US space agency NASA has unveiled plans for a new supersonic plane that deploys technology to silence the plane’s noise, and makes it much quieter than Concorde when it was in service up until 2003.
When British and French engineers teamed to build the Concorde in 1969, they envisaged a plane that would transform aviation and cut journey times.
However, only a few airports were upgraded for the plane’s operations. It also took too few passengers, and was not fuel efficient and was very noisy. It was also, very heavy on the wallet – $7,995 for a return journey between London and New York in 1997. Only British Airways and Air France offered commercial services on Concorde.
When the plane was pulled from service in 2003 following a drop in numbers after the July 2000 Paris air crash, there were no alternatives under development.
NASA engineers, however, believe they may be able to address the issues of cost and technical problems that plagued Concorde.
The agency plans to design and create a new supersonic plane in the next few years that will not produce a ‘sonic boom’ while breaking the sound barrier.
Its ideas for a quieter alternative could also be adopted by commercial plane makers.
The plane has been dubbed the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft.
It would fly at blazing speeds of Mach 1.4 (1,074 miles/hour) over land, as well as over the sea, nearly twice the speed of commercial airliners currently in operation.
A spokesperson for Lockheed Martin , lead contractor of the project, said, ”The aircraft is shaped to separate the shocks and expansions associated with supersonic flight to reduce the volume of the shaped signature, Mirror reported.
”QueSST’s ‘heartbeat’ will be dramatically quieter than the traditional ‘N-wave’ sonic boom associated with the current supersonic aircraft in flight today.”