While many of us are sheltering in place and not doing much air travel, it doesn’t mean that airplane makers aren’t working on taking the airplane to a whole new engineering level. In fact, a few companies are working on really, really fast airplanes! We’re talking about getting from New York City to London in just ninety minutes—a trip that typically takes about seven and a half hours! But if you think that’s super fast, there are companies working on planes that will travel even faster—we’re talking not one, but five times the speed of sound! These companies are working on such advanced air travel that they’ve caught the attention of the US government. Being able to fly quickly from one destination to the next would be a great benefit to a leader of a country, wouldn’t you agree? Sure, but before these jets can be manufactured, aeronautical engineers must also consider other things when building a supersonic jet. What are some of these considerations?
It’s one thing to go fast, but quite another if you’re creating a ton of noise pollution while zipping by. Could you imagine living by an airport and not being able to hear anything besides the loud engines of an airplane flying overhead, even if it is traveling at five times the speed of sound? We couldn’t!
The faster the airplane, the more fuel the engine needs to burn. What’s the point of traveling really, really quickly if you can’t get very far, right? Engineers must consider how they can improve one aspect of flying without hurting another.
It costs a lot of money to build an airplane. One company that’s working on building supersonic jets has recently built a Mach 5 engine (or an engine that can make an airplane travel five times the speed of sound) in less than nine months and for less than $2 million. While that’s just the engine, it’s still quite an achievement given that the average Boeing commercial airplane costs approximately $90 million.
In your opinion, what are some of the other factors that these companies should consider when building a supersonic airplane? Share your thoughts with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!