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How the next supersonic jets can succeed where Concorde failed

June 7, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18.2%. 1 min read.

United Airlines' interest in high speed aircraft developer Boom Supersonic increases the likelihood of a return to supersonic passenger flights. But if Boom is to succeed, here's what it will need to do to overcome the issues that derailed Concorde.

(CNN) — United Airlines has announced it will purchase up to 50 Boom Overture supersonic jets for commercial use by 2029, heralding the return of supersonic passenger flights nearly 20 years after the Concorde was decommissioned.

To do this, the aircraft must break through the sound barrier, which requires an efficient aerodynamic design to reduce drag, and considerable thrust from powerful engines to overcome the turbulence caused by shock waves.

Breaking the sound barrier also requires engines which burn through lots of jet fuel -- one of Concorde's key drawbacks and something that's only become more contentious in recent years.

Higher bypass ratio turbofan engines are more fuel efficient than turbojets.

The Concorde's turbojets, meanwhile, only needed afterburners at take-off and to break through the sound barrier, improving its fuel economy and lowering cabin noise while supercruising.

These sustainable fuels are compatible with conventional jet fuel, which means no changes to airport fuelling infrastructure or engine design will be needed for them to be introduced -- a critical factor in their uptake.

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by summa-bot

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