The Concorde is dead...long live supersonic aviation!
Start-ups using new materials, designs and technologies think commercial planes will once again shatter the sound barrier. But all face the challenge of generating softer sonic booms, as required by legislation. Some have teamed with traditional subsonic builders and even NASA is involved. One company expects to begin flight tests of its 40-passenger model—all first class—later this year, and hopes to go commercial in 2023. Suitable engines already exist, and at least two airlines have taken options on 10 to 15 planes. Another company is working on a 12-passenger private jet capable of flying at Mach 1.6.