Sunday, December 18, 2005

The return of private supersonic flight

Since the demise of the Concorde, there has been no private or commercial air travel at supersonic speeds. Now, however, Gulfstream, SAI/Lockheed Martin, and Aerion are working on developing technology that, through specially designed aircraft body shapes, can reduce the "sonic boom" and allow private jets to take flight paths that the Concorde was unable to use. There's more on this subject at The Economist (free audio interview; the print article is premium content).

3 comments:

Einzige said...

Too lazy to listen to the audio...

Do they mention anything about necessary runway lengths and how many airports meet the minimum requirements?

One of the big problems with the Concorde was that it could only land at airports with really long runways, severly limiting the destinations they could serve.

Jim Lippard said...

While it's not specifically mentioned in the print article (I haven't listened to the audio, either), I don't think it's an issue as these planned planes are much smaller and are built to operate efficiently at subsonic as well as supersonic speeds (unlike the Concorde, which was inefficient at subsonic speeds and had to have flight paths mostly over water).

Jim Lippard said...

That should say "will be built to operate"...