Concorde Plane


Push On For Planes That Can Travel Speed Of Sound And Faster

May 23, 2018 - 5:07 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880) -- Some companies want to build planes that can go the speed of sound and faster, and the Federal Aviation Administration appears to be getting onboard.

Alan Levin of Bloomberg told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot and Paul Murnane Wednesday that several companies are working on the technology, and the government realized it was behind the curve.

“So they’re sort of upgrading their rules to allow for testing and to try to come up with some way to deal with the noise issue,” Levin said. “The sonic boom on these things has meant they’re banned in the U.S., and so they’ve got to find a new regulatory framework to sort of assess what the noise will be and come up with standards to allow them going forward.”

The planes would be ideal for long-distance flights, such as transatlantic flights or flights from New York to Tokyo, Levin said.

“If you could go twice the speed of sound, you’d cut that trip from what is it now, you know, 14, 15, 16 hours to half that or less,” he said. “Now, that is a huge step, and a lot of these planes are going to have shorter range than that, I mean, but ultimately, that’s the goal, to be able to bring world travel into a much more manageable time.”

Among the companies involved is Lockheed Martin, which received a multimillion-dollar contract from NASA next month.

“They have a long history of developing sort of next-generation products, and what they’re trying to do is come up with better engines, better wing design, and that sort of thing, to make that loud sonic boom muffled,” Levin said.

He emphasized that the sonic book is never going to go away altogether.

“There’s always a shockwave, they call it, when you go faster than the speed of sound. But if you can make it just a little crack, you know, in New York or here in D.C., you’re not going to hear a little crack in the background. So if they can get it down to manageable levels, then it will become acceptable,” Levin said.

Levin noted that the Concorde, which was retired in 2003, was never able to fly at supersonic speeds over the U.S., and to create a situation where a plane can do so without such disruptions is the goal.