Since the demise of Concorde in 2003, supersonic flights have been off the mainstream aviation radar, and many believe it’s unlikely that we’ll see a commercial airliner travelling at these speeds again. But the prospects for private aviation look much brighter.Currently in development, the futuristic SonicStar is designed to carry up to 20 people travelling speeds of 2740 mph. This would enable a trip from Paris to New York in less than 2 hours and would make the SonicStar the world’s fastest passenger aircraft.
One major reason for suspending Concorde operations in 2003 was its prohibitive operating costs. To fly from London to New York, Concorde used about the same amount of fuel as a fully loaded 747 which could carry four times as many passengers.
Manufacturer HyperMach claims the SonicStar will be 30% more efficient than Concorde. To save weight the hull and wings of the jet will be largely built from super lightweight materials such as composite or titanium.
Then there is the SonicStar’s propulsion concept called the S-MAGJET. Unlike current jet engines this is a hybrid system in which a generator unit provides electric energy used by highly efficient propulsion fans. This is a totally new concept in aviation which HyperMach claims would result in 70% more operational efficiency and a significantly reduced carbon footprint compared to other aircraft. In fact, you wouldn’t hear any supersonic boom from the ground.
Other manufacturers are working on designs for supersonic jets, including the Aerion Corporation, but the Citation X, G650 and their rivals can rest easy for a few more years. Such ground-breaking technology takes time, so we will probably have to wait another decade or more to see supersonic aircraft in action.