One of the reasons that supersonic flight has never taken off is due to the sonic boom. This sound is caused by the pressure waves created when something travels faster than sound and is why Concorde was not permitted to fly at full speed over land.
You can hear a sonic boom in miniature such as when someone cracks a whip. That can be quite loud, so you can imagine how much louder a full size passenger aircraft like Concorde must be.
Let’s Hear Concorde’s Sonic Boom
Concorde’s bread and butter routes were from London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle to New York’s Kennedy airport, routes that were mainly over the Atlantic Ocean. This meant the aircraft could travel at full speed with no people affected.
Below is a short video that someone took on board a boat that is below Concorde as it passes overhead. It was during the last flight of Air France Concorde F-BVFA.
First you can see the aircraft flying overhead very quickly and in total silence. Soon after that you get to hear the famous double boom created by flying supersonic.
The sound is somewhat akin to loud thunder breaking overhead. Imagine a fleet of Concorde’s in the sky over land – the sonic boom would get old very quickly.
Boom Concept Aircraft
A company from the USA calling itself Boom Technology is designing a new supersonic aircraft which they hope to bring to market in the next decade. The aircraft is designed to minimise the sonic boom and allow more flights over land.
Boom plans the jet to seat 50 passengers at business class air fares and is planned to have a range of 8,300 kilometres. Far from being a pipe dream, there are 76 options on the aircraft already plus Japan Air Lines have invested $10 million in the company.
Hearing a sonic boom is pretty cool and the only thing more interesting would be hearing it in person. Of course as Concorde is no longer flying, the chances of that are virtually nil.
Hopefully the Boom concept will make its way from one third scale demonstrator to a production aircraft. I know I’d like to fly supersonically one day as I missed my chance with Concorde.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image via Concordesst.com.
Boom image via Wikimedia Commons.