Mar 25, 2017 | Updated: 06:01 AM EDT

Supersonic Aircraft Makes Comeback, Ultrafast Commercial Flights Look Possible

Mar 20, 2017 12:52 AM EDT

CEO and Co-founder of Boom Technologies Blake Scholl speaks before a large crowd at the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator official unveiling at the Boom Technologies hanger on November 15, 2016.
(Photo : Tom Cooper/Getty Images)

Supersonic aircraft first came into being during the second half of the twentieth century. Mainly used for military purposes, the technology entered commercial aircraft through the introduction of the "Concorde" planes almost forty-eight years ago. Due to political and environmental problems, and a fatal accident in the year 2000, these supersonic aircraft were seized from being used in commercial airliners.

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Recently, the supersonic aircraft are looking to make a comeback into the commercial flying. According to Wired, with a number of advancements in the field of aerodynamics, there is a possibility of seeing commercial aircraft attaining a speed level of Mach 1 (Supersonic or equivalent to the speed of sound) or more within next ten years.

A recent research has found that there is a potential market for 450 supersonic aircraft and the technology to design them efficiently is viable. The researchers believe that the improvement in latest aircraft engineering opens a window of opportunity for aircraft to avail the Supersonic speed level. The introduction Noise Reduction Technology, new material, new design, better engine and enhanced computer modeling are the reasons that make these aircraft faster and affordable than before.

According to Mail Online, two new start-ups, "Aerion" and "Spike Aerospace" are looking to have their supersonic aircraft ready by 2023. Aerion reportedly is working in collaboration with Airbus to build a plane, the "AS2", which can fly at a top speed of 1960 km/h. This is almost as fast as the Concorde plane that flew at a top speed of 2170 km/h. "Spike Aerospace" has also claimed that their plane can cover the distance between LA and Tokyo within five hours.

As per the researchers, the prime innovation is the plane's long thin shape, reducing the noise created by the sonic boom of the supersonic aircraft. Generally, the sonic boom creates ground shaking shockwaves at the time of launch. The longer and more slender shape of the new aircraft is supposed to be the best way to emit shockwaves of lower frequency yet same strength.

Both the companies, "Aerion" and "Spike Aerospace" have claimed their supersonic aircraft will be ready to fly within years but are held back by the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) ban imposed on the civil supersonic flight in 1973. Now, with the advent of noise reduction technology, both these companies hope the ban will be revoked and they will be cleared to fly commercial airliners as well. 


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