The world hasn’t seen commercial supersonic travel in almost 20 years since the retirement of Concorde in 2003, but that’s all about to change with the development of a new, environmentally friendly airliner.
Meet Overture, the world’s fastest airliner developed by Denver-based Boom Supersonic.
With 26 million design and test hours, Overture will run on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as it flies at Mach 1.7 over the ocean, shuttling between 68 and 80 passengers up to nearly 5,000 miles.
The updated design features four motors that will maintain the balance between weight and temperature, which will also reduce wing-mounted motor size requirements.
Boom says smaller engines will reduce thrust requirements for each.
And the lower the thrust, the quieter they will run.
“With no afterburners and no hum, Overture’s takeoffs will blend into existing long-haul fleets, resulting in a quieter experience for passengers and airport communities,” Boom said on its website.
The characteristic sonic boom people hear when an airplane goes supersonic can rattle nerves and windows. But unlike the Concorde, Overture’s sonic boom would be heard over the ocean so as not to disturb people on the ground.
Net zero carbon and SAF
Overture’s engines will run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel when flying at Mach 1.7.
Boom says Overture’s environmental impacts were considered when designing the new jetliner, which will help the company on its journey to zero carbon by 2025.
“Environmental performance is considered in all aspects of Overture, from design and production to theft and end-of-life recycling,” Boom said on its website. “The engineering team prioritizes circularity by repurposing used tools, recycling components on the shop floor, and leveraging additive manufacturing techniques that result in less manufacturing waste and lighter, lighter products. fuel efficient.”
In its design, Overture will incorporate lighter, stronger and thermally stable carbon composite materials into most of its construction.
A lighter aircraft will make the airliner more fuel efficient, making it more sustainable for the environment.
Another green aspect of Overture is the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
What is FAS?
SAF offers the same performance as conventional jet fuel, but with a significantly lower carbon footprint.
Fuel includes different types of sustainable resources, such as used cooking oil and waste animal fat, to name a few.
Fuselage and gull wing design
Overture has been optimized for speed, security and durability.
Overture’s fuselage has a larger diameter at the front of the aircraft and a smaller diameter towards the rear, which minimizes drag and maximizes its fuel efficiency when cruising at supersonic speeds.
Additionally, Boom says the gull-wing design will allow air to flow smoothly around and over the plane.
This will improve the aircraft’s supersonic flight capability while remaining effective at slower speeds.
Boom says the advantage of the wing design and its ability to fly slower means greater overall safety as it will take off and land at slower speeds.
So far, Boom says two airlines and the US Air Force have committed to buying Overture Airlines.
United Airlines says it will buy 15 planes once safety, operational and security requirements are met, with options to buy 35 more.
Japan Airlines also said it would buy the jetliners and has pre-ordered 20.
Additionally, Boom and the US Air Force are currently developing custom Overture configurations for government transport.
So how long will it take to get to popular international destinations?
New York to London:
- Current travel time: About 7 hours
- Opening travel time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Los Angeles to Sydney:
- Current travel time: About 3 p.m.
- Opening travel time: 8 hours
Tokyo to Seattle:
- Current travel time: About 9 hours
- Opening travel time: 4 hours 30 minutess
The Concorde was the world’s first supersonic airliner. British Airways and Air France used them commercially between 1976 and 2003.
Airliners carried passengers all over the world, but the aircraft’s extremely noisy operation and operating cost limited its service.
Its cruise speed was faster than Overture, circling the world twice as fast as sound at Mach 2.04.
At this speed, a flight between New York and London would take about 3 hours.
However, the Concorde was not financially profitable.
And in 2000, a Concorde flight from Paris to New York crashed shortly after takeoff when debris on the runway flew into the plane’s fuselage and ruptured a fuel intake.
The result was a catastrophic fire when the plane took off from the runway.
It crashed into a hotel and restaurant a few miles from the airport, killing all 109 people on board and four people on the ground.
After that, Air France and British Airways announced that they would withdraw their Concorde fleets.
Flights with the Concorde stopped in 2003, and supersonic commercial flights have been a memory ever since.
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