It’s been 50 years since the first Concorde took her maiden test flight, inaugurating the era of supersonic passenger travel, and almost 16 years since that era drew to a close, back in 2003. Since then we’ve had indulgent A380s and efficient 787s, but the truth is, we never really got over the Concorde. It’s still the one that got away, memorably beautiful if rather high-maintenance. Now several manufacturers are planning to eclipse those memories with planes that are cleaner, quieter, and yes, quicker than the Concorde. Up first: Denver-based Boom Supersonic, which is hoping to fly a prototype this year, and if all goes well, by 2025, have their 55-seat Overture craft whizzing passengers from Tokyo to San Francisco, typically a 9½-hour journey, in 5½ hours. Perhaps precipitously, Japan Airlines has taken an option on 20. Until this jet arrives, here’s a look at how its speediness will compare with the original Concorde and other brisk vehicles, existing and theoretical, that make our hearts beat faster.
3,400 MPH: Boeing NeXt Hypersonic Concept
First Flight: No earlier than 2029
This still very-much-theoretical hypersonic aircraft could make Mach 5 (about 3,400 mph) travel possible at altitudes of 100,000 feet.
Excerpt from WSK