The Concorde is soon set to make a comeback of sorts. The British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliner had a max speed of 2.0 mach (2469.6 km/h) and a seating capacity between 92 to 128 passengers. The supersonic jet was first flown in 1969, entered service in 1976 and saw it’s retirement in 2003. Concorde saw its end due to a myriad of reasons from age and safety concerns, to cost.
Now, Richard Branson and an American firm named Boom are working to develop a supersonic jet. The jet is set to become the fastest civil aircraft ever made, with a planned cruising speed of 2.2 mach (2716.56 kilometres per hour). These speeds mean that a regular 15 hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney would take only 6 hours and 45 minutes. Imagine flying from New York to London in just 3 hrs and 15 minutes. You can leave in the morning, have lunch and a meeting in London, and be back in New York that same afternoon.
There are some significant differences between the Concorde and the new supersonic jet. The 1960s tech on the Concorde means that it was fitted with noisy, military engines. Boom on the other hand is using three General Electric J85-21 turbojet engines. Due to the heat caused by supersonic flight, the Concorde had a thick aluminium frame whilst Boom will use carbon composites, which are lighter and don’t expand as much with heat.
Boom’s XB-1 supersonic demonstrator nicknamed “baby boom”, is currently in construction and will fly next year in 2018. We’ll have to wait a few more years to get on a flight though. Boom will begin supersonic services on a 55-seat plane by 2023.
The news of supersonic flight will open up a new opportunity for pilots with aspirations to not only take to the skies but literally break barriers – sound barriers. If you’re interested in becoming a future Boom or commercial pilot, find out more about the Diploma of Aviation – Commercial Pilot Licence. Already have your CPL and are ready to take the next step? The Diploma of Aviation – Instrument Rating will allow you to operate multi-engine aircraft and fly solely with reference to Instruments in various weather conditions.