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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Could some version of the Concorde be making a comeback?

Could some version of the Concorde be making a comeback and all us millenials who missed out get a chance to experience it? For those who don’t feel like going underwater, we have good news. One Denver-based startup appears to have never let the dream that is supersonic flights die. The Silicon Valley-backed Booms Technology is apparently one year away from beginning certification testing its full-scale supersonic “Boom” vehicle, after working on a third-sized model dubbed “Baby Boom.” Certification tests are expected to take place in three years and if all goes as planned, the passenger flight could be flying people in late 2023, according to National Geographic.

The flight will take you from New York to London in as little as three hours and 15 minutes while a trip from San Francisco to Tokyo can take up to five and a half hours only, down from a current 11. The plane can carry up to 55 passengers and its internal design features rows with a single seat each side of the aisle with under-seat storage for carry-on bags.

The USD 200 mn jets have already garnered commercial interest from big name airlines, who have made 76 orders. These include Virgin Atlantic.

So why will supersonic work this time? For one thing, the tech that will help keep that ear-piercing sonic boom (which is banned over the US) is getting better. Besides Boom Technology, NASA and Lockheed Martin are developing their own breeds of supersonic aircraft that will greatly minimize sonic booms, though these appear to be behind Boom Technology. Sonic booms had made Concorde commercial flights over the continental US impossible. Cost efficiency in manufacturing has also apparently been greatly improved. You can check out this old explainer from Vox on why the Concorde died out (watch; runtime: 10:22). Well, there’s nothing left to say but: “Shut up, and take our money.”

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