Mechanics & Locomotion

Jan 1, 2017

SUPERSONICS FIGHT BACK

November 2016, thirteen years after the last trip performed by a Concorde aircraft (with British Airways, 24th October, 2003), north-american company Boom Technology showed the world the final version of its prototype for a supersonic airplane, the XB-1, which multimillionaire Richard Branson wants to serve at Virgin Galactic.

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Many still question about the reasons which led to the drawback of the most iconic passenger airplane ever: the Concorde. Truth is there were many reasons and not just a simple succession of accidents involving these aircrafts, reported properly by the time (most serious one occurred July, 25th, 2000, in Paris, as one of these airplanes run over a titanium piece from the plane itself, led to the blowing of a tire and followed by the explosion of the fuel tanks. 109 passengers and four airport ground technicians, died in this accident.)

Besides that, the Air France and British Airways consortium, also pointed the decrease in the number of passengers, another effect caused by the terrorist attacks in September, 9th in New York.

In addition, many aeronautical engineers pointed also de design of the wing (delta shaped) which caused enormous stress over the pneumatics, leading to each set of tires for the aircraft supported no more than three or four trips.

Boom Technology is back, now, to this theme with its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator. For the time being, this prototype is only prepared to carry one pilot and a flight engineer, but the final objective is to transport 44 passengers in each airplane. And they plan to go through with the first trips between London and New York, already in 2020, calculating it to last three and a half hours at the "reasonable" price of five thousand dollars.

Virgins' "boss", Sir Richard Branson, has already proclaimed and insured the delivery of the first ten aircrafts in order to equip the Virgin Galactic fleet.

And he did something more. Using Spaceship Company, the Virgin Group company which is set to build aircrafts, they will provide engineering, design and services in the manufacture of components, tests and flight operations.

One spokesman from the Virgin Group, still, recently referred "it is still early days and just the start of what you'll hear about our shared ambitions and efforts".

Details and numbers

Truth is, the calculated numbers are astronomical, as the airplane itself looks like it's going to be. Let's see…

At extraordinary flight conditions, Concorde beat the five-point-five thousand kilometres (straight line) between London and New York in four hours.

XB-1, is committed to three and a half hours (with extraordinary conditions, this can go down to less than three hours).

Concorde accomplished full speed at 2146 km/h (Mach 2.0); XB-1 reaches Mach 2.4 (close to 2600 km/h, regarding the Earth moves at 1674 km/h).

Concorde carried 140 passengers; XB-1 will carry 44 persons, turning the trip very less expensive.

One flight in a Concorde between London and New York used to cost 12 thousand dollars; XB-1 is aiming to do the same trip in less time, for five thousand dollars.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are also developing their supersonic propulsion models, however, Blake Scholl, clearly said "we will probably beat them in the same market because we don't require any new technology and we don't need regulators approval".

The same Virgin spokesman, underlines "we are not using any new technology. We are using those existing ones and assembling it properly. And it will be tested thoroughly".

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