Name: Axel Allavo
Course: HUM 102
Around the world in a blink of eye:
of supersonic and hypersonic aircraft
how we perceive
the notion of distance and travel.
Supersonic flight is one of the four components highlighting the speed of flight. They are mostly referred to as the regimes of flight. The other regimes of flight include hypersonic, transonic and subsonic. The vehicles or machines that flies at supersonic and hypersonic speeds are actually flying faster than the speed of sound which is 768 miles per hour. The Mach numbers are used to assign the different types of these vehicles (Chow). The flight that records a Mach of between 1 to 5 falls under the supersonic category. The first aircraft to break the speed of sound was flown by Captain Charles E. Chuck in 1947.
What Flies at Supersonic Speeds?
To illustrate the supersonic speed and the hypersonic speeds, one perfect example is a bullet fired from a gun. Similarly, most military fighter jets move at these amazing speeds. Another perfect example is the space shuttles which have to reach supersonic speeds at some points of their journeys. The first passenger plane to travel at supersonic speed was the Concorde which travelled at a speed twice the speed of sound (Huda and Edi 550). With that kind of speed, the airplane could move from New York to London in a record 3 and half hours. This speed represents half the time it would take the typical airliners to cover the same distance. However, the Concorde has since retired and it made its last trip in 2003.
The sonic boom
This is the large sound that is felt on the ground when an aircraft reach supersonic speed. This is because the air acts like a fluid when objects move past it at high speeds (Freed). As the aircraft moves across the air particles, the air is pushed aside at great force which creates the loud noise.
The breakthrough in the supersonic aircraft is regarded as the most modern breakthrough in the travel and commercial aviation. The Concorde paved the way for the adoption of supersonic speeds but its stay in the market was short lived due to a fatal crash that happened in France. Coming up with such commercial airlines has been an elusive goal for many aircraft builders around the world. One of the major technological breakthroughs that could pave the way for a safer airline is the advancement of computer technology such as quantum computing and the development of new construction materials. One of the major challenges in the adoption of the supersonic aircraft is the question of whether the passengers would be willing to pay the huge amounts of ticket prices that the airlines would charge. One of the problems behind the collapse of Concorde was the high prices and a small number of routes (Chow). Unless the companies make a substantial amount of money, the dream would nearly be impossible and there will be no need to create these aircrafts. However new innovations in...