Supersonic Flights: The Future of Air Travel
A few must have heard of the Concorde. The Concorde was absolutely the gold standard of aviation. She was a masterpiece of engineering and one of the world’s most beautiful creations. Concorde was an icon of beauty, style, and, in her own way, a brand. Every aspect of the aircraft was designed for aerodynamic efficiency, making it instantly recognizable all over the world. The curvature of the Earth could be seen from her windows. Concorde was able to overtake the sun, and one could literally buy back time.
To put it more simply, one could travel faster than the speed of sound across the Atlantic Ocean from Paris and London to New York and Washington in luxury in three hours.Again, normally this should take 7 hours on average.
The Concorde, although being such a great invention in the past and being seen as an efficient means of air travel, didn’t last long as it was faced with so many issues. Among these issues were:
- High cost of maintenance and the price of jet fuel spiking.
- Tickets were exceedingly pricey; a seat to fly over the Atlantic costs around $10,000, which was not affordable for Joe.
- Safety concerns after the crash in the year 2000, where over 100 lives were lost.
In a nutshell, the economic downturn and environmental issues were the main reasons the Concorde failed, not its speed.
The Concorde was officially retired in 2003, but what does the future of air travel hold? Are we still going to be able to fly at the speed of sound while avoiding the drawbacks of the Concorde?
Boom Supersonic is a start-up company that intends to offer a 55-seat supersonic airliner. With investments from Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines; these airlines are hoping to get supersonic aircraft whenever they are made available. Meanwhile, they are working on making their supersonic aircraft financially viable for airlines to operate.
Furthermore, it was reported that American Airlines has agreed to purchase 20 supersonic jets; Boom is developing a jet called the ‘Overture’ that the company says will be able to carry 65 to 80 passengers at nearly twice the speed of sound. Boom says its jets could enter service by 2029 and, though they won’t be able to hit top speeds over land they could still travel as much as 20% faster than current commercial jets, the company claims.
Personally, I think we should have the option to travel almost twice the speed of sound at this age just as we did with the Concorde 20 years back.