How Concorde Pioneered Supersonic Commercial Flight
How Concorde Pioneered Supersonic Commercial Flight
8:25

How Concorde Pioneered Supersonic Commercial Flight

News
Speaker 1: Imagine flying from New York to London in just three hours for a while. It was possible. Thanks to the Concord, a supersonic airliner over its nearly three decade. Run the Concord carried passengers around the world at more than twice. The speed of sound. Speaker 2: The dream was in the way that was promoted is, uh, you could wake up in the morning in London, you could fly to New York, you could have lunch, and then you could just fly home. Speaker 1: That wasn't until 2003, when the Concord completed its last commercial flight today, passenger planes like the popular [00:00:30] Boeing, triple seven are limited to flying at subsonic speeds of around 575 miles per hour. That means instead of three hours, it takes around seven hours to get from New York to London. So why did supersonic flights go away? And when could they make a comeback? Speaker 1: The Concord was a game changer in the world of air travel. It had an average crew speed of mock two or around 1300 miles per hour. It also had a maximum cruise altitude of 60,000 feet [00:01:00] for reference regular commercial planes typically fly between 30 1030 8,000 feet. So nearly half the altitude of the Concord, the name Concord reflected a treaty between the British and French governments, which shared the costs and risks of the plane's production. It was operated by British airways and air France. Concord made its first successful flight in 1969 and completed the first scheduled commercial super Sonic flight in 1976. Although the seats and windows aboard [00:01:30] were small and the cabin cramped passengers could enjoy exceptional service and lavish meals such as lobster or lamb as well as plenty of champagne looking out the window, people could see the gradual curve of the earth since they were up so high, but this all came at a steep price. Roundtrip tickets aboard the Concord could cost around $12,000 each also because the plane flew faster than the speed of sound. It created a Sonic boom, an explosive noise caused by shockwaves that were a nuisance to [00:02:00] people on the ground. Speaker 2: When misconception people have about Sonic booms is it only happens when the plane breaks the sound barrier and actually it's happening the whole time a plane is flying super sonically. So if it fly, if a Concord would fly from New York to Los Angeles, it would have a Sonic boom the entire time across the us. If you're on the ground while that's happening, uh, you would, you would hear, uh, two really loud bangs. It's just two, uh, changes in air pressure. So, uh, kind of like maybe two gunshots or something like that. Speaker 1: [00:02:30] This led the federal aviation administration to ban all commercial, super Sonic flights over the us in 1973, that limited the Concord to flying over the ocean. The Concord was also incredibly expensive to operate and used a lot of fuel that made flights few and far between and limited them to passengers who could afford to drop a few thousand dollars on a ticket. Some flights were only at half capacity as a result. New York was the only regular destination for flights from London in Paris. Speaker 1: [00:03:00] Then there was the disaster that effectively ushered in the end in 2000 and air France, Concord flying from Paris to New York city suffered engine failure just after takeoff. The subsequent crash killed all 109 people on board as well as four people on the ground, a French government investigation found the Concord had run over a strip of metal on the runway, which caused a tire to blow out debris from the tire, struck a fuel tank and the impact [00:03:30] likely caused the tank to explode and start a fire. In 2003, the Concord was retired. The last scheduled commercial flight operated by British airways took off from JFK airport in New York to London Heathrow on October 24th, concluding an era of futuristic air travel. Speaker 1: Almost 20 years later, supersonic passenger flights have yet to make a comeback, but a handful of companies are working to change that in 2021 [00:04:00] United airlines agreed to buy 15 aircraft from boom super Sonic, a startup working to build supersonic commercial jets. The jet called overture is designed to be carbon neutral and run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel. It would fly at speeds of mock 1.7 and at Heights of 60,000 feet. That means you could get from Newark to London in an estimated three and a half hours. And from San Francisco to Tokyo in around six, the overture also promises to be more spacious than [00:04:30] the Concord and will carry up to 88 passengers United hopes to get its new supersonic flights in the air by 2029. But if it wants to avoid the pitfalls of the Concord, boom will need to work out how to bring down costs to make tickets accessible to more than just the super wealthy the FAA and other aviation safety agencies will also have to certify the overture jet before it can carry passengers. Speaker 1: Then there's the issue of Sonic booms, which are still illegal or severely restricted over most countries that would need [00:05:00] to change to open up transcontinental roots for the overture to start. Boom says it will just focus on overwater roots, boom plans to start building the overture in 2024 at its new Greensboro North Carolina manufacturing facility. The first test flight is set for 2026. If all goes according to plan, it can meet that goal to begin commercial service by 2029. Virgin galactic also has its site set on bringing back supersonic flights. In 2020, the company said it was teaming up with rolls Royce to [00:05:30] develop a super Sonic jet that could shuttle passengers at up to three times. The speed of sound Virgin is working on a concept for an aircraft with a top speed of mock three or 2,300 miles per hour, and a capacity for nine to 19 people. The new plane could take passengers from New York city to London in around two hours and across the Pacific in less than five hours. Virgin said in 2020 that it had completed a mission concept review, which included representatives from NASA. The review found [00:06:00] that the design is feasible and can move forward to the next phase, which involves designing specific system architectures and figuring out which materials to use. Speaker 1: But the player that's really looking to shake up the game is NASA and Lockheed Martin's X 59 aircraft. They're teaming up to design a plane that would break the sound barrier with a quieter Sonic boom. In fact, with this aircraft flying overhead, someone on the ground would hear a noise, no louder than a car door, slamming something. NASA [00:06:30] calls a Sonic thump. This would be accomplished. Thanks to the plane's long pointed nose and sharply swept wings. These design choices would ensure the individual pressure waves created by the plane, never converged to cause a traditional Sonic boom, reducing that Sonic boom could help overturn regulations restricting super Sonic planes from flying over land and could open up more roots. Another thing that sets the X 59 apart is because its nose is so long and pointy. It has no front window. Instead. [00:07:00] The aircraft has an external vision system that uses two cameras, one above and below the plane to create a real time view of what's in front. Speaker 1: This data is then shown on an HD screen. Lockheed is in the final stages of building the X 59. Then it has to go through three phases of testing in the first phase. Lockheed will make sure the plane can actually fly. NASA will conduct the second phase, which will include acoustic testing to measure the shock waves produced in the air. It'll also measure how noisy the Sonic th is at ground [00:07:30] level. And finally in phase three, NASA will fly the X 59 above a handful of communities to gauge how people respond to the noise. All that data will be presented to regulators and an effort to reverse that 1973 ban on commercial, super Sonic flight with all these innovations in the pipeline. It may only be a matter of time before we usher in the next era of super Sonic air travel one that's hopefully more affordable, accessible, and maybe even [00:08:00] quieter.

