United Airlines Set To Bring Back Supersonic Flight
United Airlines is getting ready to reintroduce supersonic flights in a commercial capacity.
In 2003, British Airways stopped flying the Concorde. This brought an end to incredibly fast travel across the Atlantic and supersonic flights as a whole.
However, United Airlines now intends to bring the incredibly loud and speedy mode of transport back.
Denver-based company Boom is developing supersonic jets for its Overture aircraft, and will provide United Airlines with 15 of them by 2029.
Supersonic flights will enable passengers to travel much faster at an altitude of 60,000ft. The average flight travels at 560mph, but the Overture supersonic flight can reach speeds of 1,122mph. This speed would enable the time needed for flights between New York and London to be cut in half.
While supersonic flight does have its positives, there are also major drawbacks to the jets. Firstly, the planes are incredibly loud. Despite the fact that Boom has said that the Overture will not be louder than the Concorde, the discontinued airliner was known for making noises comparable to explosions to those on the ground.
The airliners also have a significant impact on the environment. Kathy Savitt, Boom’s chief commercial officer, told the BBC, ‘In order to fly supersonic, you will need more power, you will need more fuel.’ However, Savitt did note that it was hoped the aircraft could become a ‘net-zero carbon aircraft’.
The fuel required for the Overture aircraft is sourced from waste animal fat and high-energy crops, but at the moment this is not a widely available energy source. Nonetheless, Boom is confident that ‘power-to-liquid’ processes that convert wind energy into a liquid fuel could be developed to assist in powering the vehicles.
Going forward, the Overture needs to meet safety requirements. After that, the aircraft will face the challenge of being commercially viable, which is an area the Concorde struggled to succeed in.
Featured Image Credit: United/Boom
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