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2019-03-08: The comeback of supersonic aircraft?

GE and Aerion plan next generation of quieter planes

In three and a half hours from Paris to New York: 50 years after the maiden flight of the Concorde, the fascination with the supersonic is still unbroken. With the help of new engines, several companies are now planning a quieter, but above all more economical successor to the legendary supersonic jet.

If an airplane breaks the sound barrier in the air, there's a very loud bang. Supersonic aircraft therefore only have a chance if the manufacturers manage to reduce the noise. This has been the subject of worldwide research for a long time.

Now success is looming: Among others, the US start-up “Boom” is currently presenting the "Overture" project, an aircraft for up to 55 guests that is supposed to be faster and much more efficient than the Concorde. At the beginning of the year, another 100 million dollars were collected from investors. Test flights are to take place before the end of this year. According to company boss Blake Scholl, there are already pre-orders from airlines. Scholl did not say which these might be.

Aerion, founded in 2002, is developing a somewhat smaller supersonic aircraft for up to twelve passengers. The Americans receive prominent support from the European aviation giant Airbus. The company has already presented possible routes and the time saved on flights. However, it remains uncertain when the jet could take off.

Meanwhile, US space agency Nasa has teamed up with US armaments group Lockheed Martin to develop a supersonic jet without a bang. The goal is to turn the supersonic bang into a "plop" that is no louder than a car door slamming shut. A prototype of the jet, which is known as the "X-Plane", is to be completed by the end of 2021, and Lockheed Martin will receive around 247.5 million dollars for the development.