Up Next

What is the Fediverse?
240418-fediverse-winged

Up Next

What is the Fediverse?

The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission
240418-site-omt-the-core-problem-of-apples-green-goals-v1.jpg

The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission

Boston Dynamics Retires Its HD Atlas Robot
p1022506-00-00-01-20-still001

Boston Dynamics Retires Its HD Atlas Robot

Apple and Disney's Unique Bond: Why Vision Pro Needs the Mouse
240411-site-can-disney-save-the-apple-vision-pro-v1

Apple and Disney's Unique Bond: Why Vision Pro Needs the Mouse

The Ocean Cleanup's System 03 Collects Plastic Pollution at Record Levels
The Ocean Cleanup System 03

The Ocean Cleanup's System 03 Collects Plastic Pollution at Record Levels

Latest iOS 18 Rumor Roundup: New Designs, AI Tricks
240404-yt-omt-ios-18-siri-ai-v06

Latest iOS 18 Rumor Roundup: New Designs, AI Tricks

Apple to Talk AI in June: This WWDC Is a Big Deal
240328-yt-omt-wwdc24-v07

Apple to Talk AI in June: This WWDC Is a Big Deal

What Google Gemini AI on the iPhone Could Look Like
240321-site-apple-and-gemini-ai

What Google Gemini AI on the iPhone Could Look Like

Microsoft Surface Pro 10, Surface Laptop 6 Are Here
240320-site-microsoft-surface-pros-first-look-v2

Microsoft Surface Pro 10, Surface Laptop 6 Are Here

Everything Just Announced at Google's AI Health Event
sc-googlehealthai-00-02-29-25-still001

