How would you like to fly around the world in a supersonic jet in only a few hours rather than a few days? Say Sydney to London in just over 4 hours? Hell yes would be my answer to that one. Well a joint project by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream and NASA might make that a reality for all of us sooner than we think and will shake up the travel world for sure.
Rumour has it that a prototype of the plane is going to be unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK next month. The supersonic jet, called the “Son of Concorde”, will fly at more than 4,000 kph (2,485 mph) – twice the speed of the old Concorde planes which went out of commission in 2003 after a series of deadly incidents grounded the jets. The fatest subsonic executive jet at the moment is Gulfstream’s new G650 which can fly at 1040 kph (646 mph). Hello – why haven’t I been asked to test this out yet?
The biggest issue that the developers face with supersonic flight is something called the sonic boom, a MASSIVE noise that is let out when the plane breaks through the sound barrier and continues until it slows down. This has meant that supersonic flight has not been feasible over land. However, a Gulfstream engineer described the sound the new jet will make as “closer to a puff or plop,” – ummm ok! I used to live very near to Heathrow Airport in the UK and remember all too well the sound when concorde took off. It was so loud and it used to literally shake the house. I have to say though that I loved it and would always run outside to see it fly over. I’m not sure I’d be so impressed with a puff or a plop though! lol
The son of concorde, codenamed X-54, would start limited runs in 2020. These will be 12 seaters aimed at super rich business men (the would have to be at a cost of USD$80 million each). It will then hopefully be available to the masses by 2030 if it is found to be safe and reliable. I would still volunteer to be guinea pig if they needed though.