The world's only commercial supersonic jet, the Concorde, was retired from service in 2003 following the downturn of the aviation industry post 9/11. Since then, no airline company has stepped up to fill the void ... until now. Slated to release publicly in 2021, aerospace company Aerion has teamed up with the aircraft manufacturing giant, Airbus, to create the first commercially available supersonic jet since the Concorde.
The AS2 supersonic business jet will be built using Aerion's own aerodynamic technologies and designs, and will be capable of reaching 1,217 mph (Mach 1.6), making the journey from New York to Sao Paulo in a staggeringly quick 2 hours 48 minutes. For comparison purposes, regular aircrafts cruise at around 480mph - 560mph. Much of this increase in velocity can be attributed to an innovative new wing design that reduces drag and therefore fuel consumption by up to 20%.
At the peak of its lifetime, the Concorde jet absolutely revolutionized the airline industry, and the shorter flight times between trans-Atlantic destinations afforded business travelers (and vacationers alike) a window into futuristic travel. Since its departure, the travel industry has awaited a newer, better, faster, and more efficient way to fly overseas and it looks like soon, near 2020, the return of supersonic air travel will be upon us.
A number of companies are competing with Aerion/Airbus to create a supersonic jet - the top contender is UK-based HyperMach, designing a jet reportedly capable of reaching Mach 4, or about 2600mph. HyperMach's jet is also set to be released in 2020.
Regardless of which of these companies wins the race to commercialize supersonic airplanes, we can all rejoice at the rekindled interest in the future of travel, and the many innovative minds pushing the boundaries of aircraft design.
As we wait for the promised arrival of these exciting supersonic airplanes, we will have to settle for regular, subsonic planes to shuttle us to various worldly destinations. All hope is not lost, though ... those of you with an adventurous spirit and a need for speed can turn to Auto Europe's fleet of luxury super cars to sate your desire to push the boundaries of physics until pioneers like Aerion and HyperMach delight us with these innovative jets.
Image Credit: AerionSuperSonic.com