A U.S. firm is planning to reintroduce supersonic passenger jets by inaugurating the so-called Hypersonic revolution according to a recent report. Colorado-based start-up Boom is looking to design supersonic passenger planes faster than the Concorde but also very much affordable. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has also reportedly agreed to spearhead the revolutionary initiative.
For years, airplane manufacturers contemplated designing a passenger jet with the potential to exceed the speed of sound. However, none of the notions envisioned could ever see the light of day. As per reports, the company intends to head skyward by the end of next year with a prototype jet with speeds that correspond to 2.2 times the speed of sound.
The Boom airplane is expected to travel more than twice the speed of sound, completing a trip from New York to London in 3.4 hours, San Francisco to Tokyo in nearly five hours, and Los Angeles to Sydney in no more than six. According to reports, the deal might be worth a staggering $2 billion, were it to materialize.
Last year, a group of British investors announced that they had generated the required amount of funds to purchase a Concorde supersonic jet, with the objective of seeing the famed jet re-emerge into the spotlight. Club Concorde, an association of former captains and aviation professionals, had decided to proceed with the plan to resurrect the iconic jet before 2020.
During its prime, the Concorde jet could travel twice the speed of sound. Flying from London to New York in less than three hours, it was the most sought after cross-Atlantic airline for the rich and famous before being consigned to history.
According to Club Concorde president Paul James, there is plenty of enthusiasm for supersonic travel today.
“We have been overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiasm and people wanting to invest. The support shows how much people still admire Concorde and want to see it flying again.”
On the other side of the Atlantic, Boeing is also collaborating with NASA on a number of futuristic aircraft concepts in a bid to pioneer modern-day supersonic travel. NASA has been at the forefront of this initiative, endeavouring to bring to the fore an exciting new generation of more advanced and sophisticated supersonic jets to reinvent commercial supersonic air travel as an economically sustainable proposition.
According to Boom’s founder, Blake Scholl, affordable travel remains a top priority for the company, suggesting that accommodating a limited number of passengers as opposed to many will help ensure that demand is always on top.
“We’re building a supersonic airplane that you can actually afford to fly”
On July 25, 2000, Air France Flight 4590 took off and struck an object on the runway, leading to fire and engine failure, and ultimately ended up crashing into a nearby hotel. All 100 passengers and nine crew members aboard the Concorde perished. This was the only fatal disaster involving a Concorde during its entire 27-year service history. Three years later, the last Concorde flight took to the skies on November 26, concluding its final hours of service and marking the end of supersonic commercial air travel.
According to BBC columnist and author Jonathan Glancey, famously acknowledged for his book Concorde: The Rise and Fall of a Supersonic Airliner, the supersonic jet was a perfect embodiment of a concept.
“It was the most beautiful airliner yet built, a technical tour-de-force, an aerodynamic masterpiece. It was a rare glimpse of a future that never quite happened and that people had dreamed of when young in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. British trade unions, the French Communist Party and politicians of contrary persuasions were all fans of Concorde, while those who could never afford to fly it still loved the aircraft”
As of now, Boom has confirmed that it’s on the verge of completing the design of the first prototype and is looking to propel it into prominence by the end of 2017.
Image Credit: NASA via Shutterstock