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Supersonic travel, back again?

New jets promise to revive supersonic travel.

The Douglas X-3 Stiletto is flanked by (clockwise, from left) the Bell X-1A, D-558-1, XF-92, X-5, D-558-2 and Northrop X-4 Bantam. (NASA)

After The Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde, a British–French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner that was operated from 1976 until 2003. It had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound, now nearly two decades later, the world is getting closer to seeing commercial planes that will exceed the speed of sound once more.

As the second age of quicker-than-sound air transport approaches, one of the niche industry’s leading players is looking even more ahead—to even faster planes.

 In 2027, Aerion Corp., the Texas multimillionaire Robert Bass supersonic jet manufacturer, expects to produce the first AS2 business jet at 1.4 times the speed of sound or about 1.074 mph – about twice as high as conventional commercial aircraft. However, Aerion Chief Executive Officer Tom Vice is also expecting hypersonic flight with competitors such as Boom Technologies and those that are pursuing their supersonic ambitions.

As for Boom, Boom Supersonic launched its supersonic XB-1 research aircraft this month. It is the first civil supersonic plane since the 1968 Tupolev TU-144 in the Soviet Union.

Boom will affirm facets of the planned opening, a more sleek delta-shafted project that is reminiscent of Concorde with the skinny and sharply pointing rig.

Whereas Aerion, claims its AS2 design will offer civil supersonic flight by the end of the decade. But with just 8-10 passengers the AS2 is aimed at an entirely new market, that for supersonic business travel.

Furthermore, In August, Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. delighted some investors with plans to seat up to 19 passengers on a Mach 3 plane, an intermediate phase in the company’s journey towards hypersonic point-to-point transportation. Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, which also works with the boom in the field of supersonic engine technology, is supporting Virgin’s supersonic project,

It’s important to note that Mr. Bannister, who flew Bristish airways’ final concord flight, says it is important to understand that the jets are not competitors, rather they are recent pioneers in radically separate commercial flight sectors.

The real question one mustn’t ignore is that the avionic business is in a severe decline right now, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Aircraft have postponed or dropped orders in light of a drop in traveler numbers.

So will there be interest in supersonic planes?

Reported by: Daud

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