The Concorde was the first supersonic passenger-carrying commercial plane. Built jointly by aircraft manufacturers in Great Britain and France, the iconic aircraft made the world’s first supersonic passenger service flight on January 21, 1976.
Known for their elegance and speed, the planes were able to cross the Atlantic in just 3.5 hours. 14 Concorde planes were built, all operated by British Airways and Air France. However, the Concorde had several problems that led to its eventual demise. The plane was extraordinarily noisy, and extremely expensive to run, both of which restricted flight availability. A fatal accident in July 2000 (an Air France Concorde ran over debris while taking off from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. A tire disintegrated and an integral fuel tank ruptured. The plane crashed, killing all 109 people on board) also undoubtedly helped lead to the fleet’s demise. The last Concorde flight occurred in October 2003.
Fast forward 20+ years, a jet that may be able to call itself “son of Concorde” is currently being developed in a state-of-the-art development facility in Greensboro, NC.
Known as Overture, this jet is the brainchild of Boom Supersonic, a Denver-based company currently designing a 65-88-passenger supersonic airliner that could potentially be capable of flying at speeds of up to Mach 1.7, at an altitude of 60,000 feet.
According to Gulf Times, as of August 2022, both United and American Airlines have made pre-order agreements to purchase several of the aircraft once they’re available, while Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have made similar purchase commitments overseas. To date, the start-up’s tally is 35 orders and 130 pre-orders and options.
The aircraft sell for $200 million each at list prices.
Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, says that Overture will fly twice as fast as today’s fastest passenger jets. A London-to-Miami flight typically takes at least nine hours; on Overture, the time could be cut to just four hours and 40 minutes. L.A. to Honolulu, Hawaii, typically a five-hour flight, would decrease to three hours.
However since one of the Concorde’s highest operating costs was fuel, Scholl says Boom Supersonic will make significant changes to its high-speed planes, making Overture a zero-carbon aircraft.
“Sustainable supersonic flight is possible now thanks to significant advancements in propulsion, aerodynamics, materials and alternative fuels since Concorde,” says Scholl. “Fifty-plus years of innovation has made supersonic travel accessible, sustainable and economically viable at scale.”
The first generation of these new supersonic planes could potentially fly for the first time in 2026, with its first commercial flights as soon as 2029.
Feature Photo: Boom Supersonic
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