The Concorde was the super-sonic product of developments between manufacturers at the United Kingdom’s British Aircraft Corporation and France’s Aerospatiale. It first went in to service in 1976 and provided regular commercial transatlantic flights from London and Paris to New York as well as other destinations. It was able to cut the flight times of other airliners’ journeys by over half.
However the story of the Concorde is a tragic one as on July 25th 2000 the company experienced its first crash after twenty-four years of service. The crash killed all one hundred passengers plus the nine crew members. This led to a drop in the amount of customers using the service contributed to the eventual early retirement.
Another contributing factor to the Concorde’s service coming to an end was of course the events of 11 September 2001, which also led to a drop in the amount of airline passengers in general. These factors plus the inevitable rise in cost of fuel and the potential cost of the service maintenance that was needed for the airline to progress forced the Concorde to retire after twenty-seven years of service. The last flight was on 26 November 2003.
Now eight years later we have news of a successor to Concorde which was revealed today at the Paris Air Show. The show, which happens every other year (odd years), takes place in the north of the city in France. It is an event which allows manufacturers to show case their civilian and military aircrafts.
The new aircraft concept comes from EADS, an international aviation group. The company claims that their ZEHST (Zero Emission Hyper Sonic Transport) concept will dramatically reduce flight times. It does this by transporting passengers above Earth’s atmosphere using rocket power, allowing it to cruise at an altitude of 32km, while other passenger airlines fly at an 11km altitude.
It will reach speeds of up to Mach 4 which is around 5,000km/h or four times the speed of sound. According to EADS all the fuel being used will also be environmentally friendly making the aircraft green. It will use oxygen, liquid hydrogen and biofuels.
The company says we are unlikely to see a prototype before 2020 and the final products won’t be in service until 2050. It is thought that the final design will be very similar to that of the Concorde although it is not known for sure what it will look like. Check out the article at The Independent for more details on the aircraft concept. Would you use an airline service like this one to travel the world?