Despite the demise of Concorde seven years ago the improbability of its return to service, it is expected that commercial supersonic air travel may return as soon as 2015 with the introduction of the highly anticipated supersonic business jet from Aerion Corporation, according to EDI Weekly.
Aerion’s supersonic business jet will not have the same capacity for the number of passengers as did Concorde; however, it will feature significant technological advancements which include a new wing design and a reduced sonic boom effect. The wing design differs from that of the Concorde in that it is designed for what is called a “natural laminar flow” for a reduction in aerodynamic drag of as much as 20 percent (EDI Weekly). The reduction in sonic boom effect is a no less significant development due to tight governmental restrictions on aircraft sonic boom noise. The Aerion supersonic business jet will reportedly have a capability of reaching up to 1.1 times the speed of sound without creating sonic boom.
Although it is likely that the Aerion supersonic business jet will be available for service in the foreseeable future, it is far less likely that supersonic travel will become available to the mainstream public within a similar timeframe. The Aerion supersonic business jet is designed—as the name would imply—as a small business jet, having a seating capacity of only 12. Being as such, it can be expected that when the Aerion supersonic business jet enters service, it will be available primarily as a corporate jet for an exclusive group of individuals.
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