NASA has unveiled its first official x-plane in years, dubbed the ‘son of concord,’ it has now officially been cleared for assembly before it begins test flights in 2021.
As the Daily Mail reports:
The X-59 will cruise at Mach 1.42 (1,090 mph/1,754 km/h) and is designed for supersonic flight while preventing its sonic boom from being heard on the ground.
If successful, the craft could one day travel from London to New York in just over three hours, while transcending objections to supersonic air travel over land.
NASA cleared the X-59 “quiet” supersonic plane for final assembly and integration. Developed by @LockheedMartin‘s Skunk Works, the experimental plane is designed to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump.
Lockheed Martin illustration: pic.twitter.com/B4GusIDAHE
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) December 16, 2019
The unusual design also features no front-facing cockpit window — instead, cameras will feed the forward view to a 4K ultra-high-resolution monitor in the cockpit.
Construction of the X-59 — to a $247.5 million (£187.5 million) contract — is being undertaken by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics at their Palmdale, California factory.
If successful, the x-plane could very well change the way commercial air travel is conducted forever.
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Why do some otherwise very smart people always seem to keep trying to re-invent the wheel? The main sound problem with the Concorde SST wasn’t the “sonic boom,” which only lasted a second as the shock wave passed over, it was the horrendously loud, long roar generated by its massive engines as it took off and climbed at less-than Mach-1 speed to flight altitude. I used to live in Poolesville, MD, many miles north of Dulles Airport in Virginia, where the whole house and ground shook as the SST took off and flew overhead, so high it was just a tiny silver point in the sky. No other aircraft did that. What really killed it was its horrendous cost versus what it could make in ticket sales, plus that disastrous crash in Paris after a tire got shredded and blew out on take-off.
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Brings back memories of when the Concord was introduced, but it did have a sonic boom which this new craft apparently avoids at ground level.
My Father, nephew, 3 uncles & my Grandfather were all USAF pilots. I was enamored by the Concord when it landed at the Indpls Intl Airport. Fortunately i met one of the pilots and asked about the training time to fly the craft. His reply… “I can teach you to fly if you give me a year of your time AND a million dollars.”
I could have given the years time but i could not pay the million dollars! Makes me wonder, what would the answer be to the same question but regarding this new craft??
Good thing for me… I quit flying 30 years ago following a close call that had a profound effect on me. Hoping the rest of you who so desire have the opportunity to fly in this beauty!