The Concord will Return

In just a few years supersonic flight will return. Even though this seems impossible, it’s going to be a reality. The company BOOM (a US based company) has been preparing for this and is hoping to bring a “baby” Concorde to our world soon. Their goal is to bring supersonic flight back after years of slow commercial flying.

The Concorde itself stopped flying in 2003. Many believed that it was due to the fatal crash in 2000 on Air France flight 4590, yet as the FAA stated that this wasn't the case. After the crash the Concorde was improved upon by an addition of bullet proof plates under the wing (the crash was caused by a ruptured tire).

Even though the crash caused unrest upon the passengers (therefore less flew), the main cause of the Concorde’s end was the financial issues with the airlines that flew them (Air France and British Airways). Maintenance costs were through the roof and the fuel costs were quite expensive (Concorde needed much more fuel compared to normal airliners). The tickets themselves cost $6,000 (one-way) - $10,000 (round-trip) so many people couldn't afford to fly on Concorde. Along with this they posed a big environmental threat due to the amount of pollution they created.

All of this combined created a devastating end to the Concorde. As Air France and British Airways saw money slip away from them, they eventually decided to end Concorde’s service and grounded the aircraft.

Even though the Concorde ended service 14 years ago, NYC still has one of their own. The Intrepid Air and Space Museum owns a British Airways Concorde which has a long history of its own. Next time you go to the city make sure to check out this historic aircraft.

Ever since Concorde got grounded, aviation hasn't progressed at all. We still fly airliners that are from the 70’s and haven't gone near supersonic flight since.

    BOOM (with the help of Virgin Galactic) hope to end this and finally make a step towards commercial supersonic flight. They say that with this new aircraft, flying time will be cut in half and ticket costs will be in a reasonable price range. Currently they are building a prototype which will be one third the size of the actual jet. They call it the XB-1 and as they say, ”It is under construction now and will fly next year.” The test flight of the XB-1 will take place at the Centennial Airport (South of Denver) where BOOM’s hangar is located.

With their new design and environmentally safe engines, this aircraft will be able to go 2.2 machs (1,400 mph) which is 100 mph faster than the Concorde.

Ticket costs on this aircraft are tremendously lower than they were on Concorde. This is due to the aircrafts new design and fuel-efficient engines which reduces fuel and maintenance costs. The average ticket on this aircraft will cost about the same as a ticket on a modern commercial airliner. They themselves cannot put a price tag on it since only the airline that purchases the aircraft can decide the ticket cost.

    JAL (Japan Airlines) is given credit to helping this program since they have already invested $10 million and have pre ordered 20 aircraft. They will be one of the first airlines to own these aircraft when they come out.

    The range of this aircraft will be 10,375 miles and as BOOM has announced, “Routes over 4,500nmi include a brief tech stop, included in listed flight times. Passengers do not need to deplane or exit their seats.”

Along with this the aircraft has three engines which reduces noise and enables it to go on routes that are directly over the ocean. This is due to the extra safety that the extra engine poses and will shorten flying time even more. It doesn’t need any extra runway space at International Airports (only needs 8,500 feet) and can fit in the gates that have been already built which increases destinations that it will be able to reach.

Just imagine in a few years that a flight from New York to London will only take three hours compared to the current 7 hour trip. The future of aviation is coming soon with more efficient and faster aircraft.

 

Max Pelkonen