Everything Just Announced at Google's AI Health Event

Tech Shows

The Apple Core
apple-core-w

The Apple Core

Alphabet City
alphabet-city-w

Alphabet City

CNET Top 5
cnet-top-5-w

CNET Top 5

The Daily Charge
dc-site-1color-logo.png

The Daily Charge

What the Future
what-the-future-w

What the Future

Tech Today
tech-today-w

Tech Today

Latest News All latest news

What to Expect at Apple's May 7 iPad Event
240423-yt-apple-ipad-ipad-pro-pencil-v02

What to Expect at Apple's May 7 iPad Event

Did a Week With the Apple Watch Make Me Use My iPhone Less?
240419-site-does-having-an-apple-watch-make-me-use-my-iphone-less-4

Did a Week With the Apple Watch Make Me Use My iPhone Less?

How Google Tests the Cameras in Its Pixel Phones
240417-site-google-pixel-lab-exclusive-1

How Google Tests the Cameras in Its Pixel Phones

Boston Dynamics' New Electric Atlas vs. Tesla's Optimus
240419-wtf-atlas-vs-optimus-v04

Boston Dynamics' New Electric Atlas vs. Tesla's Optimus

What is the Fediverse?
240418-fediverse-winged

What is the Fediverse?

The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission
240418-site-omt-the-core-problem-of-apples-green-goals-v1.jpg

The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission

Most Popular All most popular

First Look at TSA's Self-Screening Tech (in VR!)
innovation

First Look at TSA's Self-Screening Tech (in VR!)

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost
240123-site-samsung-galaxy-s24-ultra-review-4

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Review: More AI at a Higher Cost

'Circle to Search' Lets Users Google From Any Screen
circlesearchpic

'Circle to Search' Lets Users Google From Any Screen

Asus Put Two 14-inch OLEDs in a Laptop, Unleashes First OLED ROG Gaming Laptop
asus-preces-00-00-25-11-still003

Asus Put Two 14-inch OLEDs in a Laptop, Unleashes First OLED ROG Gaming Laptop

Samsung Galaxy Ring: First Impressions
samsung-galaxy-ring-clean

Samsung Galaxy Ring: First Impressions

Best of Show: The Coolest Gadgets of CES 2024
240111-site-best-of-ces-2024-1

Best of Show: The Coolest Gadgets of CES 2024

Latest Products All latest products

2025 Audi Q6, SQ6 E-Tron: Audi's Newest EV Is Its Most Compelling
cnet-audiq6

2025 Audi Q6, SQ6 E-Tron: Audi's Newest EV Is Its Most Compelling

Hands-On with Ford's Free Tesla Charging Adapter
pic3

Hands-On with Ford's Free Tesla Charging Adapter

Nuro R3 is an Adorable Self-Driving Snack Bar
240320-site-nuro-r3-first-look-v1

Nuro R3 is an Adorable Self-Driving Snack Bar

First Look: The $349 Nothing Phone 2A Aims to Brighten Your Day
240304-site-nothing-phone-2-first-look-v3

First Look: The $349 Nothing Phone 2A Aims to Brighten Your Day

Best of MWC 2024: Bendable Screens, AI Wearables and More
240229-site-best-of-show-at-mwc

Best of MWC 2024: Bendable Screens, AI Wearables and More

This Concept Laptop from Lenovo Has a Transparent Display
240225-site-lenovo-translucent-laptop-concept-v3

This Concept Laptop from Lenovo Has a Transparent Display

Latest How To All how to videos

Tips and Tricks for the AirPods Pro 2
airpods-pro-2

Tips and Tricks for the AirPods Pro 2

How to Watch the Solar Eclipse Safely From Your Phone
screenshot-2024-04-03-at-15-47-11.png

How to Watch the Solar Eclipse Safely From Your Phone

Windows 11 Tips and Hidden Features
240311-site-windows-11-hidden-tips-and-tricks-v2

Windows 11 Tips and Hidden Features

Vision Pro App Walkthrough -- VisionOS 1.0.3
VisionOS 1.0.3

Vision Pro App Walkthrough -- VisionOS 1.0.3

Tips and Tricks for the Galaxy S24 Ultra
240216-site-galaxy-s24-ultra-tips-and-hidden-features-2

Tips and Tricks for the Galaxy S24 Ultra

TikTok Is Now on the Apple Vision Pro
tiktok-on-vision-pro-clean

TikTok Is Now on the Apple Vision Pro