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Current Affairs

Supersonic flying

Date: 09 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

United Airlines has ordered 15 supersonic passenger planes from a company named Boom for commercial operations.

 

Background

Supersonic flights were last seen two decades back when Concorde airline flew them. Since then they lost importance.

 

Details

  • Supersonic flights can travel at a speed of 1.7 Mach, which is faster than the speed of sound. If the deal progresses, then it will become the world’s fastest commercial airliner.

  • The supersonic airplanes can reduce travel time by half in comparison to the existing fleet of aircrafts. United Airlines will buy the planes only if they meet certain criteria.

 

Concerns with supersonic aircrafts

  • Supersonic aircrafts consume high amount of fuel along with high emissions during its operations. This would be detrimental on environmental safety.

  • The Boom company has claimed that their aircrafts have net-zero emissions and run 100 percent on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

  • The planes produce sonic boom that can create problems for people living below. It can lead to damage of property.

 

Supersonic plane

  • The supersonic planes are a category of aircrafts that can travel with a speed more than that of sound. The technology is old but has been recently revived.

  • The use of this technology for commercial purposes has taken place recently as earlier it was mostly used for military purposes.

  • The Concorde was the first company to use this technology but had to wind up due to high costs of operations. The planes can travel at a speed of around 900 kmph.

 

Challenges in supersonic planes

  • Cost of making sustainable supersonic planes is very high. It uses excessive amount of fuel and cannot carry heavy load.

  • It will be difficult to control the sonic boom that is produced by these aircrafts. It is most likely to cause inconvenience.

  • The systems and components used are prone to failure. It takes high maintenance cost and is risky for long travel.