About 45 years after the first supersonic commercial flight took place, three different companies are currently working on developing a new supersonic aircraft.
First supersonic passenger flight
The first supersonic passenger flight was done with a Concorde. The first prototype took off from Toulouse, France on March 2, 1969, for its maiden flight.
Due to the oil crisis 1973, it was only 7 years later on January 21, 1976, when the first supersonic passenger flight took place.
Three years after the crash of Air France Flight 4590 the Concorde was retired in 2003.
Different flight museums around the world let you visit a Concorde from the in- and outside. We've visited the museum of flight in Seattle last year, and did something like a Concorde flight review.
Three different companies are working on supersonic aircraft
For the moment one Russian and two US companies are working to bring back supersonic commercial flights.
Aerion Supersonic is a US company. They call their jet Aerion AS2 and plan a cruising speed of Mach 1.4.
The company wants to build the first commercial aircraft that can fly at supersonic speeds over land without producing noise on the ground. According to their homepage they will have a modern, quiet, efficient supersonic engine, built by GE.
Time saving from New York (JFK) to London Heathrow will be 1hr 55min, with a total flight time of 4hrs and 4min only.
However, most people will never be able to fly with this aircraft as the Aerion AS2 will solely be a business jet. They plan to enter in service by 2027.
Another US company is called Boom Supersonic. Their aircraft is called OVERTURE and it will be an all-
The cruising speed will be Mach 2.2 with space for 55 business class passengers.
The company plans to introduce the jet in 2025–2027 with a cabin layout in a 1-1 configuration.
JAL has the option to purchase up to 20 Overture aircraft and Virgin Group 10 aircraft through a pre-order arrangement.
From the outside the Boom Supersonic looks similar to the Concorde.
New York City to London would only be 3 hrs 15 min apart. The company targets $5,000 fares for this round-trip.
Tupolev is a known Russian company. They already had a supersonic passenger aircraft back in time, the Tupolev TU-144.
The maiden flight was even 3 months earlier than the one from the Concorde, but the TU-144 had a short life as a passenger plane.
The TU-144 made its first commercial flight between Moscow and Almaty on 26 December 1975, that was before the Concorde. But that flight was carrying mail instead of passengers.
It took until 1977 for the Tu-144 to start taking passengers. With a total of just 55 return flights the aircraft stopped flying long before the Concorde did.
Russian researchers have now started preliminary investigations into the development of a new civil supersonic aircraft. The Zhukovsky Institute research center is carrying out the work.
But until now only a few details are known about the new supersonic jet.
The demo aircraft should be developed in 2020-2022 in the best case scenario with a maximum speed up to 1.6-1.8 Mach.
Moreover, the institute also suggests building a business version of the aircraft with fewer passengers to serve new markets.
It will be an expensive and a long way to go to get a supersonic passenger flight back in the air, maybe it will even be too expensive.
Supersonic flights have existed for over 50 years. Maybe the technology, to make it efficient and mainstream, is now ready to build supersonic planes again.
Who thought years ago, that NASA would need a private company named SpaceX to send astronauts back in the space…