What is the news?
Plans to buy 15 new Overture supersonic Aircraft have been announced by US-based United Airlines. These aircrafts are planned to be open for passengers by 2029.
What are Supersonic Flights?
- Supersonic aircraft are planes that can fly faster than the speed of sound.
- Usually, supersonic planes can travel at the speed of around 900 kmph, twice the speed of normal aircraft.
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First Supersonic Aircraft:
- Concorde, the British-French turbojet-powered commercial airliner, was the first aircraft to carry passengers at supersonic speed.
- But eventually, the aircraft had to be discontinued due to cost and other concerns.
What about the Overture supersonic aircraft?
- The Overture supersonic aircraft would travel at the speed of Mach 1.7 or 1,805 kmph. In a single flight, it could carry 65 to 88 passengers.
- The aircraft will also not be noisy, as supersonic planes in the past were, as it aims for “zero overland noise.”
- Zero overland noise essentially means that the aircraft will fly at supersonic speeds only overwater. Thereby ensuring no sonic boom or excessive noise reaches the surfaces where people live.
Challenges with Supersonic Flights:
- Environment Pollution: The costs of making sustainable supersonic planes are extremely high. This is because using excessive amounts of fuel and energy is likely to have high environmental costs.
- Excessive Noise: Travelling faster than the speed of sound causes a sonic boom which can be heard on the ground as a loud thunderclap or explosion. This limits where and when the supersonic planes can fly.
- High Cost: Supersonic aircraft would not be economically feasible for everyone. Only the very rich can afford supersonic planes, as a ticket is likely to be way more costlier than a first-class ticket of a regular plane.
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Source: Indian Express