Supersonic flight has existed for over half a century. The problem is, it hasn’t been affordable for routine travel—and regulations for commercial use have made it nearly impossible.
The Concorde linked both sides of the Atlantic for more than three decades until economic and political issues led to its retirement in 2003.
Even then, the Concorde could only make full use of its supersonic capabilities when flying over the ocean. The future of supersonic flight depends on designing the aircraft to produce a silent or soft sonic boom when it breaks the sound barrier and rendering the plane economically sound to build and maintain.
A 21st Century Supersonic Reboot
Denver-based startup Boom Technology, established in 2014, is attempting to reboot supersonic transportation on a commercial level. According to the company, “nearly six decades after the dawn of the jet age, we finally have the technology for an efficient, economical and safe supersonic flight.”
Boom’s concept plane will be made of a carbon-fiber composite instead of aluminum, reducing weight, and will house only 40 standard domestic first-class seats, compared to the 100-seat Concorde. Every passenger will have an aisle seat and a window seat because Boom has designed the plane into two single-seat rows. Window views include the curvature of Earth since the plane will cut flight-time by flying at 60,000 feet. Boom’s concept plane should exceed the Concorde cruise speed of Mach 2.02 (1,334 mph) by reaching Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph).