Boeing’s Supersonic Airliner

When the Concorde was grounded in 2003 it brought to an end a golden era of supersonic air travel. The fleet was grounded because it became too expensive to run and maintain after a tragic accident made it clear that there were some weaknesses to the aircraft never before seen. Another problem the hook-nosed airliner had was that because it was so excruciatingly loud it could only fly certain routes.

Boeing wants to bring back this era of intercontinental travel, and is trying to do so with the Boeing Icon II (in conjunction with NASA), which has recently been undergoing wind tunnel testing. They are obviously trying to cut down on noise and it becomes evident when looking at the model. The engines are on top to shield the ground from the jets, and the V-tail is designed to channel the eventual sonic boom backwards, which will keep the boom airborne for an extended period of time. This gives it more chance to dissipate before reaching ears on the ground.

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Boeing 765-107B, called Icon-II via Aviation Week.

NASA says: “œWe are testing overall vehicle design and performance options to reduce emissions and noise, and identifying whether the volume of sonic booms can be reduced to a level that leads to a reversal of the current ruling that prohibits commercial supersonic flight over land.“
What do you think about the future of supersonic commercial flights?
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Boeing’s Icon-II design is expected to reduce fuel burn and airport noise levels while reducing sonic boom noise.
Image credit: NASA/The Boeing Company

Source: New Scientist