When it was first flown in 1969, the Concorde supersonic jet was arguably the apex of aviation. With a maximum airspeed that was twice the speed of sound, the Concorde could travel up to 1,370 mph and carry passengers from London to New York in less than 3.5 hours. Comparatively, with our current sub-supersonic passenger planes it takes more than twice that long to make the trip at a cruising speed of around 550 mph. Which is why ever since the Concorde was retired in 2003, aviation designers have been drawing up new models and next-generation aerospace concepts in the hopes that at least one enterprise will see the value in resurrecting the supersonic passenger plane.
But, as we learned with the Concorde, the costs associated with developing and operating supersonic aircrafts is astronomical. And, once in service, the jets require exceptionally long runways to take off and are restricted to certain flight paths due the loud sonic booms they make when they break the sound barrier. Add to that the enormous fuel costs and increased maintenance needed due to the extreme conditions they’re exposed to, and it becomes a little more clear why it’s taken so long for all of the aeronautical notions listed here to get off the ground.
11. Tupolev Tu-444
Though their early design was never as successful as the Concorde, Russian aerospace and defense firm Tupolev actually pioneered supersonic passenger transport back in the 1960’s with their Tu-444 supersonic airliner. Unfortunately, very little information has been disclosed about the current state of their supersonic business jet and the official details are no longer available. This has caused widespread speculation that the project might have been completely scrapped.