They are the questions that have fluttered vaguely on the lips of anyone involved in the air industry ever since Concorde touched down at the end of its final flight on November 26 2003: Where will the next supersonic aircraft come from, and when will it take off for the first time?
Two answers have emerged in the last 24 hours – although, as it stands, the second response is no more than concrete than “at some point in the future, hopefully, with the raising and investment of a lot of money”, while the first requires a little clarification.
This is the news that Boeing has unveiled a rendering of its vision of the future. But not a not a supersonic jet such as Concorde, which might be considered a relic in these forward-thinking times of 2018.
This is a theoretical “hypersonic” plane, capable of flying at Mach 5 or above (a speed of around 3,900 miles per hour) – a considerable upgrade on Concorde, which had a maximum capability of Mach 2.04 (nudging 1,354 miles per hour at its fullest throttle).
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