All Sonic, No Boom

Posted on February 18, 2007. Filed under: Aerodynamics, Flight, Transport |

Long hampered because the planes were too loud to fly over land, supersonic air travel is now on its way back—without the big bang.

If you’re ever lucky enough to fly a Quiet Supersonic Transport between New York and Los Angeles, you’ll have just enough time to get through a movie—a short one. Instead of the usual six hours, it will be a 1,100mph, two-hour hop. The QSST, as the proposed luxury private jet is known, could be the first civilian supersonic plane approved for overland routes, thanks to aerodynamics designed to muzzle its sonic boom. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has been developing the project for six years under a $25-million contract from Supersonic Aerospace International (SAI), founded by Michael Paulson, son of Gulfstream founder Allen Paulson. The 12-passenger QSST would fly at between 47,000 and 57,000 feet with a range of 4,600 miles (Chicago to Rome, for example), and it doesn’t need an extended runway. Configured with 12 club chairs, a spacious bathroom and a sweet A/V system, the QSST is aimed at diplomats or executives with plenty of money—but little time—to spare.

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+  For a closer look at the QSST concept inside and out, launch the photo gallery.


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