Supersonic Air Travel Is Coming Back

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The Concorde debuted in 1976, to an astonished world. The plane was faster than any offering available to the public, by a mile. The Concorde was able to travel well above the speed of sound, with a cruising speed of 1,354 miles per hour. That equates to Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound.

The Concorde Was The World's Fastest Passenger Plane

1843 Magazine

The advantages were obvious. If you bought a ticket on a Concorde, you could make the trip between New York and London in only three and a half hours, half of the standard seven aboard a jetliner. It was a technological marvel. Twenty Concordes were produced during its run, including six prototypes. They were generally seen as what they were: a convenience for the mega wealthy.

The Concorde did capture the public imagination. It seemed to imply a future in which faster flights would be made available to a wider segment of the population. Had the Concorde's trajectory continued unimpeded, that could plausibly have been the case. Unfortunately, though, supersonic flight remained the sole province of people who could spend insane amounts of money on a plane ticket.

A new crop of supersonic planes is in the works. It looks like it might be the same story, at least at the outset. The plane designs are quite impressive, though.