Development of supersonic jet with low sonic boom announced

Spike Aerospace have announced their plans to relaunch supersonic jet travel this month, revealing that work is underway on the  S-512 Supersonic Jet, which has the added feature of having an extremely low sonic boom.

Concorde was decommissioned in 2003

Concorde was decommissioned in 2003 Image by Concorde, Fox Alpha, Air France / CC BY 2.0

At a cruising speed of 1100mph, the Supersonic Jet will produce a sonic boom of less than 70 PLdB (perceived loudness level). According to the company: 'When the aircraft flies overhead, someone on the ground will hear only a very soft muffled clap.'

Supersonic travel transports passengers at speeds faster than the speed of sound. The last major commercial supersonic transport civilian airline was the Concorde, which famously ceased working in 2003 after 27 years of successful business. Since then work has been undertaken by a series of SST companies to develop a new and improved model. One of the major drawbacks of SST has always been excessive noise at takeoff due to the phenomenon of sonic boom.

Sonic boom is the explosion of high volume that is generated by the shock waves that happen as a result of an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. These often sound like fireworks from a distance, and more like a crack if a person is closer to the site of takeoff.

Spike Aerospace have announced that they are managing to develop a model of SST that has a very low sonic boom, which may well be revolutionary in supersonic travel. If supersonic travel were to be re-instituted it would make flights about twice as fast over Europe, Middle East and Asia. As the company says, London to Dubai will be only three hours instead of six. However, supersonic travel is still illegal, and there are still drawbacks around the cost of the development of such a project as well as the cost of a seat on a commercial flight, with the cost of both being extremely high.

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