept that is dubbed a Boeing 797? Makes sense that the airline industry would head this direction some day, but it just sounds too good to be true!
Yes, too good to be true, indeed, Walter. Someone was having a bit of fun with PhotoShop perhaps. Boeing is not planning to build a 1,000 passenger commercial airplane dubbed the "797," based on the blended wing body (BWB) concept or any other futuristic concept. It's certainly not in our commercial market forecast, which goes out for 20 years. We think the commercial airplane market favors point-to-point routes, and we're developing the 787 as the perfect match to help meet that demand.

Glen, from Warrington, Pennsylvania brings up the same subject:
Is there a blended wing in the works? Are there floor plans of it?
No, not for a commercial airplane. But having said that, I should point out that Boeing Phantom Works, the company's advanced research and development group, tells me it is conducting research on the BWB concept with NASA and the U.S. Air Force. They're working to better understand what they describe as the BWB's "fundamental edge-of-the-envelope flight dynamics" and structural characteristics. The Air Force is interested in the BWB concept for its potential as a flexible, long-range, high-capacity military aircraft. As part of the research, Phantom Works has built a scale model for wind-tunnel testing of the concept's low-speed flying characteristics. There also are plans to flight-test the scale model next year. You can read a little more about this project here.
Since that blog post was first published, Boeing and NASA have further developed the blended wing aircraft concept in the from of the X-48, an unmanned test aircraft.

The images in the message are conceptual renderings of future aircraft. The first and original image of the "797" was reportedly a conceptual design that was featured in a Popular Science article about future aviation.

Blended wing technology may well play a significant role in the future of commercial aviation. But, don't expect to book a flight on a blended wing Boeing 797 any time soon.

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Randy's Journal: Archives
Cranfield Aerospace: X-48B Flight 92 Complete, Now Onward As X-48C
Wikipedia - Boeing X-48
A tale goes on as another ends

Last updated: 19th April 2012
First published:19th April 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer