NASA and Boeing test the next generation Concorde

For years plane makers have been promising us a return to supersonic travel. Could this be it?


NASA and Boeing point to the future.

This plane may look like it belongs on a Thunderbirds TV set, but it’s actually a scale model of a concept supersonic aircraft built by Boeing.

Researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio have been putting the model plane through its paces inside a wind tunnel.

As well as testing the effects of airflow on the new aircraft structure, NASA and Boeing are working out how to turn down the volume on the sonic boom so that regulators could allow the plane to fly over land.

Boeing’s model plane features top-mounted engines designed to shield noise levels. While its V-shaped tail channels the sonic boom backwards and the wings towards the rear minimise drag.

But designing a scale model plane and building one for commercial use present very different challenges.

It would seem that we’re still a long way off from seeing an environmentally efficient and cost effective solution.

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