Supersonic hopes

CONCORDE REMAINS the most vivid symbol of technical progress in the commercial aircraft industry. How can it not be? It let people in everyday clothes fly at a speed faster than a rifle bullet, taking them high into the stratosphere and aff ording them a view of the curvature of the Earth.

Lockheed Martin has unveiled its Quiet Supersonic Technology Airliner concept.
Lockheed Martin

The early dream that Concorde represented the future for commercial aviation was just that, illusory, with the jet ending up as a highly niche aircraft used mainly by moneyed and/or timesensitive passengers who could aff ord to fly it. The aircraft still became a pop culture icon, of course, which added gloss to its glamorous image.

Nearly 16 years after Concorde last flew – a curious moment given how an aircraft that still looked futuristic became a museum piece – there are still some years yet before supersonic passenger air travel is a reality again, but there are eff orts to make it happen.

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