- several start-ups are developing them
- doubts remain about their ecological and noise footprint
- especially as a private jet they can be profitable
Why a supersonic private jet might be a good investment
Several start-ups are in the process of developing a supersonic jet, both for scheduled and private flights, as I have already written here. These jets will have a cost per flight hour that will be at least double that of a mid-size private jet, which can be estimated at around € 5,000 per hour. However, if we are going to use a supersonic private jet to transport business leaders and executives whose hourly compensation exceeds several thousand euros, then reducing by half the duration of a business flight maybe rather profitable, especially considering that we could then make round trips the same day, thus also saving on hotel costs.
Exosonic, the latest new supersonic jet
It will be able to navigate at Mach 1.8 by land and comfortably carry 70 passengers, with reduced noise. For example :
New York Los Angeles in 03:00 save 03:00 hr – London Hong Kong in 06:00 save 05:00 hr
Sonic boom so low it will be drowned in city traffic
An aircraft with a low sonic boom will create a softer thud on the ground that will be quieter than normal traffic. Exosonic has been awarded a contract to develop a low boom supersonic executive transport aircraft concept for the United States government.
Obstacles linked to the adoption of supersonic jets
“Aviation regulations still applied to the Concorde, which allowed higher emissions compared to subsonic planes. The new generation of supersonic jets will now have to be measured against conventional airplanes, ”explains Prof. Lars Enghardt, head of the engine acoustics department at the DLR Institute for Propulsion Technology.
This is why the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is working with international partners to study the environmental impact of a future fleet of supersonic aircraft. The results of the research should help reduce the adverse effects on the environment of the aircraft.
In order to define new certification rules, the authorities depend on a lot of data. The EU project SENECA (noiSe and EmissioNs of supErsoniC Aircraft) makes an important contribution to the collection of this data. Project partners currently assume that the first new supersonic aircraft will not fly at supersonic speed over land due to the bang problem, but only over water. The sound boom is analyzed in detail in the European project MOREandLESS, in which DLR is also involved. Here, scientists determine how different shapes of airplanes affect the volume of the bang.
“The efficiency of the aircraft when cruising and the noise emissions near the airport are difficult to reconcile,” says Dr. Robert Jaron of the Institute for Propulsion Technology discusses the challenges of aircraft design. “Due to the better flow behavior, supersonic airplanes are particularly long and narrow and have small engines. For noise reduction during take-off and landing, however, engines with larger diameters would be preferred.”
In the opinion of the DLR team, in which the Institute of Atmospheric Physics also works, there is still room for the start-up procedure. The poor glide properties in subsonic flight are compensated in supersonic airplanes by a particularly powerful engine. A higher take-off speed with an early reduction in engine thrust could reduce noise pollution near the airport. This possibility is also being studied within the framework of the project.
Another area of SENECA research: pollutant emissions and their influence on the climate. Supersonic traffic will fly much higher than current air traffic and therefore will likely have different effects on the atmosphere.