DailyDirt: Supersonic Flights

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Remember the Concorde? It was the longest operating commercial supersonic aircraft that flew its last flight in 2003 after 27 years of service. With a cruising speed of 1,350 mph (Mach 2), the Concorde could fly from New York to London in under 3 hours. For more than 20 years, the Concorde was the fastest and safest airliner in the world, but a deadly crash in 2000 that killed all 109 people on board, as well as 4 people on the ground, precipitated the demise of the Concorde, which was already suffering from a general downturn in the aviation industry. There hasn't been a successor to the Concorde since it was retired, but perhaps the following are some possibilities. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  1. icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    I know this is a bit off topic but...


    Remember yesterday how people were saying that it wouldn't be possible to mine asteroids because the rocket fuel costs would be to high?


    Nasa already has you covered.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 5:36pm


    I think we won't see super/hyper sonic travel until we perfect the personal teleporter. Unfortunately, the Concorde (as far as I recall) did not have adequate range to cross the Pacific, so it was limited to US/Europe travel. If it had the chops to go from the US to Japan/Taiwan/Australia/China in one jump, it would still be here today, especially given it currently takes over 18 hours to get across the big pond, and for business people, time is definitely $$.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Teleportation

    Is there broadband wireless internet on trans-Pacific/Atlantic flights yet? I'd think that would obviate some of the need for supersonic jets... Also, private jets probably reduce some of the time wasted by the TSA!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    cpt kangarooski, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 6:27pm

    The Concorde never had enough range for the Pacific (in fact, with refueling stops for the SST along the way, a nonstop 747 would have a shorter flight time). When land overflights at speed were banned, it was basically dead. As for reviving supersonic aircraft, there is a big problem of jet lag. Tourists generally just take the cheapest flight. High speed flights are mainly going to be used by business people who need face to face meetings. But what good is that if you're so jet lagged that you can't function adequately, and need time on the ground to recover?

    The shortest route from NYC to Tokyo, for example, is about 11,000 km (mostly overland; a supersonic route would be longer). A Concorde ran at about 2100 kph. So that's 5 hours 15 minutes if it was supersonic on that shortest route. If you leave at noon in NYC, you'd arrive at 5:15pm Eastern, but 6:15am Tokyo time. You'll want to go to bed by the time your lunch meeting comes along. That's not so good, given how pricey it'll be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Aug 21st, 2013 @ 10:08pm

    Was Concorde Technically “Commercial”?

    Considering it never actually made money during its entire existence...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 4:07am

    Re: Teleportation

    Teleportation wouldn't cease the demand for propulsion to reach places where you still don't have the other end of the teleporter I'd guess. Still, if we reach that technology locally it would be awesome. I'd get 1 extra hour of sleep every day =D

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 7:33am

    "Technically, the Sonic Cruiser isn't supersonic..."

    Maybe that's why they call it the SONIC Cruiser? Maybe? Perhaps?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Christenson, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 7:36am

    TSA Delays

    To make the speedup of supersonic travel usable, you have to get rid of the TSA/security theater delays. Business supersonic travel also now competes with teleconferencing.

    A morning meeting in Tokyo on New york time on no notice is quite do-able by an energetic businessman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    swcowan3 (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    supersonic flight/economics

    If enough rich folks want the fastest travel possible, some capitalist somewhere will provide it (Branson?). Unfortunately, unless/until it's profitable, don't hold your breath.

    I remember before the first oil embargo, when jets taking off stood on their tails to get to altitude ASAP, but you don't see that anymore!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    John S Mournian, Jan 2nd, 2016 @ 8:39pm

    sonic Cruiser

    It is my understanding that BOEING and NASA are still trying
    to come up with a more economical plane that would have
    some of the Sonic Cruiser features; i.e., more speed, less fuel. The USA is losing its leadership role in aviation
    and for the all the money that this country wastes on wars
    to "protect democracy & human rights' in countries where
    the Man with the biggest Club wins, we should use it to advance our own industrial base. Our ideal partner should
    be Japan; NOBODY else! We need jobs in USA, not countries
    that are steeped in corruption. BOEING knows me as "Smoke Screen".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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