United Airlines Plans Supersonic Passenger Flights By 2029

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The United States Airline United has recently made a public announcement regarding their plans to buy fifteen brand new supersonic aircraft and to return the supersonic passenger flights to the aviation by the year 2029. The supersonic passenger flights were terminated in the year 2003 when British Airways and Air France decided to retire their concord aircraft from the service.

These recently launched Overture air jets will be manufactured by Boom Technology, which is a Denver-based firm founded in 2014. The firm is currently designing the Boom Overture aircraft, which is a supersonic aircraft with the capacity to house 55 passengers on board and would have the speed of Mach 1.7 with the range of 4,250 nmi. The test flights for the aircraft are yet to be conducted by the company for their in-production supersonic jet.

The deal made by United airlines with Boom Technology will be applicable on the condition that if the aircraft is able to meet all safety standards required by a supersonic passenger flight.

Supersonic passenger flights

The supersonic flight is called when the aircraft is able to travel at a faster speed, which is more than the speed of sound. At a 60,000 ft altitude (equivalent to 18,300 meters), the aircraft would be flying faster than the speed of 660 mph (equivalent to 1,060 km/h). A typical commercial passenger flight generally cruises at around 560 mph, but the Boom Overture air jet is expected to likely travel during the supersonic passenger flights at the speed of about 1,122 mph, which is also known as Mach 1.7.

By allowing this high speed for traveling, the time required to travel on transatlantic routes like from London to New York would approximately be cut in half. According to Boom Technology, the Overture aircraft would only require 3.5 hours for this trip, reducing almost three hours of flight time.

The Concorde, which first entered into the supersonic passenger flight service in the year 1976, was even faster than the Overture by being able to travel at the speed of Mach 2.04, which is equivalent to around 1,350 mph.

Possible Challenges

Some of the major concerns surrounding the return of supersonic passenger flights are noise and air pollution. When an aircraft travels faster than the speed of sound, it causes a sonic boom in the surrounding, which is usually heard as a loud thunderclap or a massive explosion on the ground. This is where the name of the company comes from.

The boom acts as a limit where the aircraft during supersonic passenger flights can fly, due to which typically it is observed that the aircraft speed is lowered when it is traveling above land, and when they reach the ocean and are away from residents’ underneath so they would be disturbed with the sudden loud noise, and the speed of the aircraft is increased.

According to Boom Technology, they are confident that their airplanes would not produce more sound than the modern passenger aircraft during take-off, landing, or flying over dry land. They are also hoping to further enhance and improve the design of the aircraft from Concorde, as it could possibly help in the reduction and mitigation of the sonic boom during the supersonic passenger flights.

Another issue that has become a challenge in the development of the aircraft that would play a major role in the return of supersonic passenger flights would be the massive fuel consumption. For the aircraft to travel at supersonic speed, it requires more power, which in turn needs faster fuel consumption. However, it is expected that the Boom Overture aircraft would likely operate as a net-zero carbon airplane.

Sustainability of supersonic traveling

The plans by Boom Technology for the Overture is to make it run entirely on sustainable aviation fuel during their supersonic passenger flights by the year 2030. It can also take the firm of posh biofuel, which would be made out of every material, including animal fat waste that could be obtained from the farming industry and the growth of high-energy crops.

A major problem that could possibly arise during the supersonic passenger flights resume is that the world is currently far behind to be able to meet the demands for the production capacity of biofuel that would be enough in quantity to provide power to the entire aviation industry.

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