During press conference at Toulouse, chief executive Akbar Al Baker said Qatar Airways is “very interested” in supersonic flight. Qatar would be very interested to look at such a project, we wouldn’t hesitate to be a launch customer.”
An opportunity for us to look at iconic aircraft and future projects.
A supersonic aircraft is an aircraft able to fly faster than the speed of sound (Mach 1).
The first aircraft to fly supersonically was the American Bell X-1 experimental plane which was powered by a 6000-lb thrust rocket powered by liquid oxygen and ethyl alcohol.
The majority of supersonic aircraft have been military or experimental aircraft.
Supersonic flight brings with it substantial technical challenges, as the aerodynamics of supersonic flight are dramatically different from those of subsonic flight. In particular, aerodynamic drag rises sharply as the aircraft passes the transonic regime, requiring much greater engine power and more streamlined airframes.
First supersonic passenger jets
In the 1960s and '70s, many design studies for supersonic airliners were done and eventually two types entered service, the Anglo-French Concorde and the Russian Tupolev Tu-144. However political, environmental and economic obstacles and one fatal Concorde crash prevented them from being used to their full commercial potential and these aircraft are no longer flying.
The supersonic airliner was first flown in 1969 by the British Aircraft Corporation and France's Aérospatiale, though its first commercial flight wasn't until 1976.
Its maximum speed was twice the speed of sound, reaching up to 1,370 mph, and it transported passengers from New York to London in less than 3.5 hours.
Today, it takes us more than seven, mostly because we're crawling at a pace of around 500 to 600 mph.
In service for 27 years, the Concorde stopped flying in 2003. In total, 20 Concordes were built: two prototypes, two development aircraft and 16 production aircraft.
A total of sixteen airworthy Tupolev Tu-144s were built; a seventeenth Tu-144 (reg. 77116) was never completed. There was also at least one ground test airframe for static testing in parallel with the prototype 68001 development.
A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate significant amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion to the human ear.
Supersonic passenger travel, which died out with the Concorde's demise in 2003, will make a comeback by the mid-2020s if three entrepreneurial US-based companies can make jets quiet and efficient enough to win over buyers and fliers.
For exemple, Boom Supersonic plans to build 1,451-mile-per-hour planes that would be able to make the trip from New York to London in 3 hours and 15 minutes starting in 2023. Japan Airlines investsed $10M in Boom and pre-ordered 20 aircraft, joining Virgin Group as Boom option holder.