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Supersonic jet design would do away with sonic boom


Engineers at Boeing, Lockheed and Gulfstream say they’ve come up with several designs for next-generation supersonic jets that could fly at nearly 2,500 mph, or more than three times the speed of sound, with merely a “sonic puff” instead of window-shaking booms. The jet sketches and even a prototype model are slated to be shown at the Farnborough Air Show in England next month. Aerospace engineers have struggled to come up with a viable supersonic jet design since the Concorde was retired following a crash in Paris in 2000 that killed 113 people. But advances in computer modeling and quieter engine designs could prove pivotal. The engineers haven’t gone into specifics about what makes the new designs quiet enough to fly without emitting sonic booms. Such a jet would be quiet enough to fly over land, and fast enough to go from London to Sydney, a distance of more than 10,000 miles, in only four hours. But bringing such a jet to market would be expensive and time-consuming: A supersonic business jet would be unlikely to fly before 2020, and a larger model for airline passengers might not be ready until 2030.