Concordes are back!

edited June 2021 in Speakeasy


United will purchase 15 of Boom’s ‘Overture’ airliners, once Overture meets United’s demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements, with an option for 35 more aircraft. Slated to carry passengers in 2029, the net-zero carbon aircraft will fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Flying at 2,000 km per hour, twice as fast as a Boeing 747, the planes would fly from London to New York in 3.5 hours, Washington DC to Paris in 4 hours, and from San Francisco to Tokyo in 6 hours.

There are only 88 seats on board, though, so tickets will probably be pricy...


  • I spent some time looking into the history (or future-that-wasn't) of supersonic commercial flight: "Supersonic Jets That Weren't".

  • With the spiking price of petroleum products and air travel in general on the rocks I wonder if this SST attempt is doomed like it doomed Nixon's beloved Boeing 2707 before it. Congress was willing to heavily subsidize development, but not operations. Unlike British Airways (which is now privatized as I understand it) and Air France, the US doesn't have a state owned flag carrier to pick up the costs.

    With only 88 seats, even at first class prices, that's going to be tough to run economically, even in good times. I wonder if the company will pivot to selling these as business jets, or VIP aircraft for governments assuming they get built at all.

  • You're quite right, it was high fuel costs that doomed the Concorde.

    Boom intends to use a "sustainable" jet fuel, though. Read here. I don't know how much cheaper that will be, but better for the environment!

    You're also right the US doesn't have a national airline, however, US airlines do benefit a lot from US protectionism. Here's a useful article on that topic from a libertarian think tank.

  • Lockheed Martin is building a supersonic plane for NASA! It looks like something out of Thunderbirds:

    Latest news:

    2021 saw significant milestones achieved in the assembly of NASA’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology aircraft (QueSST), and all eyes now look forward to a pivotal 2022. Following the X-plane’s temporary move from Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works in California to their facilities in Texas, the X-59 is set to start 2022 with critical ground testing, as progress continues toward NASA’s target of the aircraft’s first flight later this year.

    While in Texas, ground testing of the X-59 will be done to ensure the aircraft can withstand the loads and stresses that typically occur during flight. The team will also calibrate and test the fuel systems before the X-59 makes the journey back to California for more tests and completion.

    The X-59 is designed to reduce the loudness of the sonic boom, which occurs when an aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound, to a gentle, quiet sonic “thump”. The X-plane will demonstrate this in flights over communities around the U.S. starting in 2024, as NASA collects data that could open the future to commercial supersonic flights over land.

  • Oh yeah, the US government subsidizes all kinds of industries. Depends on if they're willing to subsidize SST operational costs. It's funny to me how Boeing at least recognized the need for economies of scale with the B2707. It was the first wide body they designed, I think, with development of the 747 starting soon after as a subsonic cargo companion to the 2707. The French-British consortium behind the Concorde just assumed planes would be 707 sized forever.

    Ah the X-59! I've been following the development of that for some time. It's a neat idea. If they could ever get atomic jet engines going again in the west it would solve the fuel problem... hummm talk about atompunk!

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