Rolls-Royce, one of the leading aircraft engine manufacturers, is involved in supersonic passenger aircraft project. Rolls-Royce, which also produced the engines of the legendary Concorde died 20 years ago, is thus starting an extremely ambitious business again. The aircraft to be supported by Rolls-Royce is Overture, developed by Boom Supersonic.
The Overture project, which was first announced to the public in 2016, continues to progress, albeit slowly. Overture, designed with three engines according to the plans, will be 10% faster than Concorde.
Based on calculations, it will take 3 hours 15 minutes from New York to London, 5 hours 30 minutes from San Francisco to Tokyo and 6 hours 45 minutes from Los Angeles to Sydney with a supersonic plane with a Mach 2.2 speed (2,450 km). The cabin of the Overture, which will have 55 seats, will be completely arranged in Business Class style. A model produced for Overture, one third of its size, was aimed to make its first test flight by the end of 2019. However, it is said that the test flight, which has not taken place until now, can be done in 2021 at best. The model plane is expected to be introduced on October 7, 2020. After the delays, it is planned that the first real-size prototype will make a test flight in 2025 and passenger flights will start in 2029.
As this was happening on the Overture front, a news from Virgin Galactic confused them. Virgin Galactic announced that it is embarking on a new supersonic aircraft project. And the company has has signed a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce on the engines of this aircraft. The aircraft to be developed will have a Mach 3 speed, a cruising altitude of 18,000 meters and a capacity of 9-19 seats. As will be remembered, Virgin Atlantic gave the option to buy 10 booms in early 2016. Therefore, the fact that another firm associated with the Virgin brand started a project similar to Overture with Rolls-Royce, raised questions in the minds.
Delay due to Covid19
As a result, when we take into account the Covid-19 crisis and the number of idle passenger aircrafts in the industry, I anticipate that supersonic passenger aircraft projects may delay for a while and progress very slowly. Considering the conditions, I think supersonic aircraft projects will at best extend to the years after 2025. As a result, considering the issues such as the idea of travelling with rocket and the orientation towards supersonic planes announced by Elon Musk in 2017, the future of aviation after Covid19 seems to be pregnant with quite exciting developments.
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