Flying faster than sound travels has been possible since the late 1940s. But the vibration and noise that accompany high-speed flight greatly limit its use. Could quieting sonic booms invite a resurgence of supersonic flight? Lockheed Martin and NASA hope so. An aircraft the two are jointly working on may reopen options for moving passengers faster than the speed of sound.
Researchers during World War II experimented with making aircraft faster. American Chuck Yeager flew the first documented manned vehicle to break the sound barrier in 1947.
Following this achievement, scientists continued improving supersonic (“beyond” + “sound”) aircraft. The first supersonic passenger jet was the 1970s-era Soviet Tu-144. But unreliability and other factors consigned it to carrying cargo.
The British-French supersonic passenger jet Concorde operated successfully from 1976-2003. It zoomed across the Atlantic Ocean at 1,354 mph and seated 128 passengers. But the Concorde was barred from most overland routes. Eventually, operating costs became too great, and the plane was retired.
Objects traveling faster than the speed of sound create sonic booms. NASA explains the phenomenon this way: “Air molecules cannot move out of the way of the airplane fast enough, so the pressure waves combine to generate a large shockwave.”
People describe the noise as sounding like an explosion or clap of thunder. Sonic booms can wake people, startle animals, and even cause minor damage to buildings. Booms led to banning most supersonic flight over populated areas in the 1970s.
God created the laws by which air molecules move and planes generate lift. “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible.” (Colossians 1:16) He also created the laws that engineers hope to harness to overcome the sonic boom.
Lockheed Martin and NASA are developing the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) that should reduce the troublesome sound. The aircraft features a relocated engine, “swept-back” wings, and an ultra-thin 30-foot-long nose. The shape helps spread out supersonic shockwaves.
Meanwhile, a company called Boom Supersonic is developing its own supersonic passenger jets. Its Overture airliner will cruise at 1,300 mph—twice the speed of today’s passenger planes. However, there are many technical and manufacturing hurdles to overcome before the aircraft becomes a real option.
In 2024, X-59 will begin U.S. flyovers. Boom Supersonic hopes to follow soon after.
During testing, NASA will invite public feedback about X-59’s noise. NASA claims, “All people will hear is a quiet ‘sonic thump’—if they hear anything at all.”
Why? As technology expands and changes, believers can marvel at human progress while they rest assured that the God who created all things—including the laws of physics and sonic booms—is still in control.
I prefer regular Planes because I wouldn’t want the trip to go too fast
If the plane went high enough
If the plane went high enough you wouldnt hear the sound. Or if it was just outside the speed of sound(Like how water doesn't freeze unless it is 32 degrees).
yes, but i think it would be
yes, but i think it would be better to choose from the longer flights for those who like flying (like myself) or the option to take the shorter supersonic flight if on a business trip or something.
Cool, I want to be a military jet pilot one day.
I've thought about piloting for the USAF also, but i think the ground forces are more fit for me.
I think that is really cool! I wonder how much runway space they need? If it is shorter, longer, or just about the same as a typical passenger airplane?
@JJ & Steven: My mom's cousin flies jets off of aircraft carries in the Navy. That is an option too. My advice to you would be to simply let God lead your paths.
My dad was in the special forces, and I think I may end up in the air force . . . (I am currently almost 13)
isn't it strange?
The universe has laws? gravity, physiscs, and, sound now that is strange.
Cool! Looks so futuristic!
As I was reading the 3rd paragraph, I thought to ask you guys if you'd heard of Concorde and coincidently they mentioned it in the next paragraph, lol!! I have actually been inside a Concorde Aircraft. My and my dad went on a short tour about them last autumn or summer (I can't remember) and it was super cool sitting inside one of them! That's when my interest in become a flight attendant started, and I've now decided I would like to be one :) anyway the nose of a Concorde is similar to that of a X-59 (above). The nose of a Concorde is longer than most current aeroplanes and it has a hinge. So when it was landing, the pilots would tilt the nose downward so that they could see the runway, but when it was in flight it was raised so it could fly properly. You can find tons of photos online. It's sort of a shame that Concordes aren't flying anymore, the people of France and Britain put a lot of effort and money into them, but then there was the crash in July 2000 (I believe it was headed for the JFK international airport, from Paris) that questioned the reliability and everything which led to the end of Concorde. 9/11 also had an affect. Anyway xD Sorry about this super long comment xD I shall stop now!
@Riley and Jonathan
i agree, for almost all my life (14 years) I have been changing my mind about which military branch i want to go into. we'll see where God puts me, it may not even be in the military.
that's cool, i also know a Sergeant Major in the army special forces. i'm friends with him and his son. its really cool talking to him about the army.
my cousin might be a pilot he just flew a plane for his 1st time 2 days ago but i dunno what i want to be
This is excitung
This will be cool to travel in one of these.
That would be cool, but the G
That would be cool, but the G-forces must be extremely hard on the body going that fast. Even with all the safety stuff
yea, pilots in the military have to wear these special pants so that the blood doesn't all go to the legs, they help push the blood back up so that it gets circulated better but pilots still can get tunnel vision and other G-force side affects... which include passing out, which is extremely dangerous while flying a plane.
Lol I tried typing this in the subject section
I would prefer a normal plane because I would not be able to enjoy the onboard movie
Cadens first comment
If it went just outside the speed of sound it wouldn’t be that fast only about 600 mph
yea, but if the speed of sound is about 761 mph, would there still be a sonic boom if the plane is going 760 mph?